Upbeetimes and breakfast with wives

May 23rd, 2015

Call me Samuel Beepys. If you have not seen this really cool video yet of a bee metamorphosis, I highly recommend it.


pollen baskets ahoy

Over the past three weeks we’ve been fixing a self-inflicted disaster. I was gripped by indecision paralysis about something called comb guides. Here is what the inside of our top bar hives look like, basically. You can see that there are literal bars that are supposed to remain movable, that is to say, not glued together with comb (wax) and plant goo (propolis). Check this out: it did not occur to me that if I did not make “guides” on the bars that the bees would get in there are perceive it as a big cave and just start building comb anyfuckingplace. Because surely horrible smoky bears will not come once a week and tear the roof off and poke around, right? Wrong. It’s like Minecraft except I’m the monster.

So they started building their hanging combs on the cracks between the bars, or two to a bar. This was causing everything to be fused together and to fall down when we would try to inspect. I am so dumb. It’s like any hobby you get into–there’s a million ways to do one thing, and everyone has a different opinion. I just never decided on one thing.


double combing

So we went in and retroactively added some square “dowels” to some of the bars and fixed what we could. But this has caused a lot of chaos in the hive and for me to be stung many times now. Sooo I am over that fear. I get kind of feverish feeling and semi-useless for the rest of the day. Plus there is the big adrenaline dump (for me, some people are probably super casual about it).

Also I have discovered that it is terrifying opening a hive and looking into it sometimes. I get kind of frozen, just seeing the thousands of bees and hearing them raise their buzz until it is louder and truly angry-sounding as we get close to the queen. I think this is the last day we will be wrecking shop and the new comb is being drawn straight.

Even though you have done nothing wrong I have still made you a terrible drawing in paint to show how this works.


cutting away the double comb veeeery carefully

Fingers crossed next week I will not be stung. So far I think this is going well in that they are still alive and reproducing, and we have seen combs full of honey, but we are just leaving them alone for now.


Too many Todds on the dance floor

This is some wayward comb that we had to remove that had some drones hatching out of it. As we have been moving comb around and removing fallen comb from the bottom of the hive, we’ve been putting it back on top of the bars if it has capped brood. This means the baby bees are done eating, they are just sealed up and growing at that point. If they stay warm and safe they seem to hatch out okay in the “attic.”

This is some of my favorite bee-behavior (beehavior): festooning. You can see fallen comb bits on the bottom of the hive. We had to clean those up, which caused the stings.

They make funny little daisy chains between the combs. When we pull the bars to inspect them, they are often chained together like this. After we were done and my heart was all racing and I was starting to swell from stings, I had a snort of gin and then mopped the kitchen. I really look forward to Saturdays now.

This morning I made sunscreen, because the last time I put on my (corny) regular sunscreen a few weeks ago I had one of my “narcoleptic” episodes where I fell asleep randomly, as I mentioned that I do recently.

It was pretty easy. I joke about my narcoleptic episodes sometimes, but corn is no joke for me. When I worked for M$ I had a loooong bus ride home and I would deeply, deeply pass out. One time I woke up and the bus was packed and a guy was kind of pawing me. A. that shouldn’t have happened to anyone but B. if I am honest, I have to say it didn’t bother me that much. Would I like to kick him in the kidneys until he pees blood? Yes, I would take that chance. But (hey let’s get darker) much worse things have happened to me. I didn’t have anyone to tell at the time, so I didn’t tell anyone. I went into my trusty ol’ Don Draper mode of “it will shock you how much this never happened.”

BUT LET’S AVOID THAT MOVING FORWARD, OKAY. Homemade sunscreen. HIGHKICKS.

Let’s have a picture of a dog terrified but a robotic vacuum. I’d just gotten back from a run yesterday. She does this every time it runs. Poor baby.

Beetonic butts/black and yellow butts

May 21st, 2015

WHEW. This is going to be picture-heavy. I will try to go easy on the commentary for this one because I know you gots other things to do with your day.

I’ve been dragging my feets on posting in part because the weather is SO DAMN NICE now, following the trend of this winter. Also because my laptop is a problem child and makes using the internet painful. (Hence me blogging at work *cough*.) I finally pinned it to the wifi adaptor. It randomly drops the wifi signal. I tried updating it, but the manufacturer doesn’t even have a page, and the random site that was hosting updates seems to be corrupted…anyway this thing works great if I am right next to the router. BRB the kitchen is my new home.

ALSO we had a little “staycation” for the first week of May, which was nothing too dramatic. Our only plan was to go see art at the Frye and we walked in and nothing was on display! We wandered around Capitol Hill instead. I like to joke that we are vampires now because we used to go out to eat but now we go into a restaurant and order whatever drink won’t make me ill (water/gin) and then watch the humans stuffing their gobs with any damn thing. SO INNOCENT. I USED TO BE YOU.


In other, less whiny news

irrEGGular

Drone ring

I’ve been monkeying around with bread lately. I like these little “Paleo” biscuits, but not all the time. There is something about them that is very squishy white-bready, which is not really something I’ve enjoyed much for the past few years. They make pretty good biscuit subs, as in “biscuits-n-gravy.”

Ninety seconds of nuking later…

They creep up the side of the mugs. As far as “starchy” things go, it could be a lot worse. We’re still on the mostly veggies plan.

HOWEVER. I do like injera at home now. I let the batter sit for two days and get really sour. They are trickier to cook than pancakes or socca, but I am getting the hang of it.

Speaking of gluten free, Mother’s Day was nice. We got the yard pretty much spiffed up in time. Lights hung, more flowers planted…

P. spent a couple of weeks fretting about my request for petit fours. He found a cake recipe that was acceptable to everyone and spent some time testing things. It’s REALLY good. Many of my MD pics turned out blurry, so, ugh. Sorry about that.



In the end, there was CAKE!

He made enough for an army and and I basically had four pieces over two days. I sent some home with my sister, who was happy about that I think.


Evidence of happiness


“I’m a pupa” GET OUT OF MY HAMMOCK WITH THAT

Playing Citadels

“You eat borscht and get strong like ox, pull cart to village.”

Morning

Evening

In other, other news

Franny and I are both having nightmares about our respective problem parents right now. I feel bad for her because I basically married my mother, so this is 100% my fault. “Here, kid, have the same parenting experience I did.” GOLD STAR FOR ME.

In my dream I was having extreme angst over the direction in which I am trying to take my life, and my mother was there. “Why can’t you just help me?” I pleaded with her. “Help me break into your field.” I don’t want to be in her field, but in my dream I think I was looking for a quick fix.

“I can’t do that. I’ve never done that,” she replied, scoffing. I teared up had a moment of being deeply ashamed of asking for help from her when I knew what the outcome would be, and felt rejected like I used to when I would ask for things as a child. I felt myself steel-up like I used to when I had to rely on just myself.

“I can do this,” I thought in the dream. God, that’s a heavy one, isn’t it!

I’ve had some serious and not-so-serious talks with my sister lately about the past. I don’t think I could really accept until pretty recently that she was kind of in the same boat I was in–which is to say looking for a mother outside of our biological mother. When I was much younger it was super complicated. I almost felt jealous of her, since our mother was present from the time of her birth without any major gaps unlike my upbringing. However, I also felt really guilty for moving away and “abandoning” my sister when I became an adult. I’m grateful that my mother (inevitably) hosed up her third marriage and moved to my city with my sister. That was when I was able to take care of some needs that I didn’t really understand that my sister had. Regardless of the different phases of our mother that we got, the outcome was about the same. I inadvertently (and often very poorly) filled in a lot of the parenting and it was still a much more satisfying situation for my sister. Loooongtime readers may recall my sister was at my house when she was in high school A LOT. She practically lived with me at one point. I have apologized to my sister for so many times for some of the dumb things I did, but have made peace with the fact that I was in my early twenties and did not really understand how much she was relying on me! I don’t think any of us knew what was happening.

Can we say HERO/CARETAKER ROLE? Gee, I wonder why I have 284 animals. HA HA. Quick, someone pour me a glass of something before I become completely sapient.

This is dark, but sometimes I think it would have been better for everyone in the past if my mother had aborted me, like she told me she wanted to. It was always clear to me that I was unwanted and a burden as a child. But I’m glad in my adulthood that people have me, like my sister, since I know what it feels like to lose the people you bond with as your parents. I’m glad my girls have me. And childhood is relatively short, and then you go on and make your own life. I’m the buffer (ordering business cards with that title now). We may not be walking down the correct path, always, but it will be a new one, by god. Mother’s Day made me have some deep thoughts, I guess.

The medlar has decided to make exactly one bloom on the top of itself, like the tree that thought it was a primrose, I suppose.

Finally framed it! This is my next one, this coming fall.

Five Weeks in Prison

April 29th, 2015

I made no friends. But I did make some dope cash, which made up for Goethe’s Hulk-out face smashery and when the water heater popped this winter. Tomorrow’s my last day here. They wanted to kick my contract out to August, which is nice I suppose. But I have to get on with my life.

Plus my online math class is going to “expire” in June, so I need to finish that as well. I really need to do something (for money) that I give some fucks about at this point, now that my girls are so big, and not just collect a paycheck. I give many fucks about my 4 million hobbies, but they fall into the expense column.



Separated at birth???

Franny was gone this weekend being miserable at her dad’s house, sadly, and we went off and ran a local 5K run by a doughnut company. I have no pictures, because my sister and I got our timing off kilter and she actually wasn’t at the finish line. I thought she might have been ill or caught in traffic so we waited for a bit and then went back to the car to grab my phone…and there she was at the finish line wondering where we were. I was so fast I finished in record time! Just kidding, I was slow like a turtle.

I have yet to meet a database that won’t mongle my name. One of my diplomas came misspelled like this even. Ha.

Strudel took off like a shot at the beginning to find her friends and finished before we did, and was waiting for us at the finish line, alone.

“How’s it going,” I said, when I picked her face out of the crowd.

“Bad. I’ve been here for like 15 minutes and I can’t find Auntie Morgan,” she complained. We checked her time later and she finished only five minutes before we did. Each minute is multiplied by three when you’re ten I guess.

P. is asking me when we are going to run our next 5K, and I say, “I’m not sure.” There were things I liked about it and things I didn’t.

    Like:
  • Greenlake is REALLY flat, so there was a sense of ease
  • I got a cool shirt
    1. Did not like:
  • The 11-year-old who kept dashing ahead of us and then would stop to walk right in front of us
  • I did my duty and brought a cool story about a woman whose dog punched her in the stomach after anal sex and she shit herself, which effectively rendered him speechless and unable to think of anything to talk about, which made the first mile slow. I thought it would help to have conversational topics!
  • Strollers, and people who think four-year-olds will run a 5K. You can barely cajole those beasts into dressing themselves
  • Paying for something I can do in my own neighborhood for free felt dumb and the doughnuts smelled disgusting when we came around the last bend
  • I had a good time, though. And then Morgan and I caught up and she came to my house for brunch.

    The day before, we worked the bees and then P. took off to the local tool rental place and got a tiller.

    “You’re going to till up the backyard the day before we have this race?” I asked.

    “Yep,” he said. I watched him crank it up and his arms start shaking and I was like, “That guy is going to be sore tomorrow,” and he was!


    Taking a wee break.

    He got as close as he dared to the beehives. They did not care for a gas-powered tiller narming up the dirt around their house. So I get the little spit of land in front of their houses. I forgot to snap a finished picture, but I put in foxglove, bee balm, shasta daisy, alyssum, lupin, black-eyed susans, and something I’m probably forgetting. He put six tomato plants in the larger chunk of land. We pretty much used up the original garden, between the kiwis, medlar, fig, hives, and where the tomatoes were last year is full of a rotation of crimson clover (which is about to bloom, squee).

    I let the chickens out to scratch it all up, figuring it couldn’t hurt. They were really into actual grass so I had to lure them to the dirt using some flung pepitas.

    I am excited to get rid of my jank, broken decaying ye olde patio crap. I finally pulled the trigger on a new table that will hold guests and some chairs that were not free ten years ago and are now falling apart and have been spraypainted in a hail mary attempt to not make my backyard look like West Virginia (as P. says, who lived there). All the furniture came yesterday and Strudel and I were unpacking it as the afternoon rain started.

    I opened the table box and realized it was already open and the table’s corner was munged. It was packed very poorly.

    I have such a thrift store/vintage/freecycle mentality that sometimes it is hard for me to decide to buy something new, and I fret over purchases for weeks. So long that the first table I wanted sold out for the year, ha. I had a little tear to see this and I felt foolish for not just finding some old, pre-scratched, less-broken-than-the-previous-stuff crap somewhere.

    Of course since I had all the furniture and it was raining, I realized the cover hadn’t shipped yet. I put the cushions indoors and before an actual human who worked to pay for them could enjoy them, BEHOLD, A WILD NIGHTMERE APPEARS. BOOOOO. She colonizes eveything.

    And then there’s the shopping cart issue still, speaking of jank…I need to take this back to the store it came from a couple of neighborhoods over. I was going to turn it into a shopping cart made of succulents, but I have no idea where I’d put it.

    “Weh! Mom, I’m a baby!” Oh god no. That performance probably caused the final death knell of my ovaries.

    Today’s fun fact is that iodized salt contains dextrose

    April 24th, 2015


    Thetans! Thetans errwhur!!

    Weird week. I had really vivid nightmares all week, and night sweats, and just generally woke up a lot. I realized partway through the week, once cool lesions started opening up on my scalp and my lymph nodes started raising again, that I had gotten corn from somewhere. The list of symptoms is long, and it’s unmistakable now.

    I’m discovering more and more that things I buy are often cut with or cross contaminated by something, even if there’s no listing. I’ve been reading about the adulteration of honey, and olive oil, and the practice of adding (corn-based) glycerin or HFCS to some red wines. This made me think about why, even if I was making every sauce and meal from ingredients that read “contains 100% whatever this is called,” I was still having adverse affects sometimes.

    So this week it was tamarind paste–I happened to be at a Whole Foods, which carries a different brand than my home store. It said 100% tamarind paste so I bought it and added it to a chutney, which was nothing else but fresh herbs, a little safe seasoning, and whole dates. I made it to go with some onion pakoras that were a terrible fail in the fryer (not enough batter). I salvaged them by mounding them like drop biscuits and baking them on a high temp. Strudel and I ate the chutney for a couple of days with leftovers and she got sick too.

    “How are you feeling?” I asked her when she came home. I had gotten a call from the nurse earlier that day, who said she had fallen, knocked her loose tooth out, and swallowed it.

    “Well, pretty bad. And dizzy. Which is why I fell down. Also my throat is sore from swallowing my tooth.”

    I poured out the leftover chutney.

    At this point, I think my best bet is to compile a list of brands with the reactions they cause (and more importantly, brands that do NOT cause reactions) and make it accessible by phone for shopping (I’m about to pull the trigger on a new smart phone so it should do more than just make calls and send texts that my janky old grey mare has been reduced to).

    I woke up this morning feeling super hungover (no booze for the past two days) and in theory I am supposed to be running in a 5K on Sunday. I felt marvelous last weekend when I had a houseguest and was wrangling bees. Now I have not been running enough and have been falling into bed exhausted. P. keeps asking me about the race and I am so demoralized right now I don’t even want to think about it. It felt completely attainable last week. Maybe things will turn around by Sunday.

    Franny was hanging onto corn for the past few months. She told me she wanted to see how she did, to see if maybe just cutting out wheat and most dairy would do it. She had a pretty serious crash over spring break on a day when she treated herself to a giant Arizona Iced Tea “juice” (HFCS). She came home and tried to do the crossword puzzle in People, of all things, which could really be worked out by a moderately clever grey squirrel, and got frustrated and was going all dyslexic in the letter spaces. Then she wandered around the house for a while, and cried for what she admitted was “no reason.” She was in bed by 8 p.m. that night.

    I used to get these odd narcoleptic crashes after lunchtime sometimes where if I was sitting my body would shut down as if I’d been drugged for about ten minutes. Things would literally start to shut in on me and go kind of black–aggressive unconsciousness. If we were on a road trip I could stop midsentence and then come back to life about ten minutes later, snapping awake as if I’d never been asleep, and finish my thought. I used to sleep on the commuter bus from Microsoft daily a few years ago.

    So it was all kind of familiar. I talked to her about it the next day after she’d slept it off. “Sooo, I noticed you had a large corn drink earlier that day, and your crying for no reason and brainfog and tiredness seemed familiar….” Later that day she said she was going to try to deliberately cut out corn.

    “I have no idea what I’m going to eat at my dad’s house now,” she lamented. “He already gives me a hard time. ‘Don’t you get tired of no variety?’ he says. My choice is to feel like crap or eat nothing sometimes!” She eats a lot of rice there.

    This is…kind of frustrating, but kind of just silly. We have a ton of variety here, in the world of spices and flavorings, and every kind of seasonal veggie, and loads of gluten-free grains. As I’ve written about, we make gluten free breads or cookies sometimes. From what she describes, there’s not much chance for “variety” over there because ingredients that don’t work for her are in most meals. I don’t like that she’s being treated like she’s making a strictly moral dietary choice or is being a picky teenager for no reason. She feels her stepmother still has no understanding of what she’s dealing with. (“What is Celiac anyway?”)

    P. and I put our heads together and asked if it would help to have some kind of grocery list. Her dad takes her to the store every Friday that he picks her up, which is nice, but expecting a 14-year-old to meal plan on the spot, not knowing what is in his pantry, is challenging. I didn’t really get good at weekly meal planning until I was in my late 20s (and finally had a fixed, consistent cashflow and budget that was barely above the poverty level I’d been living at for years, that was key).

    So I sat down with her and made a short list of staples that she could prepare as sides with little fuss or cost, like baked potatoes, or putting fried eggs on rice. I winged a really simple beans and rice recipe for her. I told her to take Kind bars out of our pantry as backup. We tried to think of things her little sisters wouldn’t want to raid–not to be stingy, but so Franny’s “special” stuff would not get eaten, leaving her with things she could not eat.

    Okay, okay, so I admit that I am often overzealous about hacking my kids’ lives so they will run better and smoother. It’s definitely an overreaction to having zero help with things when I was a child. Sometimes my brain goes, “Hey, you came out of it fine”…except those times that I was unsafe, or underfed, or hiding the fact that I needed medical attention because asking for a lift to the doctor was a bad idea. I am trying not to do everything for them. I know they will go out into the world and step on 28 rakes on the first day, but I want them to have a shot at realizing that there’s more than one way to solve a problem. And that it is okay to ask for help with things.

    Anyway, I am happy that most of the time I can go for a run, especially in light of the fact that I was laying in bed most of the time a year ago, and that most of the time my scalp is not covered in lesions. (HA. There’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d ever write. wtf) I’m happy that Strudel is kicking ass and taking names most of the time now as well.

    P. and I “worked” the bees midweek to see what was happening in there and to see if the queens were out loose from their cages. We took the tops off the hives and straightened comb out as much as we could. I didn’t see any eggs yet, but if things are going well we should see larva tomorrow. I will bring my camera for that. I wouldn’t say we were in a rush on Tuesday, but the sun was setting and it was rather cold and miserable. It has been thrilling to see foragers bringing in their fat pollen legs on the nicer days this week. P. says he can feel his brain crinkling because there is so much to think about.

    And, for posterity, here is Shan and I on Sunday in my yard after she spent the night. HER phone will deign to take pics. Unfortunately for her she was swamped with monitoring posts for her site/various social media on Saturday night, so I said HEY LET’S BE VEGETABLES. I turned on a few episodes of Flight of the Conchords and we just kind of giggled and had a glass of wine and didn’t talk exhaustively to 1 a.m. or anything. It is nice having the type of old friend who you cannot see for a year and a half and then just sit with them. I am very grateful to her. If she hadn’t gotten in my face on my blog in 2003 or so, I never would have gotten to know her. I get my head pretty far up my obtuse, increasingly introverted ass sometimes, so I am happy that some people have decided to B&E into my life.

    Franny painted Horace’s nails

    April 19th, 2015

    Mr. Horace is modeling robot pink.

    Bees are in

    April 18th, 2015

    We got up early and went to a site near Boeing Field to pick up the bees. It was pretty cool to roll up on a trailer full of bee boxes, and feeling the mild terror that two of them were ours. I added some more pics to the top bar hive album and there’s a video in there as well. If you look closely you may notice that P. and I have matching hats with bills to keep the mesh off our faces. If the mesh rests against your nose, you will likely get stung right there.

    Franny was very brave and took pictures in her flip flops and shorts. She is the insect whisper. She was picking up loose bees off the ground at the pick up site and looked sad when P. told her she could not take a loose one home. Then her new friend flew off her sleeve and into our trunk as we loaded the packages in, and she beamed. “I always pet bees,” she said.

    It’s really a perfect day to install them. Mild, clear, warm, not windy. The backyard is full of bees now as they get oriented in their new homes. The air filled up when the sun finally hit the hives. We didn’t get stung once, which was a relief. I was just kind of bracing myself for it.

    The queens looked active in their little cages and we plugged the holes up with marshmallow, which she and her new friends should chew through in about 3 days. Shan’s coming in a bit to hang out and spend the night as she’s up here on a little business. Lucky me! Haven’t seen her for a year and a half. Very excited. I made sure she’s not allergic to honeybees.

    His chest sparkled in the sunlight like that mysterious crap that collects at the bottom of your purse

    April 17th, 2015

    This miiight be the last time we work together. If he wants to, he can walk to a window and see me across the street at my desk. I get IMs like “What were you doing this morning, you were moving around a lot.”

    Why do I feel sad about this? I live with him for fuck’s sake. HA. Anyway I am done on the 30th. And tech contracting will always be there if I bomb my career change. Which is a great whip to keep me motivated.

    Hello to Sring*

    April 13th, 2015

    * The infamous “sring” cake in all its glory.

    Busy weekend, and busy past couple of weeks. I guess I should start with Easter. What happened? Not much. I decided to see what would happen if I followed the recommended advice and set aside eggs in the back of the fridge for a couple of weeks. I was very surprised I was coordinated enough to remember to do this! As expected, the air bubble was bigger and they were easier to peel. Whoopie. Cross another one off the bucket list, I suppose.

    Sometimes I like to show off my eggs because they turn out cool, but this year they were kind of a hash. I bought discounted egg dye kits a couple of years ago after the holiday (tie dye, marble, and glitter) and they were kind of lame! Next I think we will go back to feats with ordinary dye. These eggs were quickly ushered into an egg salad made with spicy chipotle mayo.

    Other than dyeing eggs with the girls, and making some nicer dinner since lamb’s on sale and it’s a Sunday, I am wildly inconsistent about Easter. I don’t do a lot of candy because I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere–Easter really isn’t our holiday. But it’s nice to say hello to spring. And baths! Have some bath loot, girls.

    I made Franny an Easter basket plate.

    And also Strudel.

    And then I roasted a lamb leg that I stuffed in part with minced preserved lemons I made in February. I got down to my last one-and-a-half and I sliced some more and added more salt to the jar while I watched part of Going Clear. I know Japanese pickles can be done in an “endless” way like this so we’ll see if the same is true of lemons. Between the acid in the salt I doubt I’m breeding new life forms in there. And it is FUN to dig around in a salty lemon-oily jar. It’s like beach mad scientist as a kid.

    I was a Bisy Backson yesterday in the sense that I did all those things you put off in the week, because enough is enough in one day sometimes. I took Strudel out for a refurbed taller bike, which she named Dr. Krieger.

    This will be her last bike before she gets a full-sized one, unless the frame explodes or something. Am I winding down on child ranching or what? There’s a lot of parenting left to do, but I cannot even pretend I have little kids anymore.

    I also finished a mini-project last weekend: tagging the trees.

    I used 18 tags, and only one of the trees came with the house (the Italian prune). We’ve been busy. To be fair, four tags went on the frankencherry alone.

    I wasn’t as helpful with the beehives this weekend as I would have liked. We decided to divide and conquer. I helped where I could (caulk, moral support) and P. just hit it really hard. It was forecasted to rain today (and has) so we tucked them onto the porch for now. Franny is on deck to paint when it clears up a little later this week.

    I ran out of caulk so I’ve not quite finished the roofs.

    Hello have you heard the good news about beehives

    This Saturday we’re going to pick up two packages of Italians and then bring them home and dump them into the boxes. I know people have done this thousands of times, but it still sounds bizarre. I will bring my camera so I can capture the site of a truck full of bees (I hope).

    Franny has been in fine form lately. She was in a great mood on Sunday and decided to dawdle some before cleaning out the chicken coop by giving the dogs rides. Poor Edith was tiny terrified until Horace joined her.

    Horace joins the fun.

    Bonus party trick.

    Her hair is full of Sucrets

    April 4th, 2015

    Okay so. Come closer. LEMMIE SHOW YOU SOMETHING.* I remember when I was a wee blogging lass and I would actually write my face off on Saturday night, and then wait to post it until Monday. I wanted you to believe I had a life when I was 24. I actually did not. I was home writing most nights while my preschooler snoozed, which is really nothing to be ashamed of. I had this idea that I should be Having My Twenties but I was kind of born 57 so it worked out really. Last night P. and I went out to one of them drinking theaters to see Cry-Baby when the children left, which was fun. I HAVE CHILDREN WHO TEMPORARILY AND SIMULTANEOUSLY LEAVE NOW.

    Tonight Franny went out to a potluck at her boyfriend’s house. P. gave her a talk that was funny but like the opposite of last weekend’s traumarama dad sex talk. “Aw that is so grownup that you’re going to a potluck,’ he said,” she told me in the car. We were on our way to upsize Strudel’s violin from a three-fourths to a full sized one and Franny was riding along. She thought it was very funny but I think she likes it. I sent her with flowers since her boyfriend’s mother insisted she did not need to bring a dish.

    So Strudel and I stayed here alone. “What’s for dinner?” she said.

    “PMS. I mean, cinnamon loaf.”

    We were responsible and had some proteiny leftovers while it was cooling. Then I iced it. Hur hur. The icing was too thick and the hole was too big.**

    “What is that pattern, Mother?”

    “Uh…just going for coverage, I guess.”

    “They’re chevrons,” Strudel declared, generously.

    As soon as I cut it, she noted that it was underbaked. We’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off like WHOA and suddenly she’s an expert in these matters.

    She pronounced her final verdict: “Paul Hollywood would say ‘two more minutes.”

    This is what I get from a ten-year-old.

    You might have noticed in the first loaf picture there was something in the corner…that something is…a shopping cart.

    After date night on Thursday night I got a ride home in this from the bus stop. It was amazing. I laughed until I cried, which has not happened in a while. And now I have a cart in my yard. What to do? Return it in the Elco tomorrow when I run to the hardware store for more beehive parts? Turn it into a mobile planter??

    On Friday morning Franny left the house and didn’t notice it until she came back after school. She promptly called P. and I, who had fled our jobs and were waiting for the bus. He answered and acted as if he had never heard of such a thing, and when we came home we had the fun of accusing her and her boyfriend of stealing it and leaving it there. I love an indignant Franny.

    So, currently, Strudel is in the tub. She went to her first ever sleepover last night. We were nervous but they have allergies at their house too and we were super serious and we emailed and I thought we were cool. But they xanthan gummed her and she got covered with hives that started on her right arm and spread to everywhere.

    I thought maybe taking the doges out for a walk and being distracted would help but she started to lose it and scratch and scratch. I understood–I am the person who could not shake poison ivy without steroids. I put her in the tub with, I shit you not, a coffee filter full of oatmeal rubber banded shut, some tea bags, some baking soda, Epsom salts, and apple cider vinegar, because fuck the inflammation police. She was eager to take a bath and I hear her splashing around in there.

    So that is my hot Saturday night. In other news, there were parcels yesterday. My new running shoes came and I bounced around the neighborhood and then walked around Greenlake. There is a woman at Greenlake who is bodychecking people on purpose. I am not kidding. She is actually walking around the lake running into people’s shoulders. She did it to my walking buddy and now I have seen her do it to others. I kind of want to STOP her. What would you do?

    * I, Asshole: The Motel 6 of the Lileks Experience
    ** That’s what she said

    You acquire an item: guy made of bee pollen

    April 2nd, 2015

    I’m sure I’ll post pictures here ongoingly (I love this non-word), but I’ve also started a hive album on le flickrs. The set is fetal right now, and my first hive is still a pile of wood on the back porch. But, it’s supposed to be sunny on Saturday and we kind of know what we’re doing now that we’ve cut one out. I am also hoping to have a better camera soon so we can get some good bee and honey porn going.


    (TM KOL)

    I know it looks like I’m doing fuck all in these pictures, but he is the cutter. He has more practice. I learned to use power tools in art class in high school, but I used them then for dubious projects like “cut legs off thrift store Barbies for repurposing into angst sculpture.” GOD BLESS my high school art teacher who had a bandsaw and let 17 year-old stoners use it. I also sawed up all my Crown Hill coop parts myself. For this project, I did a lot of measuring. I am the measurer and he is the cutter. A shared duty was arguing about “What does this part of the plans mean?”.

    I’m using these plans. They are in British but they are in imperial measurements and contain this note on dimensions:

    The author still thinks in feet and inches, despite all attempts to modernize him, so that is mostly what you will find used here. As a concession to people who insist on using metric measurements (a wholly artificial system, based on an erroneous calculation of the circumference of the Earth), if you convert using 1 inch = 25mm or 1 foot = 30cm you will be close enough. Anyone pedantic enough to convert using several decimal places will get the result they deserve.

    Awesome. We are keeping with the plans except doing a front entrance for the bees and hinging the roof so it doesn’t need to be lifted off and set somewhere.

    We decided on top bar hives in part because historically both of us have had touchy/injured backs over the years, though they’ve been mostly fine since we changed our diets last year. This is a significant consideration, because the big hives that you may think of when you see bee hives, that look like file cabinets, can be quite heavy when they need to be opened and worked. You can be tasked with picking up a “file drawer” of ~60 pounds of wood and honey, whereas with a top bar hive you can open the roof like a treasure chest lid and pull out one comb at a time, which will be more like ~6 pounds. We could handle that, even with tweaky backs. So the bees will not ever be neglected due to illness or injury, I hope.

    I realized as I was emailing with a Victorian Concerns friend a couple of days ago and nattering on about bees (just like now) that the Langstroths were invented in 1852, smack in the middle of Victorian things. It seemed so right, this idea of putting bees in tidy boxes (filed away if you will) with fixed-size frames that the bees must conform to, rather than letting them build free form combs. MAN’S DOMINION OVER NATURE.

    The weather has been CRAZY here. Two days ago it snowed, lightninged, and hailed in various places in the city. Lightning is rarely seen here, and snow is extremely rare beyond February, let alone April. After we’re done assembling them, I am going to have Franny paint the hives over her spring break and I hope she’ll be able to do it unhindered and undampened.

    This bee chatter is just me enjoying talking out of my ass though. Where the stinger meets the choad is the 18th of this month, when the two packages of Italian honeybees get here. Something we’ve been talking about for about ten years now! Boom, accomplishment’d.