Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rolling With the Punches

Schedule messing - it's frustrating and sometimes challenging. We're usually pretty set on schedules - I get my Wednesday off and Chickie gets her Monday, we all get Sunday, and it works pretty well. But the occasional screwdriver is thrown into the works, and when it's a screwdriver that you really need to pay attention to, you switch things up to make sure everything operates smoothly.


Bever Landscaping can do beautiful work, although their reviews
are all over the place. (But then, so are my reviews, so I'm taking
them with a large grain of salt.) We need professional help with two
areas of the yard, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Peter has
to say when he looks the project over on Wednesday afternoon. 



Last week DH had me phone a local landscaping company, one whose work we've admired for many years at the State Fair, We need professional grading done on the Castle project, and the patio needs to be laid in a specific way to assist with the proper drainage (the actual reason we're going through all of this work in the first place). We thought they probably wouldn't be able to drop by until after the 4th of July. But they were really prompt, and can sandwich a look at the property on Wednesday afternoon.


Wednesday's work schedule may be rather like a revolving door - I'll
be out of the shop, then in, and then out once again. what a mess! 


Problem - I'm the one who is off on Wednesdays, not DH. So, we're having to shift some things around. I'm hoping that I'll just have to work for a couple of hours, but it's still going to throw my personal schedule into a tailspin. I like their response time, though. We had contacted a different landscaper two weeks prior, and I have yet to hear peep from them.


We've cleaned out the old shed and it's ready to take down. I think
DH will be attacking it with a crow bar today, maybe adding
a cutting wheel to the angle grinder too. Since it's part of
the grading, they'll need to see as much as possible. when they
come on Wednesday. 


So we'll make it work. Whether we switch days off completely and I work on Wednesday and take Thursday off, or whether I punch a large hole in my day, we'll make it work somehow. It's got DH stressed, though. He wants to have some more stuff done in the area we're talking about before meeting with the representative. He'll be working hard today to make it all happen. It's a bit of a mess, but it is what it is.


We just need to roll with the punches. Sure, everything may
not be as cleaned up as we wanted for the quote, but it's
the next step and I'm sure enough will be cleared to allow
Peter to take a good look at the project. 


Here's me ... rolling with the punches once again. Have a great Tuesday and keep your heads up above the waterline! I'll be back tomorrow.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up and Fabulous Monday

It was a cold run to the outdoor pool on Saturday, but the water was wonderfully warm and even though the clouds kept threatening rain, it stayed away until the afternoon. I got my full swim in and ran like crazy back to the warmth of the locker room and a toasty shower.


Perhaps I should have been running in the water instead of to and from the
pool. Running in the water is excellent exercise and much easier on the body
than just running on a treadmill or on land. There are several people at my
YMCA who run in the swimming pool. 



We got a large shipment into the shop on Friday so worked on getting that checked in on Saturday. It took most of the day and tempers were snapped a couple of times, but at the end of the day all had been checked in and was ready to start processing. We'll be busy for a week or two getting everything packaged, labelled and out onto the sales floor.


The center area of our recycling center is compost. In the distance
you can see a dark mountain - that's where the brush and greenery
gets deposited. The recycling center is always busy and heavily used. 


Sunday was cooler, but not bad. We hauled two loads of old wood to the landfill. I got lots of arm exercise pitching logs into and over the walls of greenery. The landfill uses a large earth moving machine to compress the greenery and wood into a more compact form and it pushes it up a good 10-12 feet high. I tried to make sure to toss with both arms to have a more balanced workout - LOL. The larger pieces of wood we just placed at the base of the green wall.


For household recycling, Eureka is contracted with our city. They have provided
each household with large wheeled buckets similar to our trash buckets and
they pick up mixed recycling every two weeks. It's so convenient. 


We'll have another 2-3 loads to take over this coming long weekend. The store will be closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday this coming week to celebrate the July 4th holiday in the USA, so I'm really looking forward to having three days in a row off. It's extremely rare for me to have such a gift.


Have a wonderful Monday. Make it the start of an awesome week! 


Here's to Monday - the start of a new work week. I hope it's a kind day for each of you and that it goes smoothly. I'll be back tomorrow.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Landscaping, Wood and a Birthday

It's the weekend and I'm running late. I'll be swimming in the 50-meter pool today and it'll be a cold run in and out from the building - our temps are in the upper 50's F (approx 13.8 C), about ten degrees lower than we normally are at this time of the year. But it makes for great sleeping weather, so I'm not complaining. The water will be warm so as soon as I get moving, I'll be just fine.


Maybe we should make our firewood piles into artwork like this example?
At least it would be something interesting to look at, but I'm not sure I'd
have the patience to construct this type of art. 



We'll be taking several loads of old firewood to the landfill tomorrow. DH moved a huge stack of wood that we had been accumulating for years to the upper yard in preparation for grading the lower yard. I have calls out to two landscapers for quotes for their grading services, but haven't heard back yet. Hopefully this can be scheduled soon so that we can move on with the project.


Happy Birthday to my friend Aearwen. I'm thinking lots of positive
thoughts for you and Bill. 


So, short and sweet today. Have a really fantastic weekend and I'll be back on Monday. Oh, and a shout-out to my friend Aearwen for her birthday. It's been a really tough year for her, so my birthday wish is that this coming year is easier and happier. *Hugs* and birthday balloons for her.


Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Finally Friday!

It's finally Friday and I really need it. It's been a crazy week of dealing with large, impersonal corporations, trying to clarify orders for confused customers, and rain, rain, rain. Those of you in hot desert areas who would love some rain - sorry. People here in the Frozen Northlands are a bit unusual, perhaps they are related to the Wicked Witch of the West and will melt if contacted by water. I'll get regular shoppers who will come out in blizzards, but a few drops of rain and they will stay indoors until the sun is back out. Unfortunately, my sales for the past two days reflects this trend and it's been depressing.


Rain is something that we seem to tolerate here in the Frozen Northlands. We
prefer our water from the sky in the form of snow. Rain just depresses us - we
get the grey skies and the cloying humidity without a lot of payback. At least
the grass was probably happy with yesterday's rain. 



We're forging ahead, though. I sent a letter off to an old friend in the business as I was heading home last night. He runs an art gallery in a different state and we used to belong to the same organization for many years. I'm hoping he might be interested in some of the shop's artwork, and also that he might have some suggestions for other dealers I could contact who might be interested in purchasing. The inventory isn't doing me any good in storage and I would rather see it purchased by an end consumer who will love the artwork and what the artist was trying to portray.


Among many artists whose work I have is Duane Dishta, a well-known
Zuni artist. I have a different piece than this one, but in the same 3-D style.
I've loved and collected his work for many years, but my gallery space really
changed when I closed my Mall of America store. It's time to find other
dealers and venues for the artwork I still have available for sale. 


I also contacted our local utility company regarding those guy wires that we might end up covering with as much as an additional two feet of dirt. I got their answer this morning and it was completely unsatisfactory. (1) They don't move guide wires. (2) They should have an easement of at least 10 feet from the wires. Ummmmm .... NO. We'll just bury the lines. We're not going to be giving them an easement of 10 feet - no way at all.


The level of the guy wire has altered over the years anyway,
through natural erosion and the efforts of the many
trees growing around it. I'm not going to sweat this
one. There is no equipment to worry about, just the wire,
so I'm probably going to ignore the utility company
and get the land graded as we need to. 


So, life goes on here in the great state of mosquitoes and dragonflies. I'll pass the utility company information on to DH and I'm quite sure I'll be hearing him complain about it for weeks ahead. *Sigh*. At least today is the start of three days of wonderful old cars cruising in front of my shop. "Back to the 50's" is once again being held up the street at the State Fairgrounds and I'll have something fun to look at if I have the time. Have a wonderful Friday and stay out of the eye of mega companies and government. Argh!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Missing Deadlines Can Be OK

SWG extended their deadline for the current challenge story until the end of the week, but even with the extension and my having chosen the minimum number of prompts for it, I'm still going to miss the deadline. I know that every year when I focus on Bead & Button Show, my attendance at the show and making items in my various classes and workshops, my creative flames switch. They move from the computer keyboard to the variety of hammers and saws (and flame - lots of flame) that are used in metalsmithing. I'm still creative, but in a different way.


I remember the days when I was a beader and attending classes meant
carrying a task light, bead pad, needles and thread. Now I carry a "portable"
cart of tools because metalsmithing requires a bunch of heavy stuff. I
use a fold-up two-wheeler to pull everything from one place to another. 



My personal schedule also changes with the longer days and warmer weather. I spend more time outdoors away from the keyboard, and my Sundays, which could sometimes be used for catch-up time on stories and plots, end up being "let's take another load or two to the landfill" days. It's not a bad thing - not at all. But it requires a shift in time management and thought and design processes.


I enjoy writing fanfiction, but sometimes life gets in the way. I don't write
for a living, although I've looked into it in the past, because when you write
for profit, you have to write no matter what - every day, inspiration or not. Ick! 


I'm not objecting, even though my goal of a stamp for each of the month's competitions won't happen. Sometimes life moves so quickly and I just have to jump into the stream, find the one that will lead me past the many places I want to visit, and stick with it. I know that stories can be submitted late, and if I pick this one up again, that's what it will be - late. It's not the end of the world, just a small disappointment cocooned in a thick nest of good things that cushion the harsh edges of the bad.


Look at this amazing netted cocoon. I'm totally in love with the netted
structure of it. The pattern on the greenery above it totally blows me
away also. So beautiful! 


I hope all of your bad edges are also thoroughly blanketed with soft, protective cushions. Have a wonderful Thursday and enjoy the day!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Solstice - Thinking Ahead

Good Solstice to all on this lovely summer day. It's my "day off", I have a long list of errands to get whipped into shape and I'll be celebrating the end of Spring and beginning of Summer all day. As if to celebrate with perfect timing, the Minnesota State Fair announced their new foods for the upcoming year yesterday. We have lots of time to get our lists of "I want to try this", or "never in a million years would I want to eat this", together.


I'm not a fan of Granny's Fudge Puppies, but this one is new this year.
The "Bacon Up Pup" is a Belgian waffle with bacon in the batter, dipped
in chocolate, drizzled with maple syrup and topped with whipped
cream and more bacon. Of course, it is served on a stick.
Want to see the new foods, just follow this link



The one thing that came through clearly is bacon. It seems evident that bacon is one of the lynchpins for this year's new foods. I happen to be a great fan of bacon, so I'm not finding that to be a problem, but if someone didn't like the meat on personal or religious grounds, it could be an issue. I went carefully through the list, looked at each food, and resigned myself to the fact that there are a lot of these I want to try.


Giggles Campfire Grill is one of my favorite places to eat. Their
food is usually fantastic. This year their new food is Duck Bacon
Won Tons and they look interesting enough that I may have to
try one of these. Of course, I still want my Walleye Cakes from
Giggles - they're a standby "must have" food for me at the State Fair. 


Realistically speaking I know that many of these will sound much better than they will taste. Hungry Table usually does a total run through of tasting all of the new foods on the first day of the fair and then posting reviews. Since Sharon and I usually get to the Fair closer to the end of the multi-day run, we'll have ample time to read the reviews and fine-tine our "want to eat" lists.


"Wild Bill's Breakfast Bake" is a new food at the Blue Barn. I've
never tried anything they serve and been disappointed, so I'll
add this to my possibles menu. It's scrambled eggs, roasted
chicken and chorizo sausage baked and topped with salsa and
a mix of lettuce, pickled red onions and cilantro. 


So here it is, the first day of official summer and I'm already thinking about the end of the season when my BFF Sharon once again comes to visit and we celebrate the essence of Minnesota by experiencing the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" at the State Fair. But there are several months before September, and lots of swimming left to do so I'm off to the pool. Have a wonderful Wednesday and Happy Solstice!



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Road Trip Memories

Hubby's chain saw will be picked up today. His agenda is crowded with errands, however, so even though he might drop by the store and pick the saw up later in the day, I doubt he'll actually be able to fire it up until Thursday. Then it's "watch out" time for insects, logs and neighbors.


Although I never was on a road trip to Monument Valley, Arizona with my
parents, my Hubby and I have been through there. It's an outstanding and
totally amazing place to visit and I still have friends among some of the
Navajo who live in the area herding their sheep. 


It's summer here, and school is finally out. Some schools went really late this year, but travel season is starting to hit and people are crowding into their cars for their annual trials by fire - the family road trip. I remember driving up to Aspen with my mother and sometimes my Dad. Often Dad had to stay behind and it was just Mom and me driving over Loveland Pass and on into the greater mountains of the Colorado Rockies. I'm quite sure I drove my mother crazy by shouting "Waterfall!" each time I saw one spouting down from the melting glaciers and year-round snowpack on the top of Loveland Pass.


Here is the Loveland Pass road - Highway 6 - as it goes from the
summit towards Arapahoe Basin ski resort. This road is above
timberline and very gnarly in the winter. Want some more pictures? Here's
a great website on dangerous roads and Loveland heads the list. 


The road behind us would get thinner and thinner and there were times when I could look over the whole valley that we had passed and see our road zig-zagging up the peak. In winter the road was horrific - chains required on the tires and plenty of very slick spots with a very long way to fall if the driver lost control. In my late teenage years the Eisenhower Tunnel was built and completed. It give an entirely different aspect to winter travel through the Rockies and eliminated a lot of the danger, but it also eliminated a lot of the beauty from the eyes of travelers. Some of the romance of my mountains left when the Tunnel was bored and opened.


The Continental Divide runs down the spine of the Rockies. Snowmelt and water
from the right will flow west toward the Pacific Ocean, and snowmelt and water
from the left will flow toward the Atlantic Ocean. 


I remember the roads as they were, though, and you can still find roads like this in other parts of the Colorado Rockies, just not on what became Interstate 70 stretching across the state from east to west. I remember driving through Vail when it was a quaint village without any skiing. I remember Aspen when it was still more populated by abandoned miner's homes than people actually living there. I remember the beauty of the mountains that will always remain mine in my memories.


Tunnels make me nervous - all that earth above. I guess I would make
a terrible dwarf - I need the open skies and the blowing breezes to be
happy. The Eisenhower Tunnel is massive and it has been a life saver, but
large trucks still have to drive the pass, even in the winter. 


Change and 'progress', in this case, altered my mountains forever. Suddenly people flocked to the steep slopes to play and ski in the winter, and hike and explore in the summer. The pristine meadows and amazing hidden lakes and valleys were suddenly overrun and private property became more common than public lands. I don't want to turn back time in most cases, but I really wouldn't mind pushing a few million people out of the state of my youth.

Have a wonderful Tuesday. I'm hoping to get some serious work done today, but who knows if that will actually work out. Whichever way it goes it will be, right? Now to find some pretty pictures for all of you.