Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween omnibus.

I'm lame and don't have any scandalous Halloween plans this year. Didn't make a costume, didn't go out carousing on Saturday night, didn't get into any shenanigans. I'm well on my way into my spinster years, I know.

What I did instead was make Halloween decorations. Which was fun, and I like how they turned out...but on the other hand, we don't ever get any trick-or-treaters at our house anymore (seeing as how we're out in the sticks), so the only people who'll get any enjoyment out of them are me, my mother, and maybe the UPS guy. (I'd include my father in this list, but I'm pretty sure he tunes all this out.)


Cheesecloth ghosts! I remember my mom making these when we were kids, and how cool it was to get off the school bus and just find them there one day after school...if I had it to do over again, I'd make more of these to hang closer to the house.


Also: snake wreaths!

The other snake wreath.

This was featured in a Martha Stewart daily e-mail a few weeks ago (shut up, yes, I know, see above mention of spinsterhood) and I thought it was awesome. I ran into a couple of minor snafus that made this project drag on much longer than I'd anticipated, though. First, the spray paint I used on the snakes had a reaction that made them impossibly sticky -- like, pry-them-off-your-hands-and-wash-with-GooGone-for-twenty-minutes-afterward levels of stickiness. So I had to repaint them twice with a flat cheapo acrylic paint just to make them manageable. Next, though it was warm out when I started painting, all of a sudden the bottom dropped out on us weather-wise and it's been down in the 30s-40s-50s, making it hard to get the spray painting finished. Last, I bought more snakes than I needed for one wreath, so in the middle of the project, I had to track down another grapevine wreath, and yadda-yadda-yadda.

Anyway, I think they turned out pretty wicked gnarly.


And that's about all I have to report as far as Halloween festivities this year. Tonight, I'll be heading over to my friends Elizabeth & Peter's house to help them hand out candy (i.e., eat Little Caesars and watch Dance Moms on Lifetime and occasionally get up to answer the doorbell), which will be delightful but, again, probably not all that scandalous. Especially since their baby's bedtime comes around 8:00.

Instead, enjoy some tantalizing tidbits from Halloweens past.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stuff I've made lately.

My friends Paula and Nick welcomed their baby Charles a little ahead of schedule...and a little ahead of my crocheting schedule, too. Thankfully, he's doing great, and I got his blanket done in a hurry, too.

Baby blanket for Charles Dexter.

Baby blanket.

I actually screwed up the stitch that was the basis for this pattern, but didn't realize it until I was about halfway through -- it's supposed to be more V-shaped, and less like a granny square shape. But I thought it looked fine the way it was, and that the baby probably wouldn't mind, so I just kept going.

Also made recently: a heap of baby hats.

A heap of baby hats.

Another one bites the dust.

Despite my mother's protests...

My mother's semi-comedic response to the imminent demise of the big maple tree in the front yard.

...the big maple in our front yard is no more.

Leaving for work, 10/24/2011. Home from work, 10/24/2011.

Well, not entirely no more.

What remains.

Yeah, the goofy stump. I wasn't 100% sure about it at first, but it's grown on me in the past week. Kind of makes the loss of the tree sting a little bit less.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It continues.

The wooden trestle leading up to the Oredock is gone.

From the marina.
(Saturday, October 22, 2011.)

It's...disorienting. It looks frail, more vulnerable. Like it could just tip over or something, without that piece balancing it and connecting it to the shore. Driving into town from the west and seeing it on the lake's horizon, it takes a second to notice the empty space on the right...but once you do, it seems impossible to stop staring at it.

Even though I've been here in town during its demolition and have seen the process unfolding with my own eyes, I'm still sort of disbelieving what I'm seeing.

For comparison -- photos from October 8th, October 15th, and October 22nd:
It begins: Oredock update, 10/8/2011. Oredock update, 10/15/2011.On 8th Avenue East.

October 8th vs. October 22nd:
Standing by the barricade on the walking trail. Barricade on the walking trail.

October 15th vs. October 22nd:
Peeking through the fence on Water Street. Peeking through the (open) fence on Water Street.

It's hard to wrap my head around the fact that something that's been there for almost a hundred years has been dismantled in less than a month.

Arm's length.

View from the boathouses.
By the boathouses.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Police blotter.

Sunday, 3:41 P.M. (Apple Fest weekend): Received two cell phone calls regarding a male who is exposing himself by the Bayfield Inn on Rittenhouse Avenue in Bayfield. Subject wearing red shirt and straw hat.

Monday, 6:40 A.M.: Man wants it on file that he had a peeping Tom at about 6:00 A.M. on Broad Street in Bayfield. He was unable to locate suspect.

Tuesday, 6:29 A.M.: Caller reported that 2 white dogs walked into her yard and barked when she brought her dog outside to “potty.”

Tuesday, 1:50 P.M.: Caller requests officer assistance for her sister who dropped her keys in a yard filled with leaves on 6th Street West in Washburn. Update: keys were found.

Tuesday, 3:34 P.M.: Report of a snake in yard that caller believes might be poisonous on Omaha Street in Washburn. Update: snake is not poisonous, is caught and released in woods.

Wednesday, 1:34 P.M.: Report of a motion detector alarm at a residence. Update: keyholder called and stated everything was fine, it was the beetles and flies setting off the alarm and did not need an officer to respond.

Thursday, 11:16 A.M.: Caller reported that her husband came home from being out all night with a hickey on his neck and refused to tell who gave it to him.

Friday, 9:56 P.M.: Caller stated there are kids on tractors literally running over trucks in the field and being very loud.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No no no no no no no no no.

I saw clips of this on last week's episode of The Soup and just about died. Here it is, in all its glory.

Note: if you dare to scroll through some of the comments under that clip on YouTube (an activity I recommend avoiding like the plague), you'll come across some wondering if this cat's being abused or tortured (which did cross my mind at first, I admit, given its posture, its ears being flattened back, etc.). On the other hand, having lived with cats most of my life, I find the original poster's explanation (translated from Russian by some other users) pretty plausible: "My cat Marquis, the first time he saw my friend's daughter. He cried so violently all the time while she was visiting us. That was 7 years ago and he never repeated it a single time. Even when she came to us again, the cat just hissed." I've seen the way Toivo reacts to certain relatives -- when my brother Dewey comes to visit, Toivo'll take one look at him, start hissing and run away -- and I can attest that sometimes, cats do strange crap for no discernible reason. Also, the fact that the original poster's got other videos of the cat playing around their house, and that the cat's just standing still and not trying to run away in this clip, convinces me that they weren't hurting it. (Well, maybe it would hurt its feelings if it knew it were plastered all over the internet like this, but we'll never know for sure.)

It begins. (For real this time.)

Last week, the railroad started demolishing the last of the wooden trestles leading up to the Oredock. No demolition has started on the dock itself just yet, but now that various permits have been approved, it's only a matter of time.

Standing by the barricade on the walking trail.
(Standing by the barricade on the walking trail -
all these pictures were taken on Saturday, October 15, 2011.)

It's been over four years since it was announced that the Oredock's coming down (and five years since they removed the parts of the approach that crossed Main Street and Highway 2), but I don't think the reality's really sunk in yet for most people. There's been some false starts and stays of execution along the way that have delayed the inevitable...with it constantly being pushed off into the future, I guess it started to seem like maybe, just maybe, it would never actually happen. But now, it is.

Peeking through the fence on Water Street.
(Peeking through a fence on Water Street.)

Throughout this drawn-out saga, I've had a lot of conflicting emotions. I still do. I think this has brought out some of the best in Ashland (the rallying of community spirit, the art shows, the shared sense of nostalgia and loss), and some of the worst in Ashland (the negativity, the blame game, the Monday-morning-quarterbacking). I imagine the reactions would be similar in any community facing a similar situation, but sometimes I have a really hard time getting past how negative this place can feel -- or, rather, how the negative voices tend to dominate the conversation. Growing up here, I don't remember feeling like a "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade" sort of person -- moving away to college, and later to Helena, changed something in me, flipped a switch in my brain that made me more optimistic. Or, well, marginally more optimistic, at least.

About as close to the dock as I could get without stepping on a seagull carcass.

It's going to be really hard to watch the Oredock come down. People should be sad -- it's a big deal. But at the same time, thanks to bureaucratic paper-shuffling and some plucky peregrines, we got four extra years with it. Four extra years of pictures, and four extra years of driving into town and seeing it off in the distance...four extra years of walking out on the ice beside it, and four extra 4th of Julys with the fireworks booming off the chutes.

Are four extra years as good as forty extra years? Nope. But it's better than nothing. (See? Marginally more optimistic.)

View from the boathouses.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's not a tum-ah.

It's not a tumor.

My parents' weathervane has sprouted a hornet's nest in its armpit.

Our fickle friend, the summer wind.

Summer just won't go away this year. And I disapprove. I disapprove strongly. It's time to be cold, dammit! I want to wear pants! And shoes! Proper shoes that fully encase my feet! Let me put my sandals away already!

I mean, for the love of god, it was eighty degrees last weekend during Apple Fest. Eighty degrees! How can one properly enjoy a fall harvest festival in eighty degree weather? How can I be expected to eat and, more pressingly, enjoy my annual apple bratwurst under those kinds of conditions? I can't go to Apple Fest without a jacket. It's just wrong.

Between the heat, knowing it was the festival's 50th anniversary, and suspecting the sheer amount of insanity that would inspire amongst residents of the Twin Cities desperate to escape suburbia for a day "up north," I opted to skip this year -- and I'm glad I did. My relatives that went wound up driving around looking for a parking space in Bayfield for an hour, and even up at the orchards they had to park in the back eighty acres and stand in line for an hour for a bag of (overpriced) apples. They never even found a place to park in Bayfield -- they just gave up and went home. My internal rage system surely would've overheated and I fear the casualty count would've been high.

Normally, by my brother Dewey's birthday in mid-September, the leaves in the front yard have turned and are at their peak. This year's been different.

Front yard, October 1st:

Front yard, 10/1/2011.

Front yard, October 5th:

Front yard, 10/5/2011.

Front yard, October 9th:

Front yard, 10/9/2011.

Yep, that's right: we had less than a week to enjoy the leaves before a big-ass wind blew up on the 6th and wrecked everything.

Sadly, the big maple next to the garage is getting cut down in the not-too-distant future -- there are some concerns about its health and it falling on the garage if/when it goes. We've had a lot of trees cut down this year, but I think this one'll make us the saddest -- it's so close to the house, and often the prettiest one in the yard each autumn. I wish we'd had a chance to enjoy its autumnal splendor for a bit longer.

Stupid wind. Stupid summer. Bring on the $%#&*! snow!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Apparently, they aren't paying by the pound.

I mean, sure, his maintenance records are in a bit of a shambles, but he runs fine!

(Also great: this.)

Edit: And in the interest of feline fairness: