Guitar Town

20170516_171440

Waukesha is called (unofficially) Guitar Town.  Now…we do have several music-themed shops in the downtown area (teaching, repairing, selling instruments, and a brisk trade in old vinyl).  We also have Friday Night Live every week from Memorial day to Labor day in the downtown area, live concerts on Tuesday nights by the library, and bars offering bands the opportunity to play live throughout the year – this would suggest music town more than guitar town.

So why are we Guitar Town?

Waukesha is the birthplace of Les Paul.  The guy who, according to his Wiki page, was one of the ‘architects of the modern solid-body electric guitar.’

20170516_164051

This is the guy who made Gibson…GIBSON

We, the denizens of this little town, celebrate Les Paul in a lot of ways.  We’ve the Les Paul highway, the Les Paul school.

We’ve got murals painted all over town celebrating his life:

20170516_171211We’ve also got guitar sculptures scattered all across the town…

 

And, yes…we’ve got his final resting place.

 

I wandered through the cemetery on the walk home tonight – after all, it’s right across the street from work…and found where he’s laid down.  I’m not the only one to do so…several musicians had been there before me, leaving tribute in the only way guitar players can:

20170516_164106

Those are guitar picks on his grave.

Proudly Seeing Faces

Humans have a gift…we perceive familiar patterns where none exist.  The ‘learned’ amongst us call this phenomenon Pareidolia, and go on with a long and even more boring dissertation on the hows, the whys, and the psychology of said same.  The rest of us say:  “Look – I see a dragon eating a castle in the clouds.”

 

I looked this term up this afternoon – and found something that royally irritated me for a second.  An article, who’s headline read:  “Do you see faces everywhere?  That’s because you’re a neurotic mess.”

Ex…..CUUUUUUSE me?????

Ignorant, judgmental, terrified boneheads…

 

I’ve always been proud to be able to see the drunken octopus… put-your-dukes-octopus-door-hook-demotivational-posters-1376398793

 

Or the shocked faces in a wall outlet…

electrical-outlet-face-stickers-300x250

And I’ve seen some pretty freaky stuff in clouds…

 

But to say this is the result of a diseased mind?  It’s called having an imagination, which (I suppose) in today’s regimented, group-mind-think culture may be considered an affliction unless you’re seeing the Holy Virgin-Mother Mary in a piece of toast (now with more whole-grain miracles!) …but still.

Ignorant, judgmental, terrified boneheads…

I’ve captured a few oddball things on my walks about town.  There are a couple of pretty funky trees in Bethesda Park – one looks like it’s bowing, and the other like a diva in full high-note on stage.

And I found this stone in front of the Waukesha County Historical Museum where someone molded a face.

20170422_103527

 

 

Rest assured, I’ll be browsing my little town all throughout the summer for more examples of my ‘neurotic mess’ of a mind.

And speaking of neurotic messes of the mind – ever read one of them articles on organizing your workload?   The one I remember from long ago (and I do use this mental trick) was:  instead of focusing on the entire task from start to finish, which can seem insurmountable and WAAAAAY too much work – if you mentally break it out into several more manageable ‘chunks,’ and then only focusing on the chunk at hand, you can trick your mind into getting it done more effectively.

So, I’ve officially broken out my walk to work into three distinct and smaller legs.  I’ve the city leg, the parks leg, and the industrial leg.  I realized I’d been doing this this morning, so I figured I’d celebrate with a blog post.

So here’s a few shots from that qualify for the City Leg:

 

 

And from the Park Leg:

 

And…lastly – the Industrial Leg.  I even get some color on this segment of the journey, because on one side there’s industry, and the other, a huge cemetery with plenty of flowering trees:

I’m Walking Around! – or – Alright…who conjured a demon?

 

It’s interesting how life things just…happen.  I had started out today’s posting by putting words on the screen Saturday.  I knew it was gonna be about the first, triumphant walk to work…and I wanted bragging rights.

Then Sunday night happened – an unfortunate incident involving a pan of freshly hard-boiled eggs and my sock – and I started a second post for today growling about the vicissitudes of fate and rapid disrobing techniques.

Hence – the double title for today’s post.  I wasn’t sure until this morning which one was gonna go up…I couldn’t pick a favorite, so they both did.

 

First – I believe Spring has finally gotten Mother Nature firmly back on her meds and moderating her off-the-wall mood swings…we had a beautiful day here in Wisconsin on Saturday.

I got to take a walk, and solidify my work route.  According to the map – I got in 1.8 miles for the round trip.  The route to work is only 1.5 miles, so I’ve proven to myself that I CAN walk the distance.

Today – I got that nice morning.  It was in the high 50’s at 7am – a bit of a breeze and overcast, and a slight chance of rain for the walk home.

I took to the streets.

Downtown Summer 2016

 

First, there was the march through the downtown district – pavement, pavement, pavement…but our buildings are pretty cool, so I’m OK with that.  If I didn’t like all the paving, I wouldn’t have moved to the center of downtown in the first place.

 

 

I got to the Fox River…this is where the pavement shrinks and the green starts.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Who doesn’t love a walk in the park?  Especially when there’s moving water involved?  The green and growing and the flowing water generate a very in-tune-with-the-Natural vibe that’s evident even just off the center of the bustling downtown district.  It’s one of the reasons I focus so well in downtown Waukesha – the river winds through it and tamps down the oppressive “Buy more shit now” energy generated by humans caught in the throes of capitalism.

So…the 2nd leg of my walk is through Bethesda Park, following the Fox River.  Right now, the trees are still bare, but the grass is greening up so it shouldn’t be long before we have buds springing from those sharp branches.

Beetle Bridge

 

This will forever after be called (in my mind, at least) the Beetle Bridge.  What I love about this is, even through there is other tagging work on it – nobody has bothered to molest the faces.  Under this bridge, there’s additional artwork which has also remained clean of hostile influences.

 

Directly after the bridge – there’s a home with an overabundance of little purple flowers in the front lawn, and I can see the iris plants poking their green blades up from the leftover fall leaves.  Spring is aggressively on its way here.
a IMG_3861 clean grass

 

And here we go for the third and final leg of the trip – up to say hello to my greenspace, and continue up the street to land at work.

 

1.6 miles – before coffee – DONE.

tick1

But…this trip very nearly got delayed again…because sometimes…eggs happen.

Personally, I think the remnants of my fat cells have gone out and summoned a demon in protest.  They’re sick of the ever-shrinking living accommodations my butt is providing, and have taken it into their own hands (or a reasonable facsimile thereof…) to right the wrongs of this ‘damnable Keto diet thing.’

We’re a household of hard-boiled egg eaters.  I have egg salad from time to time, S likes her HB Eggs with a shot of mustard, B takes three to work each morning, and D will grab one on occasion – even though he worries about the cholesterol content.  Eggs are perfect for keto, ideal for gluten-free, and a low-sodium, very low-cost complete protein source.  Every Sunday night…I put a dozen & a half to the pot.

Well…last night, while transferring the pot of freshly boiled eggs from the stove to the sink to shock them cold, those fat-summoned demons caught the bottom of the pot on the counter.  It did this crazy jiggle – which a vessel filled with water likes to do – and I ended up slopping boiling water down my front to soak happily into my shirt, pants, and left sock.

I swear – I heard the demonic little fat cells cheer over the successful completion of their evil plan.

Well…while saying a few -less than polite- words, I did my own crazy little jiggle I like to call the ‘hot pants dance.’  It’s amazing how quickly the clothing comes off when pain is involved.

I think I got off lucky.  The last time I ended up with near-boiling water in my lap, I was 5 – and had 2nd degree burn blisters all up and down my legs.  This time, I have some bright red and puffy spots on my stomach and top of the left foot, but no blisters.

So what’s a freshly-boiled girl to do?

I slathered the burns with coconut oil.  A nice, thick layer over my belly and foot.  And I went to sleep.

This morning – nothing short of fabulous…the foot barely hurts at all, and is only slightly red along the top.  The belly is still just a bit twitchy, but the redness and puffiness diminished markedly from the night before.

I’ll continue to oil up for the next couple of days, but…I’ve defeated the demons and I FINALLY got to walk to work!

obscene-gestures-mooning-gnome

TAKE THAT, FAT CELLS!

 

 

 

Denial is More than a River in Africa

a 20161204_190027.jpgSunday morning, I woke early, went downstairs, plunked myself down in front of my work station, grabbed a pair of pliers, and started opening rings.

I had a dude to finish, a tassel to put on my chainmaille mala, and I was itching to start on a new whirly project.

I glanced out the window at the rising light, and saw…to my horror…

little white flakes falling out of the sky.

OK…it’s December in Wisconsin.  I’ve had the big coat in use for about a week now, and pulled the heavy boots out of the closet.  My scarf and gloves were right where I left them (in the arm and pocket of the big coat, respectively), and in good shape.  All the winter-wear was assembled are ready for action.   I should be ready for this, right?

 

Sooooo wrong.  I fight the first snowfall each year, usually by refusing to believe that the white stuff drifting in lazy spirals from the heavens above is actually there.

Ok…I fight MOST snowfalls this way…

Nobody does Denial better than me when it comes to the White Menace.

So…contrary to what you may have heard on the news, your local and/or international weather program, or what I can see when I look out the windows…none of that non-existent white stuff fell from the sky in the city of Waukesha on Sunday…nor was there any accumulation of the aforementioned imaginary frozen/air-puffed di-hydrogen monoxide on my car, the sidewalks, the street, or any nearby rooftops or tree branches.

But you gotta admit – for an atmospheric/precipitation-ish event that doesn’t exist…it was kinda pretty…

In unrelated news not regarding freak weather patterns – my street was home to another running event today – the 5k Santa Run.

20161204_103839

 

 

I got to see (and hear) a veritable gaggle of people dressed in red & green running, walking, whooping and hollaring their way up my street – all while I and Mariko stayed nice & warm and dry.

(the blue car in the photo is mine…notice the ‘not’ accumulation of white stuff on the windshield?)

 

 

 

Other events over this holiday season in Downtown – an ugly Christmas Sweater contest (and I got a doozy for that one!), horse-drawn carriage rides, an art crawl, a breakfast workshop with Santa, savings cards for all the downtown merchants, and even a ‘selfie-window-decoration’ contest for those visitors to the area.

I LOVE this downtown area – from Friday Night Live all summer long, to a huge Farmer’s Market, to the Christmas season – the merchants and denizens who live above them show a wonderful sense of community spirit that you just don’t find many places in the states, anymore…we CARE about this little piece of the Earth we inhabit, and it shows.

Love your friends.  Love your neighbors.  Mostly…love the little slice of the Planet you’ve put down your own roots.

Well wishes to all my internet friends from my tiny patch of dirt on these shortest days of our solar year.

a-20161204_185949

When the Moon…Moons you…

a-img_5004

This month’s full moon promised to be a good one, as the moon’s slightly elliptical orbit around the Earth would combine the close-point of this elongated oval with the moon being perfectly round in the night sky.

This means when the moon is close to the horizon, both rising and setting, it looks larger than normal, because (1) – the moon IS a bit closer with the wobbly orbit, and (2) the atmospheric distortion magnifies this phenomena.

The layman’s term for this is a SuperMoon.  A bigger than normal, bright man-in-the-mo0n face staring down at us plebes on the planet.

Can you say:  Photo-op?

I took a look at the celestial charts – the Full Moon was due to appear on November 14th – Monday.  Now – if I’d read a bit better – I’d have found that the moon would reach optimum ‘fullness’ on the 14th, all right – but a lot closer to moon-set (4 am-ish) than moon-rise (5 pm-ish).

I missed the Sunday evening rising – which (so I heard after the fact) was spectacular.

**Cue the frustration of the Photographic Muse** 

I soothed Ms. Shutter-bug Muse by reminding her that the Full Moon is, technically, a 3 night event – and that we could still get stellar shots on Monday Night – which we’d planned for.

**roll the clock ahead 24 hrs, please**

Monday night, after work.  A quick dash home to grab camera & gear, an even quicker run to the parking structure downtown.  Set up my perch on the 4th floor – a fairly high vantage point over the city with a nearly unobstructed view of East/North-east and completely open to the night sky.  Some quickie shots to settle available light vs. sensor settings.

Aaaaand – we wait.  Moonrise was supposed to be 5:06 pm in Waukesha.  It’s now probably quarter to six, and the horizon is still woefully orb-free.  I know what this means –

Heavy cloud cover – and an overwhelming amount of haze – are hiding the object of my photographic desire…

**Muse frustration-take II**

Rather than get discouraged with the lack-o-moonie – I rolled the camera around, snapping some interesting shots of the night city-scape from my vantage point.  The moon did, eventually, attempt to make an appearance – shoving some errant beams of light through the cloud cover, and I dutifully snapped up shots of the effort – just because.

Then I packed things away – and returned to life at the grocery store.

Adding insult to injury – the kids mentioned Tuesday night that when THEY went to the grocery store, the moon was out, in all it’s Super-glory, low in the sky and not a freaking cloud in sight.  I – managed to get myself stuck in traffic for the event.

Better luck next time, eh?

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

She’s such a BRAT!

Brats

The Pinwheel of Deliciousness

Keto update again.

OK..I may have mentioned I live in Wisconsin.  Besides beer & cheese, the next thing that Wisconsinites worship as a divine foodstuff is Bratwurst.  In this state, the grill isn’t a backyard appliance, it’s an altar.

Baby Beer Bottle

Now, beer isn’t a problem for me, as I was one of the few children in this state who DIDN’T have fermented hops in their night-time bottle, so I dodged what some of the Keto bloggers out there have called the ‘liquid bread’ bullet.  Lucky me, eh?

,,,

,,,

,,,

Cheese is also not an issue on Keto, although I did have to learn a little something about this thing called ‘portion control.’  Whodathunk an entire brick of Brick was MORE than a single serving???

Crazy, I know…

But brats?  Now that’s something I can really get behind…because while the rest of the world is quaking in terror over this fat content of this glorious, spicy, thick tube of pork and beef…

**I love this bit!**

It’s just the kind of meat that’s encouraged in Keto. 🙂

Granted, I can’t easily get my FAVORITE brats, as they reside in a mom & pop store about an hour away, but I can get the commercially-available next-best-thing.  I still have yet to find a local butcher who’s sausage-making comes close to  Glenn’s Meat Market‘s meat-art.

If you want the best Wurst in South-Central Wisconsin, you should check out his shopping page.  He’s got a brat to fit every taste.  Seriously.

I can highly recommend:

Packer Brats (green pepper & cheddar cheese)

Greek Brats (you can REALLY taste the lamb)

Philly Cheese (motz, onion & peppers)

Beer, Garlic, Cheese…the list goes on and on.  He’s even got some new ones now – corned beef and Ruben.  Damn…I may have to make a road trip!

glennsmarketwatertownwi20130622_2

And, if you’re in the little town of Watertown, WI on any given Saturday, summer afternoon, Glenn will be happy to cook you up one (or more) of his fantastic sausages in his Brat Haus. (proceeds of the Brat Haus go to local charities, schools & organizations).  He runs his grill every Saturday afternoon from Memorial day to Labor day.

JUST FOLLOW YOUR NOSE!

Here’s my weekly Keto check in:

Thursday – Found yet another sweet experiment that didn’t quite work.  I blended some heavy cream with Mio Lemonade drops – WAAAAAAY too much of the flavorant.  I think I’m still puckering a week later!

Friday – The star of today’s show is two-fold.  Breakfast burritos for dinner (I’m non-traditional, what can I say) and the END of the damn heartburn!  It was the summer sausage I’d been eating, not the egg salad.  We’re crossing that little foodstuff OFF the grocery list!

For the breakfast burritos, scramble around a dozen eggs, brown a 12 oz tube of sage breakfast bulk sausage, and mix the two fully cooked proteins together.  Put a spoon of these mixed proteins in a soft tortilla shell (I use the 5g carb ones), add a bit of raw onion, a bit of chopped green bell pepper, a sprinkling of dark green leafy’s of your choice, a few sliced black olives, chunky salsa & sour cream to taste.  This was one of my pre-keto favorite meals, and I’m over the moon to know with a simple modification I can still have it.

Saturday – Egg salad (thankfully heartburn FREE!!!) and not-quite-Glenn’s brats.

Sunday – I really gotta stop experimenting with insanely weird stuff.  I picked up some hemp protein powder, chocolate flavored, blended it up with some water & heavy cream, and….EWWWWWW.  The stuff was grainy.  I spat out little bits of hemp fiber the rest of the day.  But it was OK, because I ended up not leaving the house all day.  In fact, I didn’t even bother to change out of my jammies.

The reason I didn’t leave the house?  I didn’t know that the Park & Rec department had sponsored a bike race from 11am to 9pm on Sunday.  I also didn’t know that the parking lot I usually keep my car was smack dab in the middle of the race route.  But…a little sunshine with this setback was I got to watch, from my living room windows,  extremely-well toned men (and women) race down the street like demons.  Front Row Balcony seating (with air conditioning) for the kids race.  The various sets went on All Day Long.

 

Monday – I.  Wanted.  Chicken.  So I got one of the good, marinated chicken breasts from the local Pick & Save, roasted it up, paired it with more sauteed green beans.  Killer Dinner!

Tuesday – F*&&^^!!!!  –  S*+^&^%$#!!!!   –  A@#$#$!!!!  –  B@$%&#$@#!!!!

I’m a little frustrated with work – so it felt good to let off a little steam.  Sadly, booking a ticket for the next flight to the left coast so I can kick my boss in the butt (REAL hard!!!) is unrealistic and would get me fired, so the next best thing is comfort food.

In my book up to this date – comfort food equals carbs, which will derail my ketosis.  Hmmmmmmmmm.

I settled on a walk, down to one of my favorite bar & grills in the downtown area:  Mainstream.    While I’m fairly familiar with their menu, I took a quick browse through the online version, to plan out exactly what I’d be putting on the bunless burger I needed.

Swiss Cheese

Lettuce

Tomato

Pickles

Bacon (definitely a requirement tonight!)

Fried Onion

Bell Pepper

And a generous shot of Spicy Brown Mustard.

The waitress was a bit taken back when I placed my order – but, then again, I was 1) ordering more stuff than can reasonably be piled between 2 pieces of bread without making a huge mess, and 2) I worked up the the finale of my order  with “OK…now here’s where it gets a bit weird…” before I asked her to have the grilled bun and the home made chips put in a take out container (I can’t eat these, but everyone else in the household can – so why da hell not???)

The waitress understood once I told her “I don’t do carbs…but everyone else at home does…”  That’s all it took to get complete understanding.

What was presented to me for dining was delightful.  The cook spread the lettuce on a real plate (usually, they serve in those plastic basket-thingies) centered the burger on top, and then piled on the ordered toppings.  She spaced the pickles out in a ring around the edge of the plate.  And added the mustard in a plate-spanning star shape.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  And filling.  And the comfort food I really needed.

My only regret?  That I didn’t bring my phone to snap a quickie shot of the plate before I dug in.  The presentation deserved to be shared on the WWW.

Next time (and there WILL be a next time, believe me!) I’ll rectify that.

mainstream-bar-and-grill

Green Goddess

Neck shot

The last couple of weekends, when I haven’t been obsessing over  new & inventive ideas to get rid of my butt – I’ve been enjoying myself with little bitty rings.  I managed to get a few new pieces up on Etsy.

via Green Goddess asymmetrical Swarovski crystal by TempestAndTeapot

It’s all very exciting, as it’s Madame Maillestrom’s Etsy debut!  Naturally, I had to pick a cool name for the mannequin – something crazy and edgy.  Now that I’ve got the name, it’s only a matter of time before her personality becomes apparent (in my head, at least).  I think she’s slightly fuming over having a blanket over her head when not employed (S tends to freak out over human analogues – so I have to keep the ‘fair Madame under wraps unless she’s working), and has mentioned the need for a wig now and again…

 

drum full chain

I’ve wanted to do an asymmetrical necklace for a while.  They’re unusual & kind of crazy…just like me.  They also slide around your neck.  The trick, I think, is to weigh down the apex point.  With this incarnation of the Green Goddess, I didn’t do that – so it does a fair amount of sliding around.  I’m sure I’ll go back to this design soon, and figure out a way to weigh down the end I want DOWN.

 

close in HP 3 in 1A lot of the build on this one was fairly simple.  Half-Persian 3 in 1 is the pattern for the long chain, and is pretty easy to weave once you get it started.  A shorter length of 3 in 1 is between the two crystals.

 

close in HP 4 in 1I slipped a length of Half-Persian 4 in 1 between the crystals for a bit of contrast.  4 in 1, especially with those TINY rings, is a multiple four-letter-word, I need a few more hands starter – but like it’s cousin 3 in 1, is an easy to replicate pattern once you’ve stabilized the chain.

 

close in spiralBelow the crystals is a length of spiral 4 in 1. That chain was made from some leftover enameled copper rings in a different green & brown.  I absolutely LOVE this color combination – I keep calling it my dark chocolate mint combo.

 

Which reminds me – my stash of those rings is getting low.  Might have to place a new order…

 

So now, I’m up to the crystals.

Rivoli and clasp close in

As these are the focal, they had to be special.  For starters, I went name-brand.  Genuine Swarovski Rivoli’s.  I have a build in my arsenal already to make stars out of chainmaille – and I modified this build to create the rivoli cage.   There are no glues or adhesives or wires to hold the crystals in place – only the tension of the weave.

And tension there is.  The last few rings are a real pain in the (hopefully deflating) backside to slide into place and close…but totally worth the end result.  The rings used on these 2 are more of the main chain’s green, interspersed with pure copper.

 

I finished her off with a sterling silver hook I found at my local bead shop, and a largish aluminum ring to hook into.

 

All in all, I’d she’s a beauty to behold.  Total build time was around 3 hours, total ring count is approximately 520 rings.