The HoneyMoon’s over (Lake Michigan)

Originally published 6.15.2014 on The Tempest and the Teapot’s Google site.

This Friday, June 13th, 2014 – there was a rare event.  A full moon rising on Friday the 13th.  What made this moonrise even rarer was the coloration – a warm, amber-honey color was predicted for this rising.  Thus, the Honey Moon.

So, risking all the horrors of Friday the 13th – and when you’re carrying a DSLR camera to the beach/lakefront that’s a LOT of money to be daring the bad-luck fairy to look away from – the mythos of the full moon causing madness (ok…so I’m already crazy and didn’t need to worry too much about that one) and the SQO’s being bored, I dragged him into the car and off we went.

Once we got to the lake, I realized I had forgotten all about the whole ‘cooler by the lake’ thing, and was only wearing a light top with no sleeves.  Well…  Artists always suffer for their work.  My Turn!!!

We arrived a bit early – sunset was in full swing, but the moon hadn’t come up yet.   So, as I had some time to kill, I set up on my beach for some sunset shots.

I wasn’t disappointed – Mother Nature delivered a very purple sunset…

My beach on the Lake (and just to be clear, here, if I’ve gone to a location for shots 3x or more, it officially, at least in my mind, becomes ‘mine.’  My Beach, my Riverwalk, my Fountain, etc…) runs roughly northwest to southeast, so I can get both sunset and moonrise on the same location.

I foresee a foray out to my beach in my future…one VERY early morning.. to catch a sunrise.  

Two years, hasn’t happened yet.  Can I procrastinate, or what???

As we made our way up the concrete causeway to the round observatory extending into the Lake, I found – people.  Not many people, mind you…but just a few -as crazy as I am- with cameras extended toward the horizon to catch the Honey Moon rising.  Once again proving that I’m not the only nut-job in this state, but amongst a small, eccentric minority of slightly insane nature-lovers.

I snapped away.  Moonrise was well in progress, the color was fantastic, and the camera was singing in electronic joy.  Once I took my attention off the moon – I noticed the power plant further up the shoreline.  Beautiful, the way the reflections hit the water.

Say what you will about the cost of utilities these days, but I’ll forgive them my high-heat bill last winter for them putting out this spectacular light show on the shore.  But only last winter’s bills.  This winter, they’re on their own.

Now, I know I’ve mentioned that the SQO is a musician.  As a performer, he’s a natural in front of the camera.  I’ve lost count of the number of projects he’s appeared in – he’s always a willing vict…er…volunteer for whatever insane idea I have involving my camera.

I’d come across a number of forced perspective photos on the web – and naturally, the ‘what the hell’ just burst out of me in the throes of the moonrise (who am I to question the strange ideas blooming under the light of the full moon?)
Several moments of ‘just a bit to the right, now raise your hand JUUUUUUST a bit more, back to the left a hair, turn your head a little more, lower your chin, NOPE, too much, lower your hand a fraction of an inch,’ produced this ducky little shot.

 

And, as an aside – He was certainly more attentive to the Lakeshore temperature than I was – June, and he’s sensibly dressed in a leather jacket, hat, and scarf, while I’m doing the whole ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ thing.

Overall, the shoot went well – but I couldn’t tempt the wicked fates of Friday the 13th by getting great shots without paying the price for my success – even with being under dressed, freezing my bunz off, and succumbing to the influences of the light of the crazy-generating moon.  (where do you think the term ‘lunatic’ comes from?)

Finally, there were no more good shots to be had.  As the moon rose higher in the sky, the amber hue faded away, until only the standard white moon filled the sky.  Quite pleased with my shots, I quickly packed things up…because by this time I was shaking more than a bit, I believe I started acquiring a lovely shade of blue, and the mosquitoes were undaunted by the brisk night air.

In Wisconsin, the mosquitoes grow fur to combat the weather!

The DSLR came off the tripod and into its bag – close and clip.  The Canon with the mega-zoom got looped around my neck.  The tripod was folded, but the legs were still extended.  The teacup had its own little bag to stay secure in, along with a smallish brass chalice I’d picked up at Goodwill (seriously, folks, if you’re ever looking for awesome photo props that won’t break the bank – go to your local Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, or any other resale shop in your area), and they were both nestled inside.

We made haste to the car – up the concrete sidewalk toward shelter and warmth, when I heard it.

A metallic tink. Followed by the breaking of glass.

I had forgotten to zip the bag with the teacup.  Both it, and the chalice, launched from the bag in a misguided attempt to break for freedom.  My poor, brave, foolish little teacup.  I guess the pressures of stardom were too much for it.  It must have been depressed to never be pressed into service as a container for a hot bath of Earl Grey, surrounded with happy, crunchy bikkies on the side.  It ended its life of photographic supermodel-dom on the concrete walkway for the observatory on Bender Beach on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan.

Rest in Pieces, little buddy. Friday the 13th took you from me, and the Honey Moon is now over…

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Lights…Camera…ACTION!

 

Camera work.  For me, it’s an on-again, off-again obsession.

A lot of times, I get a satisfactory dose of camera work whenever I finish up a new chainmaille piece…after all, the thing has to be properly photographed and listed on Etsy.   Using the smart phone and a tiny tripod, it’s become semi-regular to set up the shot, frame, shoot, edit, and post – all from the comfort of my work station.

It isn’t often the Camera Muse stirs from her hibernation for purely artistic reasons – but when she woke at the mention of an event going on in Hales Corners – she REALLY woke.  Not only did she roar through my mind like a toddler hyped on sugar & the Muppets, she organized the other muses with more vengeance than the Greek Furies.  At one point, the whole lot of ’em were picketing the command center of my brain – DEMANDING I get my buns and the big camera to …

The China Lights Event.

Now – granted – it didn’t take that much persuading.   The China Lights event at the Boerner Botanical Gardens is a traveling display of Chinese Paper-lantern artworks.  These are brightly lit, intricate displays set against the velvet dark background of nighttime – My personal favorite when it comes to art photography…

The rest of the household?  It didn’t take much persuasion to get the kids to agree – they’re always searching out new and exciting things to look at – and with them being fire-spinners, night-time light shows are already a part of their psyches.

The SQO was less enthusiastic, but he was pleased to see the creative flows boiling over in me, so was ultimately happy to come with.

So the whole lot if us jumped in my Cheap-Jeep and off we went to the wilds of Hales Corners.

In retrospect- my use of the words ‘wilds’ may be a bit…off.  Hales Corners is a perfectly urban city-type population mass on the south end of the Milwaukee Metroplex.  The only ‘wilds’ are in my imagination…

Traffic was heavy once we got close.  Got even heavier once we saw the squad car with full party lights spinning blocking the entrance to the botanical gardens – announcing a full parking lot at the event and waving all us wanna-be light-show viewers to the side streets.  I managed to find a parking space about a half-mile away.

Here’s where I do an overt nod to the keto efforts of the summer.  I’ve lost some of my excess poundage, which has allowed me to be a bit more active.  I survived the walk TO the entrance, and the walk up the slight hill (another good half-mile) to the ticket booth without collapsing in a heap from the exertion.

The heavy traffic, the crowds, and the walking were totally worth it.

I’m sharing my favorite pics of the thing…

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D taking the time to stop and sniff the extremely illuminated flowers.

 

 

 

 

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These flowers look like they’re spilling from the basket.  This was set on a slight slope, so the basket is at the top of the hill.

 

 

 

 

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In case you were thinking ‘Botanical Gardens=floral displays ONLY,’ They didn’t JUST do flowers.  This zebra is sporting what can only be called a “Da Fuq YOU lookin’ at, Bro??” face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Or maybe the zebra was just upset because the pandas appeared to be having WAY too much fun on the seesaw!

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course – it wouldn’t be a China Light show without a resident dragon…

Here with D in the foreground for scale, and trees in front for a stained glass look.

 

 

We also had a detour into Holland, with various tulips and pinwheels.

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This has to be S’s favorite light sculpture…she’s been obsessed with praying mantis bu
gs lately, and she squealed in delight when we ran across this little guy.

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I think this one was my favorite – they had a walkway covered with these flower-forms.

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Here’s the whole gang (minus myself, who prefers to be behind the camera) under the flower-walkway.

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I’m fairly certain that the fan was their show-piece.  They had a little wood ‘stage’ set up in front of it for people to pose at.  D didn’t disappoint.

The fan deserved multiple shots…

As we were leaving the event, a bit footsore and a very sated Camera Muse in tow, I had to stop for one last shot.  This grouping was outside the ticket gate, in front of the Garden’s welcome center – and had a frog with, again, the ‘what chOOO lookin’ at’ expression.

Because it was ‘outside’ the gardens and not well-watched, D crossed the little rope ‘fence’ to get up-close and in the toad’s face.  Gotta love my Rebel 😀

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A Simple, Pretty Thing

This afternoon, I had to take the SQO to the airport.  He’s visiting a friend in Texas on a 4 day weekend.

 

On our way in – they had this sculpture thingie in the corner of the breezeway.  At first, we thought it was construction materials.  Once we got closer, we realized…

 

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These are HUGE face masks – the flag flying out the window is sort-of a scale measure…but to really nail it down, I’d guess they were about 6 feet across.

 

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There were three of them.  This translucent green one was my favorite…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And making it even neater, was the rest of the sculpture…

 

 

 

 

All three are stylized sailboats, crafted from some translucent material.  Too bad it’s an overcast day – I’ll bet these three are stunning in full streaming sunlight.

 

 

 

I also got a bonus when we were separating – him going to the x-ray machines and me watching from behind the glass (non-boarding-pass people aren’t allowed past this point), when D pulled one of my newest chainmaille creations out of his pocket.

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He wanted to let me know he was bringing a little piece of something I’d made with him on the trip.

Gotta love the man!!!!

Questing for the Holy Grail

A Chalice forground Moon behind copy

Keto, like everything else in life,  is all about balance.  You consume the three major contributors to nutrition in a pre-determined and monitored ratio.  This is called (in the keto world) your macros.

My macro numbers (as calculated by this handy-dandy Keto calculator) came out to

120 gram fats,    100 grams protein,    25 grams carbohydrate        per day.

My first concern was, quite naturally, howinhell am I going to eat THAT much fat in a day when I’ve been 1) trained since the 70’s to eat less of it – and 2) trained to swallow any fat that does manage to sneak in my diet with a large side-order of guilt?

Lemme explain…

The food industry has sold this guilt-trip with utter abandon, making everything leaner and drier and stuffed full of inexpensive (read:  more profit!) fillers and carb-heavy sweeteners to make up for the lack of flavor that happens when you strip out all of the fat.

The fitness industry follows hot on Food’s heels with a maniacal grin –  advising millions of people to eat more fruit stuffs & products containing whole grains (and dontchaknow – we have just the thing!) while trotting out their patented, revolutionary, extremely expensive lines of hand-crafted (by blind Tibetan Nuns!) smoothies, cans of sludge, exotic waters, and tubs of strange-smelling white powder…most of them packed with, yup, you guessed it, easy-to-digest simple sugars with names 20 letters long and profit margins 20 digits long.

American Nutrition Recommendations (produced by the US Department of Agriculture) continue to recommend heavy grain/fruit/veggie/LOW-FAT dairy intake patterns (about 80% of your total daily consumption) with 15% lean (again, LOW-FAT) protein, and extremely low (5%) solid or liquid fat intake.

These recommendations allow our Public Health Advisory Boards to moan about how Americans are getting fatter & fatter & sicker & angrier…thus paving the way for the Health Industry to sell us more pills & procedures & therapies (greatly enhancing THEIR balance sheets) while lobbing the ball back to Fitness (who sell more gym memberships, workout apparel, and self-torture DVD’s) who deftly deflect it to Food (who sell more low-fat, high-carb, nowhere-near-natural frankenfoodstuffs) where the defense is “We’re just following the set nutritional guidelines.”  Lather, rinse, and repeat ad nauseaum.

What – you think any of these groups care about YOUR health???

Our ‘body’ industries love fat – it’s the big, scary devil on your plate they’ve used to terrify more money out of the average American Consumer than any other scapegoat ever conceived.

And we all swallowed it – hook, line & sinker.

Turns out, fat wasn’t that big a problem once I got off the “fat…makes you fat” guilt-rollercoaster, and found acceptable methods of incorporating more of it into my diet…sautéing my evening veggies in a generous dose of real butter – good egg salads with real mayo – heavy cream instead of milk – full-fat cheeses & the world of fat bombs.

Carbs, oddly enough, were also not that big a problem, once I cut out all the uber-processed junk masquerading as food & got over my body’s attempts to blackmail me with cravings.  I can now grab a single kernel of popcorn out of the SQO’s movie theatre bag, and be happy with the little bit of salty, carb-y crunch.  Or get a single lick of frozen custard from Kopp’s – letting D enjoy the rest of his cone.

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Kopp’s, incidentally, makes Milwaukee’s BESTEST frozen custard, and the SQO & I have a long history with them 😀

Protein, oddly enough, is where I hit my snag.  Not that I can’t cut out enough protein to get down to my macros, but because I can’t consume enough protein to get UP to that target number.

I’ve always found it simple to cut protein out of my daily diet – I’ve been fully veggie (not vegan, as I’ve always allowed myself eggs & cheese) a couple of times in my adult life – with timeframes in years each.  It’s like a switch turns on in my brain that suddenly says:  ‘animal protein bad…do not eat…’ and the appetite naturally switches gears.

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I usually end my veggie stints being seduced by cheeseburgers…

When I do eat meats – I’ve always chosen lower-fat, drier, and/or highly processed products…partly because of the childhood conditioning in the above rant, but more so, if it resembles an actual animal carcass, that little switch turns on in my brain again (animal protein BAD!).  For me, bones & skin have no business being on a dinner plate, and visible fat is only barely tolerated.

Don’t invite me over for BBQ ribs…

Soooo, given the perplexity of my taste buds –  white meat only on chicken & turkey; either lean cuts of (or ground) beef & pork; industrial sausage-products & lunch meats; and the lamb-cicle meat cones for Greek gyros are acceptable protein options.  That’s it. All others – exotic meats like duck, goose, venison, bison, bear, rabbit, etc?  Too weird.  Too greasy.  Too wet.  Too gamey.

And don’t get me started on seafood.  There are exactly 2 different water-based proteins I will eat if forced to – shrimp (if it’s de-tailed, breaded, deep fried, and served with enough cocktail sauce to kill the taste) and cod (again, breaded, deep fried, and served with enough lemon juice to kill the taste).

Finally – all meat products have to be COOKED.  None of this rare to medium-well done nonsense for me.  My meats have to be dry, chewy, and tough as old shoe leather.

Sushi is NEVER an option…

I yell at the TV when I watch cooking shows…

I’m as picky as a 3 year old when it comes to meats…the only exception I can find to my personal rules for eating animal proteins is bacon…visible fat is OK on bacon as long as its crisp.

soft bacon is … slimy…

So what’s a girl like me to do for good protein sources, easily found and within my narrow protein parameters?

Questing for the Holy Grail in 3..2…1…

I tried a hemp-based protein powder and got weirded out with the grainy texture.

Other protein powders?  Too.  Freaking.  Expensive.

Nutmeats and nut-butters are good (Macadamia and Almond are especial keto-world favorites) – but add to overall carbs.  Nut butters are also, with the exception of peanut butter with lots of added sugar, grainy.

Weirded out, take II.

Eggs?  Absolutely.  One of the best (and cheapest) protein sources out there.  But, one can only eat so many eggs before getting sick of them, no matter how you prepare them.  And eggs, I think, have a high-insulin spike included with them – they leave me hungry unless paired with lots of fat (like in egg salad).

Beef jerky/sticks.  Slim Jim’s have a permanent place in both my purse & my ’emergency’ rations (if I’m out & hungry – I’ll grab a stick from the checkout line) to quell hunger pangs until I can get back to my kitchen, but also contribute to carbs.  Plus – like the eggs, one can only eat so many highly processed meat & spice sticks before no longer wanting to ‘snap into ’em!’

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,,,

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Enter:  The Quest Bar.

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Now, Quest Nutrition bars have a huge fanboi base on the ‘net  –  I’ve read a lot of gushing reviews on them – with people swearing up & down that Quest Bars quell their hunger, replace multiple meals, and cure everything from toe fungus to an exploded brain stem.

I tend to take all rabid fanboi cheerleading with a bunch of grains of salt…

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and a lime…

and a shot of Tequila…

I’ve also read a lot of grumbling about Quest Bars.  That the ingredients got changed, they look like taffy, hard to choke down, threw out an entire CASE of the things, and they gave someone the clap.

Ditto on the bitch-fest.

One Tequila… two tequila… three tequila….

FLOOR.

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Soooo – discounting both the rave and rage ends of the review spectrum (and my resulting tequila hangover) – I took a read of the label and the macros in the bars.

The first thing I noticed in these bars is the HUGE amount of insoluble fiber, with most topping 12 grams.  Insoluble fiber doesn’t impact your carb macros, because your body can’t digest the stuff.  It just passes it on through.

Don’t make me say WHERE…

The second thing I noticed is the whopping 20 grams of protein from whey isolates.  Now – from everything I’ve read, whey protein isolates are a mixed bag.  It’s a by-product of cheese making – so obviously it has dairy roots and is heavily processed.   Whey isolates also (from what I’ve read) cause an insulin spike – so those who are insulin-resistant or full-blown diabetic may want to avoid them.

The heavy processing and dairy roots don’t faze me in the least, but the insulin spike does give me pause, as I have Geriatric Diabetes in my family lines.  So, with a tentative toe in the water, my personal ‘master plan’ on consuming these will have to be at the end of a regular meal, where insulin has already been put into play, and has plenty of fat to process as well as protein.

Third – they limit (or eliminate) the amount of sugar by adding in Erythiol (a sugar alcohol which also…passes through…) and Stevia to make them a bit sweet.  Both these artificial sweeteners I’ve tried before with no uncomfortable issues.

They sounded like a reasonable but cautiously-workable product that may fit into my Keto diet.  They had the potential to be the Holy Grail of my Protein quest…

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I found some Quest bars at Woodman’s, and picked up a couple of different flavors.  At over two bucks a bar, they will NOT be the Holy Grail.  Sadly, these will end up being confined to an occasional expensive treat…

But price isn’t everything – how’s it taste???

Chocolate Brownie was the first toe dipped into the Quest-water.  Removing the product from its packaging was a bit trickier than I thought it would be – the bar is a long-ish strip of taffy-like, slightly sticky, dark brown glop…more like partially dehydrated brownie batter than an actual cake-like brownie.  Not a surprise, however, because the ‘doom & gloom’ reviews pretty accurately spelled out the look and feel of the product.

It smelled pretty damn good…and the chocolate flavor really came through… so score one for the fanboi seating!  The texture wasn’t too off-putting, and it didn’t stick to my teeth.  In fact, the texture was kinda fun to play with in my mouth with minimal actual chewing absolutely necessary.  By the end of the bar, I was getting the ‘full tank’ feeling in my stomach that says ‘that’s enough…you’re satisfied.’

The second one I tried was the Cinnamon bun.  The consistency, texture and mouth-feel of the bar was the same as the chocolate brownie. There were also little bits of almonds mixed in with the paste.  This one is, by far, my favorite of the bunch, with cinnamon, sweet, and yeast-bread notes.

Next, I tried the strawberry cheesecake.  Yuck.  The missed the flavor on this one – it was waaaaay to chemically.

Finally, I went to the one everyone on the web seems to be gushing over – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  Sorry fellas – but I don’t agree with the masses on this one.  It is also too chemically for my taste buds.

I have yet to try the vanilla nut or the chocolate mint bars, but they’re next on my list…

Now for the important part.

 

All that insoluble fiber has to work its way through the GI tract, down the intestines & bowel, finally ending its journey in the colon.  Because there’s such a large amount of this fiber stuffed into a small serving size – I wouldn’t recommend more than 1 bar every few days – that’s a lot of bulk to process, and my digestive system was rather noisy in its processing.

At least I didn’t have a ‘never trust a fart’ moment…

So – Quest bars have their goods and their bads…which is pretty common for consumables in today’s world.  I’ll probably continue with the occasional bar, either as an emergency foodstuff I can keep in my purse, or a dessert-type bar when I’m craving something sweet.  The cinnamon bun in particular…

 

The search for the holy grail of protein will continue…

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Looking for a Fight

Hold on to your butts, people – this isn’t one of my better posts.

A man in New Jersey came to Milwaukee recently to visit family.  They ended up at Atwater Park in Shorewood.  This stretch of beach is all that separates some impressive bluffs from the waters of Lake Michigan.  In September of 2010, it acquired a sculpture called Spillover II created by artist Jaume Plensa.

The sculpture itself is a man in a crouched position staring out to the endless waters of the lake, and is comprised of a jumble of letters welded together.

Artist posing with his work

I think it’s a very interesting piece of work, especially when lit from below.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s a stunning piece of work.  One that makes you think.  On the very surface of things, you have a hollow man, sitting on twisted legs, staring for all time at the unbroken horizon of our planet.  Man is hollow compared to the panorama that is the Earth.

The figure has no face – suggesting it could be anyone – you, me, the random guy in a mankini sunning himself on the sand…

And the figure is illuminated from within, suggesting the hollow within houses a light (or a soul, if you will) that is barely contained by the tangible makeup of our bodies, yet shines out from that thin and fragile shell.

I can see man – all humans – constructed of letters.  The very building blocks of our language, our ideas, our dreams, our nightmares.  Everything that we are – broken down into a random jumble of 26 formulaic symbols.  We are all built and interact with each other through a complex arrangement of these 26 icons (in the English Language).  Think about how amazing this is.

26 icons – 36 if you add the numbers 0-9.

Our entire civilization is built with only 36 building blocks.

Language. Mathematics. Arts. Sciences. Religions. History. War.

Everything that the Human race is – is built with 36 tiny building blocks.

My mind.  Is blown.

So why is this man from New Jersey so incensed about this sculpture?

Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee Needs to be Scrapped | Matt Sweetwood.

This is a clear cut, real-life example of not being able to enjoy the beauty of the forest because the damn trees are in the way.  He got up close and personal with Spillover II, and started connecting the jumbled letters together to come up with anti-Semantic messages.

Naturally, he claims it is deliberate, because the math says so.

Have we become so jaded in this country that we can’t view anything anymore without finding some cause to bitch?  That we have to examine, in minute detail, every piece of expressionism until we can find the ‘hidden meaning’ within – and assume that it’s a hostile one?

For some reason…I have a companion thought about a red coffee cup…

The message of hate you see in Spillover II, Mr. Matt Sweetwood?  You’ve created it with your own avarice.  Set it aflame with your post.  And given it life and breath with your vehemence.  The Shorewood council has ordered the sculpture taken down to be ‘fixed’ thanks to your paranoiac hatred.

The only thing that needed to be ‘fixed’ was your interpretation of the piece to begin with.  You found this message of hate because you wanted to find one.  Focus on hate and negativity, and that is what will be gifted you.

If you read this post (and I hope you did) you’ve now seen my interpretation of Spillover II.

Have we learned something?

One of my favorite games to play with letters is to take a random word, and figure out how many other words I can make out of it.  It can also be fun to occasionally find hidden swear words in the ‘find-a-word’ puzzles in the paper.

In case you haven’t learned anything from my post, here’s a random pile of letters – I’m sure there’s a message of hate somewhere within it…

Nothing to see here

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This weekend – the kids decided they were going to visit the family.  They planned to leave the house on Saturday, and stay overnight in either Beaver Dam or Watertown, and return Sunday afternoon/evening-ish, and thus return to the normal schedule of up Monday morning for work.

This meant I had the apartment to myself.  All to myself, with nary a soul (except the cats) to come between me and the elements.

Whatever would I do with my free time?  This is where most people trot out a list of things they’ve put off in hopes of having some free time.  Me…not so much.  I planned to do nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  In as few articles of clothing as possible.

Which means jammies – as it’s still NOT warm up here, and I’m a heat-miser.

Nothing is under-rated and unduly demonized in this country.  If you’re not doing something every second of every day, you’re a lazy, shiftless, aimless layabout dreamer, and you should be hauled out into the street and shot.

Well…that may be a tad harsh…

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Very quiet pagoda

I enjoy nothing time.  The apartment is as it used to be – q.u.i.e.t.  No other voices…other than the occasional cat noise.  I can hear the silence, and the things below it.  Sometimes I’ll meditate to the silence…but not this weekend.  Meditation was far too ‘something’ for a nothing day.

I bounced around between some rather dreadful movies off Amazon Prime (to which I nodded off in my chair for a nap) to a bit of research on the ‘net, to a computer game.

I managed to sweep the floors.

Amused the cats for a spell.  Dangled some things, pointed the laser at the walls, stayed in my chair to become warm-blooded furniture.

Banged about on my keyboard for a bit, then erased what I’d written.  The muse wanted a jammie day too, so we relaxed together.  Never fear, she’ll prod me when she’s got an idea to share.

Ran out when I damn well wanted to for some foodstuffs…because that required clothing other than jammies.

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Be still…and watch the birdies.

Above all else, I enjoyed the silence of my apartment.

When did we disallow free time to just dream?  When did everything, even our free time, have to be spent doing SOMETHING?  Our world goes so fast – our lives speed up, and we attempt to go faster and faster and cram more and more into a single minute.

I think it’s time to slow down.

Chicago has a New Problem

chicago-sears-tower-night-sauronI.  Hate.  Driving.  In.  Chicago.

Just needed to put that up front.  Because I’m just north of the Windy City – everyone I know occasionally goes down to Chicago for a weekend of partying, fine dining, touring, shows, etc.  It’s common knowledge ’round these parts that Chicago is quick to get to, and offers a lot more diversity and entertainment than Milwaukee.

We just don’t like to admit it…

Driving in Chicago, unfortunately, is neither diverse nor entertaining.  It’s closer to running the bulls in Spain – blindfolded, naked, and with both your kneecaps shot out.  I could write an entire post of things better than driving in Chicago, but it would take me the better part of a year…so I’ll behave myself.

You’re welcome…

The last time I girded my loins for the battle that is traffic on the Kennedy – I prepared myself with a quick run to Best Buy for a GPS.  I firmly believe he’s the only reason I managed to see Chicago from my rear-view mirror on my way to Ohio for a weekend of Wisconsin solidarity with a long-time friend.

My little plastic savior!  Long may you tell me where to go!

Naturally, the kids were up for a long road trip, so I didn’t have to do all that driving alone.  When we were coming back home after this weekend of alcohol and hugs and alcohol and tears and alcohol and music and, did I mention alcohol?  – we once again found ourselves in enemy territory with Chicago surrounding us on all sides.   From the backseat came the most delicious suggestion from my oldest son:

“Wouldn’t it be funny if someone ‘shopped Sauron’s eye in between the uprights on the Sears Tower?”

He may not have meant it as a command – but how could I resist?