Thursday, February 08, 2018

Horst Update

I struggled for a bit wondering if it's appropriate to post this on social media, but a lot of you knew Horst from years ago or know him through my posts so I do feel like you guys should get an update. 
Yesterday we were told the tumor is inoperable and we move on to palliative care for the time he has left. We are also making plans to have him come home for as long as he can. 
Thanks to everyone who has sent him good wishes through phone calls, cards and visits. Thank you to everyone who has done that here as well.
I told V today, as I dropped him off at school, that one of the most horrible things about life is that even when something terrible happens, life keeps going on.
The fact that even in the midst of terrible things, life keeps going on in the very face of it, can considered one of the most wonderful things as well.
I'm taking a few days off from here and there as I have so much to do.
Life goes on and my energy is in short supply so I need to conserve it as much as possible to get things done.
Ursula Le Guin put it the best:
"Go on and do your work. Do it well. It is all you can do."
I am off to work. 
Be back soon.
I love you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


I just wanted to put this out there for you all as a friendly reminder and maybe a pep-talk because you might need to hear this today.

If I accepted the unsolicited opinions of every a-hole who felt the need to impose them upon me.

I definitely wouldn't be here today.

People are mean sometimes (that's an understatement).

They will tell you what they think of you or what you are doing.

They will share their opinions even if you didn't ask for them.

In the grand scheme of things, most people's opinions do not matter, but those words may hurt or bring you down in some way, even though you really don't want them to.

If this is the case,

Don't listen.

If you can't help but listen.

Don't accept it.

Nothing great would ever have been made or accomplished if the people with the ideas accepted the crappy opinions of every shitty naysayer.

I'm not going to accept it and I'm not going to start anytime soon.

Neither should you.

Dig in your heels and say (repeat after me)

Fuck you
I'm doing it anyways.


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Steve McQueen 2015(?)-2018

Lovely little Steve from his younger days.

If you are curious, I don't think hedgehogs make the greatest pets, although they are VERY VERY cute. Sometimes they are the type that are charming and let you dress them up and rub their little ears and belly.

Steve McQueen was grumpy. He didn't like to be handled, but it was fun to hear his little grunts of protest when we picked him up.

Hedgehogs also need an exercise wheel. They will run on it all night, with no consideration for the rest of the house trying to sleep. Steve went through 2 exercise wheels before I found a good one that lasted.

They also poop and pee while running.

I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

I will admit that I did enjoy his occasional, middle of the night,  yodeling. It scared the heck out of me at first but when I learned it is actually a sign of contentment, I found it charming.

For the first 2 seconds.

Then I was more of "we know you're happy now shut the hell up!"

If I had known how common cancer was in hedgehogs, I may have thought twice before bringing him home.

But done bun can't be undone and I did.

Steve lived and Steve died last night in V's arms.

It was a good way to go.

His last few days were not pretty, he had developed a tumor that quickly got worse. I won't go into detail about that.

We did what we would do for anyone at the end.

We kept him warm, we held him. Made sure he was clean and dry. We fed him water and food through an eyedropper for as long as he would take it.

All yesterday he was barely conscious. It was cold so we cradled him with a hot water bottle.

We played with his ears and stroked the soft fur on his belly. But only a little bit.

It seemed disrespectful to take too much advantage.

We told him he was a good hog and we loved him.

Forgive me for anthropomorphizing, It was more to make us feel better than him.

Sometimes I think that it's not so much Death that is cruel, but Life, by refusing to give up just yet.

It was so in Steve McQueen's case anyways.

Von brought him to me when he woke up. He was back, he looked at us and raised his head. I told Von to give him a little water.

Von called me in alarm when he started tensing up.

We held him until he was still.

I had to tell Von earlier that he needed to stop hoping that he will pull through and to start waiting for the end.

There has to come that time when you give up. It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just knowing that it is time and accepting it.

I was glad I did. When it happened, he was ready for it.

Last night I sewed Steve McQueen up into a funerary shroud of white muslin.

Later on, when the weather is a bit better we will send him off on a pyre, Conan the barbarian style.

The ground is too frozen for burial and anyways,  it seems rather fitting to send him off in such a way.

Meanwhile, Steve McQueen lies in his shroud, nestled safely in Horst's freezer.

I'm sure that Von will not let us forget to send him off properly before Horst's return.

It's wouldn't be good if we did, because wrapped up like that he looks just like a burrito...

Steve McQueen 2015-2018
Safe travels boy.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


Hard boiled eggs and bacon. Throw in some muffins and make sure that the coffee pot is full.

That is the foundation of my storm preparedness.

Sand and shovels obviously. Due to ice melt's tendency to disintegrate my front steps, we avoid that.

One of the things I worry about the most for storm preparedness is a source for cooking and heating water. I firmly believe that if you are able to boil water during the apocalypse, then the dying desiccated world full of raving hordes is your oyster.

 I also hate storing propane tanks and whatnot.

I found this really cool thing on a beekeeping page called a Kelly Kettle. You can boil water, cook simple meals, etc. on a small fire base with paper, dried leaves, twigs or whatever you may have handy. The ultimate set comes with with all of the attachments that neatly stack together to be placed in a carry bag.


I asked for it for Christmas, but since B doesn't buy anything on the internet I had to get it for myself. For unknown reasons, he wanted nothing to do with my present, so I also had to receive the package and because I didn't want to look at it until Christmas day, tie the box it was delivered in, with a seasonally appropriate bow.

My friend Emily and I took it for a test spin the other afternoon. It worked great, although it is important to have a good supply of twigs, pinecones etc. to keep it going. I hoard bags of such things for my smoker (for the bees) so it's definitely not a problem.

If the power goes out, which Kelly Kettle or no, I definitely hope it does NOT, I will have no shame in delivering B's steaming hot mug of coffee with a big, shit eating, "I told you so!" grin on my face.

We finished wrapping beehives yesterday, in the hopes that the extra bit of insulation will help them get through the cold thats coming after this storm. Sadly, due to time constraints we were unable to take the Kettle out for a second run...

I love Winter and have no problem with a snow storm. I'm ok with the cold personally. But I'm worried for the bees. It's already been a hard winter and we have just started. I've done all I can without disturbing them. I'll make some corrections when warmer weather arrives next week and hope for the best.

My favorite thing in The Last Jedi was when Yoda told Luke "The greatest teacher failure is." This whole previous season for me was filled with lesson after lesson. Totally sucked, but I learned. Learning.

This is the worst season for beekeeping. You basically wallow in dread and second guess everything you did to prepare the colonies for winter until spring arrives. Then you assess the damage and start all over again. Sometimes from scratch.

I guess we will have to see what lessons this storm, as well as the rest of the winter, has in store.

Stay well and warm if you are in New England. I'm off to pick up dog doo before it gets covered in snow, study, shovel and look up how to heat a room with a clay pot and a votive candle.

Thanks for coming by!

If you want to check out the Kelly Kettle, the link is here:

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

It certainly has been awhile...

Both the number of postings and my reading list for this year are very skimpy.  2017 has both kept me away from the things I love the most and also brought me to things that I love the most. I am thankful for it all.

The ending months were a whirlwind. Horst's cancer and the need to prepare for his return with a remodel of his apartment, on top of my excessive demands at work (On call 24/7) not to mention the needs of my family, left me a complete mess. I've had years of excellent therapy, so I presented myself well (at least I think so), but I started to forget things, couldn't focus and had anxiety attacks that either went on for days or would start and stop at the drop of a hat.

I felt like I was drowning. Something had to give.

I read this story once about this man walking by a farm house. He hears this awful howling. He asks the farmer, who is sitting on the porch, what was causing the terrible howling. The farmer replies that it was his dog, sitting on a nail. The man asks why the dog doesn't just sit up and get off it.
The farmer replies, "Doesn't hurt enough yet."

I finally got up off my nail and asked for help. My doctor took me out of work.

It was one less thing. One less very big thing that allowed me to deal with a lot of shit. Do a lot of thinking. Peel away layers of shit. Silencing many demons that whispered awful things into my ears.

No hard feelings to my demons, they just wanted to keep me safe, but they were holding me back.
As demons do.

I am thankful for the time I've been gifted and I hope that I am using it well. I've been resting and thinking, but also preparing for the many big changes lie ahead for me.

The coming changes are terrifying but,  now that I am up off the nail, why stop there?

I am hoping that this year brings me to my keyboard and into beehives more often and to more good books. Most importantly, I'm hoping 2018 continues to bring me into the company of those I love the most, my family and my friends (who are all really one in the same).  I love you and thank you.

I hope this coming year brings you all whatever you are hoping for. Thanks for coming by and reading my little blog.

It's time for the annual list. Same rules apply, asterisk for the really good ones and yes I include graphic novels. I've gotten to the point where if I don't like a book I don't finish it so you can safely assume I would recommend any one of these. I did not add anything I did not finish by the 31st.  I put everything on GoodReads this year and was really bad about recording them. 2018 I think I will go back to writing them down in my journal as well.

And now, my reading list for 2017:

 1. The Little Book of Hygge (Wiking)
 2. The Golem and The Jinni (Wecker) re-read*
 3. The Fate of The Tearling (Johansen)
 4. Norse Mythology (Gaiman)
 5. Shadow and Claw (Wolfe)
 6. A Conjuring of Light (Schwab)
 7. Saga vol. 7 (Vaughn & Staples)******
 8. Strange The Dreamer (Taylor)
 9.  The Library At Mount Char (Hawkins)  re-read*
10. Queen Rearing Essentials (Connor)
11. The Vegetarian (Han)
12. Presence (Cuddy)
13. 100 Plants to Feed The Bees (Xerces Society)
14. Six Of Crows (Bardugo)**
15. Garden Plants For Honey Bees (Lindtner)
16. The Sound Of Language (Malladi)
17. Gifts (Le Guin)**
18. Increase Essentials (Connor)
19. Crooked Kingdom (Bardugo)**
20. Ubik (Dick)
21. How To Get Dressed (Freer)**
22. Voices (Le Guin)
23. The Eyes Of The Dragon (King) re-read
24. The Language Of Thorns (Bardugo)**
25 and 26.  Station Eleven (St. John-Mandel) **********
27. Slade House (Mitchell)
28. You Can Buy Happiness (Strobel)
29. Annihilation (VanderMeer)
30. Simple, Smart Beekeeping (Shoshanna-Traynor)
31. Saga vol. 8 (Vaughn & Staples)**
32. Good Omens (Pratchett and Gaiman) re-read**
33. The Honey Month (El-Mohtar)***********

Thanks for reading and I wish you and yours the Happiest of  New Year's!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Public Service Announcement

Cautionary tale folks,
Went to a Citizen's Bank this afternoon and since the line was so long, I used the ATM to make a deposit. 
The machine took my card, sucked in 2 $100 dollar bills, then proceeded to freeze. 
The tellers were able to retrieve my card but I have to wait until Tuesday to get my money back as that is when they reconcile all the money in the machine.
It should show an overage of that amount (I HOPE)
Needless to say, I was pissed off beyond belief. 
I don't blame the people who work at Citizen's and I was as polite as I could possibly be and they were very apologetic.
The money was birthday money I was using to pay off a credit card charge for a pair of boots. 
Imagine if that money was for something absolutely essential?
Some sort of payment that needed to be made
Money that needed to be in my account that day or first thing Monday morning.
I would be shit out of luck.
I'm grateful that I'm in a position where the temporary loss of that money is merely a minor inconvenience.
So, if you happen to be in a position where a deposit of cash or checks is a matter of the utmost importance, a matter of life or eviction,
(Remember Terminator? The machines hate you. Every last one of them.)
Wait in line. 
Get a printed receipt.
From a person.
I don't think that the convenience that would have saved me maybe 10-15 minutes of waiting was worth the two hundred bucks I may or may not get back in 3 days

While you are at it, if your friend gives you a tube of homemade lip balm to try,
Do not text them several hours later to tell them, as a joke, that you had an allergic reaction and your lips have swelled 2x their normal size.
It was right after that moment that my day went downhill so you could argue that I had that coming to me and I would agree that you are probably right.

Moral of the story: Don't have a machine do the work of an actual person if it's really important and bad jokes only bring bad karma.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Don't Stop Believing

Don't Stop Believin' by Journey came on this morning as I was driving the kids to school.

A few weeks ago, bored during a hockey game, I forced her into a duet when the same song came on.

"G!" I exclaimed, turning the volume up, "It's our song!"

After singing along loudly for a few verses, I informed her that I was planning on playing this song at  top volume every time I picked her up from any where.  I told her it will get to the point where if any of her friend's hear that song in the distance, they will say, "Here comes G's mother!"

I looked over at her and removed the hand closest to her from the wheel to ward off any sudden blows and reminded her that it was against the rules to hit the driver.

"I am punching you in my head." was her curt reply.