Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hey! Hey! Holy Cow!


Wednesday was a great day in the Blume house. I finished painting the kitchen, It was 50 plus degrees out side, and I took a nice leisurely drive to Dubuque as I listened to the first Cub's game of the year. I know it was only a preseason, mean nothing game where players only participate an inning or two, but this is truly THE harbinger of Spring. What fun recognizing the names of returning favorites and trying to figure out who all those other guys are and where did they come from? One of the best things about these early season radio broadcasts is the banter between, the best radio announcers in baseball, Pat Hughes and Ron Santo as they poke fun at Ron's toupee, make up names for the players they're not familiar with and generally kid each other about anything from attire to dining experiences. Even though we're being threatened with some fairly foul weather (rain changing to sleet changing to snow) this afternoon and evening, I'll be mentally basking in the Arizona sunshine while I listen to todays game against the dreaded Brewers. The only hitch is that I don't get reception on the radio inside the house and Major League Baseball blocks out the broadcast on WGN's website. So, in order to enjoy the game I have to either sit out in the cold garage and listen on my old clock radio, ride around aimlessly in the car or (best idea yet) park the car on the lawn next to an open living room window with the volume at full blast. I suppose I may sound a little fanatical about this but, It's February in Wisconsin! Come to think of it, I could sit out on my deck with a portable radio. That would be about the same as Wrigley Field on opening day. (Although the Wind/Chill factor is probably warmer on my deck.) Gotta dig my jersey and cap out of the closet.

"Hey hot dog man!"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dumb, Dee, Dumb, Dumb!

Boy did I ever screw up yesterday. First of all the "textured" plasterwork in the kitchen was supposed to be crocodile and I mistakenly applied the alligator look. No big deal, hardly anyone will notice the difference. Secondly, and a little more important, spell check got me. As usual, I relied on the magic of computer science to make up for my poor spelling capability. One nice thing about the English language is that so many words are very similar but are completely unalike in meaning. So, if you're slightly illiterate like me (or is it I?) you can come fairly close to the correct spelling of a word but you're also very close to the spelling of a different word. Yesterday I mentioned that I came down with the same decease that Jo had a few weeks ago. Some 12 or 17 hours later, while reading the morning paper I noticed my mistake. Neither Jo or I (or is it me?) are deceased or ever have been. In actuality someone or something took away my ease. Yes I was dis-eased. Funny how it took only a little over seventy years to learn this. And, my disease is still with me, which brings us around to dumb number three. Two or three months ago I wrote a post on Wisconsin Hystery. You may recall that I chronicled the story of the origin of Pepto Bismol. Here I sit on my porcelain throne while just a few miles down the road lies the center of rearal relief.
While Jo and the pups are enjoying the newly fallen (and still falling) snow I have a choice to make. Do I put a primer coat on the alligator walls, shovel (snowblow) the five feet of snow outside or take a trip down county road Q to the Pepto mine. Sorry no pics today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

KP - K9 - Kaopectate

The kitchen project (code name KP) is moving right along. Holes are patched, the "Textured" plaster has been accomplished, and the counter top is on order. My next assignment, should I accept it, (like I have a choice) is priming the "textured" walls followed by applying the lovely yellow paint job. The degree of difficulty has been fairly low. So, to make it a little more of a challenge, we've added a couple of "speed bumps". First we added two of our little wiener granddogs. Tina and Snoopy (code name K9) came to stay while a much more weighty construction project is underway at their house. Derek is having foundation and drainage work done to combat an ongoing "wet basement" problem. Adding the dogs didn't distract from the job at hand. They're really well behaved and only disrupt my progress when they insist that they MUST go outside to ward off some unsuspecting passerby. The main setback right now is something I brought to the party. You might say that the work didn't "poop" me out. But "it" (code name, never mind) has slowed down my tempo. (It's amazing how fast one can descend a ladder when the urge hits.) You might say, I've gotten a little behind in my work. I'm using my "affliction" as an excuse to take a couple of days off from KP. I like to say that I'm giving the plaster "texture" time to thoroughly dry, or as they say on The Cooking Channel, rest. Naturally Jo is anxious to "get her kitchen back" but she understands my situation because she suffered the same decease a few weeks ago.
Excuse me while I check out who's walking by. I think I'll check from the bathroom window.

What do you think, too much texture?
Maybe I used the wrong kind of mud!

I feel pretty safe with these two on guard

Tina on window duty

Snoopy in full attack mode

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?

About a month ago I posted a blog (partly tongue in cheek) about paying closer attention to the things around us. Recently a friend sent me this story which illustrates what I was trying to say.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell , one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, tickets for Joshua Bell 's performance at a theater in Boston were sold out and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing ???...

Like a violin playing mouse!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Enjoy Spring?

I really enjoyed Spring. This year it was on February 10th. Short but sweet. Short because it only lasted one day, sweet because I found some great chocolate cookies at the hardware store in "downtown" Fennimore.
I haven't posted a blog for a while due to operation KP. The progress report is as follows: all of the wallpaper is in a landfill somewhere in Southern Wisconsin, two new electrical outlets have been installed and one repositioned, (thanks to Jeanna's dad Ross) and the ceiling has been repainted. Next on the list, plaster repair, applying "Old World" plaster texture, painting said textured walls, new counter top, sink and faucets installed, take a vacation and never do anything in the kitchen to mess it up.
In my ongoing effort to reconnect with old friends and relatives I just fired off an email to a "cousin" who (or is it whom?) I have not seen in over thirty years. He and his family lived in Northern Wisconsin where we visited yearly when I was a kid. The neat thing was that his dad was a logger and we would regularly go to the logging camps during our visits. These were days before chainsaws and other modern equipment so it was a pretty exciting experience. Somewhere I have some old photos from the 30s and 40s and even some from around the early nineteen hundreds. As soon as I locate them in our vast photo files, I'll scan a few and share those with you.
I do have one photo to share today. This time it's not one of my family but it's of someone who was like a family member. It's my old buddy Jay Urban who has been a friend since second grade. Upon our graduation from high school in 1953, Jay and I wandered to downtown Chicago in search of our fortunes. We both got jobs as art apprentices and as they say "the rest is history" (or a very, very, very long story) The photo is Jay, who is now retired and lives in a small town on the Wisconsin/Illinois border, with one of the many "cool" cars he owned (and I coveted) in the past.
Well back to KP.

Jay in 1959 with his 1956 Porsche.
(And a pretty snappy dresser as well)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And the beat goes on . . .

After a weekend of babysitting, Superbowling, and overeating, it's back to the kitchen war. (Operation Kitchen - OK) We're getting ready for the final assault. One last stubborn stretch of wallpaper to attack and we're ready for it.

Just a few thoughts about the past weekend. Babysitting, as usual, was Grandma Jo's delight. She rarely put little Saffron down for two days. Got to admit, the kid's pretty cute and certainly good natured. She seems to really enjoy all the attention Grandma gives her. And, she has really become quite a mugger when a camera appears. Thank God for digital photography. Without it all of the KP funds would have been spent on photo processing. I won't bore you with the thousands of "Saffy" pics but, I can't go without throwing in a few cute ones. One thought about the Super Bowl. After spending many years on both sides of the bar, on Super Sunday my thoughts turn to one thing, football pools. What a gut wrenching fourth quarter it must have been for the participants in those pools. I've lost count of the score changes during the last couple of minutes. The dreams of dollars, from one or two to thousands came and went with completed pass or a painful penalty. The good that comes out of being on the losing end of a pool in a bar is that you usually get a free drink from the lucky sucker that won the big bucks.
Well it's time to load up my ammo and hit the wall. (Literally)
Here's Saffy!