Why I Should Be Taking a Nap Right Now

Last night, the internet goes out, and BAH is running around trying to fix his vast robot empire, when we hear this crying. Little Z is sobbing, weeping in a way that one only weeps, in real life, when someone you love has died, but she appears to be asleep. If you talk to her, she doesn't respond to you directly. She is responding to someone else, something unseen.

She has had these night terrors since she was a baby. They happen rarely, but when they happen, it's hard to know what to do. Should we wake her up? Wouldn't that make her remember the dream better, and make it, in fact, more real? Both BAH and I go in and talk to her, separately. We both agree that she is asleep. Her sobs shake the house. Finally, he goes to the basement, and I go up and talk to her, and slowly, she seems to be talking back to me, in real time.

"Can you tell me why you are crying?"

"It's too complicated to explain!" she wails at me.

Ah, I think. She's awake, now.

"What are you afraid of?"

"I'm not afraid! I'm frustrated!"

"What is frustrating you?"

"I can't explain it!" and she sobs some more. But, we're making progress. In twenty minutes or so, I have her calm and sleeping in the guest room.

This is what we do, when we have nightmares: we go to sleep in the guest room. Nightmares don't visit us in the guest room. I don't know why, but that seems to work.

So, child appeased, I go to bed. So does BAH.

I don't know how long I have slept when I am suddenly awoken by silence. No humidifier. No refrigerator. No heater. Just silence. I look for the time, and the clock is not lit.

The power is out.

BAH takes a mini flashlight and finds us a battery powered alarm clock, sets it, and we try to sleep. Lots of thing start going through my mind. Really worrisome things.

Worrisome thing number one:

I have thirty raw chickens in the refrigerator, and maybe another twenty in the freezer. I gave up my teaching job last spring in order to be a farmer, and being a farmer recently has involved killing a lot of chickens. (Some people say "process," but I prefer "kill".) I raised these chickens from chicks. I built shelter for them: two moveable, open-bottomed coops which I moved, faithfully, ever day to new pasture for them to munch on. I have fed them only organic food. Then I spent the past two days butchering them, which, while not as horrifying as you might think it would be, was nevertheless exhausting. With the power out, what will happen to all of those chickens? Will they rot? Was it all for naught? August, that was when I started on that project. All of that work since August could be for nothing.

Worrisome thing number two:

I have more chicken eggs in the incubator, due to hatch Halloween- which I just realized, is tomorrow!How long until the baby chicks die, or don't hatch from the cold?

Worrisome thing number three:

How will we live, without power? I haven't cut enough firewood to heat the house for any length of time! (I know, in my dazed and sleepless state, that we will never, ever get power back in our house again. We will live in the dark ages henceforth. And it is, might I note, very, very dark out there. Very dark.)

Finally, after an hour or two of worrying, I get up and find a flashlight and a phone book.

Downstairs, the only light is the frog light, because we power that one light with a solar panel of our own. I try to see outside if any of the neighbors on the hill have lights on, and I see one. I think they could have a frog light powered by a solar panel, but it is highly doubtful. I find, more and more, that we become more and more peculiar with age, and no one does things the way we do.

I check on the incubator. Still worrisome: it's already down to 70 degrees. It needs to be 99 degrees.

In the phone book, I find the the 24 hour number to the power company. I get dressed, leave an unseeable note on the refrigerator for BAH (I don't really think he's actually asleep [it's too quiet] but I hesitate to wake him) and get into my car. I drive to the top of a nearby hill, where I get cell phone reception. I notice everyone on top of the hill has power. Flood lights illuminate fields beside red barns. They don't have one frog light powered by a solar panel, but real power. I call the power company. They have an answering service. I tell them we don't have power. I tell them our address. I drive back home. It's 2:33 AM.

I change back into my pajamas in the pitch black dark, and crawl into bed. Ten minutes later, we have power again.

"How do they do that?" asks BAH, who clearly was never asleep. "Do they just flip a switch, or what?"

'Tis a mystery.

The next morning is the darkest morning I've ever seen. Waiting outside for the school bus, I tell Z we had a power outage last night. This seems to be news to her. But, six year old logic produces the following explanation for her nightmare,

"That must be why I had the dream, because the power went out."

"But the power went out after you had the nightmare."

"Yeah! That's why."

Well, of course it is. Why didn't I think of that?

It's Halloweeeeeeeen!

The Mythical Love Shark

He loves you so much, he just wants to eat you up!

The Love Shark soon will be making another run! The Love Shark promises something for everyone...

Robot Family Vacation

If only Uncle Rister hadn't have stuck his arm in front of brother's head!

The painting behind the robots is actually by my grandmother, Ruth Porter, who is good at stuff like that.

The robots are my daughter's toys. Well, okay, one of them is my toy.

Having a kid just gives me an excuse to buy lots of cool toys. Last week, I bought a rubber chicken, and they didn't give me a bag, so I walked down the street in downtown Madison, carrying my new, big rubber chicken by its neck. I passed a lady carrying a plant. I smiled. She didn't.

I think it would be nice if the robot family would continue their vacation on to another of Grandma Ruth's paintings. What do you think?

UFO Days in Belleville

In January of 1987, a bunch of people in Belleville saw a UFO. And now, every year, they celebrate the UFO sightings with a parade the weekend before Halloween. This parade is my favoritest parade ever on Earth.

Part of the fun is in the way people, big and small, dress up to go to the parade.

Local politician Sondy Pope Roberts sported some antenae:

The things you have to do to get elected around here!

The library had the best float:

And then there was this guy, who was just having fun handing out candy. Aliens? UFOs? Whatever.

The Creepiest Thing Award goes to this lady walking around with a gigantic, moving alien puppet on her shoulders:

And Elmo looked a bit concerned, at times, but the aliens were fake. Really.

They reuse this one every year, but I still like it:

Until next year--

Nanoo, nanoo.

How I Feel Today

This rat is loving this foot

Little Z told me to add a rat to my foot drawing. I'm glad I took her advice.

Where is the other foot, you might ask? This is a one legged baby sitting on a swing.

Art Party

The Tenderfoot Art Show Opening Reception went well! I didn't see any of you there, but according to my stats, half of you are in the Ukraine, so no hard feelings.
I'm the barefoot one.

The accordion player and I got into a long discussion about accordion repair and maintenance, after the show. I took his picture in front of the ship painting. The lighting is all on the art.
The art patrons ranged in age from a few months to nearly a century old.
She bought the rooster!

The band (The Belly Ups) set up right in front of my stuff, and I thought it fitting, somehow. The Belly Ups play a lot of old time country songs, but they play them like rock and roll. And then they play some Cure songs, too. With accordion. They're quite entertaining.
The other artists let me put my Freakin Angry the Cat sculpture in the middle of the room, and everyone seemed to think it was a cage. In retrospect, I should have put a live chicken in the middle. I do have a few live chickens, somewhere around here.

The art is still at the Commonwealth Gallery through Thursday- minus the one rooster picture I sold. So, if you can get over from the Ukraine, you know, check it out.

In case you need to recognize me at the art show tonight...

here's a picture of me. Check out the ad on the sidebar if you don't know where to go! See you tonight! ----------------------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It's Tomorrow! Are you coming?

The address is on the sidebar ---------->>>>>>>>>>>>>

P.S. It's difficult to see: The address is 100 South Baldwin Street in Madison, WI. Take the beltline to the John Nolan Drive Exit. Go on through the wacky stuff, Monona Terrace, etc, until you reach East Washington (or East Wash, to locals). Turn right on East Washington. It's a mile maybe and then turn right on South Baldwin. It's on the right. There's parking! Go on up to the third floor- elevator or stairs. It's strange, it's creepy, and then you get to the top and AAH! It's a wonderland! First thing, you are greeted by a gigantic wire cat, which I myself made, and of which I will not post a photo. You must attend! It is unphotographable, because it is see through. All of the other artists are wonderful. Setting up this evening, I had a little imposter syndrome attack, but I calmed down and got to work, and it was all good.

Little Z snapped a photo of me:

Can you see my slight anxiety? But it's all good. So, I'll see you tomorrow evening, then? Good.

Things are Looking Up

I tested the PH levels of our soil, and it's 6.5 or 7- perfect for growing hops. Hops are an ingredient in beer, you know. (I'm pretty sure everyone knew that, but you can't be certain.) And we live in Wisconsin, which is home to many breweries. And there is a hops shortage. And everyone is into this sourcing local ingredients movement, to save energy and whatnot. So, you see where I am going with this. Doing the soil test was sort of like waiting for a pregnancy test- all of that anticipation!

It had to be between 6.5 and 8. I'm not sure really what it all means, beyond that. I just know that Secret is strong enough for a man, but PH balanced for a woman! And apparently our soil is PH balanced for a beer plant. What could be better?

Gas Station

Different Sorts of Bunnies

Well, I hope Little Z's bunny doesn't turn out to be this sort of bunny, but you never know what the Humane Society is going to *stick you with when you go to rescue an animal:

In some sense, it seems more likely that she will get this sort of bunny:

I say this because of a conversation that we had in the car the other day,

Z: "When I get a bunny, I'm going to get some clothes for my bunny. I've seen the clothes for the dogs at the stores, you know? And if they don't have any clothes for my bunny, I'm going to sew him some."

Me: "Bunnies might need warm sweaters to go outside in wintertime. But, if you take your bunny outside, it might just run away and never come back."

Z: "No, I'll keep him on a leash, so he doesn't run away! And he can eat the grass. And I'll give him a sweater."

I wonder if there are any knitting patterns for bunny sweaters?

* I'm totally kidding about the Humane Society. They always tell you exactly what you're getting into.
** Thanks for the link, Oroboros!


I've been shopping on line at the Humane Society for a future companion for Little Z, a species she has wished for for quite some time. Her Mallards have flown south, Bon Voyage! And now she's been feeding the fish every day to show us how responsible she is, because she wants one of these creatures:

This is the picture the Humane Society posts when they have not photographed the beasties yet. Some of the beasties have already been photographed, and look like this:

And now you know that she wants a rabbit. But what is up with that first picture? It's the Parrot Billed Chicken Bunny! If only Monty Python were still around.

W is for Wine

My friend Melodi has a grape arbour. It's really just to shade her porch, so she let me pick as many grapes as I wanted. With that and the honey and some old wine making equipment from the mythical memory of Pueblo, I made wine today.
Now we have fruit flies.

Corn Maze

My previous experience with mazes were only from movies: The Shining and Pan's Labyrinth. My previous experience with corn fields: Children of the Corn and Signs. So naturally, I was looking forward to it.

And a good time was had by all.

The Virtual and the Real

I am a real person with a real life- or, you know, as real as it can be in this thing we call reality. I'm making my debut as an artist in an art show next week. Everyone I know, I give them this card and tell them to come! Free food! Free music! Come! Free entertainment! And I wonder if I am harassing them, asking them to come and see my childish artwork. I am so unsophisticated. At least, though, I am not selling Amway or anything. But I forgive you, if you are selling me Amway, because I have been to that place, that place where you are desperate to find a way to make a living and I understand. This is the card I give them:

My name isn't actually on the invite. I was added to the show the day after they finished the poster. Still, I am worthy. Maybe.

If you come to the opening reception, you will know me, because I will be wearing a name tag with my name, "Shoshanah" on it. I realize that my real name does not, in fact, seem so much like a real name, but I assure you, it is my real name. It is not Indian and I did not make it up. My mother gave it to me. And she gave me life. And nothing else, as far as I can remember, but life and a name is probably enough. It's the bare minimum, anyway.

The art at this show will be goofy and strange, and you will like it. It is in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is not a mythical place, but rather a real state in the contiguous United States of Americanerna. Wisconsin is the best kept secret of the whole world. If you come, you will like it, here.

Or, you know, maybe not. But come to my art show, because, honestly, I have no idea who is reading this blog, but I'm sure you must be good people.

October Again