BeeKay's Blog

crafts, food, makeup, clothes, shoes, books, cats, life

Isn’t That Always the Way?

Ever have one of those moments where you put something away for safekeeping, then forgot where said safe space was?

Ever have one of those days when you don’t really care how nice your hair turned out (because you are going out into the frozen tundra and you’ll only be squishing said hair under your Marine Corps beanie) and it looks BANGIN’ … but days when your hair really really REALLY has to look good, it goes straight to hell, despite your amazing stylist and vast collection of hair care products?

Ever experienced the time you inventoried all the sewing projects (namely McCall’s M6664, view E, and McCall’s M6930, view C) lying around your craft room and think that JoAnn Fabric and Craft vomited all over it? Not to mention, you picked out the perfect colors (Amaryllis, Capri, and Ibis White) to paint said craft room and then realize how much crap will need to be moved before you can even think of busting out a paint brush?

Ever look at the store of unfinished cross stitch projects you have stashed near your comfy chair and wonder Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, how did this get so crazy?

That, dear readers, is the story of my life. Looks like I’m going to have to channel my internal warrior woman and get to work.


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Ode to a Most Excellent Teacher

12 October 2010

Dear Ms. [last name redacted]:

First, I’d like to apologize for not hand-writing this letter. Something this heartfelt should be hand-written (to my mind, anyway), but my handwriting has been atrocious lately, so I’ll spare you some squinting.

For the past several years, I had hoped to get in touch with you to tell you about the extremely positive influence you had on my life. Thanks to A[redacted], I am now finally able to do so.

You, along with my dad helped me to develop my understanding and appreciation of the written word, and its importance. I remember your teaching us that popular/ contemporary songs could be considered a form of poetry – that “Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain” (INXS – me) and “Be My Girl (Sally)” (The Police – [redacted]) were poetic, owing to measure and rhyme. It encouraged an open-mindedness to what could be considered “poetry” and therefore “art.”

I always admired and hoped to emulate your zero-tolerance attitude to bullcrap. I like to think I’ve been successful in following your lead, for the most part.

Most importantly, I remember your confrontation of a very angry, troubled and lost young woman who was thinking of dropping out (no, going to drop out) of high school. You asked me to help you get something from the supply closet – once we were there you proceeded to give me one of the most brutal verbal beat-downs I’ve ever received, even now as a thirty-something adult. And you really didn’t say much – your disapproval was writ large across your face (I love the phrase “writ large”).

You told me you heard what I was considering doing (no, doing).

You told me it was the dumbest thing I could do.

You concluded by saying you would be extremely disappointed in me if I went through with it.

And then you walked out.

(You may have also ignored my presence for a day or two.)

That stung. And I’ll admit I was very angry with you for a while, but time gives us perspective, and eventually we understand.

Because you told me off, I stayed in school. Hated every moment of it, but received my diploma. I am sure I would have hated every second of working at Burger King but there you are.

Because you nurtured the seed my dad planted, I graduated with honors from West Chester with a degree in English (minor in creative writing).

Because you were my teacher, and taught me well, one professor said of a paper I wrote:

“This is one of the best undergraduate papers I have ever read; I consider it master’s level actually … excellent job! Be proud of it – it’s special.”

And another informed me that the quality of my paper on Arc d’X far exceeded the others in our class (and his other two classes on the subject), therefore my grade was being upped to an A+.

And mine was the only A in my class.

But most importantly, because you cared I was able to choose a path that allowed me to use my love of the written word to its fullest and have a career that, while sometimes frustrating, is extremely fulfilling. God only knows where I’d be if you hadn’t stepped in and given me what for.

I know this letter is 22 years too late, but I wanted you to know that you were one of my favorite teachers at [school name redacted], if not the favorite. That I appreciate the way you taught us, opening our minds to the beauty of the written word (because of this, I admit I can appreciate the skillful writing in The Story of O and cringe at the same time while reading it). That because of the foundation you helped lay, my love of English and my kung-fu writing skills have served me well in a rewarding professional career, from cellular telecommunications to venture capital to medical education/medical communications.

But most importantly, I want to thank you for caring about a girl who thought no one gave a crap. That means more to me than words can ever express (yes, even for someone who writes).

If you are ever in [redacted], you can find me most days (except Sundays and Mondays) at 602 [redacted] – perhaps my boss will allow me to play hooky so we can go to lunch; there are several lovely restaurants in my block.

Ha ha, my boss is me, so it’s do-able.

All best,

The BeeKay

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A Repost, in Honor of Sarge’s Third Anniversary in His Fur-Ever Home

(Original blog title “Wrong ‘Em, Boyo” courtesy of The Clash, with a tip of the hat to Mr. Karel Minor, Executive Director Extraordinaire of Humane Pennsylvania, fellow animal rights supporter and Clash fan)

Picture it: mid-January 2015, late morning, route 422 eastbound, somewhere in southeastern Pennsylvania. The spousal-unit was driving to work when he noticed a cat carrier placed just-so by the side of the highway. He called to tell me about it; unfortunately, he could not stop as it was rush hour and he was already late for work. He said if he saw it on his way home, he’d stop and check it out.


The scene of the crime. (I was not driving when I took this photo BTW)

Fast forward to 8 pm. that same night. Hubcap stopped to find that the carrier was still there, and that there was a (live) cat in it! No idea how long the poor thing had been stuck there; but suffice it to say it was 16 degrees out when the spousal-unit returned to check on the carrier. And (I will try to put this as delicately as I can), the cat had nowhere to go to the bathroom for God only knows how long. It took a lot of bleach and hot water to clean the carrier, and quite frankly I’d have a hard time putting a kitten or a ferret in it, let alone a grown-ass cat, the carrier was so small …

The spousal-unit originally wanted to drop the cat and carrier off at the Animal Rescue League; I said no, as I would prefer to leave the cat with a person rather than dump the cat off in the surrender area.

It was a Tuesday night. The Animal Rescue League is closed on Wednesdays. So the cat was treated to a night in our basement with food, fresh water, a litter box, a bed, and a gazillion hiding places.

I am sure you know where this is headed.

Long story short, within 36 hours of a sort of homecoming, the cat cleaned himself up (yes, he is a boy, he was an intact boy if you get my drift – he is intact no longer [sorry, fellas]), earned the name of Gunnery Sgt. Highway (he was almost Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, after the character in Full Metal Jacket – and my maiden name – but the spousal-unit said no), and endeared himself to the ladies of the family. It helped that the spousal-unit was given two first-class tickets on the Guilt Trip Express (thanks, Mom!) … over two years and a couple vet visits later, SARGE (aka “the Boyo”) has settled well into his fur-ever home, and we are so lucky to have him.


Gunnery Sgt. Highway reporting for duty.

Remember: Adopt! Don’t Shop! Shelter/rescue pets are the best pets, and I speak from experience. And if you can’t adopt, you can support animal welfare organizations in other ways; visit your local shelter for their needs and wish lists.

Oh, and to the negative vibe merchants who dumped this gorgeous cat like so much garbage: Karma will come gunning for you.

Unfortunately, cruelty to cats (animals) is all too common, and receiving increased media coverage. Two cases of feline abuse were reported in my local newspaper (Maisy made Philadelphia news, possibly even national as PETA got involved).

Click here to read about Miracle Maisy, and here to read about Churchill, who bears a distinct resemblance to my Sargey boy. Who, as I type this, is graciously sharing his office chair with me.





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New Year, New Me

As blogged about earlier, my New Year’s resolution essentially is to get $#!t done.

My plan to accomplish this:

  1. one small chore five days a week
  2. one chore I HATE with every fiber of my being (e.g., scrub floors) five days a week
  3. one hour sewing
  4. one hour crafting
  5. blog two or three times a week
  6. journal every night
  7. meditate in the morning and before I go to bed
  8. fill a 30 gallon outdoor trash bag with stuff to discard/give away at least twice a week

It’s still a work in progress but, as always, watch this space!

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Still the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (?)

Quelle surprise, I am managing to hold it all together! I am thisclose to sending out cards, decorated an evergreen swag for my front door (the anemic bow on which needs replacing), put pine garland on the front porch railing (again with the anemic bows—I could not find the red velvet bows I use most years), and my holiday decorations are out.

Tree is going up later today, and as soon as I get my funds straight gifts will be ordered (lists are saved online, thank God, and most of them are still available). Fingers crossed that Santa bought from my Amazon wish list; also fingers crossed that my gifts will ship on time.

(I also need to remember to get stocking stuffers for Maggie and Sarge.)

Our holiday visiting schedule has been ironed out; I only need to decide what to make for Christmas Night dinner. I am torn between something traditional (ham [with turkey drumsticks for Baby Bro as he does not like ham], mashed potatoes, filling, vegetables, rolls, and dessert) or something not so traditional (stuffed shells, lasagna Bolognese, rolls, salad, and dessert). The latter can be made pretty much ahead of time … but who doesn’t like a traditional Christmas dinner?

But before Christmas, we have birthdays to celebrate—namely mine and Baby Bro’s. It’s my turn to pick where we are going to go for dinner. I’m concerned that dinner on a Friday night during this heavy holiday season might be problematic; perhaps picking a weeknight to go out might be the way to go.

And of course, after Christmas we have New Year’s Eve. The spousal-unit and I typically go out for a nice late lunch and then stay the hell home that night to avoid amateur hour (amateur night?). The SU’s birthday follows hard on the heels of New Year’s Day, so there’s Yet Another Dinner I have to figure out.

Which further leads me to New Year’s resolutions.

  1. I need a job!
  2. I need to quit smoking.
  3. I need to keep working on my anxiety issues.
  4. I need to get back to craft work.
  5. I need to learn to better schedule my time.

Not necessarily in any particular order.

And finally, how ’bout dem Iggles? Last night’s game was a real nail-biter but they pulled it off when it counted. We’re hoping Carson Wentz isn’t as badly injured as the media is making it sound. ETA damnit, torn ACL.


Fly Eagles Fly

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Vanity, Thy Name Is BeeKay, Part Two

Years ago, the spousal-unit, his brother and I went to Washington DC to see the sights and go to a Caps/Sabres game at the recently opened MCI Center.  My brother-in-law is a Caps fan, I will always be a Pat LaFontaine fan (he is the reason I started watching hockey – more on that later).  I had a sweet red-and-black marled yarn mock-turtleneck sweater, which I teamed up with a pair of nicely-fitting jeans and fabulous brand-new boots.  I wanted to look cute in case I had the chance to meet Pat.

The phrase-that-pays there is “brand new boots.”

We did a lot of walking that day – visited the Korean War and Vietnam War memorials and the Reflecting Pool, hit a few bars, you get my drift.

I was wearing brand new boots.

By the end of the night, I was LIMPING.  If I weren’t such a proud broad I’d have probably asked the spousal-unit and his brother to carry me to the car.  Upon getting home and removing said fabulous brand new boots found that both my feet were COVERED in blisters.  Each toe, my heels, even the sole of my right foot (who knew blisters could form there?) sported at least one frigging blister.

The next morning, the only pair of footwear I could tolerate wearing was my beat-up pair of Reeboks, untied.  At the time I worked in venture capital so had to dress up every day; and there I was, clad in a smart business suit and SNEAKERS.

Went into my boss’s office to report in for the day and he gave me a quizzical look.  “What the hell is it with the sneakers?” Bawf** wanted to know, as he surveyed me from head to toe (he was always interested in what women wore, probably still is).

“Bawf,” I said in reply, “I am a very vain and stupid woman.”  I explained the sneakers (and the limping) to which he shook his head and said, “You dumb @$$” (yes, we had that sort of close and personal working relationship, which I miss to this very day, but if you tell him I’ll deny it).

From them on out, I always made sure my footwear was fully broken-in before deciding to tromp around a major city in them.

**”Bawf” is a term on the Howard Stern Show and the way Gary Dell’Abate referred to Howard back in the day.  Bawf and I were both Stern fans (I still am) and I used to call him that as a joke (he HATED it).  But further testament to our working relationship … shortly after we started working together, I went into his office to find him cursing at his new computer.  He glanced at me and said, “I hate f—–g computers.”
I said, “Then don’t f— them,” left his mail and left his office.
At our annual holiday party one year, he recounted this story and said, “In that moment, I just knew that she and I would work perfectly together.”
And we did.
I miss you, Bawf.**
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It’s That Time of Year (Again)!

Holiday (and birthday) season is in full effect chez BeeKay, and I’m trying to keep things low key and serene. The spousal unit and I used to send out holiday newsletters, with the last being in 2008 (I thought it was 2009 but in retrospect we were too busy to send Christmas cards that year, what with being new small business owners at the time). We decided to renew that tradition this year, and I uploaded the first draft to to print in color for review. Won’t be able to get it until tomorrow at 7:00 pm, unless I want to pay a rush fee (no, thank you).


First draft, needs minor tweaks

Order. Cancelled. The spousal-unit will print it at work tomorrow.

Last night, we stopped by Target and bought a box of Christmas cards, just in case we didn’t have enough to accommodate our mailing list. While in the basement pulling together everything I’ll need to decorate the evergreen swag for our front door, I found two nearly full boxes of Papyrus Christmas cards—I love Papyrus greeting cards—in addition to last year’s left over cards. I think we are all set for this holiday mailing, once the newsletter is finalized. We’ll just need to get stamps.

Holiday Swag

I hope I can find a swag that doesn’t look this ratty.

This week, I have to clean the living room from stem to stern so I can put out all of my holiday tchotchkes, and so we can put the tree up over the weekend. I have a new tree skirt halfway finished (photo to follow) in case I don’t want to put out my tried-and-true holiday cats tree skirt (ditto).

We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving with cousins Terry and Troy at their new home in Maryland. Their holiday spirit was in full effect, with at least five (five!!) festively decorated trees throughout the house, an amazing array of delicious food, and a house full of family and close friends. Needless to say, no one left hungry—Martha Stewart has nothing on those two!

I do have some gifts ready to be wrapped, and have a few more to buy, but I am stumped as to what to get my brother. I know cash or gift cards are always welcome but I find them unimaginative. I have no idea what size he wears, and don’t want to ask because he’s gained a lot of weight since he quit smoking. Perhaps some gourmet foodstuffs, as he is a foodie (which also accounts for his weight gain) and yes, a gift card (groan). Perhaps I will gift him a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated as a gag gift; he thinks it’s pretentious. “Do I really need to know what the dude was thinking while he harvested his home-grown turnips at their peak freshness? Do I look like I care? Get away from me with that crap.”

Lately, however, this place has been my go-to for inexpensive quality gifts.

As for birthdays, mine is the 15th, my brother’s is the 20th, and the spousal-unit’s is January 2. I hope to have the family birthday dinner at the Peanut Bar and couple’s night at Lang Restaurant (formerly Hong Thanh at Sixth and Court Streets in Reading). So glad tasty Vietnamese food is closer to home!

And further regarding birthdays, an Eagles win would be an incredible early birthday gift! Let’s go 11-1, Birds!


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Insomnia Strikes Again

Well, it’s almost five o’clock on Sunday morning, and Yours Truly is awake at an ungodly hour yet again. While the other inhabitants chez moi are snoozing snugly in their beds, I am sitting here (standing, actually) drafting a new blog post.

IDK why this recent phase of insomnia is ongoing. I take 10 mg of melatonin about an hour before I want to hit the hay—though I probably should not indulge in a couple of Starburst fruit chews after taking them. Then I get engrossed in “Forensic Files,” when I should probably dig up my Linguistics textbook from my junior year of college. THAT is the book form of Ambien, just without the sleep driving, sleep cooking, or whatever other sleep activities that are scary and messed up.

I have a lot of craft projects I need to crank out sooner rather than later. Can’t run the sewing machine at this hour because sleeping spousal unit. Maybe I’ll cut fabric for snappy bags, headbands, and pin basket linings.

OH! And speaking of candy, we won’t have to buy any for a good long time. We bought a shed load of candy for trick-or-treaters—in my neck of the woods, trick-or-treat is 10/30 and 10/31; it has been that way since I was a wee lass growing up here, which people who are not from here don’t get—not to mention my candy jar, which is fully stocked.

Fully stocked candy jar

I’m sure cavities, or weight gain, will be imminent.


Sweets from BJ’s Warehouse. I could spend all day in that place

  • 225 pieces/4 pounds of grape and strawberry Nerds (yuck), strawberry and banana Laffy Taffy (yum), and Everlasting Gobstoppers (double yum)
  • 145 pieces/2.5 pounds of Hershey bars (meh), Reese’s peanut butter cup minis (yum), Whoppers (more yum), and Kit Kat bars (meh)
  • 180 pieces/4.5 pounds of Skittles (YUM), Starburst originals (YUM X two), and Life Savers Gummies (yuck)

As you can see, the chocolate has been raided already, not by me.

I leave you with this:

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Get(ting) Back

So I have finally gotten my new(est) BlackBerry—no smartassery, please, I just can’t with a touchscreen—and got it up to speed. AND I have WordPress up and running on it! Yay me!

At any rate, four of the six prototype bowls have gone out, with two so far receiving rave reviews. I also received a 20% off total purchase coupon from JoAnn Fabrics, so you all know what that means, right?

It means yours truly is off to the bowl-creating races! I have so many creative ideas in mind, and can’t wait to bring them to fruition.

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Unfortunately, I neglected to buy a replacement pattern for the bowl; the original has clearly seen better days and has taken quite the beating.


A friend of mine at That Place suggested I make miniature versions of the bowls for party favors. First draft is still in play.

I also have to take the time to clear out/straighten up the room over the garage so it can (finally) become the amazing craft room/spare office/spare bedroom/kitty haven I’m envisioning it to be. I just need someone (someones?) to help make an old recliner disappear. Older brother-in-law (OBIL) wonders how I work in organized chaos, given that the spousal-unit is a neat freak.

Also, last night I decided to try out a new macaroni and cheese recipe that included cremini mushrooms and liquid smoke. It did not end well. I will not bother you with it, dear reader, as it was not that great. I will stick with my tried-and-true mac and cheese concoction going forward, #thankyouverymuch.


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Back to Life, Back to Reality

As things were getting a little hectic chez moi, I took some time off for myself to decompress and chill out. It was nice while it lasted—I met some amazing people, had a lot of laughs, did a lot of soul-searching, drank a lot of coffee and smoked a lot of cigarettes (nasty habit that, I plan to quit once stuff is in order)—but alas, it came time to return to the real world.

Now I am back home and ready to go but there are so many things I want to do, but overachieving, overthinking, overanalyzing, and overdoing will do me no good.

So I’m going to take this day to relax and hang with Sarge for a bit, drink some cold diet
Coke, and get my new BlackBerry up and running.


Look at this sweet little furry guy!

But tomorrow it’s time to get down to brass tacks and get moving. And boy oh boy, there’s a lot I’m looking forward to doing but one thing at a time, right? I’m going to try my hand at creating some new types of art, and need to get back to crafting. But again, one thing at a time, one day at a time.

Many, many thanks to Judy, Stephanie, Joanne, Mary, Andrew, Scarlett, Amanda, Bernard, Mark and John I. for helping me dig deeper to connect the dots, reconnect with and center myself, and continue on this thing called life. Thanks to everyone else there who made my retreat as pleasant as could be.

Huge HUGE hugs and kisses to the wonderful men and women I met on this stage of my personal journey (in no particular order): Claire, Brenda, Meg, Heather, Charlie, Matthew, Patty, Courtney, Sherry, Jen J., Cruise Director Julie, Julie-from-Maryland, the-other-Jen, the list goes on. Thank you for all the laughs, fun times, and incredible conversations, and thank you for honoring me with your trust.

I firmly believe that blasting Prince tunes at top volume helps cure all ills, so here you go:

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