Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day!


Leap Day snowstorm! (the "before" shot)

Snow! Our first big storm of the season -- we've had it so freakin' easy this year. There must've been a lot of wind & drifting as the storm blew up overnight, because some parts of the yard had about nine inches, while others had well over a foot.

And over a foot in others.

I got the day off from work (our side road didn't get plowed until about 3:30 in the afternoon), which was nice...even if I did spend a good chunk of my surprise day-off outside, shoveling. Gotta pay the piper, I guess.

And the "after" shot.

Critters!


Critters!

Had some leftover yarn & whipped these up over the last few days.

Mouse & elephant. Elephant & mouse.

Oredock demolition update:


Excavators on top of the  dock.
(2/25/2012)

Excavators were lifted up by crane and set on top of the dock in late February...a few days later, they moved out to the end of the dock.

Excavators moved out to the end of the dock on 2/28/2012...
(2/28/2012)

(Note the delightful snowstorm blowing in across the lake...brr. And yet, there were still guys out there ice fishing.)

Then, they started lowering the chutes.

...and they started dropping the chutes.
(2/28/2012)

They aren't removing the chutes yet, just lowering them (you can see them hanging there) -- I think they have to paint them with something first, to seal in any contaminants to keep from getting them into the lake.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Police blotter.


Tuesday, 6:39 P.M.: Caller requested to speak with an officer about “people starting shit.”

Wednesday, 1:31 A.M.: Requested officer for two male teenage kids who are stoned. Said one walked into the back storage room and tried to go to sleep, and he chased them out.

Thursday, 5:45 P.M.: Caller on Main Street East requests an officer to remove the neighbor's dog from the roof and return it to the house.

Friday, 3:49 A.M.: Caller advised that people in a vehicle were sleeping in the drive-thru.

Sunday, 7:37 A.M.: Caller reports someone or someTHING was walking across the ice and now has been in the same location for approximately 30 minutes. Update: officer reports that he spotted a fisherman enjoying his day and someone walking their dog.

Sunday, 5:14 P.M.: Received message stating some girls at the bait shop in Drummond are concerned about a new guy in the area who is “creeping them out.”


Monday, February 27, 2012

"Tiger in the Woods."


My friend Regina had a baby! I made him a baby blanket.

Blanket for Eoin.

It turned out to be one of my most favorite things that I've ever made. The yarn was so soft, and I loved the colors, and I loved the way the striping pattern I improvised turned out...I mean, there's nothing that remarkable about it from a technical standpoint or anything like that, but I just really liked it.

Blanket for Eoin.

Eoin's big brother Joe said this blanket looked like a "tiger in the woods," so I'm totally stealing that line.


Postcard from Bessy.


Bessy at her new home in Forest Lake. Bessy!

"Hi Mary,

This is your old friend Bessy. I just wanted to let you know I have a new home in Forest Lake, MN. Your cousin-in-law, Matt brought me to work on the trailer. One of his co-workers decided to buy me for his son, after taking me for a test drive. I took the trailer ride up to Forest Lake, and I am now in the hands of a teenage high school boy. (Lord help me!) He loves the great stereo, but complains about my lack of power windows and absence of a key fob for unlocking the doors automatically.

Take care,
Love, Bessy"



Bessy!!

Oh my gosh! So wonderful to hear from you, what a surprise! I didn't think I'd ever see you again, so seeing you parked in a new driveway definitely just made my day. I'm so glad you found a new home, and so quickly, too -- but I knew Matt would find the right place for you, he's got a good eye for quality automobiles. And I'm really glad you'll be with a whippersnapper who'll give you a few more years of adventure -- you might wind up with a few more dents and scrapes by the time he's done with you, but hey, they'll probably blend in pretty well with the ones that are already there.


And he'll get used to the lack of power windows -- tell him that rolling the windows up & down builds character! Or arm muscles, whatever works.

Thanks so much for dropping me a line -- and if you see Jill & Matt, tell them thanks, too.


Love,

Mary

P.S. The new-to-me car is doing well -- it hasn't got a name yet, but you know, these things take time...



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Police blotter.


Thursday, 1:02 A.M.: Caller reports a red Chevy Silverado doing donuts on the lake.

Thursday, 3:38 P.M: Report of a dead skunk under a neighbors' house and that there is a terrible smell coming from it. Caller stated that the neighbors were unreceptive to removing the animal.

Saturday, 1:13 P.M.: Traffic hazard: report of numerous bunches of Evergreen Shoppers on the highway.

Sunday, 1:10 A.M.: Caller was heavily intoxicated and called 911 to have a cab called for him.

Monday, 11:53 P.M.: Caller in Bayfield reports a chair in the middle of Highway 13.

Tuesday, 7:18 P.M.: Caller reports her apartment is too cold.

Wednesday, 4:22 P.M.: Caller reports a green sedan parked by the gazebo at the marina. Windows are fogged-up and people inside seem to be "fooling around."


Monday, February 13, 2012

Reading/Watching/Etc.


(Disclaimer: I haven't been reading much in paper/book form lately, other than slogging through my usual heap of magazines, so this installment will focus more on the watching than usual.)


READING:

George Harrison: Living in the Material World by Olivia Harrison

Crap At My Parents' House by Joel Dovev (as originated on this blog right over here)


WATCHING (MOVIES):

Drive / The Ides of March
An accidental Ryan Gosling double-header. I liked them both, though if I were asked to pick a favorite, I didn't really get attached enough to either one to care.

The Life of Reilly (via Netflix instant viewing)
I've had this in my queue for about two years, and after waiting in vain for them to get it in DVD form, I finally caved and watched it online. (I'm not really into the online viewing thing just yet -- maybe my connections are just too slow, but everything gets choppy and I feel tethered to my computer monitor.) Thoroughly enjoyed it -- I knew him from game shows, but wow, the guy had one hell of a life beyond mugging for the camera.

50/50
Really good, even better than I'd heard. Moving and funny.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
It's a beautiful little documentary about a cave full of ancient paintings, but holy crap, I couldn't stay awake through this one. I don't know if it was the setting, or the Yanni-by-way-of-an-Ambien-commercial soundtrack, but honest to god, I tried watching it all the way through three separate times and each time, it was a one-way ticket to Snoozeville for me.

Super 8 / Attack the Block
Two movies about kids confronting aliens, with two very different outcomes. I liked
Super 8 but found it predictable and a little too palpably Spielberg-ian; Attack the Block is a little harder to warm up to, because there's more kids to keep track of and waaaaaaaaaaay more violence and moral ambiguity to wade through, but I ultimately found it more rewarding and more memorable to watch. If I had to pick a favorite out of these two, it'd be Attack the Block, for sure.

Green Lantern
This was pretty terrible.

Moneyball
I couldn't care less about baseball, but was utterly transfixed by this movie. As I was watching it I kept thinking, "Wow, this sounds like an Aaron Sorkin screenplay," stupidly oblivious to the fact that it
was an Aaron Sorkin screenplay until I got to the credits at the end.

Midnight in Paris
I don't really know what all the fuss is about with this one -- it's perfectly fine, but it didn't blow me away or anything. One criticism that I've read elsewhere that rang true with me was about how all the artists are portrayed as charmingly flawed individuals, while all the "real" people (with the exception of Owen Wilson's character) are fairly terrible and unlikeable. It's a pleasant little piece of fluff, but not anything that'll stick to your ribs.

Super
This movie didn't seem to know what it wanted to be. I liked a lot of the ingredients in the mix -- Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson, James Gunn, superhero movies in general -- but something about the tone was off.

The Muppets
Saw this in the theater on opening weekend and loved it. Jason Segel and his collaborators breathed life back into the franchise (although truth be told, I think Muppets In Space had its strong points) and I hope there's another movie somewhere down the line. And I hope they let them perform "Man or Muppet" at the Oscars, too, for pete's sake.

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut
Fans divvied up the original Star Wars movie into 15-second clips and remade them using live action, animation, claymation...you name it, it's in there. Even if you don't have two hours to devote to watching it in its entirety, it's definitely worth checking out for a few minutes just to see the scope of creativity & love that went into this thing.





WATCHING (TV):

Key & Peele
Sketch shows have a, well, sketchy history on Comedy Central -- it seems like every time I go & bother getting attached to one (i.e., Stella, Michael & Michael Have Issues, etc.), Comedy Central fumbles it and cancels it just when it's really starting to hum along. Here's hoping Key & Peele gets to stick around a little longer, because I think they've got some pretty funny stuff to say.

Circus
This documentary miniseries aired on PBS about a year ago -- I caught the first one or two episodes but then got sidetracked and missed the rest. When it popped up on Netflix (on DVD and on-demand) I went back and watched it all in one weekend...it's so, so good. I came to it not really giving a rip about circuses one way or the other, and came away so impressed that I went out and bought the show off the PBS website.



And, as an offshoot of Circus: I fell in love with the show's theme song, and subsequently fell in love with the album it came from. Behold, The Features and "Whatever Gets You By" (from their album Some Kind of Salvation). (Seriously, this didn't come out of my car's CD player for a month after I got it.)



RuPaul's Drag Race, season 4
It's back! It's more ridiculous than ever! And they're finally recapping it every week on the A.V. Club!! SQUEEEEEEAL!

Mary Tyler Moore, season 1
I had a bit of a TV dry spell after Christmas and was looking to fill in the gap...I started with the first season of this from Netflix and have been nibbling my way through those for the past few weeks. What I love about it so far is that while it's very much of-its-time, change the clothes and the sets and this could absolutely be transposed into the present day. The writing is that strong, and the characterizations so clear. Looking forward to eventually getting to the Betty White years.

Downton Abbey, season 2
Love it, but man, this second season's been kind off-the-rails, hasn't it? I'm willing to suspend a certain amount of disbelief in the name of period costume dramas, but that bit with the guy with the burned-off face showing up...and the long, drawn-out saga of Bates and Vera dragging on forever and ever...and that Sybil and the chauffeur plotline...okay, some of it has been fairly ridiculous and is trying my patience. But I'm told things wrap up in a satisfactory manner with the Christmas episode next week, so here's hoping it ends on a redeeming note.

The Middle, Seasons Two (on DVD) and Three (airing now)
This show doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's funny and good-natured and sometimes, that sort of thing just hits the spot. It's one that I tend to forget to tune into when it's on, but it's the kind that's easy to binge on in DVD form over the course of a weekend, so it all evens out eventually.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season Two
This season lacked some of the fun of the first, but it still reliably delivered moments such as the following:




ETC.:

Podcasts -- Lately I've been listening to a lot of Pop Culture Happy Hour, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, and How Did This Get Made? Alas, I've been falling behind on This American Life and many others, but there's just so many hours in a day, really. I can't absorb everything!

Making Stuff -- I've been crocheting a lot this winter, mostly scarves and potholders and Christmas presents and stuff like that. I've got a few more projects in the hopper and lately I've amassed a mighty pile of patterns to add to my to-do list, so here's hoping I stay motivated for the foreseeable future.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Last walk through JCPenney's.


Penney's last day in Ashland, 1/28/2012.

Penney's closed on Saturday, January 28, 2012...late that afternoon, we went down to the store to pick up some ladders my parents had bought from the store liquidators. Given that my mom had worked there for 20+ years, she really wanted to take one last swing through the building, too, for old time's sake.

One last stop in the front windows.

Empty.

By the time we arrived, all the merchandise was gone. All that was left were the piles of stuff going to other stores, the stuff they'd sold that people were coming to pick up, and the employees.

Parting words written on the lunch room wall.

I hadn't planned on going in there in the weeks leading up to the closing -- I just wanted to remember it as it was. But I'm glad we went -- my mom knew every nook & cranny of that place, and it brought back a lot of memories to see the stock room where she worked again (and where me & my younger brother spent a lot of time waiting for her after school or pestering her when we were on summer vacation).

There's lots more pictures over here, too.

The stairs.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Happy trails.


Yesterday, my cousin-in-law Matt came to get Bessy.

Happy trails.

I took an early lunch break and went home to see her off. And to take some pictures, naturally.

A happy ending.

I'm sad to see her go, but ultimately pretty happy that she's got more living to do. I'd tell her to drop me a postcard whenever she winds up wherever she's going, but well, she's a car. So I'll just have to use my imagination.

Roll on.

Happy trails, you majestic Lumina.