Friday, December 12, 2014

Disney’s so Magical, Even Twitter Comes to Life

More from the Schultzsters Adventure.  And what is an adventure without friends?  Anaheim happens to be the old stomping grounds of our fabulous friend, Tromboneforhire.  His new stomping grounds aren’t terribly far away, so we arranged an afternoon of adventures.

None of us had yet met Tromboneforhire in person, so it was very exciting.  “Does he know what he’s getting himself into?” Munchkinhead asked about his meeting the three of us at once.  I looked at her.  “Yes, he does,” we said together and laughed.  Twitter with our family is, if anything, a true representation of what it’s like to hang out with us.  “Was it weird meeting someone off Twitter?”  Mr. Trizzle asked later.  This is the fourth or fifth friend I’ve first met on Twitter and then hung out with, the first being Short Fabulous, so I had only excitement and extremely high expectations.  Tromboneforhire lived up to them.

Munchkinhead, Alfred and I were hanging out in the Lego store – the meeting point Tromboneforhire had designated – playing with the Lego people display.  I was digging through a tub of Legos when Munchkinhead looked at me and nodded behind me.  I turned around and there was Tromboneforhire, just chillin, watching us getting giddy over Legos.  I shrieked and threw my arms around him.  Sneaky man.

Greetings all around and we were off on our adventure around Downtown Disney.  We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant where Munchkinhead had a birthday margarita bigger than her head.  We did lots of window shopping and playing in the many toy stores and the ESPN store, including some dress up.  This may be my most favorite picture of Alfred, ever.furry folks

We wandered all over Downtown Disney and into one of the nearby resorts.  We finished off the afternoon at a Tiki bar where Katrina eating brainsMunchkinhead drank brains out of a skull.  Alfred bought her the mug to take home with her, except they gave Munchkinhead the wrong, which wasn’t discovered until weeks after we were back home.  Sadness.  Or something.  That mug was incredibly scary so I’m not too sure it’s a bad thing she got the wrong one.

Alfred and I had fancy drinks, too, but we didn’t opt for keepsake mugs.  My drink set off a tidal wave or something in the bar.  The lights went dim, a boat in a glass display went all topsy turvy and the bartender sprayed patrons with a water gun.

It was a great afternoon spent strolling, chatting and being utterly silly.  What more could the Schultzsters want in an adventure?

The Hulk and crewThe Four of Us Chillin with Lego Hulk

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Warm Wrists for Winter

I have monkey arms.  This is great for things like playing the trombone and getting stuff down from atop the fridge.  It is not great for finding clothes that fit, particularly not for jackets.

I live in Wisconsin.  It gets cold here in the winter. Very, very cold.  This is generally not a problem as us Wisconsinites know how to bundle ourselves up pretty well. 

The problem is, bundling up while still looking classy is difficult when jacket sleeves are too short for you.  Sure, I could wear my giant XL puff coat and be warm and well-covered down to my fingertips, but a puff coat with a suit?!  No siree Bob!  I like my glove and coatbeautiful black trench coat.  I just don’t like how cold my wrists get and how the wind rushes up my arms from that gap between glove and sleeve.  So, I did something about it.

I made wrist cuffs!  They go under my jacket and gloves and keep my wrists snug and warm and the draftiness out.  I made them with the same yarn as my phone cozies, and actually started with the same pattern as a base.  After all, that pattern was for fingerless gloves.  I figured the cast-on amount would be appropriate for a wrist.  It was.warm wrist cuffs

Pair of ‘em

I cast on 44 stitches and did a 2x2 rib as long as I wanted the cuff.  At the top, I did a couple rows of seed stitch and added a thumb hole to help keep the cuffs in place.  Rather than doing a “hold these stitches over here” like a normal glove or fingerless glove, I cast off 6 stitches where I wanted the thumb and on the next time around, cast on 6 stitches and joined those to the other side so I had a thumb hole.  I then did 2 more rounds and bound off the whole thing.

wrist cuff Covered wrist

The left cuff is extra special.  The one good thing about that gap between my gloves and sleeve is that I can look at my watch.  I wanted to keep that bonus while warming my wrists, so the left cuff has a watch hole.

watch hole

Watch opening

So far, I love them.  It takes a little longer to get ready, and they have to go on after the jacket (and thus come off before I can put the jacket on if I’m just wearing them around), but it’s worth it.  The extra warmth they provide is amazing, especially with how they keep the wind out of my jacket.

Monday, December 8, 2014

M-I-C. K-E-Y. M-O-U-S-

I’m sorry, you’re going to have to buy that last vowel.  That’s the standard impression of Disneyland anyway.  “How much did the mouse fleece you for?” was one of my friends’ first question when he learned we’d been there for the day.  Whatever the reputation, we still had fun.

Munchkinhead, Alfred and I were there for Munchkinhead’s 26th birthday.  Well, sort of .  I mean, we were at Disneyland for her birthday, but the being in Anaheim that facilitated going to Disneyland was the State Bar of California’s IP Institute.  If I just had to be in Anaheim the day after Munchkinhead’s birthday, we might as well go to Disneyland on her birthday, right?  Right.  So we took that train ride and went for a mouse-fleecing.

Munchkinhead had gotten special birthday ears and we were each given a pin to show that we were celebrating her birthday.  We got all dolled up in our Disney paraphernalia, including Alfred in her “Hans Shot First” t-shirt and headed out for some Schultzsters adventure!

Our Super 8 was only a few blocks from the theme parks, so we walked over.  First stop, those funny pass things for Space Mountain, which Munchkinhead and Alfred both wanted to go on.  But before we went on any rides, we had a very special breakfast (2nd breakfast as Super 8 had breakfast included and we like to have about 2 of every meal.)  Breakfast with Minnie and friends!

We all got our pictures taken with a bunch of Disney characters.  Captain Hook tried to steal Alfred, who went rather willingly with a big smile on her face.  I was super excited to see that Minnie and I had on matching pantoloons.  And Munchkinhead got lots of autographs, which are still in my work notebook in my purse.  The Fairly Godmother was quite surprised that Munchkinhead’s Fairy Godmother doesn’t have a magic wand.

Katrina and Minnie

Captain Hook stealing Wendy

We had lots of great adventures throughout the day.  Almost everyone got to go on their favorite rides, except poor Munchkinhead.  And on her birthday!  It’s a Small World was closed.  Alfred took us on the Star Wars adventure ride, which my tummy wasn’t too happy about, even with medicine.  We hit my favorite, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride pretty early.  We also went on the Peter Pan ride and somehow I survived the Teacups.  We took turns riding solo on the 2-people rides.

Alfred and I made light sabers.  Hers was a Darth Vader replica for her husband.  Mine was me picking out the things I thought were pretty.  My lightsaber’s purple!  Like Samuel L. Jackson’s.  Oooh.  They guy helping us asked if we knew why is was purple.  Alfred started going on this long shpiel about Mace Windu and the dude’s like “cuz Samuel L. Jackson said he wanted it that way.”  Alfred was quite miffed, “I was answering in cannon.”  Shrug.  I like purple and Samuel L. Jackson, that was good enough for my light saber.

We went to the Tiki room, and Abraham Lincoln’s speech and watched a bit of Jedi training, and all sorts of fun stuff!  We also blew through the New Orleans section where Munchkinhead tried to knock over some lamp poles.  That’s pretty much on par with Captain Hook trying to steal Alfred.

All day long, everyone kept saying “Happy Birthday” to Munkchinhead.  Even the characters in the parade!  Tromboneforhire helped us out throughout the day, providing tips and tricks via Twitter and text.  He helped us get a great spot for the parade and navigate the park.  It was a very long and fun day.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dinner and a Song

Liberace I knew he was from Milwaukee.  I knew he was Vegas, and I knew he liked sequins.  That was about all I knew about Liberace.  I had no idea he was a piano player.  Ok, I knew he was gay, but only because of previews for that movie not that long ago with Matt Damon.  I did not know he died of AIDS.  I had no idea he was Polish.  And I certainly didn’t knew he was actually a very talented man.

Liberace! at The Rep was not just informative, it was highly entertaining and extremely well done.  Jack Forbes Wilson is amazing and entirely believable to be the ghost incarnate of Liberace himself.   Of course, since I didn’t even know Liberace played the piano, I clearly am not familiar with his work so I can’t offer a comparison.  But, Mr. Wilson can certainly play the piano and keep your attention for several hours.  I think this was my favorite thing I’ve seen at the Rep so far.

I’m usually not a fan of one-man shows.  I get bored.  And The Rep isn’t my favorite theater in the city.  It’s ostentatious.  But this one-man show was perfectly ostentatious and not at all boring.

Liberace! is performed in the cabaret theater.  Munkchinhead and I hadn’t been to this yet and didn’t really know what to expect.  It reminded me a bit of the jazz club in Oakland that Mr. Trizzle took me to once.  Munchkinhead had some whiskey hot chocolate and I had some bourbon pecan pie.  Mmmmm…. And we watched and wowed at the dazzling display on stage.  Oh. my. gosh. Those outfits!  I totally want a cloak again now, though with a few less sequins.

Liberace! is running through January 11th.  There’s some sing-a-long parts! (and they swam and they swam…)  Tickets.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sophisticated Sunday

This Sunday, Munchknihead and I had a theater day.  It turned out to be more of a “professional imitations of life with the Schultzes” day, but it was still rather fun.

Complete Works of Shakespeare

Show One

The first show we say was The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised] at Milwaukee Chamber Theater.  The play very much reminded me of the NG antics the neighbor kids and us would get into in Mommy and Daddy’s basement.  Friends goofing around, grabbing this thing and that for props, wearing Christmas tree skirts, writing scripts, goofing around, pretending there was an audience.  In that sense, it felt a little silly to have paid to come watch such a thing.

The show was amusing – although honestly the most amusing part was watching a bunch of 70 year-old white woman laugh at what they probably didn’t know was a “Gin and Juice” parody.  I especially loved the local things worked in, like the cheeshead.  The four-man cast included Rick Pendzich, who played Max in the Lend Me a Tenor show Munchkinhead and I saw in April. He’s excellent, and so pretty to look at I’d probably watch him play a tree.

The show’s good for quite a few laughs, and now I know the plot lines to a lot more Shakespeare plays.  It runs at the Chamber Theater through December 14th, so there’s still time to check it out. Warning, it’s somewhat interactive – How Munchkinhead and I keep accidentally going to interactive theater, I don’t know!  Tickets.


After playing dress-up with the Shakespeareans, Munchkinhead and I decided to do dinner somewhere on KK we hadn’t been yet.  So we drove down KK.  We seemed to comment more on the places we had been, as if checking off “nope, can’t go there.”  As we neared the end of the Bay View part of KK, we passed Pastiche.  Neither of us had been there, so we triangled around the block (KK is a crooked street) and parked next to the restaurant.  

Woo eee! Fancy!  There was a couple dining there so finely dressed, the man entered in a top hat, a long black coat with a cape on the shoulders and a tall cane with a metal knob.  Very elegant!  There was a sign on the table in French.  Neither Munchkinhead or I knew enough French to parse it out completely, so we took out our phones to find out what it said.  It said “please don’t use your mobile devices.”  Oops!  Good thing we had explained to the waitress when she came to take our order that we were just looking up the words we didn’t know.  She politely explained douphinoise potatoes to us.

The food was delicious.  Munchkinhead even had the waitress pair a wine with her meal!  Though I still don’t understand ratatouille; it always feels like someone forgot to put pasta under the sauce.

Show Two

Harvey After dinner, we headed back downtown to see Harvey at the Rep.  Yup, we went from four guys playing in their basement to a man with a giant invisible rabbit.  You see what I mean about this “life with the Schultzes” thing?  (Lewin would.) 

Harvey is a very cute play, so of course the show was cute.  But it wasn’t nearly as good as the production I saw with Daddy Bunny (his post here) at the Contra Costa Civic Theater.  The Rep has a much bigger budget and quite frankly, it just feels like they’re trying too hard.  A lot of the characters felt too high-strung.  Not quite over-acting but ridiculously intense in a way that made intermission feel like coming up for air.  The one exception to that was Mr. Wilson, played by Justin Brill, who felt properly toned.  The person in a bunny suit behind the windows was also over the top.  Imagination is far more powerful than a man in a bunny suit.

Still, as I said, Harvey is a very cute play.  It’s running at the Rep through December 21.  Tickets.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sparkle-ing up my Wardrobe

collar (1)I’d started noticing something, a pattern sort of.  The clothing that I liked in stores and catalogs, it all had something in common.  It wasn’t really the cut or the fabric, it was that all of it had embellishments.  Beads, lace, ruffles, sequins, sparkliness, something extra that made it fun and feminine.  That realization got the ball rolling.  A tiny little marble sliding around in my head.  A lone marble; all the others are lost.

<-- Alfred.

Munchkinhead had bought me some grey sparkly yarn when I was finishing up Mzzzz Jones’ scarf and my crocheted stockings in case I didn’t have enough purple and needed to put another color in the stocking heels.  I hadn’t needed it then, so I started thinking about what to do with it.  It’s very pretty.  What do you know?  That loose marble rolled up.  I could use the sparkly silver yarn to make something to embellish my dress clothes.  A collar!  I could make a collar.

I went online and found a pattern that I thought looked pretty and not too difficult.  It has a beautiful leaf pattern in it and some lacey accents that I thought would look great with the fairly-thin yarn.  The pattern called for two colors, but as we know, I like to experiment, so I decided to do it in just the silver.  The really awesome part was that the pattern itself called for embellishments, 55 small beads. Munchkinhead let me have some white, shiny coated, plastic beads from here collection.  Then I found some beautiful pearly looking glass beads at Jo-Ann’s that I liked even better.  For some reason, I also threw into my purse, a string of small pearled plastic beads.

I knit the collar on our train ride to California.  The knitting went pretty easy, but when it came time for the beads, oh boy.  This was major group effort.  The glass beads I’d purchased had holes far too small to fit onto the yarn, or my needles.  Luckily, Alfred lent me a needle from her cross-stitch kit.  I tried stringing the prettier glass beads onto some thread from Alfred’s sewing kit and knitting the thread and yarn together.  That was not working well.   So, I decided to try the plastic beads Munchkinhead had given me.  I strung up some beads and began attaching them into the cast off as the pattern instructed.  It looked awful.  The beads dangled off the bottom of the collar, looking more like jingle bells that flattering feminine decorations. 

Then I got an idea.  I don’t quite know where it came from, but it worked wonderfully.  That string of small plastic beads glued in place on some sort of stiff cord or something turned out to look perfect, and it was long enough.  Instead of stringing beads onto the working yarn, I worked the pre-strung chain into the cast-off.  When wrapping the working yarn around my needle for the knit stitch, I would also wrap it around the space between two beads.  As I knit the cast-off stitch, the yarn would pull the bead string against the edge of the collar.  The result is that the collar looks perfectly edged in little white beads.

It’s gorgeous!  Now I just need to find a blouse or dress to adorn with it.

collar (2)Munchkinhead holding the completed collar.

Here are some close-ups of the beading edge on the front and back of the work.

beads from front beads from back

Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Glamour in Platinum, 2 Fine, size 5 needles or size 6 hook recommended

Needles: Wooden size 3 circular

Pattern: Lacy Knit Collar by Lorna Miser, available at