Das Kliqué: The Preview

This is a cartoon that BAH and I made a long time ago. It's a series; this is the preview.

More to come!

Blogcation... & Poe Ballantine

I'm working on the new book! Which looks like it will have a cheesy title (I reserve the right to change the title if I should ever be inspired). Anywho, I may or may not blog over the next two weeks.

Also: Nothing is happening worth blogging about. Spring is just a lot of farm labor. If that changes, I'll be sure and let y'all know.

And it's raining.

P.S. I meant to blog about my love for the work of Poe Ballentine. If you have a day of reading, I recommend, Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire, which has inspired me in many ways. The main character is an idiot like me. I related to him terribly. He goes on a crazy adventure in an especially ill-planned manner. But I guess I basically just meant to say, "read it," and so there, I said it. Read it.

I have but one qualm, actually: What's up with the title? Never understood it. My guess is that Ballantine just always wanted to name a book, "The Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire."

P.P.S. My grandparents indulged me terribly as a child, but the one thing they always insisted upon was that I watch The Lawrence Welk Show with them on the tiny black and white television in their bedroom. They were atheists. I guess other grandparents make their grandchildren go to church with them- that's what my other grandma did. But I had to buy this book, based solely on the title, and then the book didn't seem to ever mention The Lawrence Welk Show. Still, five of five stars. I loved the book.

On Beeing Lucky

I picked up the new bees today! This involved five hours of driving. I now really really hope they thrive!

I told the guy handing out bees that our bees froze to death.

Bee Guy: "Everyone's bees froze to death!"

Me: "Well, we had two hives survive. Three out of five froze to death."

Bee Guy: "I had thirty-one hives freeze to death."

Me: "Thirty-one out of how many?"

Bee Guy: "Thirty-one out of thirty-one froze to death."

There is no pain at the doctor's

Don't worry. I just have a broken tooth. The terrible shooting pain is only when I chew gum. In two weeks, they'll patch it up with hot glue and I'll be fine. But why can't the dentist acknowledge pain? All doctors are like this. Even when you're in labor, they're all like, "Breathe." As if breathing will distract you from the wild spawn ripping out of your body right then.[For those of you who haven't given birth: it's just like that scene in Alien when the monster rips out of her stomach, except that it comes out of your vagina, which is of course much more terrifying.]

Reusing Old Beehives from Winter Die-Out

Look at how this guy just goes around in a short sleeved shirt and bare hands. They don't seem to want to sting him, either.

We had a few beehives freeze to death, and I was wondering if I could just reuse them as is. The new bees are coming this week from California. It looks like, yes! No need to completely clean out the honeycomb.

Happy Easter

This little lady froze to death once. Then, she came back to life, under a heat lamp.  I guess it's possible we misjudged her state. 

How am I supposed to make this little container last for two weeks?!

The Self Destruct Button Has Me Worried!

So, friends, this blog seems to be crashing???

If it should disappear, my husband has a blog at http://topbarbee.com. It is not powered by Blogger. It is powered by Bad Assed Husband, who wanted to be my blog sysop, but I demurred to Google. Hah. Yes, my dear, you were right. Everybody bookmark topbarbee.com! Should this blog actually self destruct (Oh, God, NOOOOOO!), report there for further instructions.

We're counting on you. I know you can do it.

This message will self destruct in five, four, three, two-

Don't worry. Nothing is under control.

You may notice things look a little bit different around here. This was entirely unintentional. Is it possible that good old google has some bugs in the blogosphere? Or is it just my muses, subtly leading me in this direction? Goddess intervention? Is it the singing trolls who live in my basement?

Yesterday, everything re-arranged itself here. I didn't do anything at all. It just happened. Then, when I went to fix it, I accidentally erased all of my color settings, background picture, etc. And according to the template in Google, everything is arranged like before. But when you look at the blog, it isn't.

It's not that I really mind it. It's simpler. But it is bizarre that it just happened all by itself. I'm out of control!

Update: Curiouser and Curiouser! Four hours later, now only the "Self Destruct Button" shows on the side bar! What does it all mean?

Mary the Flying Chicken

You know what I like? I like the feeling of that little burst of wind you get when a bird flies just over your head, and it makes your hair move a little, and you hear that SHWOOSH!
She flew over my head, just after I took this picture. Mary the flying chicken.

Chicken on Top of the Turkey Coup

She feels safe up there. 
In the morning, she'll fly back down to be with her friends in the chicken coup. She's an exceptional flyer. She's one of the chickens who came back to life under the heat lamp, after freezing to death. Got up just like a little zombie.

I do love my chickens.

Our barn has many spider webs and transportation devices hanging from the ceiling. 

Think I'll name her ... Mary?

Paris Again

Another day, another poll! Most of these ones were thought up by you, the best readers in the world. Pick three and then we'll have a lighting round later>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I definitely didn't take this picture, but I don't know who did. Found via I Have Seen the Whole of the Internet.

Exhaust(ed) is Available In Paperback

The book Exhaust(ed) is now available in paperback. Finally!
There are three ways to buy it:

1. You can buy it at CreateSpace. That's the book printer. I've had a good experience with them.

2. You can buy it at Amazon. This will be cheaper if you have Amazon Prime. If not, I think it's the same price as Create Space.

3. If you would like a signed copy, you can purchase directly from me. Just email me at cellar27door@yahoo.com.

So, there's that.


This is a response to Vampires and Robots.

Seventh grade. Pretty sure I cut my own hair.


So, technically, in the poll for best book title, "Why, Paris, Why?" won. But I don't like it. It's too choppy. Too many commas in one little title!

I don't like any of the ones I thought up.

I think it's still out there in the ether, the perfect title, waiting..

Here are a few more:

1. All Things Lost in Paris

2. Next Time We're In Paris

... which both sound serious. It would be misleading to give something I wrote a serious, dramatic title.
Stillllll... books need titles! Any ideas? Things you should know:

1. There was groping. And crowd molestation. And many propositions of nasty things. (You're going to think I make this stuff up.)

2. We were three girls travelling together.

3. This was two months after the bus trip, so I was still an idiotic youth.

4. There was much ado about Art History.

5. We had to share a towel.

I'm very open to suggestions. You all are so smart. (Clearly, because you read this, right?)

There's a Goose on my Roof

Hops Pickers, Old School

I've been researching different ways of arranging a hops garden. Hops are climbing vines, so some people have them go twenty feet high, some only twelve feet. Some attach the trellises to their roofs at one end. (I shudder to think of what Norm Abram would say about that!) We've bought the plants already (100 of them, four varieties), and I'm looking into just how high I want to make the trellises, taking into consideration that we have to have some way of picking the flowers, which (you probably already know) is the part one uses for making beer. I stumbled upon a method which I don't think I will try, but it's a photograph worthy of sharing:

Hops farming level: Hard Core.

P.S. Is that guy smoking a pipe?

Public Speaking Made Easy

Little Z is going to talk in front of her entire school today, around 200 children. BAH talked in front of a group of 100 people at his work yesterday. Little Z puts it like this,

"That makes sense, because big people are bigger than little people. So, I talk in front of 200 little people and he talks in front of 100 big people. It's the same thing."

You see, public speaking is simply all about mass. Take the mass of an average adult: about 70 Kilograms. Multiply that by the number of audience members in BAH's talk:

70 x 100 = 7,000 Kilograms

7,000 is the mass of BAH's audience for his public speaking engagement.

Now, consider Little Z's audience: 200 little people, with an average mass of about 20 kilograms. Multiply that by the number of audience members in Little Z's talk:

20 x 200 = 4,000 Kilograms

We now have a range of mass of audience members of between 4,000 and 7,000 kilograms. This might seem like a large spread, but there are more factors:

A giggle will lighten a body's mass by .767 kilograms, per giggle, per nanosecond. So, if you consider the average number of giggles in each relative group, the difference between mass of the two groups becomes more dramatic:

BAH's Group: .767(mass lost per giggle) x 8(total number of giggles in BAH's group) = 6.136

Subtract that from the total mass, and BAH's group now has a mass of 6993.864 kilograms

Little Z's Group: .767(mass lost per giggle) x 2,698 (total number of giggles in Little Z's group) = 2069.366

Subtract that from the total mass, and Little Z's group now has a mass of 1930.634 kilograms

Now we have an even larger discrepancy:

Little Z's group mass: 1930.634

BAH's group mass: 6993.864

You also have to subtract the missing teeth from Little Z's group:

each tooth has a mass of .002 kilograms multiplied by the number of teeth missing, 369, equals:

.002 x 369 = .738 kilograms (or, almost one giggle)

Subtract from total mass:

2069.366 - .738 = 2068.628 (children's mass, within an order of magnitude)

Now, this is all quite simple, thus far, but we have not included Moutarde's Theory of Massive Mustache, which states that

"Any man with a mustache only counts as a quarter of his weight, as he is not entirely present and simply playing with his mustache."

(Men take note: want to lose weight? Grow a mustache!) Taking that into consideration, we multiply the number of total mass by the number of mustachioed men (and women) in BAH's group, and subtract that number from the total mass. Fortunately, there were 281.44205 men with mustaches in BAH's original group of 100 people, so the mass of the combined men with mustache's (before mustache) was 19,700.944 kilograms. So, we do this simple equation:

We get the exact number of the mass of Little Z's group, 2068.628 kilograms.

Within an order of magnitude.

And that, my friends, is public speaking made easy.

The Ruminators

The sheep are doing some yard work for us. I hope they find these weed trees to be as tasty as the apple trees last year, which they weren't supposed to eat.
It's taken about two years for us to be brave enough to try portable electric fencing with the sheep. I couldn't figure it out. And it was expensive. But we did it, finally! Now we can use sheep as lawn mowers and weeders. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping they don't just run away. 

As I write this, I'm watching them through the window, and they seem to already be gnawing on the weed trees. Excellent.

Spring Bunnies

The snow in the lawn finally melted (although the ground is still mostly frozen, and there's still ice in the barn). I made a little bunny run out of an old chicken coop. Now they can fling their poo outside, which is preferable to inside.

They seem to like it. 
Now they can mow the lawn for us, one little tiny bit at a time.

France, Blah Blah Blah, Next Book, Blah Blah Blah

My advisors (well, okay, my dad) says, "Strike while the iron is hot!"

And I must now reveal a secret to you: I have been to France. And, actually, it was surprisingly "like the Love Boat, only sleazier." It must be my karma?

First installments, coming in May!

But I need a title! Please vote at the side bar. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Update: I forgot to add: Please feel free to suggest something different! The last title is a good description.

Pretending to be Yoko #4

This week, your assignment is to slip the following phrase into a conversation:

"... emotional pornography." [I first heard this phrase in reference to the movie, "Brokeback Mountain."]

Post comments as to what happens.

XKCD Book Review (And bonus parenting fail!)

BAH bought the XKCD book- by accident, actually! It was in his cart and he forgot about it. So, we brought it on the plane to California last week. It's a great book to read on a plane, because it isn't electronic, and you can read a little bit at a time, in between entertaining the six-year-old little girl sitting next to you.

I gave it a five star review on Amazon, even though I honestly didn't quite understand all of the jokes. Reading XKCD is like being inside of someone else's head: thinking about technical difficulties at work while simultaneously wondering about random crap throughout the day, obsessing about your love life, wondering what the meaning of it all is, etc. Randall Munroe definitely has a unique take on things. I like this little trip inside his head. The book has the original XKCD comics that you will find at the web site, but it also has his comments on the reactions, emails, and behind the comic stories on some of them. One of my favorite comics was this one, which has perhaps the only swearing in the whole book:

I have had similar thoughts, myself, about being a teacher and a blogger. I even made this blog private for a few years. But then I decided, you know, what he said.

I finished the book on the plane, and Little Z asked me if she could read it.

"Sure!" I said, and handed it over.

She opened the book to that page with the comic above, and read out loud to the rest of the plane,


She's a good reader, my little girl.

The page numbering is really odd in the XKCD book, so I don't know how many pages it is (the page numbers only contain ones, zeros, and twos, and seem to go up way too quickly) but I think it's at least a hundred pages, and it just has that one page, that one page with the swearing! Murphy's Law was at work here.

I'm a really good mom. I swear! I mean, I don't swear, I just, um... Oh, never mind.

P.S. I just noticed: XKCD is a Choose Your Own Adventure Story today!

Eat your heart out, Mark Twain!

Thank you for writing good reviews of my book!

When you publish with Kindle, they let you do these "promotional free days," meaning that you make your book free for five days. I chose to make Exhaust(ed) free for five consecutive days last week, thinking there might be a snowball effect after the first day or two.

I was out in California visiting family last week, and BAH noticed that my book was rated number 3 in US Travel "Regions" (free books). Wow! Number one was by Mark Twain.

I told my dad to put it on the big computer and take a picture of it and email it to me, because this would surely go away soon and never happen again. So, he did.

We had this conversation:

Dad: "Number 3 is the best. You don't want to be number two, because then you're always wondering, 'how could I be number one?' and you're never going to beat Mark Twain, so Number 3 is the best."

Me: "Yay! I'm number 3! Number 3 is me! I'm number 3!!!"

Dad: "You actually have better reviews than Mark Twain. Look! He has four stars and you have five."

Me: "Well, he does use some archaic language..."

Dad: "You're never going to beat Mark Twain."

Me: "You're right. I'm never going to beat Mark Twain."

I went out for a while, bragging shamelessly to everyone I met that my book was number 3 in US Travel on Amazon, and when I came back, I checked again, and:

To say that I was surprised at this development is a complete understatement. I was shocked. Flabbergasted. Astonished. Astounded! (You see what I did there? I used a thesaurus.) It was honestly just completely unexpected.

And then, and then, it just stayed there at number one for four more days! Unbelievable! Also, I didn't get a picture, but it was number 1 in the category of free quick reads, too.

So, that's why I have that little "number one bestseller" thing above the book, on the side bar there. My understanding is, if it is ever a bestseller, you can just say that. Am I right? I mean, it's no longer number one today, but it was. So now it is forever a #1 bestseller- right?

Astute mathematicians will note that, if you sell a million copies for free, you still make $0. So, yeah, financially, not as exciting. But my purpose was to become better known, and that seems to have happened.

That whole five days I was wondering Who the heck is downloading this book?

I have this vision of a thrifty Englishman who has decided on taking a trip to the States, so he downloads the number one free book in US Travel, and a few hours later, he's saying,

"Honey? I know we said we were doing the States this year, but how about a little change of plans? I hear Australia is quite pleasant."

I guess I should just rip up this job application I have for the US Travel Bureau.