Monday, March 30, 2015

enormous disco snowman

How did they even build him that big without a skid-steer?
At night you could really see his branch arms busting the disco moves (especially if you jiggle the camera accidentally) .
Yes, he was so massive they put a floodlight on him

Mental Morsel: thanks to Rea for teaching me the word skid-steer yesterday. I had no idea that the wee Bobcats and Caterpillars you see at constructions sites had a name besides those little bulldozers.
I have always wanted to own one. You know, for all of those pesky digging and moving things chores around the house.

Friday, March 27, 2015

why doesn't this post have a title?

This morning i briefly woke up between dreams, barely opened my eyes and saw a sweet black kitty curled up just a few inches from my head sleeping that really deep sleep that only cats, ferrets and teen-aged boys seem to know.
Flooded with affection i rubbed my forehead on the top of its head and drifted back to sleep.
Except that it occurred to me that i don't own a cat.
Opened my eyes: sleeping black cat.
Closed my eyes really confused, Did i get a cat? Am i dreaming?
Opened my eyes and turned my head to a different angle: crumpley pillow in a dark flannel pillowcase.

Speaking of being in my bed, i love my bed.
I mean, i really love my bed: the cool iron headboard, the perfect mattress, my heated mattress pad, my pillow that i've slept with for 40 years, my fuzzy warm blankets.
Ahhhhhh... my bed.
Sometimes when it is time for my afternoon nap i don't even sleep. I just lie in my bed reveling in its awesomeness.
How much do i love my bed?
Rea sent me this video because in her words, As soon as i saw it, i thought of you and your bed.
[though i would like to point out that i generally don't go to bed with my cheek pouches full]
Bikke the Chip morning stretch

If you are wondering how i can possibly have the time to lollygag about in my bed, it is because i am self-employed. I am more creative at night so it makes sense for me to nap in the afternoon so that i can stay up.
Self- motivating is not my greatest strength so my BFF -who is also self-employed- and I talk once, twice, three times a lady... i mean once or twice a day to help each other map out goals, check progress, celebrate accomplishments and goad each other on.
A few mornings ago i was sitting at the dining  room table talking to her and realized that i was drinking yummy Earl Grey tea directly from the pot. The spout kept everything neat like a straw and i didn't have to wait to go get a cup.
I wonder if i have a caffeine problem...

 Spring means spring festivals for NikCo.
May 2nd and May 9th are already booked and i am deciding which Strawberry Festival i want to do.
Since a lot of festivals are harvest themed i have been looking for fruity beads for Quirkees and finally decided on these polymer ones:
Excited to sort them and start making earrings and bracelets, I got right to it after taking this picture and realized quickly that my idea of fruit and the maker's idea of fruit are a bit different.
There were the obvious ones, thank goodness.

Apple, pear, watermelon, strawberry and kiwi.
Orange, lemon, lime.
I am even okay with the pink apples and strawberries; even though they are not 100% realistic, it is obvious what they are and who doesn't love some pink?

Then there were these dotted ones that i had to stare at for a while before i decided that the top ones were longitudinal cross-sections of apple, and pear and the bottom ones are pomegranates, maybe.

And then there these random babies:
Obviously they are supposed to be citrus sections, but pink peel/pink flesh, lime peel/teal flesh, yellow peel/bright green flesh and dark bluey-green peel and flesh?
Where does this bead artist go shopping?
Finally there are the three beads that i cannot figure out for the life of me.
These are fruits, in theory.
Anybody got a guess?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

you'll have to register that shillelagh, ma'am

My dad lives in a gated community.
This is what i saw driving in today:
i love oldsters

Sunday, March 15, 2015

random brain bits

I love visiting Florida.
Living there? Not so much.
But a nice week in the sunshine is just what is needed to relax, clear one's mind and start to shake off those winter doldrums.
There are record high temperatures this week.
The AC broke, so that's a bit unfortunate.
Still, i don't have to shovel heat.

Two weeks ago i couldn't close zip-top bags.
I use them every day in the studio.
I have never had any issue before, but suddenly, no matter how many times i slid my fingers down the top ridge, it wouldn't seal.
I tried different sizes and brands, but i was stymied.
What the what, people?
Then just as suddenly, last Tuesday i could close all of the bags again.
Sometimes i think my house must have been built over toxic waste and the fumes are making me hallucinate large parts of my life. It would explain a lot.

Going by someone's house yesterday on my constitutional, i saw small decorative piles of rocks placed as yard art and said, Oh look -  Inukshuks! to the no one riding along with me.
Then i paused to think, Why in the world do i even know that word? Inuit sculpture isn't something i encounter in my every day life.
It was from an episode of due South.
Betcha haven't thought about that show in a hot minute.
Who says tv isn't educational?
Upon closer investigation they were less traditional Arctic tribal art and more tiny little adorable  rock people.
i want them in my yard
Mental Morsel: the plural of inukshuk is not inukshuks as i thought, but rather inuksuit, which i have no idea have to pronounce.

Recently i heard some less than good news of a medical nature (not about me).
For the next 36 hours or so i had the Time For Your Checkup song from Doc McStuffins stuck in my head. A 43-year old woman with no children should not have to endure It's okay if you giggle; this will only tickle a little for that long.
Great. Now it is stuck in my head again.

Bonus Mental Morsel: despite sounding like most of the noble gasses (neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon) the coolant Freon is not really a single chemical, but the trade name of a bunch of different chloroflourocarbons used as refrigerants.
Generally, Freon is four times heavier than air.

I can't believe it took me the last 25 minutes searching the internet to find that this guy's name is Sir Scoopsalot.
You know i can't resist a costume character and this guy was in Hampden, hon, handing out coupons to The Charmery.

If you haven't been to The Charmery in Baltimore, you need to go now.
They make all the ice cream in-house from local milk, invent interesting flavors and try to capture the spirit of our charming, quirky city.
I highly recommend the salty caramel.
Every day is the right day for ice cream, even if it is only 30 degrees.
Or you can get hot chocolate with house-made marshmallow.

The fountain in the lake in front of my dad's house goes off at 11:47 pm or, as my dad informed me when i pointed it out, 10:47 pm before daylight saving's time.
Nice round number, yeah?
It gives me pause.

Recently -maybe the last two months-  i have been using "totes" instead of totally when speaking.
Hello 2010, what are you doing here?
I didn't use that term when it was popular.
Why in the world would i suddenly start now?
I didn't even realize i was doing it until i heard one of my charges -a kindergartner no less- use it in a sentence and realized she had to have picked it up from me.
Now i am hyper-aware of when it slips into conversation and am really annoyed with myself.
So to all of the people with whom i might have had a conversation of late, i am sorry about resurrecting this lame slang.
I think i need to go with the snapping-rubberband-around-the-wrist aversion therapy to stop myself.

And finally, to end this stream of consciousness, kittens:
Spring 2014 with Erin, Caleb, Cameron and Collin

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WWoB goes to school

Hitting that snooze button a second time seemed like the right choice at 7 am.
To shower faster i skipped the conditioner on my hair, threw on workout pants and a sweater and was out the door at 7:28 to be at JP's at 7:30 to wake up Dash at 7:40.
ummmmmm... are you wondering how i parked in front of that tree?
I didn't.
And that is not a tree.
It is a ginourmo tree limb laying ON my car.
Good news - only a few scratches that will easily wash or buff off.
Bad news - i had to lift that grody, soaking wet, very heavy dead thing off of my car and then move it into the front yard, around another tree so that i could pull my car out resulting in me being covered in mud.
By the time i got to JP's it was already time to get up the boy.
Got all of the morning routine done and left his house on time, but never got around to putting up my hair.
And that is why the Wild Woman of Borneo walked into the Otter's classroom this morning with muddy clothes, destroyed nails and half-wet, half-dry, frizzy, almost but not quite curly hair.
One can assume it was a sight.

Monday, March 9, 2015

i never want to take them off

I have never liked long pajama pants.
The bottoms ride up when you get in bed and twist all around your calves.
My legs get hot.
They bug me.
But for Christmas my sister bought me the fuzziest, softest, most wondrous pajamas that have ever existed.

Can you see the fuzzy?
And they are that fuzzy on the inside, too.
And polka dots.
Pink polka dots even.
I put them on and it felt like i was wrapped in a flock of fleecy sheep, without the bothersome wool rash or barnyard stank.
I don't think i took them off for 2 days.
As soon as they were laundered, i put them back on.
I freakin' LOVE these jammie pants.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

rice dancing on the lint trap

No, my friends, i don't know what that post title means either.
That is the phrase that was in my head when the alarm pulled me from my nap yesterday.
Actually, i think it was misheard song lyrics as i sometimes dream in musicals.
Either way, it is a little glimpse into what it is like to live in my head.

The last week has been really weird, even by Nikiverse standards.
Nothing bad, just weird.
Wait... typing that sentence gives me pause.
There were things happening in the last week that any normal person would consider bad, like sliding into an ice bank while wearing a skirt right before a business meeting or getting towed by a predatory company to the tune of $250.
But in the Nikiverse i consider those things to just be the way of the world.
When i thought nothing bad just now i was thinking no one died.
People use that phrase all the time, but it is the actual measure of good vs bad in my head.
I wonder if that is a good thing because it means i am able to rebound from things quickly or a bad thing because it means my world is even more skewed than i realize.

Speaking of skewed, i clearly remember learning the word askew in fifth grade. We were reading Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time where it was used to describe Mrs. Whatsit.
Every time i use any variation of that word, that book flashes quickly through my brain.

I cut things, it's what i do.
My friend Cricket once described scrapbooking as cutting big pieces of paper into smaller pieces of paper to make into big pieces of paper, which is pretty accurate.
Card making is much the same.
I have straight edge scissors all over the house, in my car, in my various toolboxes so it was causing me much consternation that i couldn't find my favorite purple scissors and it seemed like i kept picking up pairs that weren't cutting well.
Girl needs to cut stuff, people!
Even i was surprised how many scissors there were,
especially since not pictured are my fabric shears,
jewelry scissors and decorative edgers.

So i gathered together all the straight edge scissors i could find, de-gunked them all and then sharpened each edge by hand with a whet stone.
By jiminy, they will all cut whatever needs cutting now.
Unfortunately, still no sign of my favorite purple scissors.
Ah, well.

Monday, February 23, 2015

what's in my brain today?

My new favorite misspelling of my name is Nickie.  It is so random.
A very nice lady wrote that on my Christmas card.

Kathleen Turner suddenly jumped into my brain last night as i was falling asleep.
Whatever happened to her?

Last week i took a broken chair to the dump and saw this:
It was only 4 days after Valentine's. 
Someone hated it enough to take it to the dump, but loved it enough that they just couldn't throw it in.
You know there has to be a good story there.

I am a lot older than i think i am.
I have now known most of my friends for 20 years or more.
In my head i am really not old enough to have known people that long unless we met in kindergarten.

Speaking of fast time flies, last spring Dash and I went to the library after school. There is a brick divider wall in the parking lot and i had the idea to put him into the "decorative" openings to take a picture of him peeking out of it.
Two weeks ago when we passed the same wall leaving the library, he said I want my picture taken in there. He could almost climb into it himself, but then needed i little help because he barely fit:

 Andrew took me to the Gem and Jewelry Show.
I was expecting gems and jewelry.
There were plenty of both, but he didn't warn me that there would be BEADS FOR SALE, dirt cheap.
Oh, so many pretty beads. Some of them had to come home with me.
Also, this lovely, understated purple ring came home with me as well, thanks to Andrew.

What happens to those beads?
I think we all know the answer to that.
It sounds so impressive to say, I worked hard all day and got 80 pairs of Quirkees designed, plus another 60 pairs pulled for design.

The picture doesn't make it look that impressive though.
That's the problem with creating little things.

In case you didn't realize it, i have been updating my 101 progress every week.

Learning never gets old; i love the tingle of new neural pathways being forged in my brain.
Last night i was reading a book and came across a word i'd never seen before: gainsay. From the context of the sentence it seemed like it would mean " to agree with" but in fact it means the opposite - deny or contradict.
Let's all try to use gainsay in a sentence this week, shall we?
And in case you are wondering, yes, gainsaid is the past tense. That makes me smile and i don't even know why.

There are no pictures for it, but i did use one of the neglected kitchen gadgets that is on my 101 - the electric skillet.  It has not been plugged in for at least a decade, but it provided a nice, evenly heated surface for the pancakes i made over the weekend.
One down, three to go: immersion blender, bread tube and my pop chef.

Monday, February 16, 2015

great tastes that don't taste great together

Sometimes completely by accident we stumble upon cool combinations that we would never have thought to put together like spaghetti and corn or chix noodle soup and corn or corn omelettes.
Unfortunately it also happens that by accident we stumble straight into a combo of nasty like moni cheese, Tabasco, bourbon and butterscotch pudding.
Don't do that, people.
Just don't.
Trust me on this.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

brain dump

The jewelry show this weekend went well - meeting new customers and catching up with previous ones. 
It was fantastic to put a newly remade bracelet on its owner. 
She had some wooden letter beads from a broken bracelet that she wanted me to salvage so i added two sizes of jade beads randomly, creating a double wrap that she loved.

Last night while i was brushing my teeth i suddenly realized that the ABC Song is to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Did you know that? How did i not notice that before? 
I stood in the bathroom, mouth full of foam singing both of them to verify my epiphany. 
Incidents like this convince me that i should both have a personal photo/videographer to capture the insanity and that i should never ever let anyone see what i am like at home alone. Not sure how to get both of those things to exist simultaneously. 

42 days into the 101 challenge and i am already happy that i have over 2.5 years to get some of this stuff done. It has focused me, but there are still daily/weekly things that i haven't managed to work in yet. It is nice to know that i have the time to ease into some of these things.

Speaking of the 101, #77 is Blog caught up, which doesn't sound hard until you consider that i have two whole vacations to do, as well as pictures ranging from last week to last year to four years ago.
Ridiculous, Niki.
So i am going to aggressively try to clean out the A BLOG photo folder by doing random posts like this one, combining several small posts into one larger one.

Jason loves BBQ - i mean, that boy loves barbecue - so last year he was stalking a local food truck called The Smoking Swine
a picture of Kate taking a picture of JP and DJP
When it was at  Catonsville ArtVille the family went to try it. 
My pulled pork was very good, but the stand out was the Slap Yo Mama Mac and Cheese. Three cheeses, two noodle shapes, a touch of heat and goldfish on the top add up to a moni cheese that easily makes my top 5 list, possibly my top 3. 
The only disappointment was that the prices were seriously jacked up for the festival, not even close to the advertised prices online.

The older i get the more i appreciate what a fine job my parents did raising me; I was blessed to have both my mother and father actively involved. 
Recently i have been dealing with people that have no idea how to be adults; self-absorbed and clueless, it is obvious that their parents were indulgent or clueless themselves. Both personal and professional activities are conducted with only their best interest in mind and with the maturity of a high-schooler.
Don't get me wrong: in no way do i think i am perfect. 
Please, on a good day i am scattered, nuts, judgmental and vain-glorious (though honestly, who wouldn't be if they were me?). 
But there are good parts as well and i can see that they were created or nurtured by my parents.
The more i realize how much of me is a reflection of them, the less angry i am with these ridiculous people i encounter. In fact, i kind of feel sorry for them because the entitlement and resulting inability to cope with reality didn't come from out of the air: someone fostered it in them.
So if you are reading this Mommy or Daddy, good job.

This hunk of blue glass was in a garden that was the setting for a party i attended last summer.
Does anyone know what it is, how it was made, where i can one?
I am intrigued by things that defy my explanation.

It was from The Pub in Gettysburg. Ron and I ate there again during our stay at the Lodges in August. This time i ordered a calzone.
It was the size of a small house.
Anytime something is served with its own gigantic knife you know you are in for an experience. 
Gosh, it was good.
 All four meals that it took me to finish it, it was good.
The Dessert of the Week was Fruity Pebbles Cake.
You read that right.

It also was fantastic and lasted for three days, being the densest cake i have ever eaten. 

As well as the pinkest.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Cindy-Lou Who

Most of the time at home my hair is up in a bun or a knot because that keeps it out of my eyes and makes it less likely (that would be only less likely) that i end up with paint in my hair.
A lovely consequence is that when i take it down to leave the house i can shake my hair out into nice waves.
Cute hair with no work.
At least that's how it normally works.
Until I am counting on it to work because i am on my way to a lecture and then this:
screw you gravity; i do what i wants


Saturday, January 31, 2015

down to the wire, but done

The last batch of New Year's Cards went into the mail yesterday. It could have even been earlier than that, but snow.
January 30th is almost two weeks later than i have ever been on mailing them, but it is still January so it counts. And after 2 years of not getting them done at all, i'll take it.
Cards to friends once more. 
Blue bird heralds the return.
New year: renewal.