Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Celebrating a Day Off

I actually get a day off from work today. I have loads of laundry waiting for me and shopping lists for Target and my local grocery store. I need to get to the bank and I need gas in my car (a wash wouldn't be a bad idea either). But the most important thing is that I won't be at the shop for the day today, and that's a wonderful thing!

Oh yeah - a day off! I'll be able to take my time shopping at Target, and
get clean linens in the bathroom and on the beds. Huzzah! 

Most people work for larger companies - stores or restaurants that have more than a rotating field of three people manning the place. Small businesses, however, have some unique issues, one of which is how vacation time gets covered. We're a small business, no doubt, and when one of us is on vacation, the others have to show up and take up the slack. That's what I've been doing for the past eleven days and I'm very happy to leave this two week stretch behind me.

Even Imperial Stormtroopers get the occasional day off. 

The only negative to my entire day is that it will be cool and cloudy today. I could really go for some sunshine and blue skies, but it's not going to happen. However, even though I'll be in my sweatshirt and fall jacket, I'll still be happy. I finally have a day off, and I'm going to enjoy every single minute of it. Have an excellent Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Life Returning To Normal

Chickie arrived back home late yesterday and my life can now switch into the next phase - getting ready for Fall and the annual Minnesota Bead Stop Hops event. I'll be straight here - it's not my favorite event. Last year we had eighteen shops participating from all over the state, this year we're down to twelve shops. I usually have our cards with charms prepared and ready to go. I usually have the door prizes chosen and ready to display. I usually have the store cleaned and ready to go. This year I'm SO NOT READY! With Chickie on vacation for the past 1-1/2 weeks, nothing is ready at all. Half of what she was supposed to get ready before she left is still pending. She'll be back at work on Wednesday, my own day off, so Thursday will be our first shared day at work in two weeks. Time to crack that whip, for sure!

It's time to crack the whip. We'll only have two days to get the store ready
for this year's Bead Shops Hop. 

I want the windows and the floor washed. I want clutter cleared away and the display cabinets cleaned from the outside as well as the inside. I want jewelry polished and the front window cleaned up. In general, I want a clean store and I'll have two days in which to do it. Yeah ... right! I'll be lucky if the outside of the cases get washed. I'll be working on composing and getting our publicity email together and sent. It's going to be a busy week and tempers will probably flare.

We'll be cleaning everything we can, from the cases to the
floor. It all needs a serious clean and we're almost out
of time. 

Aside from that, I'm very happy to have kitty care complete. I did wear a mask on the final three days and that helped quite a bit. I was extremely happy to return her house key to the compartment where I keep it and say good-bye to the cats yesterday morning. They are sweet and adorable, but I just can't be around them without feeling horrid for the rest of the day. The next time any kitty care would even come up would be next year sometime, so I'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Could it have possibly been worse? I'll hear all of the important
sound bites today, but I'm not happy with either candidate. 

I suppose I should mention the debate. I didn't watch it. At this point, both candidates just turn my stomach and I felt it was going to be rhetoric piled upon steaming piles of rhetoric. I know that some of my friends and relatives will be upset that I consider this election to be a choice between bad and worse, but that's how I feel. I'll vote for bad, but don't need to listen to it. Ick ... just ick! What do I want? I want strict term limits of one term for offices with four-year or more election cycles, and I want two term maximums for offices with less than a four-year term. I think something is horribly wrong in a system when the re-election campaign begins the day after the candidate is elected, even before they are sworn into office. It seems that all politicians care about is getting re-elected, not the job they are supposed to perform. Politics - "I hates it," I hiss ...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stary Olsa - A Remarkable Musical Group from Belarus

Yesterday, on the way to and from Renaissance Festival, we popped in a CD to listen to instead of my usual Sirius XM satellite radio. DH chose a CD that he had purchased at the Fest over Labor Day by an unusual and very talented group of young musicians from Belarus who go by the name of Stary Olsa (here's a link to their website). They perform on authentically reproduced medieval instruments, have been performing and touring for many years, and had some extraordinary music. We were lucky enough to catch them in performance over the Labor Day weekend at the Fest and they were wonderful.

Although they do modern covers, I really prefer their Medieval music. Their
instrumentation is authentic, their energy is excellent and their talent
is exceptional. They came to the US because of a very successful
Kickstarter campaign. 

So we plugged in the CD, their 2009 issue called "Drygula" featuring music from the 14th-17th centuries, and enjoyed the music to and from Fest. Being curious, I looked up their website when I returned home and on one of their pages it announced that they had been asked to return to Minnesota Renaissance Festival for our final weekend, October 1 and 2. Huzzah!

I'm hoping they have this CD available for sale. "The Best" was
the album they issued for their 10th anniversary and it looks
like a very good compilation of Medieval music. 

The group said that they had to cancel a couple of concerts scheduled for the SE (so sorry, Portsmouth, Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Cullman, Alabama), but they couldn't turn down an opportunity like this. So we'll have the chance to see them again when we're there on closing day of the Fest, this coming Sunday. I can hardly wait! I'll raid my cash jar - I want more of their CD's and I'll probably sit in on more than one of their performances. After Fest they'll only have two dates in the US left - Austin, Texas, and the Texas Renaissance Festival. Then it's back to Belarus.

Santa Maria is comprised of Baroque music from the 1200's through the
early 1600's, focusing on lute pieces. Many of these pieces were meant
to be played at monasteries and other religious venues, and some were
composed by the best lutenists of their time. (I've written about Maglor
being a lutenist in the past at Henry VIII's court. Maybe, when in other
incarnations of his immortal life, he composed some of these pieces?) 

In other news - DH and my football teams both won their games yesterday, so each of our teams are currently 3-0. Hurrah! I'm sure that won't last, but it's nice. Also, Chickie is on the plane returning to the USA. She'll be back tonight so today is my final day of cat care. I couldn't be happier. Wearing a mask has been helpful, so thanks to those of you who suggested it. I'll be delighted to not have any more kitty care this year! Happy Monday to all, I'm off to the pool and my Chiropractor appointment.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Weekend Plans and Annoying Sounds

I thought I had my new phone set for no sounds except emergencies from 9:00 pm through 5:00 am, but suddenly, last night, I was getting Facebook "ping"s at 1:30 am. It took more than 45 minutes to get that resolved and it was SO frustrating. I would change a setting and try to get back to sleep, then I'd be bothered again by another "ping" ten minutes later. I fully realize that most of my friends are night owls and that they don't awaken at 3:15 am - 4:00 am, but I'm an early bird and the early morning hours are my productive time. I finally double-checked my silent settings, turned my phone off and then on again. It seemed to have worked, at least I didn't have any other "ping" sounds until I awakened before my alarm went off. I'm going to be dragging today, though.

I don't want any sounds except emergency calls from contacts during
my overnight hours. I don't get a lot of down time, but I need my
sleep time. 

We'll have rain overnight tonight, but the days will be pleasant both today and tomorrow. It'll be  colder on Sunday, but it should be a pleasant weekend for Irish Shenanigans at Renaissance Festival. I'll bring my cloak since we'll be shaded while the football game is going on. It's usually cold in the Viking bar while they broadcast the game.

DH usually wears his Utilikilt for Irish weekend at Fest. He
looks really good in it and, since he's lost a lot of weight, it's
almost loose on him. A nice change. 

A television in Renaissance times? Well ... they stretch things just a bit and have Vikings games broadcast in this one bar when they have a Sunday game during the Fest. It's a good draw for the bar and it doesn't stop the flow back and forth by festive attendees. It saves on our data usage on our phones, since even though we could watch the game on our handhelds, we don't have to. Of course, my Broncos will be playing at the same time so I'll be checking scores and play highlights of my own team now and again.

My Broncos will be playing at the same time as DH's
Vikings. We'll be watching the Vikings, but I'll be
checking the Broncos score throughout the game on
my phone. 

Enjoy your weekend. Two more days of kitty care - today and Monday. I can hardly wait to have my mornings back again. I did wear a mask yesterday and it helped, so I'll do that again today.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Kitty Care Might Kill Me Yet

I'm dropping into Chickie's place every morning to feed and water her cats and clean their litter boxes. It's also fall, and Chickie is a horrible housekeeper. Those things, combined with the fact that I'm allergic to cat dander, is really hitting me hard. The fact that we're in autumn and the leaves are turning and starting to fall is like icing on my allergy cake. Completely horrid!

The calico on the left is Roxie - a mischief maker who's constantly on the go.
She's fairly petite and often gives in to her larger sister on
the right, Tilde. 

The cats are adorable, of course. It's not their fault that they have dander. But my already borderline weepy eyes and frequent trips to the tissue box to blow my drippy nose are pushed WAY out of any comfort zone when they are brought into daily contact with the cats.

Tilde is a big cat, curious and always following to see what
I'm up to. She's a bit more affectionate because she'll
actually come up for a caress. Roxie, on the other hand,
would come up to me, but only to try and find a way to escape
the apartment and explore the land of birds and
squirrels beyond the windows. 

I posted the photo of my trash bin with the tissues from the morning's allergy attacks on Facebook yesterday. Several friends offered to take the last three days, which was very sweet of them. I even had a few long-time customers in the store who volunteered, when they saw how affected I was by my allergies to cats. I'm extremely frustrated because I'm still trying to help customers despite having to break off every couple of minutes to blow or wipe my nose. Generally it works out of my system by mid-afternoon, but I can't emphasize enough how relieved I will be to say good-bye to the cats on Monday morning. I am telling myself "Three more days - you can do it!", but this time it's been extremely hard. I might have to turn down future cat tending and that would be a shame.

Chickie left on Sunday and I started taking care of the cats on Monday
morning. In that time, I've almost gone through an entire box of
tissues. This is the lot from less than an hour in the early morning
at the shop. My allergies are horrid this time, and it's making me sick!
Three more days ... I keep telling myself, only three more days. 

Here's me - grateful that it's Friday and wishing it was Saturday or even better, Monday. Chickie is having a wonderful time on her vacation in Spain, but I can't wait to get my life, and my allergies - back under control. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Equinox Rain

If anyone in our area had been planning to welcome Fall in an outdoor ceremony, they wouldn't have been able to outdo the fireworks Mother Nature brought for us last night. With flash flood warnings in place, a constant rumble of thunder, and the sky showing lightning that would rival the red carpet at the Academy Awards, it was a busy, busy night. At 12:30 am it was still raining hard, although the thunder and lightning had finally calmed down. When I finally awakened at 3:15 am the rain had stopped, but the warnings continue until 11 pm tonight. Ah, Fall in the Frozen Northlands - nothing quite like it.

Happy Equinox to all of you. We're ushering in one of my favorite seasons
here in Minnesota. It's a time of colorful leaves, crisp days, and amazing
beauty and bounty. We'll be following it by winter - my least favorite
season - but what a way to go! 

I'm posting photos of rainstorms, clouds and fall leaves to celebrate Mabon and our past and upcoming rainstorms. I also want to mention that today is Free Short Stack day at your local Perkins/Marie Callender's restaurants. If you make a donation to "Give Kids the World", the charity they've supported for many years, they'll give you a free short stack of pancakes. Yummy! I usually eat there several times a week anyway (one egg, two pieces of bacon and two pieces of toast with a POT of coffee), so giving a bit more for kids? No problem!

We were getting hundreds of lightning strikes per hour for a while last
night. I was nervous enough that I turned my computer off for the night -
something I rarely do since I schedule all of the system backups, etc. for
my overnight hours. It's much quieter now and I'm much happier. 

Shelf clouds like this spectacular example, presage thunderstorms. They are
formed by a mix of cold air coming down from above hitting a different
air level coming from below. The Weather Channel has some excellent
examples and explanations if you want details (and more accuracy
than my sparse explanation above). 

Have a wonderful Thursday. If I could, I'd send our rainstorms to those of you who truly need the moisture - California and other hot spots come to mind. However, I don't seem to have those superpowers. I have Project Runway to watch tonight and I'll be back tomorrow with some Kitty photos. The furry demons are doing very well, and my allergies suck! Oh well ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thoughts of Laundry

I have no day off this week and that's a problem. Usually on Wednesday I can do my weekly grocery shopping and 2-3 loads of laundry. I desperately need to do laundry - I'm looking at a hamper full of clothes and some serious needs for the upcoming few days. I'll need to figure out how to envelope a load in here and there, and that's always hard to do when I have about two hours to sandwich it in on an average night.

Unfortunately this sign rings true today. If I don't get a load of
laundry done, I'll be out of underwear before the end of the week! 

Additionally, kitty care is putting a serious dent into my morning schedule, so I'm WAY behind on catching up with friends on LJ. I also can't seem to stop sneezing. ARGH! I can't wait for Chickie to return next week. She'll be totally useless when she gets back into the shop on Wednesday, but she'd better be on the ball quickly because I won't be there. I'll be taking a very well deserved day off after working for 12 of the past 14 days by the time she returns.

Enjoy this revised guide to laundry symbols. I think the
next to the last one is highly appropriate to my life. 

We're under flash flood warnings this afternoon, so that could throw another curve into our day. All in all, this is a day I'd much rather sleep through, but no choice. I need to go to work, same as always. I'll try to get a few kitty pics today for all of you. They're pretty busy running here and there when I'm tending to them in the mornings, but sometimes they stop for a quick moment.

OMG! They were PINK! The washer would cost up to $269.95, the
dryer would cost up to $254.95, and they could be paid for with as little
as $10/week. They were also available in Sage Green, Sunshine Yellow
and, of course, White. Unfortunately I don't have a year for this ad,
but it was in an issue of the Sears & Roebuck catalog. 

Have a glorious Wednesday, all. I'm going to do my best to catch up with your posts and toss some commentary your way, but no guarantees. The best laid plans, yadda ... yadda. Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon), so try to enjoy your final day of Summer. Our leaves are already starting to turn glorious colors, and as they say ... "Winter Is Coming"!