Thursday, April 30, 2009

There Is No Lorraine. Only Zul.

Hello, my Fiends. Taking a quick break from a day that promises not to stop in the near future. Been going non-stop since 7:00am this morning, and that didn't include a ride with Anamontana. Some weeks, or couple of weeks get like this. E-mail doesn't stop. Phone doesn't stop. Problems, which I like to call "Situations" don't stop. You walk a tighrope, make your best guess and hope for the best. Get everyone everything they need.

I got it all, don't get me wrong. And am feeling good about every little detail for the most part. But there sure isn't much left over.

I have no wit. No clever stories. No Bengal pictures. The Bees didn't come. (Which I am REALLY glad about, couldn't have done it today, the way things turned out) But I have nothing.

Your turn. Yup. Entertain me.

Jokes? Top Five Desert Island Disks? (greatest hits don't count and double cd's count two. Unless you pick one) A Lovely story that will delight and amuse me? How bad was YOUR day? Give me something. I want to wander thru your chatter and smile.

Love and Buried,
Lorraine (AKA Zul)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Bees Are Getting Closer....

Cabal is home and seems to be well again, he had some bones kind of, uh, sticking some things up, so they, uh, wouldn't come out. Now they are out.

I just started my new post with Dog Poop. Can we move on?

I was on the phone with the Birdchick today. The Bees could come in the morning. They WILL come Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. She said it was like "Well, the waters broke, now we just wait for the baby." Much of the time we just sat on the phone silently. I kind of thought we both wanted to stay that way, together, until the bees came.

She was with me when I bought my new Bee Clothes, on the phone there. Clearance light coloured denim capri's, and a green hoodie. Also on Clearance. We talked a lot about how it might feel to work with bees with no bee suit. She does not want to know. I want to try.

I am not sure I can.

I remember what it felt like the first time to be covered in bees, IN the suit. And how they fly, hundred's and hundred's of them in a huge cloud, as you try and pour them gently into the hive and spread them out softly. FREAKY is how it felt. Especially if you have a Bee Phobia. Like I did.

I have let bees drink honey from my bare finger. ONE bee at a time, thank you. Crawling all over my bare hands????

Not sure. But I am going to try. And keep the Bee Suit in the truck. Just in case. I don't believe there is any shame in TRYING and not succeeding. Even if you fail, you have that, and you are further along than you were. The only failure is not to try and do something that you want. All you can give it is everything. Sometimes the magic's there, and sometimes it's not.

I liked these shots. You know this game can only end badly. For the Bengal, or for the fish. (Fish by the way, are giving up thier little fishie ghosts in alarming numbers. I am down to two, I believe, or one who gets around.)

Love and Bees,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Bees Are Coming!!!!!!!!!!!

The first four Boxes of Bees are coming this week! We don't know which day, only that about 6:30am I will get a call from the Post Office saying "Won't you PLEASE come pick up these Boxes of Bees????!!!"

6:35am I call the Birdchick, and she leaps into her car and comes out here. Well, that's my personal idea of the day, but it might not work exactly quite like that. Boss is out of town, so it is all about she and I, tho Woodsman Hans seems interested too.

I want to explore this Bee working with no bee suit. No gloves. Just me and them. I met a women a couple weeks ago who does, and the look on her face was wonderful, rapt even, when she talked about it. Of course, fine line, yes I know, between brave and crazy, but I will never know if I don't try.

And it seems to me, there is nothing worse that wanting to do something, and backing out because of fear, you are kind of left with an empty feeling and a sense of "If only I had tried..."

The Nice Bee Lady wrote me a letter the other day, which contained some of the best advice for living I have ever heard, let along Beekeeping. Here's a part of it:

But the biggest thing to keep in mind, and this is very important, is that it has to be all about the bees. You have to get lost in the bees. You have to let go of yourself, lose yourself. You have to be so attuned to the bees that you sort of drip away. Self-consciousness will lead to awkward clumsy fumbling. Self-awareness will be punished as self-indulgent narcissism. Fear must be set aside; admiration must be set aside; love, even, must be set aside. What then comes to you when you are with the bees, among them, is the serenity of just being.

Pretty darn cool, eh? I want that. It's like music is. Exactly like music.

Week One of the Get FIT project is done. Too early to tell about any weight loss, but I rode six days, walked on four of them, played two gigs and ate right for five. Did NOT eat right this weekend. Slipped there, but I am young yet, and not grown to my full power of FIT. We will have to work harder to make sure that doesn't happen often. The biggest benefit so far is being able to SLEEP at night. I sleep immediately and all the way till morning! Thank you horse!!!!!!!!

Speaking of Horse, my first show is May 16th! Ack! I didn't know that. Trainer Mel told someone else, when they asked if I would be showing this summer, she answered for me. Very cool. I will not be missing any riding time. Oh no.

Tomorrow I will learn some French Beekeeping phrases. (Tho they are Italian Bees. Hmmm. Chaio, I shall say to them.) (And I still haven't posted my French Vampire poem, which lacks a lot in the artistic department, but rocks my French world.) Will do so.

And this week the Bees will come, and I am thinking, I will learn a lot of things about myself that I do not now know. May be magic. Might get stung to shards. Either way, you learn something.

Love and Bees,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Very Own Office Picture Feature...

I have been getting a Rash of requests (yes, that was the adjective of choice) lately for pictures of Boss's workspace, or writing space, or Office. Quite a lot. Oddly enough. He has several, and we have taken shots and sent them off into the world, but no one has asked ME for any pictures of my office, nor has decided that Assistants work space be featured anywhere.I'd like to change that, and feature MY office tonight here.

It would be lovely, and indeed I start every day with such a plan, if it were a thing of beauty and neatness, but it simply isn't possible. Or at any rate, I have not achieved it YET. It is, however, efficient, and it works. The file cabinet there is where the current files go. The archives take up half the attic, and are in tubs. I mention this as Kitty and I have a Plan for that attic this summer, and you will no doubt be visiting.

Here's another shot I like, as you can see I waste no space, and use under the desk as well as on top. Sometimes I work down there. It's very peaceful under my desk. I like it there. Often no one can find me.

We get a lot of books. Kind of like it rains in the Amazon. Or the Birdchick likes birds. Or Bengals are fairly active cats, if you see my point. They come in, and go to this spare desk, and every so often we have a grand sorting and they go off to the To Be Read Shelf, or one of the libraries.

And there you have it. MY office, featured in a full colour spread, here first. Where it all happens. How things happen. And what let's me make things happen. The Chair of the Princess of NO. No doubt, it will be in magazines all over the world shortly, but, you saw it here first. I will be taking questions, having a Q&A so, please, feel free. All media requests will be considered, but interviews will, of nessesity, be short.

I have a lot of work to do.

Love and MY Office,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Action Shots! With Heads! Mostly!

**J'aime bien les chats Bengals, ils sont tout doux et ils ronronent. Attendez pour les diner, bande de petits monstres poilus! Et on ne fait pipi sur le plan de travail ni sur futon! Si cous etes sages, on pourra jouer avev les batons a plumes, et peut etre que je vous donnerais aussi des croquettes!

Je suis tres fatigue......

But I did get to Skype with Nathilie today, and learned some truly useful French phrases, as you can see. No telling where this is going to go...

And we rode outdoors today! Further evidence to support my claim that Spring is indeed here. Mel and I even Rode Out of the ring, around the grounds. Thru the woods. Saw some Grouse. They saw us. Horses saw Grouse. Learned I can stay on when they do that JUMP thing. We also rode along a beautiful bluff, high above the river. VERY high about the river. I didn't want to go close, but Mel, who has a fine sense of humour told me to face my fears.

I told her to stop reading my blog.

I tried for some action shots tonight after I got home. Hard to do. I don't think my camera is UP to it. When Kitty comes, we will get shots and vid of these Amazing Bengal Leaps, but for now, at least they have heads. Mostly.

As I type this, Mim is doing her imitation of a Banshee announcing the Imminent Death of One of a Noble House. What the heck. She's fed. We've played. The window is open. I don't THINK she is hunting anything alive. When I go and ask her what seems to be the problem, she says "Nothing. Why?".

Magic came to the window when I drove up this evening! Another first! And he mewed, and licked, let me sit by him while he ate, and, well bit, me a good one. But I got him back good. I did a real actual PET on his head. Teach him. Here he is washing his Butt. Sooooo cute.


Love, French, Ponies and Bengals,

PS For those of you whose French is on a par with mine: **I love Bengal Kitties, they are soft and they purr. Wait for your dinners you fur covered monsters, and don't pee on the counter or futon! If you are patient, we will play with the feather stick, and I MAY give you crunchies.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Groove, Slam, Work it back, Filter that, Baby bump that track...(Lady Gaga, Starstruck)

Yesterday I showed you a picture of my Headless Horse. Look, today I have one of my Headless Bengal Freaky Venus! That's Madame Mim there, doing the beheading. This could become a regular feature, Headless Pets!

Can anyone tell exactly just how long a day this has been for me? I am loving my early morning riding, it's perfect, but there is sort of a perfect storm going on of me deciding to Get Fit and be up early to do it, and some extremely hectic work days. Not that we ever lay around eating Bon-Bons on the slowest of weeks, but these past few days, I'm not sure I've had two seconds to breathe.

I did some math yesterday, yes, I know, but I can do it if I think really hard, and figured out for the time at the office, I got an e-mail every 30 seconds. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly not complaining, just sort of in shell shock after the day. Boss is off shortly to the PEN Festival, as you might know, and the PEN people, I have to shout out, are the truly best people I have ever worked with. E-mails to them are answered in minutes, and their single goal seems to be "How can we make this go really well for your Boss" I love them. They rock.

It's the rest of the time that is getting filled up hour by hour. Persnickety trip, this one.

Oh, Fods, I must be tired, when do I ever come home to Fiends and talk about My Day At Work???? I talk to the Bengals, who tell me "It's your own Bloody fault, don't come to US, we never approved of this LEAVING every day, now, where IS the Featherstick.

I would talk to the fish, but, there, uh, aren't so many of them, another two seem to be "Doing the Float" What is UP with these dead fish??? If they were simply GONE, I would have my suspicions.....

I like this Path. It's a good one. (Not the dead fish part) I cantered today WITH people, and it went well. No fear. I sent Nathilie a Tweet in French. I believe it was an ungrammatical "We can Skype from my Grave if they don't dig me out" but still, progress on all fronts.

I met the Nice Lady who gave me the Bagpipes, on my way home tonight, and she did NOT ask what sort of progress I was making. (None, let's call it CONgress.)

I took the Dog for a lovely walk and listened to Lady Gaga. (Starstruck, on repeat, that song has GOT me.)

Mim didn't pee on the counter as I got her food ready. (Yes, she has been. No idea WHY, mind you, but there you have it)

Magic licked me. Hissed. And licked again.

My muscles are screaming in agony somewhat less than yesterday.

And I am home. It's all good.

Groove, Slam, Work it back, filter that, baby bump that track....

Mantra to live by.

Love, Work and New Paths,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Soggy Horses and Deep Thoughts...

I didn't get many riding pictures the past two days, too busy conquering my fears, but here is a lovely picture of my soggy horse without his head for you. This is Anamontana, the half quarter horse, half arab. Sunday's ride didn't exactly go quite as well, riding her for the first time in a while. It's nerves that get me, but I went out again early this morning, after having a long conversation with my kettle which went something like "Boil Dammit!" , and made some progress. And had fun doing it.

Much better. No nerves and it felt great, like I knew what I was doing. I am still shy of cantering while there are other horses in the ring, and the horses that were there today were near the best in the stable, which, makes for fine people to ride with, and I am not at all shy about admitting to being not as good as someone, but still, difficult. And, to be honest, still have that fear in riding.

So, shy. And fear. There's two things that need to be dealt with. And FIT.

Bear with me. I may come to a point here. Or not. Hard to say, still thinking this one thru.

I heard a story this morning that kind of stayed with me, a really simple one, but it made a helpful point about getting where you want to be. It said, basically: If you are not on the right road you can drive as long as you want to, but you are not going to get there.

Simple, eh? Sort of flicked on this GPS in my head and made me realize some things that I want, and that I am not going to get them just by wanting them. I need to go there.

To be completely profound, if you are still with me here, shit happens. Fit doesn't happen. Learning French doesn't happen. Getting over fear doesn't happen. Not being shy doesn't happen. Playing bagpipes doesn't happen. (OK, so I'm not sure that ever WILL happen) Writing doesn't happen. Riding well doesn't happen. Petting bees doesn't happen.

May have come to my point. Still not sure. But now I know what I need to do.

There, enough with the deep thoughts. This week looks good, it may be spring, I will ride every day, I will go home and eat vegetable things instead of pizza, and lie on my floor with my muscles screaming and try and stay awake until ten, and write something good. And this weekend, there are gigs, one place where where I am not at all afraid, on stage being the safest place in the world. Go figure.

If you are thinking of coming down, come Saturday. I have a feeling it is going to ROCK.

And Nathilie, vous voulez à Skype mercredi ou jeudi? Je veux parler Francais bein! Vous m'aiderez encore?

Amour et étude, my Fiends,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lessons in Raking and Over a Jump....

Danguy and Dr Wicked have been working tirelessly to fix this Blogger Picture Problem, but it is not yet there, so we are going sans pictures, except for this picture of trash bags that I was able to download during a freak INage last night. Go figure. And now for yesterdays Jumping Post....

(Edited to add: Pictures are BACK!!!!!!!!!!)

First off the cleaning party was a fine event. I had a great time, believe it or not. Worked really hard, as you can see from the Very Small percentage of bagged up leaves and pine needles and pine cones here. I am no longer as fond of pine trees as I was before today, but I have to admit, it really did look nice when it got done. And it was great to hang out with everyone.

It's kind of a full service workout program, this stable. Not only can you ride, you can get a wonderful upper body workout raking. I will get fit. And want to. This summer is about getting back my FIT. Today may have even inspired me to get my own personal rake out and do my own yard. There will so be before and after pics of that, it is a MESS. Kind of like my FIT at the moment.

I did find out from She Who Owns It All (Whom I call "Poetry in Motion on Horseback" for short) that Trainer Mel may be selling MY horse Tess, So I may be getting a new horse soon. At first I was somewhat indignant, but then I realized it may be time to move on and up, and I told Poetry that was fine, I could ride HER horse. Seems like the next step to me.

(To put this in context for you readers out there: Me and my horse just published our first short story. She and her horse are #1 on the Times list with a novel. Get it? My goal is to ride well, not go to the Olympics)

I was watching the kids jump today, which I love, and one of them was riding my Tess, so was excited to see her jump for the first time. I got even more excited when Trainer Mel said to come on in and jump her myself.

Ok, so excited was not QUITE the word. More like "You are SO &^*&! kidding me!!!!!!!!!" Well, no, she wasn't. So I got my hat, and my half chaps and thought, well, you wanted this. With a few high fives from the kids (Those are the BEST kids, really, truly supportive, everyone there is) I went to the ring, and leapt up on my steed. (Ok, walked to the three step mounting thing and got on with my usual grace.)

You start with poles on the ground, getting used to a position called "Two point" Which is sort of a jumping maneuver, where your heels are DOWN, you grab the mane with one hand, so hold ON with your knees. It is very important to look where you are going, and not at the jump, too. I learned you will go the direction your toes are pointing. If they are DOWN, that's where you will go. If they are up, and your heels are down, you will stay on the horse. This is a huge incentive to keep your heels down.

You start for your first real jump at a trot. This is scary enough, there is so much to remember, and first and foremost in your mind is that this horse is going to leap this thing and it is in your best interests to stay with her. I did it three times, and if it was not done WELL, I did stay ON, which is one point for me. It's a pretty amazing feeling.

Then Mel said to try it at a canter. DOH!!!!!!! It's kind of amazing how all of a sudden the canter part was no longer any sort of Big Deal, and I cantered like a Pro. I went for it, and she stopped, I didn't keep her going at it hard enough. I went at it again, and circled her out. Could't do it.

I don't think it was nerve failing me. I think it was wisdom prevailing. Wasn't ready for it. Remember it was just last week I felt ok about the cantering in the English saddle bit. I think I can ride most days next week, and I will. And put everything I have into it.

And next week. I will canter over that jump. Or the week after. However long it takes.

And I will be fit again. I will lose this "Been spending WAY too much time on the couch with pizza weight" and I will find my muscles again.

However long it takes.

Love and Goals,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unexpected Magic.....

I didn't think I had much to talk about tonight. No new Bee Things. Venus and Mim had a brief Escape, but as a story "They got out, I got them in" lacks something. Up a little late this morning and to too much e-mail to go for a ride.

And then I went in to see Magic, bringing his dinner. (Hey, do I know how to be cool or what?) We have been doing a thing, where the plate of food gets closer to me each time. This has not been exactly THRILLING him, you understand, but he was grumpily put up with it, sniffing and biting me, and sometimes getting some licks in.

The food has been right by me for two days now, so I thought I might push my luck.

So I pet him.

One finger only. Like petting a butterfly. Or, perhaps, Bees. So gently, like a feather, by his whiskers, and on the top of his head. He's been here half a year now. First touch.

I wish I could say, he loved it, we are bonded, scritches happened. But, no. He growled, he bit, a couple times, and hard. Once hard enough that I had to stop him, pulled back just enough to get my finger out, then bonked him, with a feather light bonk on his nose and told him to stop that, and continued my feather pets.

And he stayed. Pulled back a couple of times, but kept coming back to eat, and let me touch him. So softly.

It was such a nice thing to happen. I was feeling pretty tired, and thinking I wished I had the energy to accomplish something grand this evening, spring is here, it's still light, I thought I should DO something.

I think I did.

Magic is mewing me, which means he wants me to come back.

Do something indeed.

Love and Some Unexpected Magic,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bees, Lady Gaga and Weird Shoes. Just To Go All Over The Place For a Change...

Last night the Birdchick and I went to a meeting of "The Old Gods Of Beekeeper Assoc." At least that is what I am calling them, can't for the life of me recall what their name is. There was a speaker there who spoke on, well, beekeeping and Russian Bees and Organic Beekeeping. He was obviously very good at beekeeping, speaking, well, not so much. Still, I learned a lot.

First up, the Russian Bees. It occurs to me we have been joking about "Fur Hats and Vodka" and I had a think on that, and don't think we should. I am no Over the Top PC person, but it seems a negative stereotype, and could be taken as Not Very Nice, if you see what I mean. Am I worried too much? Anyone from Russia?

Russian bees, it seems are kind of aggressive. Great. Another Bitchy hive, Three of them in fact. We had heard they were not, but last night, general consensus seemed to say they were. Of course, the first thing you learn Beekeeping is that for every rule someone states as fact, someone else will disprove it. They also, it seems, tend to Supersede Queens a lot, and make lots of new ones.

That means they decide, for whatever Bee Reason, that they don't like the current Queen, and kill her and make a new one. HARSH!!!!!!! I also learned that one can artificially inseminate a Queen. WAY more than I wanted to know. I do not know, for the record, how they get the "Boy Bits" for this. Nor do I want to.

On the Organic front, his point seemed to be if you used plastic in your frames, that was a cause for scorn. My belief is, I have an organic garden, but I use metal shovels, and rubber hoses for it, and that does not make it not organic. Just saying. I am not weaving baskets from rushes for the bees to live in either. (Any Bee People out there, feel very free to disagree, and make your point, we welcome talk on these things)

I met a lot of really fun people. Beekeepers seem to be really friendly folks, by and large. I met one women in particular who was great. She keeps a lot of bees, and told me she does not own a Bee Suit. She sometimes wears gloves and a veil (Or Bee Hat as I like to call it) but that's it. She told me something that started me thinking.

She said when you hive a package (Put a new box of bees into a hive. We also saw pictures last night of how one GETS the Bees INTO the box. I want to party with those people) well, when putting them in, you have to sort of spread them out, like Pizza sauce, so they go down into the hive, with a bee brush.

Or your bare hand. So she says.

I asked her what this felt like, and she said, with a rapt look on her face: "Like Tribbles" Bees crawling all over your bare hands, like petting velvet. Like being really alive.


I told the Birdchick, "We could do that!" She replied "YOU can do it. I will video it. I am making my position known."

Ok. So I will do it. I want to. What a thing to do, for someone like me who had a HUGE Bee Phobia two years ago when we started this. It would be a beyond Face Your Fear moment. Petting Bees. Like Velvet. Being Alive. I'm going for it.

In a complete change of direction, I have a new favorite cd, Lady Gaga. Kid you not. I know I am not known for the pop/dance music playlist, but she is really different. Mads turned me onto her, she had made up a playlist of songs she thought I would like, as we play Radio often, a game called Do You Like This. Mostly not. But this is different.

She isn't a Lollipop girl with great dance moves a studio is "Making" She is the real thing. The cd goes ALL over the place, and it's obvious this girl has been listening to music her entire life, the influences are everywhere. There was one song that starts with only piano, and GREAT down and there piano, like AFP. And another than made me think You have SO listened to Tom Tom Club. I told Mads, "Wiki that Girl!" She writes the songs, she plays the piano. And she rocks. It's pop, it's ABBA, it's showtunes, it's British post punk, it's straight up R&R. All done as a Dance/pop cd. I love it. Can't wait to hear what she does next. Got a Grammy coming, this I know.

And now for a Fashion Moment. What DOES one wear to the stable early in the morning when one has dragged oneself from ones bed in order to get in a ride before work, at an impossibly early hour, and one realizes all riding shoes are AT work? Coraline Dunks!!!!!! With Leather Half Chaps! This will amuse your fellow riders to no end, but it will be a lot of fun for all concerned. And they brought me luck. I cantered and cantered! Twice around the ring at one point! And there was no fear at all. Felt like trotting! I loved it!

My hips now, not so much.

Love and Bees, Gaga and Weird Riding Gear,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bits of Things...

A good day today, if a busy one....Magic not only licked me this morning, he did it three times, and then, well, then he bit me, but that's to be expected. I didn't act like prey, and was still, so he got confused, hissed and went back to breakfast. I love this guy.

I made my ride, but it was a short one, need to leave a little earlier for this early morning ride thing to work for me. Failed to get Tess to see the Joy of Cantering, but when I try, she gets really excited and does this prancing trot thing like she is off to the races, which is nearly as fun, if not what I was going for. Think I need a little help with this, Trainer Mel....They did invite me to two events, this group at my stable, a Regency Dance on Friday, and a Spring Cleanup Party on Saturday.

Oddly enough, I am so there at the Cleanup Party. Dance? Not so sure...I am pretty sure I can dress correctly for the Cleanup Party.

For those of you waiting for your 100K prizes, I mailed off a goodly Box to Miss Kitty today, so you should have them soon.

I did try and get the rest of the honey off the frames outside, I had left some frames I wasn't SURE of, turns out they are just fine, but I left it too late in the day, and they were once again Covered In Bees. So tomorrow, this will be the first task.

Speaking of honey, we spoke on Honey today, and the possibility of auctioning some for charity. You will have four chances at a jar, each several weeks apart. It will come with its very own Special Label. We have chosen the charities, each of us Beekeepers and will let you know soon. (Big guess what mine is, eh?) Sadly, we can't do more, so I can't take requests for more, I wish we could, but it is not possible, so we decided to each pick one.

Stay tuned, here, and with Boss, and Birdchick, and NBB for details. AND stay tuned to Maddy, who may well be doing something extra special!!!!!!! As she does so well!

Tonight is all about me and the Bengals, and some serious Feathersticking.


Love and Bits of Things,

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Day!

Happy Easter All!!!

I have always been a bit confused about Easter. I mean, is it a Christian Holiday? A Jewish one? An Egg one? Seems to involve a lot of chocolate, which is always good in my book. But it MOVES. Never the same day every year. Weird, eh? I didn't know that years ago when I double booked my Boss, thinking all he has is an Easter Event, and that is in May....At least it was the year before.

I did good on the Easter Basket front this year, judging from the smiles. I really like doing the Easter Basket for Small Girl Growing Larger. Used to be dead easy when the coolest thing ever was the Ultimate Barbie and some shoes for her. Now I have to ponder a bit. Sunscreen. Check. Postit notes. Check. New Twilight DVD. Way check. Lady Gaga cd. Oh yes.

The gig last night got a bit strange. First set went long and rocked and rolled and was all one could wish. Second set, not so many people, but they were into it. Then we took a break. And they ALL left. No one came in. No third set. Huh?

Here's the coolest thing. All Irish Pubs have TV, and they all play Sports. No one much WATCHES them, but they seem to have to have sports. Sigh. Boring. (Except Kips in Minneapolis, they had so many TV's they could always be counted on to put something good on for me on one of them)

The only time I put my foot down is wrestling. Nearly naked men rolling around on the floor together? Ick. Guys, in the privacy of your own homes, go for it, hey, whatever. But I can't play and watch it.

Last night the sport ended, and no one noticed. The strangest show EVER came on. Seemed to be a Hero, who had lost all his clothes except for his tight pants, who was captured by a villain, clearly evil, who was a 6 foot blond women in a leather catsuit and corset. And there were two really hot dark haired ladies, clearly good, who wore sort of Camelot type dresses, and camped out with an army, which included a Wizard Type.

I think the Evil Lady took over the mind of the Hero, and when one of the Dark Haired Ladies tried to come save him, he had to fight her, clearly struggling with his mind about this. I think there was some sort of Evil Burning Wand as well.

What the heck WAS this show? I have to know. This was some quality entertainment. Survivor was on after it, and I think it came on around 9 or 10. Cable channel 45, here anyway.

(Yes, I know, why am I watching TV while doing a show, but some of these ballads go ON...Can't help it.)

Today is as lovely as a Spring Day. Heck, might well BE a Spring Day, and I found some more frames with honey on them to extract, so I think that is my Plan.

Hope yours is as nice...

Love and Easter,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rock Happened...

Home from the gig and doing my "Run around the house like a crazed women thing" , as one does after rock.

And there was Rock tonight. Second set was everything one could hope for. First set is generally the warm up. It last an hour and a half, and I tend to have Zombie Brain for it, no idea what song we play next or what I am doing on stage. We don't make set lists, it all depends on who is there and what the mood calls for.

Sometimes I wish I was just a bit bigger in Rock terms, so someone else could play first set. Second tho, that's where all the good stuff is. Hour long, and most often full on. El and her friends came down for that one tonight, which made it even cooler. Ended with Running to Stand Still, my first favorite U2 song ever, from the best U2 album ever (for the record) and my lead got cheered. Always makes me feel really happy. I play the song one handed until the end then sort of pour my soul thru the violin. gffffffv. (Hmm, seems Mim had a comment there...)

If one ever does need bringing back down to earth, then coming home to five Bengals who have not had anything but dry food all day does it. Trust me when I tell you , you HEAR about it.

Magic not only Mewed me, but came running to the door and Sniffed me, which is new for him. When I brought his food, I put out my hand, and he sniffed again, then Licked it! Hello? That is a leap for him. Of course, when he realized he had done it, he backed off and hissed, but this is huge.

Way cooler than Rock. Or as cool. Hard call.

Looking forward to tomorrow, Some Assistanting, a Ride with Tess, (Or Annamontana or Catera, hard to say) and then...

Another chance to Rock.

Feeling pretty happy just now.

Love and Rock,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Is Spring Here????

Hello and Welcome! I see that my Boss has linked to the site today, which has been fun. Welcome to all the new people following on Twitter! Nice to meet you! Please feel free to jump in and comment, we are a friendly bunch here, and talk about pretty much everything. (There IS no "Off Topic") If your heart is good and you are friendly, you are very welcome with us, truly.

I feel I must mention one thing tho...It is ME who loves Mangoes more than anything. Not Boss. Ah, to live in a part of the world where one could have a Mango tree...

The Very Sticky Honey Extraction is DONE. This is all honey from our too hives that died this winter (RIP Hives, you will be missed!) The Kelli and Kitty Hives. Kitty, yes, you will live on in spirit, your hive did well. Very well in fact. It was the Kitty hive that won the Blue Ribbon last year at the County Fair. (Kitty, Cat Mihos, is Boss's other Assistant who lives in LA. She also runs, for those of you who haven't been following long.)

New Bees (Which come in the mail, kid you not, in "Packages", can you say "Popular at the post office??) come at the end of the month.

Honey done, we are moving onto Garden. I know the essay on Day In The Life of a Personal Assistant did not cover a few things. Ok, A lot of things. I need to write another one. Or add to it. But yes, extracting honey, and planting Garden are also in the Job Description. (Which starts of Page One, Index. I may publish it as a Novella one of these days)

Peas today. Need to get them in EARLY. They are happiest that way.

Before that tho, I am taking a break and going for my workout, which involves Tess here. This was taken yesterday. It is important when riding to select the proper attire, if you want to fit in with the horse set and all. I had chosen my new Jason Webley Skull shirt. Yup. Fit right in. Of course, I completed the ensemble with my Purple Riding Hat, which matches my purple hair. I feel strongly one must be dressed right for the occasion.

Remember those Fairies from the 100K Tweet contest Boss did a while back?

They seem to be following me....

Love and Spring,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Unexpected Extraction...

Jason has gone off now for shows in Madison, then Chicago (Lucky you guys) but I think it only fair we have one last picture of him, and wave good-by, here at the start of the Bee Post. By Jason! We'll miss you! Here he is yesterday getting covered in honey and being a good sport about helping me scrape frames.

I had not thought there would be a Bee Post this early in the year, but as it turns out there was a LOT of extracting to do. Sadly, the Kitty hive died earlier this winter. We think she did not have enough bees to keep warm enough. We brought the boxes back up, but didn't realize exactly how much honey was capped and stored in them! Until, well, two days ago, more or less. Boss mentioned it to me, and I thought, oh, a couple frames, whatever, I'll get it.

Nearly full, about a box and a half, 15 frames full on honey. That translates into "A Big Bucket of Honey" We have an extractor, but have not had too much success with it, and as I am the designated Extractor, we have been using the "Bucket and Cheesecloth" Method. STICKY!!!!!!!!!

Ah. Here it is. The picture of the Bucket. You scrape the honey and wax in, the honey drips, and there you have it. Stop me if this gets too technical for you....The wax can then be boiled, commonly known as "Slumgum" and the icky bits tossed and many fine things made from it. If one knew how. Which I don't. Yet.

In yet another bit of bad news, the Kelli hive, our last, also died off this winter. It's pretty obvious looking at the boxes that what happened was it got WET. This can happen if the snow is too deep. Good news was, it was FULL of honey, and most of it perfect. Bees cap the honey, and in its capped state, it will last a really long time. On the right there, you can kind of see the box, with the mold on it. The mold was only in the wood on the sides, and on one side of one frame, beside the wall. I didn't take that one.

This makes for a LOT of honey. I am kind of wishing I knew how to use our new fangled extractor. The Birdchick says the problem seems to be it need to be bolted to a floor or something heavy, before it will work right.

Speaking of floor, here is a shot of what your floor will look like during the extraction process. The floor, you, walls and Dog. Everything will be covered in honey.

Since the hive died, (RIP Hive) there are naturally a lot of dead bees. All over the frames , that one must sort of scrape off. I did not enjoy this part. Poor sad bees. The garage looks like some sort of Bee War has gone on, with none left alive to tell the tale.

I stacked the scraped frames up outside in hopes that a wild hive might come along and clean them for me. No takers yet. The bits I didn't scrape were bits that were just comb, or had un-capped honey, which might not have been good.

I can't believe how much honey there was. I am not sure Boss and Birdchick quite believe me, but look! Here it is. AND I still have three buckets going in the garage for jarring tomorrow! I feel a LOT like Winnie-the-pooh and his honey pots today....

I told Jason the tale today about how honey, in this country, is not really regulated. "Grade A" honey does not mean anything. Or clover, buckwheat, organic (Hello? Do you follow your bees and see where exactly they GET the pollen from???) There are no "Honey Inspectors" Grading honey. He mentioned we needed labels, and I said, how excellent he was here. Well, half an hour later, down he came with one!

Which made me laugh. Vegan Honey????

I am sorry the hives died, but that happens in the bee world. We are starting over soon, and due to a strange ordering mis-communication, we will have SEVEN hives this year, Four Italian and Three Russian. Each in their own bright colour, with their own personalities.

And plenty of Adventures.

Love and Honey,

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dinner With Jason....

The day started with a whole lot of Honey Extracting, but since that wondrously sticky undertaking is not half done, I think we will leave that tale until tomorrow and instead talk about what happens to a simple Indian dinner when it grows by leaps and bounds, taking on aspects of a Banquet along the way. A road paved with good intentions and fine ideas, which oddly enough, resulted in a pretty good dinner.

Jason had the idea that we should make Panir, a sort of Indian Cheese. I'd never tried it myself (neither had he, as it turns out) but what the heck, I'm always up for adventure. Turned out to be amazingly simple. Boil some milk and then pour water and vinegar into it until it turns into a curdled mess!

It is then strained thru some handy cheesecloth. (which, if you are extracting honey, you have a lot of on hand). You then "Squeeze out as much water as possible" This is a bit difficult because it is really, really hot.

You must then hang it to further drain and cool. My cooking partner devised this, I must say, ingenious method.

Emboldened by our success with the Cheese, we decided to make our own Ghee. Ghee is sort of clarified butter used frequently in Indian cooking. It can be easily bought at the local co-op. Which you will do, after your Twin Towers of butter melt, separate, burn and turn black.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, Jason and I (well, Jason mostly, I was all for papadoums) move onto Naan, a lovely warm bread, often accompanying Indian DInners. The first hint of trouble here came when I noticed Jason mixing it up on one of Cabal's bowls. Clean, but still, Dog Bowl Naan? The second, when it would not RISE. I am thinking if your yeast packet says "Expires June 2005" it MEANS it. I made papadoums.

Here is the Cheese, now remarkably Cheese-like being fried up in preparation for the Cheese and Spinach Dish. I am making a Vegetable Curry. It is at this point dinner takes on a Banquet like quality, and we start to wish that we were having people over to share in this Feast (Boss is hiding out writing on a deadline)

Or maybe not. We were not perhaps the neatest of cooks. Still...

Sure did end up being a pretty fine dinner. And we sure did have some fun cooking it. I'm going to miss our friend Jason when he leaves tomorrow, but we are going to cook again someday. The Ghee will clarify, the Naan will rise, and we will have People over to be amazed at our skills.

Love and Dinner,

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring? Yup. I Can Tell....

The Spooky House is slowly getting its "Spring Clean" Tho the Spring part is of yet, still debatable. Apparently the woodwork need re-staining. Or staining. I am not exactly clear on which. At any rate it DOES look better now.

Here's Venus trying to figure out how to make the leap from the settee to the newly stained window. She made it. Several times. Then she and Mim were banished upstairs. For helping too much, I guess. Merry Housekeeper suggested I go up and see about switching mattress things around. I suspect we were all helping too much.

Driving home after the show last night was a whole lot of No Fun. Full on Snow Storm. Made it, stayed awake, which I suppose was the point, but it wasn't easy. Here's the Spooky House this morning. Snow. Not to beleaguer a point. But it did snow. Lots. It would be pretty if it weren't, you know. Snow. In April.

Let's talk about the garden now that it is Spring. Everyone is gearing up, starting seeds, tilling, planting, getting ready for summer!!!! Here is mine. Ok. Right. Any day now. Yup. Sigh.

WoodsmanHans found this lovely Tombstone last week, and put it out by the Garden, knowing how I love such things. I think it adds to the overall effect.

(NOTE: The tombstone was NOT in use when he found it. It is my belief that it was abandoned by previous owners when the person in question either did not die as planned or made other arrangements. At least that is what I am going to believe)

Last nights show with Jason Webley was beyond wonderful fun. One of my favorite shows ever, I believe. The man is amazing on stage, both with the accordion (And how often does one say THAT???) and as a storyteller. If you have seen him, you are with me on this, if you haven't, you are in for a wonderful evening the next time he comes to your town.

And he is a great guy. (the harder they rock, the nicer they are, kid you not) I am right glad for a chance to know him, and spend some time. Boss took him for a walk with Cabal, and I took him to the grocery store. (Do we know how to show people a good time or what??)

Not sure who had the most fun, but Jason seems happy with everything.

Love, Snow and Rock,

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Truth About Bengals....

I promised a little more information on the Bengal Cat, and what I am doing with them, for those of you who might not have been reading all along. I think the first distinction I want to make is between a "Leopard" and an "Asian Leopard Cat". Two different species. An Asian Leopard Cat, also known as ALC is not a Leopard, as we think of them. You cannot breed a domestic cat to a Leopard (Or a tiger or a Lion). These ALC are very close to Domestic Cats, and can inter-breed.

Bengals are descended, some directly as in Magic, from the ALC. I am not sure I want to debate the right or wrong of people having bred Bengals in the first place. I know they are cats, even the Early Generation, or EG Bengals, so for that matter is the ALC, albeit a wild one. My Concern is for the ones who need help NOW. The picture above is King Lear, one of my Fosters.

Here is Queen Mab, another foster, and friend of King Lear. When I got my first Bengal, Freaky Venus, she came from a horrible breeder with no sense of responsibility. Venus lived in a cage and was terrified of people, it took a long time to gain her trust, as with a feral cat. My second, Mim, came from a lovely breeder, who raises her kittens in her home, with the family, she was as kittenish as one could wish. With EG cats, (or any cats) the experience will be the same. They will love and trust as they have reason to. Responsible breeders make good cats. Sadly, there are a lot out there who are not responsible for the animals they breed. Therein lies the sadness.

I got into Fostering after I learned that there were many Bengals in need of homes and help. No more than any other cat, or breed of cat, but these are the ones I love. Bengals are a lot of cat. They need a lot of understanding. They are very active, and very smart and do have some special needs, and need a certain kind of person and home. If you take one to your home, you need to know about them. (this, by the way is true of ANY animal you take in.) There is a lot of mis-information about the breed out there. Mostly spread by people who do not know what they are talking about, sad to say.

Try these for some true facts.... The International Bengal Cat Society The International Bengal Cat Connection The International Bengal Breeder Association The Bengal Rescue Network Great Lakes Bengal Rescue

Magic is a Rescue, as in last chance here. He started out a loving social kitten, but was then sold on to a series of inappropriate homes where the people simply did not understand his needs, and EG cats do have very special needs. No one who does not understand this should ever have one.. At some point someone de-clawed all four of his paws. He had, and has some litterbox issues. It's his way of telling me something is Not Right in his world. It's my job to make it Right. And I am.

Somehow, I managed to become the Hard Case Foster home, I help the ones who need it the most. My first fosters. Jungle Loves 1&2 had been living in a motel room with a family of four, and were very afraid and would not be touched. They are now the joy and delight of a women in Northern MN. My current fosters (As seen in the four pictures above) had some issues, very frightened, when they came. They are ready now to find their Person. And they will be loved. And they will be someones heart and joy and delight too.

And then I will find another Bengal. And I will make it right for him, or for her. I can help them. I know what they need.

And I can help Magic. I know what he needs, as an F1 Bengal, and I have a lot of help doing it. Magic, by the way, is not a foster. He is home.

If you have read everything you can find, read it twice, and still find Bengals in your heart, and think you might be the Person I am looking for for King Lear and Queen Mab, drop me a note. We can talk.

I'll leave you with a picture of Venus and her Sheepskin. See? A Cat. With Asian Leopard Cat in her background. There's Mim in the background of the shot. Only LOOKING like some sort of Demon from another dimension..

Love and The Truth About Bengals,