Maggie at “The zombies Ate My Brains” has a very messy post for you. It’s garbarge day!

Originally posted on The Zombies Ate My Brains:

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Tuesday is garbage day. Every alternate Tuesday, the county collects the recycling, too. I checked the calendar last night – yup, blue box day tomorrow. Should I put it out tonight, I wondered,or leave it for the morning? You know, the gut-wrenching dilemma of weighing the pros and cons of getting out of my chair to haul the trash to the curb, vs. the “yeah, buts.” Yeah, but it will rain and that will make a sodden mush of the newspapers. Yeah, but don’t forget the raccoons. Don’t worry, I argued, I’ll have plenty of time in the morning.

Later, at [bleep] twelve [bleep] thirty-seven in the [bleep] morning, the sound of glass hitting pavement startled me wide awake. My first thought was that kids were tossing trash at the newly poured concrete foundation across the road. But then, I heard more noises: cascading pop bottles and clattering tin cans and the…

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Here’s a fun little post from Dan over at “No Facilities.” Check out all of his posts…the dude is smart and funny and loves doors.

Originally posted on No Facilities:

socs-badgeOK, the “K” and the “E” aren’t together. I hope Linda doesn’t smack me with the virtual SoCS yardstick. I know, “stick” was last week’s prompt.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ke.” Use the letter combination at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the word you choose to base your post on. Heck, make up your own word if you’d like! Enjoy!”

Donuts No, theses aren’t Krispy Kreme donuts. The closest Krispy Kreme shop is 42 miles away, tucked inside a casino.

Well not a lot of words start with “ke” as far as I know. I’m sure there are tons. I’m sure that there are tons more that end in “ke” but I’d have to look them up. Looking them up is inconsistent with the idea of stream of consciousness. Krispy Kreme starts with “K” and ends with “E” (I’m sure you…

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Broken Light

He looks into the broken light.

In search of full sun.

“Those damn blinds,” he moans.

They are not much fun.

The plastic, rectangular pieces

create broken, rectangular rays.

He is not the least bit amused.

“Please raise the blinds,” he prays.

Mistress whips out her camera

and pays no heed.

What a beautiful day, beautiful boy.

“Raise the blinds you say? There is no need.”

He looks again into the broken light,

knowing she is about to depart.

“Those damn blinds,” he moans again.

“My mistress has no heart.”


As promised in my last post, I will be reblogging posts from the lovely blogger friends that came to comment on the “What the Heck” post. First up: MOSY, the Master from Australia. Her post is food for thought for all of us. Please take a gander and feel free to comment.

Originally posted on Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover:

Have you ever wished you could excise the worst sides of yourself from your personality as easily as you might have a wart removed?

Ever wished there was the neural equivalent of a plastic surgeon?

“Doctor, I’d like a quick nip and tuck on my Talks Too Much.”

“Doctor, can you give me a reduction on my overdeveloped Propensity To Be Resentful / Competitive / Rude?”

We each have a little bit of Hyde inside us. Those dark and ugly elements of our personality we’d rather others didn’t see but have the inconvenient habit of breaking out at inopportune moments. It’s a pity Dr Jekyll wasn’t successful in creating a formula to remove those unwanted aspects of ourselves. (If he’d been real, of course.)

It’s not that many of us would launch into a murderous rage, breaking the civilised and cultured persona we present to the world but I’m sure all of us…

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Nope, it’s not.

Nor is it a strobe light phone speaker.

Nor a blah blaster, sonic stapler or a portable tractor beam emitter.

A Post-it note dispenser was close and a good guess, but why would anyone need a dispenser for something that sticks to everything?

I will pause so you can think about that for a minute.


The “What the Heck?” office “toy” is:

3m copy holder

Introducing 3M’s Document Wedge, otherwise known as a copy holder.

Fooled you all, except now I really want it to be a kill-that-centipede phaser or a mid-afternoon slump blaster or a bring-me-a-cup-of-coffee tractor beam. Because any one of those items would up my coolness factor by 200%.

I did have an every-day, normal copy holder that worked just fine until my other cool, ergonomic work item arrived and was installed.


For many months I have been “toying” with the idea of requesting a sit/stand workstation due to back issues and the pleasantries of an aging body. Having the ability to stand at the computer throughout the day, rather than sit hunched over the keyboard, was an inviting prospect. So, I checked out information and reviews on the internet (largely positive), talked to the office furniture vendor, and emailed with another employee who was already using the workstation.  Physical issues notwithstanding, being able to sit AND stand at the computer during the work day is much better for the human body than just sitting and slumping. I have done the latter for almost 40 years. It was time for a change.

I’ve been working toward a healthier physical me the last few years with regular visits to the chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist and the gym to keep back issues from giving total grief to my well-being. At work, I also wanted the physical situation to be the best it can be. I have a great ergonomic chair and practice the knowledge and advice given to other employees when I complete health and safety assessments. (You would not believe some of the crazy situations I’ve come across in employees’ offices with ill-fitted chairs, old crappy desks, and monitors perched so high they almost touch the clouds.)  When I finally saw an opportunity to request the sit/stand workstation, I did not hesitate and it was graciously approved by an understanding boss.

I have been using this new workstation for a little over a week and I can say that I love it. I love being able to stand and type at will and get off my bum at various times during the day. I feel a little less like a slothy lump and a little more like a GI Jane action figure. I would recommend the sit/stand workstation to anyone and everyone, even those in peak physical condition. It makes a world of difference.

There was one little issue, though – where to put the existing copy holder that didn’t fit on the platform. I soon decided that I needed something else, a copy holder that didn’t take up too much space, but still did a good job of holding up a piece of paper or two or three. After searching Staples and Office Depot and the internet, I found the handy dandy little 3M Wedge. It’s working like a charm so far, plus my fingers get a workout every time I press the little clamp that holds the paper in place.

Since no one guessed the use of this object on “What the Heck?” there will be no paper clips awarded. I know that MOSY is breathing a sigh of relief, although she really didn’t come close. The best sensible guess was from Joanne, with Post-It notes, but I preferred her original strobe phone speaker theory. Everyone’s guess was hilariously wonderful and the geek in me enjoyed the Star Trek references.

WeyounSpeaking of Star Trek, did you know that the actor who played Weyoun in Deep Space Nine, Jeffrey Combs, also played various other characters on DS9, Voyager and Enterprise (the prequel)? Natasha and I were watching Enterprise on Netflix last night, and he showed up as a blue-skinned Andorian.  We almost simultaneously said, “Hey, it’s Weyoun!” He’s been fairly active as an actor since then and he’s recently turned up on the TV series Gotham. We spotted him there too. We are both hopeless Star Trek nerds.

Getting back on topic and putting an end to this post: I appreciate all of the comments that were made on “What the Heck?” My intent is to re-blog a post for each and every one who commented on that post over the next few days so that I can share the marvel that is you. If you would like me to reblog a specific post, please post a link in the comment section. If you are bashful and wish to stay anonymous, let me know and I’ll let you stay in the shadows.

Thanks for reading and participating and allowing me to share the new “toys.”  It’s been a stand-up good time.

Since the story of my Saturday visit with mom is currently a disjointed mess, I thought I would give you a silly reason to like or comment or simply consider me daft.

Last week, I became the possessor of two new toys at work. I love them both.

This is one of those toys:

Ergo Wedge 1

I am not going to reveal the second toy until you answer the question:

“What the heck?”

Without searching the internet, tell me why I purchased this object. How will I use it?

What the heck is this contraption?

(I will not immediately respond to your guess in order to allow everyone a fair response. Whoever guesses correctly will get a reblog, a link to their blog, a “follow” or a paper clip from my desk drawer.)

There is nothing more comforting and enveloping than flannel sheets and a warm blanket on a cold, rainy day.

Ziva Enveloped

Right Ziva?


The Menasha Lock

^click there^

My brother came to visit for Mother’s Day weekend. This was two and a half days filled with mom time, eating, running here, eating, more mom time, running there, eating, shopping, eating, taking mom out to…eat. Yeah, lots of foodstuffs touched my lips, but the head cold I was sporting was unimpressed with attempts at gluttony. By the time Saturday evening rolled around, I could not make myself order the  delicious jaeger schnitzel at Stone Cellar Brew Pub, which is the best schnitzel I’ve had since mom used to make her mother’s recipe for wiener schnitzel. I simply wasn’t that hungry, so I settled for a small, personal-sized pizza, which didn’t get high marks in my book. Afterwards, I thought, “You fool, you could have ordered the schnitzel, taken most of it home, and enjoyed leftovers for a day or two! Fool!”

Thankfully, I had a leftover seafood chimichanga from Friday night to drown my schnitzel sorrow.

Moving on…

Living out of state, my brother likes to take a trip to Green Bay and Lambeau field from time to time. He remains a die-hard Packer fan, as does his sister. So, I offer you a photographic question and answer session that will bring you along on our journey to Titletown, the Packer Pro Shop and a place to eat and have a beer.

Q: Why are these people standing in line?

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A: They paid to have their photo taken with the “Lambeau Leap” statute. Yup, you can pay to pretend you are a Green Bay Packer player, leaping among the bronze fans that surround you. I am a HUGE fan. Huge. But I find this a little cheesy.

Q: Do I need a mule or a pair of Crocs or a green and gold Hawaiian shirt?

Packes and Patio 008

A: None of the above. The hat is still at the store, unless a Lambeau Leaper bought it.

Q: Chicken, beef or pork?

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A: There is no incorrect answer. Anything made in a Packer crockpot will be good.

Q: Why is this jersey so funny?

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A: Because that’s a Packer player’s first name. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a Green Bay safety and former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide college football team. My brother and his friend are attending the Packer/Carolina game at the beginning of November and he needed a custom jersey. And a grilling spatula with a big metal “G” in the middle. And a few other trinkets. I asked him why he didn’t go stand in line for the cheesy leap photo.

Q: What do you do when your sister is hungry and wants to eat lunch?

Packes and Patio 011

A: You forego the restaurant in favor of the tap room across the parking lot. My brother is not only a Packer fan and avid bicyclist, he is also a beer aficionado. He seeks out new brew pubs and brew masters and boldly goes where wine drinkers fail to tread. It didn’t surprise me that he was lured here like a crow is lured to a bright, shiny object for its nest. This is the Titletown Brewery Tap Room and we must have a beer.

Q: What is the name of this Titletown concoction?

Packes and Patio 012

A: Irritation Ale. It’s what you drink when you’d rather eat. I chose to pass on the Busted Nut and Ctrl “Alt” Delete because they just didn’t fit the bill.

Q: Why did I take this photo?

Packes and Patio 013

A: Because this is proof that I was irritated. We had finally finished lunch and were on our way back to Appleton. The irritation continued into the afternoon and evening when I chose pizza over schnitzel.

I’m a fool.

Do you have any questions? Need a beer? Want to stand in line for a cheesy leap?

A week ago Sunday, at church, I received a visual aid.

Empoyee rec and Trestle Trail 025

Green army men! Score!

Although the sermon related to the story of Ruth and focused on tiny victories of faith that lead to the “big win,” my mind immediately went to my brother and our childhood. Since there were no other siblings, we occupied our juvenile time together carving holes in snowbanks, climbing trees, drowning spiders, building forts out of furniture and cardboard boxes, etc. As my brother would have refused tea time with Barbie and anything sparkly, I turned into the tomboy and followed along in various adventures.

Note the totally cool dork tomboy haircut that I will never ever sport again.


And, so, it would only be reasonable and practical that my brother would give me an extra special gift one year for my birthday: An entire bag of green army men!

A complete army!


Actually, in my child’s mind, one that was still physically female and enjoyed playing with Barbie and her Corvette, I remember thinking, “What the heck is this?” Or something similar. At the time, I thought it self-serving to buy a bag of green plastic men intent on war rather than something I might find useful – like a new dress for Barbie. Looking back now, I chuckle and realize that I did nothing to send a message that I was strictly girlie girl (I wasn’t) or opposed to climbing a tree, hanging over the lake, with bare feet. In fact, I was more the tomboy in childhood and that propensity served me well into adulthood as I became the biker chick and someone who isn’t afraid to handle worms or kill spiders. (On the other hand, the girlie girl in me runs from centipedes and June bugs.) Even though I’m a recent newbie at camping, I find stoking a fire and walking to the outhouse more enjoyable than shopping at the mall or wearing pearls. Working up a sweat at the gym or on the bicycle is far more appealing than fussing over a perfectly ironed dress. Digging in the dirt with bare hands creates tomboy happiness that no girlie manicure is able to match.

Stomping around Green Bay this past Saturday with my brother (rather than comforting my head cold), drinking a beer and laughing at his custom jersey (a photo for another post), I realized I still follow him around, trying to climb trees and throw grenades for the sake of family and adventure.

In the end, I wouldn’t trade the birthday package of green army men for anything. I may not have appreciated the special present at the time, but today it signifies part of who I am. I may paint my toenails and wear dresses in the summer, but I am not opposed to stomping through a mud puddle and pointing a plastic rifle at life now and again.

It’s how I win the little victories and keep the tomboy close.

Dear readers, do you have a special (good or bad) birthday memory? Did you have a package of green army men?


Natasha declared Wednesday night that if no one returns to the bridge, he has won.

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If you read my very last post, you know that our community suffered a tragedy this past Sunday evening when a lone gunman shot and killed two adult men and an 11 year old girl on the Trestle Trail bridge, not far from where I work. The community has since come together with love and support of the victims and their families in many heartfelt ways.

At lunch today, I drove over to Fritse Park to walk the length of the bridge and found an usual number of vehicles (for a Thursday noon) at the park.

Empoyee rec and Trestle Trail 054

I had to park in the overflow lot.

Several people were on their way into the park and in the distance, I saw a fairly large group of people walking onto the bridge. It turned out this was a group from the YMCA, where Erin Stoffel worked part-time. They walked out to the middle of the bridge and under the red pavilion, where others had laid flowers and memorials.

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It was a windy walk across the bridge. As I passed the red pavilion and the gathered group from the Y, I struck up a conversation with a young woman, who had also come for a walk during her lunch time. She felt a sort of kinship with Erin Stoffel as she had lost her husband five years ago in a traffic accident. This young woman was left with a two-year-old boy to raise on her own. “You never know,” she said to me, “when these things will happen.” Jane and her son visit the park and walk the bridge frequently. It is her intent that fear not keep them from this place.

Fear cannot win, for if it does, then the shooter wins.

That is the main reason I went there today. That is one of the reasons that people were there today. There will be another group on the bridge tonight, holding a prayer service and keeping community with a potluck afterwards. There will be others that will walk or bike the bridge on Friday. And Saturday. And for many summer days to come.

He didn’t win. Fear didn’t win. Not today. Not ever.

Epilogue: Erin Stoffel was listed in serious condition as of Wednesday night, but is expected to survive. When she was able to speak she clarified her husband’s last words were, “I forgive him.” Although Jon Stoffel didn’t ask his wife to forgive, she has said that she also forgives the shooter. Erin understands that if forgiveness isn’t granted, we may as well never walk the bridge again.

Empoyee rec and Trestle Trail 060

Back on April 14th, I wrote about rejoicing in the first bike ride of the season.

If you didn’t click on the link to that post, please do so. I only ask that you go look at the photo. Pay attention to where I am standing and the Trestle Trail bridge behind me. I’ll wait.

I remember that day, when my biking buddy commented about how wonderful it was to see so many people out on the trail and in the park. It was a sure sign of spring and better weather. It made her happy.

This past Sunday, at 7:30 pm, the Fox Valley area was shook to the core by a lone gunman, Sergio Valencia del Toro. This gunman and his fiance called off their wedding a week prior. After an argument between the two on Sunday, Valencia del Toro left their residence wearing camouflage, with two handguns in his possession. He then rode his bicycle to the Trestle Trail and began firing at innocent victims, killing a male bystander, Adam Bentdahl. Adam was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The gunman also ended the life of a father, Jonathan Stoffel, and his eleven year old daughter, Olivia, before turning the gun on himself. The wife and mother, Erin Stoffel, was shot three times while trying to get her two younger children to safety. She has survived and is awake, but unable to speak. Erin is using a dry erase board to communicate.

Jonathan Stoffel’s sister-in-law was with Erin on Monday evening. Erin wrote on the board these words, “Last words. Jon said, ‘Forgive the shooter.’

When many in the community were asking why?, a dying man spoke the words forgive the shooter. Mr. Stoffel was a man of deep faith, involved in his church and community, asking his wife not to hate or be angry at his killer. I did not know Mr. Stoffel or his family, but they are a glaring example of how one walks in faith and humanity.

The Trestle Trail bridge is a popular walking trail in the area. On one end of the bridge is Fritse Park, a place where one can launch a boat, cook bratwurst on the grill, or watch children play on the swings and slide. On the trail itself, you will find walkers, bicyclists, and families out for a stroll. There is even an area where people can fish off the side of the bridge. On any given weekend with good weather, I would estimate that the bridge is crossed hundreds of time. I have crossed the bridge many times, as it is within walking distance of my office. In fact, I went for a walk on the trail last week during lunch.

Even though the Stoffel family, and perhaps Adam’s family, chooses to forgive Valencia del Toro, I continue to ask why? Why did this gunman get so angry that he felt a need to kill innocent people? Why did he choose the bridge? Why didn’t he seek professional help instead? Why do these random acts of violence continue to occur in this country?

One of the TV reporters stated that the Fox Valley has “lost its innocence.” I don’t know that we’ve lost our innocence as much as we’ve awoken to reality. We have seen random acts of violence before on TV. In other cities, in other states. The reality is that a random act of violence can happen anywhere, when it’s least expected. It just showed up in the Fox Valley on Sunday.

I expect additional details to come out about the shooting, but for now I ask that you keep the victims, families of the victims and Erin Stoffel and her two children in your thoughts and prayers. It’s going to be a long road of grieving and healing and forgiving for all of them.