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Brickify'ed Album Covers

Can You Guess the Title of This Classic
Children's Book from the Brickified Cover?

A Big Tip o' the Hat goes out to Travis Jonker, Children's Librarian and author of the School Library Journal "100ScopesNotes" Blog. Today, his posting of "Name that LEGO Book Cover" was not only shamelessly copied by me on my occasionally remembered writer's blog but also prompted this, even more rare, LJ entry.

I'll invite you all to play along: go to Brickit and Brickify/LEGOify 5 of your favorite albums from Back in the Day and post them to your LJ (or FB or wherever) and post the URL in the comments here so I can see if I can figure them out.

Here are my five. Leave your guesses in the comments section as well.

Album Cover 1

Album Cover 2

Album Cover 3

Album Cover 4

Album Cover 5

How many did you guess right, eh?


Sep. 4th, 2015

Detail from Artwork at the Entrance to Our Local Emergency Room
August 2015

Last Saturday we were part of a nine or ten car accident on the highway.  My guess, from the look of it, was that a driver was texting and looked up to see the cars in front of him had slowed down considerably.  He hit the brakes, weaved to the right, then to the left, then shot out into the middle lane and disappeared -- leaving a chain reaction of cars hitting each other in his wake.
Bonn was driving and working together we managed to not hit the car in front of us (by inches) but we did get hit from behind.  Bonn saw the driver in the rear view mirror and tensed up just before the impact so she was hurt worse than I was.
Despite the fast-lane-on-the-highway speeds, all but one of the cars involved was able to drive away from the scene.  Bonn's 4Runner wasn't damaged at all -- the car behind us hit the tow bar and never made it as far as the body of the car.
After a long afternoon spent on the side of the highway and at our local Emergency Room (Bonn experience numbness down her left arm) we got home and collapsed from it all.
We were certainly lucky.  The accident and our injuries were relatively minor.  It was one of those Blink of an Eye moments that could have changed -- or ended -- our lives for the worse.
An Additional Tip o' the Hat to the cops and the EMS on the scene and the hospital staff.  I know this was a fairly common occurrence for them but they handled the situation and the people professionally and with concern for our well-being.


Downtown Raleighwood
August 2015

Self-portrait in a black back panel of a city bus while waiting to head home after another long day.

Skyhouse Apartments
Downtown Raleighwood
August 20, 2015

I watched these apartments being built over a period of months. They're across the street from the central bus hub in Downtown Raleighwood.

I'm rather fond of this photograph.

Young Fivecats

I'm guessing I'm around 3 in this picture.

Rory Raccoon and Flower (the Skunk) are watching over my shoulder.

Funny Face Drink Stand

1966ish. There was a mail-away contest in the local Sunday comic section. If you colored in the Funny Face ad (a Kool Aid competitor) and sent it in you would be entered in a contest for your very own Funny Face Drink Stand.
In one of those harmonic convergence moments, I knew -- I KNEW -- I was going to win this contest. My mom tried her best to explain how unlikely this might be, but I held firm to my rock-solid belief that I was going to win.
Sure enough, several weeks later, a delivery man knocked at the door and dropped off a long cardboard box filled with even more cardboard.
My bewildered mother agreed to fill a tupperware jug with some sort of drink mix, and a styrofoam urn with ice and I set up shop outside our front door. 2¢ a Dixie Cup, as I recall.
After a few times setting up shop the appeal wore thin and it was relegated to my parent's basement where it met with an unfortunate cardboard fate as a fort, dueling swords and other follies of youth.
(The stand in 1970's faded color -- although I don't remember it being orange striped)


[NOTE: Like many people, I signed up for an Ello account when they first came online.  (Was that a year or so ago?)  It was touted as an ad-free alternative to FaceBook but has largely been forgotten by most of my contacts who also signed on in the early days.

I've been posting there fairly regularly.  Most often just photographs or screen grabs of cartoons that I enjoy.  I've found that the silence there appeals to me.

I have been using IFTTT to automagically copy my Instagram photographs over to both FaceBook and Flickr.  I had hoped someone would come up with a IFTTT 'recipe' to do copy my Ello entries over to LJ.  Alas, that has yet to happen. (and I certainly don't care to learn enough programming to make that happen myself)  I suppose, then, that it's time to finally start doing so manually.]

This is STILL Not a Knitting Blog

First Knitted Scarf, Completed
First Knitted Scarf, Completed
January 2015

Last night I finally completed my first, knitted scarf. It's five feet long (plus an extra 4" on each end for the tassels/fringe that Bonn requested) and seven inches wide.

The left side of the scarf (in the photo above) was the side I started on. You can see that the corner isn't all that even on the left-hand side. Once I learned what I was doing wrong I decided just to make corrections and go on instead of ripping it all out again. (I ended up cutting off about twelve feet of yarn because I'd torn it out so many times the yarn was lifeless.) There are holes from dropped stitches here and there, but I've just described them as places where moths attacked the scarf.

I made this using a garter stitch, knitting on both sides of the scarf. While this was a good, safe idea for a first project, I quickly learned that a scarf done in just a garter stitch is, well, boring.

Next up will be an infinity scarf/cowl that Bonn has requested. It will be done on circular needles and with a pattern.


This Is NOT a Knitting Journal

Knitting - First Attempt
January 2015

A Quick Guide for a Knitter's First Project

Use a Thick, Single-Colored Yarn and Big Needles
Thick yarn and large needles will give you a very clear picture of what you're doing. The knit pattern will be distinct and any mistakes will be immediately obvious.

Start With Something Small
Think a potholder. With a simple Knit 2, Purl 2 pattern.
This will will incorporate binding on, knitting and purling, and casting off all in one, short knitting session. You'll have a completed project to show for your efforts at the end as well.

Avoid Overly Fuzzy Yarns
Yes, they look warmer and have more 'personality' but all that excess fuzz is distracting. Save it for a later project.

Trust the Stitch/Row Measurements on the Inside Label.
Even if they don't look right on your same-sized needles, their count for a 4"x4" test swatch is accurate.

I make these claims because of course I did the exact opposite.

Bonn chose a thin, fuzzy yarn and I picked small needles (No. 5) to me to use to make her long scarf. Even after switching over to bigger needles (No. 9 -- not big enough for a first project, imho) the fuzzy yarn is making it hard to see any pattern while I'm knitting. I also cast on way more stitches then necessary after casting on the number the label said would made for 4". Now I'm looking at having to either tear it all out and start over or need about 5x the amount of yarn to make a scarf of any reasonable length.

[EDIT: I've since torn the whole thing apart and am starting over.]


Last Night with the Rescue Kitties

Photo by Bonn

Yesterday afternoon was a confusion of phone calls. Bonn was flipped out because of the condition of the rescue cats, the former co-werker hadn't told her enough to be helpful, someone else from the rescue groups she's affiliated with was calling Bonn demanding information she didn't have…

And in the midst of it all, five kittens lives were at stake.

Photo by Bonn

Former co-werker's home is at the end of a development out in the country. Cell phone signals are iffy at best out there. Bonn had to drive to the main road to call me to ask me to find the co-werker's phone number somehow. I managed to do so and then acted as the middle man between people who needed information.

I got the name of a vet the kittens could be taken to and conveyed that to Bonn. She drove them out, got the four smallest of them seen while the vet spoke with the woman who is in charge of the rescue group. The vet and that woman decided to put Perch down due to his condition and level of dehydration.

A series of back-and-forth calls later and we're told that if we can drive 90 minutes away we can hand the three kittens to someone who was driving to the DC area with four rescued dogs that night. Bonn gathered up the kittens and their meds, then picked me up at werk and off we drove.

The Twin Kitties: Minneapolis and St. Paula
Photo by Bonn

We arrived early enough to get some food for the kittens and give them a chance to eat and stretch their legs a bit before the long ride north. The Twin Kitties each started climbing all over me, wanting to go exploring. Graybar was far more subdued, wanting just to be held and warmed up.

After 45 minutes or so, the woman pulled up, swooped up the kittens in their carriers, and drove off.

That should be the end of the story. I should be able to just say, "We did our best" and be comforted in knowing that we saved three of the four Bonn took with her to get help.

Instead, all I can think about is how we lost Perch.

It just makes me incredibly angry. Yes he was a sick boy, but he was fighting, dammit. He just wanted to be held by Bonn so he could get warm and rest safely enough to heal. If we had the money we would have paid for his care ourselves -- but we've been caught in this recession-battered cycle for so long I don't know how we'll ever work our way out of it.

And because of that Perch is gone.

I'm really getting tired of life not being fair and the least amongst us taking the greatest beating.


In Which I Cannot Save the World

Jacques Cool
Jacques Cool
Outside Raleighwood 2014

When Bonn wanted to start spending time around horses again I asked an old werk colleague who was into horses if she had any suggestions. Turns out she has two of her own and could use some help with general grooming and maintenance. Bonn met her, met the horses, the ducks, the chickens, the dogs, the cats... and started going out there once a week to help out.

She talked to me about the various yard work and fence repair projects that she saw as needing done out there. Would I come out with her and help out? Nope, I said. This is your volunteer work and I have a book to finish revising.

Last week Bonn got a message from this woman saying she'd been bitten by a flying squirrel and the bite had become infected. She was in the hospital and could Bonn go out more often to check on the animals? When the infection kept getting worse, Bonn decided to start going out on a daily basis.

There is a roommate, but she works and is recovering from a recently broken ankle. Said roommate has a young daughter who knows some things, but isn't the most responsible. At least the roommate has been able to go out and buy additional feed for the horses and get meds set out.

On Wednesday Bonn told me about some rescued animals in the woman's barn out back. There was a hyperactive dog that no one could control. There were five kittens who, from what she could hear, all had bronchial infections and were having trouble breathing. My initial response was a partial shut-down and a desperate, "Don't get involved. We can't save them all."

Bonn came back on Thursday saying she went into the horse stall where the kittens were and took two of them out of their cages and just held on to them. They craved human interaction and warmth, she said. It was as if that simple act had reminded them that life was worth fighting for.

Now, I'm a sucker for animals. Cats especially. Kittens especially especially. Still, I did not want to get involved. We're way too short on money this month to take any cat to the vet, much less five cats -- and then our five cats as well who would, undoubtedly, become infected.

Going to see them wasn't an option, as far as I was concerned. It would just hurt too much to see these little lives I can't save.

Then Friday night Bonn came back after spending 6+ hours out there. She went to bed not feeling well and woke up only slightly better. I set all of my revision work out the kitchen table and started getting ready for a day's worth of work. Bonn, however, insisted she was going back out the tend to the animals again.

We discussed this for a while. And by "discussed" I mean, I tried to reason with her that she shouldn't compromise her health any further and her telling me she was going.

I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. And said, "If I go out with you will it mean you finish and leave faster than if I don't?"

She said, "Yes."

So I spent my weekend walking an otherwise unmanageable dog and spending several hours with very sick kittens.

Then going home emotionally drained.

Each one of them had individual time with me. The dog got a 30+ minute walk through the neighborhood and the kittens each had time in my lap, in my arms, and getting their bellies and ears rubbed. They had gunk wiped away from their eyes and noses. They were fed and given some meds. They each got temporary names, too. (Perch, Graybar, Boston, Minneapolis, St. Paul)

Someone from the rescue group this woman is associated with is supposed to come and get them on Tuesday and take them somewhere in Virginia where they'll be put in a proper shelter and given medical attention. I truly hope that's what happens. And that they all find good homes.

I did all I could do. I gave them time and love and warmth and attention and energy.

It just doesn't feel like it's enough.


[EDIT: Bonn just called in tears. Perch has died & Graybar is going down fast. I've been back and forth on the phone with her and the still-in-the-hospital former co-werker. Bonn's taking Graybar to the vet to be treated. Hopefully she'll make it there in time.]

[EDIT: Bonn just called from the vet. Perch is alive, but barely. She's taken all of the other cats except Boston (who is older and doing better than the smaller ones) to a local vet where they are being treated.]


5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats

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