Colress from Pokemon in Copic Markers

Monday, December 31, 2012

Colress by ~Stagsleap on deviantART

I saw a picture of this handsome fellow on the 'net and just couldn't resist!

Apparently he's from "Pokemon Black and White II", a game that I will probably never play and have no interest to. I just saw that crazy hair and yellow eyes and fell in love! It seems he's also known as "the trainer with the Internet Explorer logo for a head...".

I threw him through my Bishie Machine, inked his fluffy locks with Sakura Micron pens, and lovingly slathered him with the ink of the Copic Marker.

I made a speedpaint video too, along with spiffy Colress battle remix music! 

First Day at Dickens - Sunday, Boystyle

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Why don't you go in civilian clothes?"

I was tired, anxious about school, worried about my sick Beau, and unwilling to commit to anything much. I almost didn't go to Dickens Fair at all on the first weekend. My mother and I had free passes (for that first weekend only) so I pushed my worries aside and decided to head out on Sunday.  My pink gown was not finished, and I felt like I didn't have any other appropriate dress to wear, so I decided I would dress "like a secular" and forgo historical clothing. The plan was to stay at the Fair for only a short time and view the shows, which I have often missed in past years.

So, I went into my closet to find "civilian clothes" and I came out looking like this...

I completely forgot my love of dressing like a boy. Oh my, how I had forgotten that sweet, liberating feeling! I felt more giddy and powerful than I had in a long time.

I accompanied my mother around the fair, nibbled at some Bangers and Mash (the food, not the band!), danced a wee bit, and went to Saucy French Postcards. It was a low-key day, but I was delighted to see nearly all of my fair friends!

When a dancer trips...

Friday, November 30, 2012

During tonight's performance, I tripped.

Before jumping into a tour-jete, it felt as if someone had pulled the rug out from under me. I didn't fall down, but I stumbled. It felt my shoulder slump and my head look down. For one second, I was in front of hundreds of people and absolutely petrified.

When you love what you do, your body and mind can work together to pilot your struggling ship straight again. I'm wearing a beautiful white tutu with flowers; I have a crown upon my head. I am a ballerina. The effervescent, magical, powerful storyteller of the theater. The audience wants to love me. My mind did not forget the steps that came next; my body did not fail to get me right up upon my leg again. A quick port de bras and my pas de basques came large and expressive. I back on track. My smile returned.

Of course I am concerned about how I must have looked. Was the illusion lost? Did I contribute to a lower morale amongst my fellow dancers for the rest of the piece? Did my face wrench into an unpleasant expression as I flailed? Did I flail? Was I able to regain my posture decently enough?

A year or two ago, I may have been in tears. I would have been nervous and shaking. But I sit in the dressing room, happy and content. I am fine. Unbelievably, I feel great.

During the last section of the piece, when all the various characters come on stage to get into the final tableau, there is a moment when I prance into my center spotlight with a series of developpes before taking my pose in preparation for the ending. I have a moment to look into the audience, my arms outstretched and my slippers gesturing out to the top rows. Tonight, as I smiled upon them with my lips and my heart, I thought I heard a loving applause. It could have been for the others, but I would like to think they were welcoming me back - telling me "It's okay. We have your back; well done. " As I floated into my final pose, I felt happier than I had been in a long time.

When a dancer trips, remember that the audience wants you to do well. To see someone get right back up and carry on with a genuine smile may be even more thrilling than the fall itself. People love stories of individuals overcoming obstacles. When you trip or fall, it's almost like a miniature drama playing out in front of them. If you return from your "fall from grace" with strength and beauty, the audience is thrilled.

Dancers are the athletes of god. You are blessed and beautiful. You enthrall and entertain with a poise and magic that no other entertainer possesses. When you fall, don't let yourself fall down a black hole of despair. You are one of the privileged, so smile and continue your magical spell. There is a good chance the audience barely noticed anyway.

Opening Night!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Opening Night!

Here I sit in the corner of the over-stuffed dressing room, surrounded by flocks of dancers, a thin mist of hairspray hanging above our manicured heads. The music and sounds from the stage filter in through a speaker. Every so often, the pitched slap of skin against the stage floor echos through - most of the dance pieces are contemporary, after all, and you how those dancers just love their sadomasochistic relationship with the floor.

My white and red tiara perches happily on my head. My tutu has been tucked away on it's skinny hanger; it will not join me in the curtain call.

The dancers on stage breathe so heavily right now that I can hear it through the speaker.

It was a wonderful opening night. I was nervous, of course, but not nearly as much as I have been for past shows. This is my first show as a real "ballerina" with a sparkling tutu, and my joy was probably quite evident on my smiling face. I had so much fun out there! I'm working on keeping my chin up, since I cast my gaze too low sometimes. My pique pirouette manage started beautifully, but I when I realized I was going farther downstage than I should have, a small hitch made its way to my feet like a hiccup. It felt like an earthquake, but I'm sure it was miniscule.

The song playing right now reminds me of droids angrily boffing each other...

In my turning balances, I felt like my feet and legs were tied in knots, and I'm sure the footwork wasn't pretty... But I am still joyful. I have done it! I have performed in a tutu, with a tiara, in front of an audience! I hope I was able to share my excitement and joy with the audience tonight. :) 

Backstage photos!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Backstage in the dressing room at the theatre! I'm playing a ballerina from a Degas painting in a dance piece  about Impressionism. Dancers portray various subjects from Impressionist paintings. I even have a little solo! No pointe shoes, though.
Tonight is our first dress rehearsal, and we are slated to remain in the theatre until 11pm tonight. Yikes!

Why you need to go to the Dickens Fair! A teaser!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The weekends of November 23- December 23 (and the Friday after Thanksgiving).
10am - 7pm (stay all the way to the end for caroling!)

It will soon be time for my favorite holiday tradition - the Great Dickens Christmas Fair! If you live near the San Francisco Bay Area in California and have even a slight interest in history, I suggest you visit. Held in the cavernous stock barns of The Cow Palace, the streets of Victorian London are lovingly recreated and populated with hundreds of trained actors. They portray numerous characters from Dickens, historical figures, and various city folk and travelers. There is a wealth of delicious Victorian food, activities, shopping, shows, and entertainment. It's a truly immersive experience unlike anything that I can think of.

Think the Victorians are too "prude" for you? Oh boy, are you in for a surprise. You might just see Victorians (and history geeks!) in a very different light after visiting The Fair. Be sure to get tickets for "Naughty French Postcards"!

If you have never been, I wanted to give you a little teaser by showcasing some wonderful photos of the fair. Enjoy!

All of these wonderful photos are from various artists on Flickr. Flickr can make it difficult to share photos, so some are links instead of thumbnails. Show your appreciation for their work  by visiting their galleries and faving or commenting!

The parlor at The Adventurer's Club. Photo by marianme.

Mr. Dickens himself in the family parlor. Photo by maywong_photos

Victoria and Albert enjoy a reading from Mr. Edgar Allen Poe in the "Adventurer's Club". 

One of 'The Ruffles' at Mad Sal's.

Sketching an enchanting model with The Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood. 

The melancholy Edgar Allen Poe. Photo by tuna94544

A corner of "Le Legion Fantastique". 
Another little detail. 

The Can-Can Girls of Mad Sal's. Their show is delightful! Photo by tuna94544

Try as they might, their message is often ignored! Photo by tuna94544

Anyone who thinks these people are "lonely nerds" are wrong, wrong, WRONG. Dickens Fair is the site of some the bawdiest fun you'll ever see this holiday season. Photo by tuna94544
Fagin. Photo by tibchris.
One of the two living windows outside Dark Garden Corsetry. Photo by tibchris.
Live, genuine gentlemen. Yes, they still exist. Yes, they can be found in decently large quanities at Dickens Fair. Photo by tibchris.

Sir Mulberry Hawk from Nicholas Nickleby. Photo by tibchris

Chimney Sweep! Kiss them for good luck! Photo by tibchris.
I hope these photos have enticed you to visit this year!

What horses give you...

Friday, November 16, 2012

I came across this article on Facebook, written by a mother reacting to people who ask her why she is "wasting" money on horses for her daughter. She goes on to elegantly explain the immense benefits that growing up with horses (working with horses, not just riding them) can offer to a child (I feel like they are applicable to adults as well). I hope you would take the time to read this short article, even if you're not into horses, to understand the values and lessons that horses bring to the people who choose to involve themselves in their lives.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With Horses...

I was once a ballet-dancing commodore...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's me!

Every fall at my college, the dance department has open auditions for their Fall Dance Concert, which is composed of student-choreographed pieces in all styles of dance. I was in three pieces in 2009 (which were mostly small roles) and the experience was certainly worth it. I made a lot of acquaintances and realized how little I actually knew as a dancer. I felt like "the baby" amongst all these other girls (and a few boys) who had years upon years of experience. I had a really difficult time picking up choreography. :(

Fast forward to 2011, and while I had no interest in taking part in another Fall Dance, I did hear whispers that there was to be a ballet segment in a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed dance. Pirates? Ballet? WHERE DO I SIGN UP? Luckily for me, the choreographer used to dance at my off-campus studio and knew of me.  I was given the role of Commodore James Norrington.

It doesn't end there! Of course, every PotC dance needs a Captain Jack Sparrow! Who better boyfriend Duke? For the first time in our relationship, Duke and I would be in full theatrical costume, on stage together, dancing, and in roles that both suit us. It was like a dream come true!

Rehearsals were wonderful. All of the Royal Navy cadets danced ballet, and I event got to dance a duet with Duke. Other segments includes contemporary, gymnastics, and hip hop. Duke and I worked together smoothly and happily. Things got even better when it came time to start rehearsing in costume and makeup. I wore a white "powdered" wig, poet shirt, a cream waistcoat, cream breeches, white tights, and black slippers with white elastic (so they look like black shoes). I had to dance all the choreo with a sword, adding an elegant challenge.
Best of all, Duke transformed into a stunning Jack Sparrow. Not only did he look perfect in the makeup, but he also got Jack's gestures, expressions, and run down pat.

Now, on to the pictures!

In costume as Norry before putting on the wig.

Confronting Sparrow.

Our duet. Apparently, the camera captured my inner demi-god. 

Enjoy the video too! The hip-hop segment was cut for some reason...

Ahem... A Nightcap

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm just going to leave you with this tonight, my darling glitter sachets! Sleep well!

Gaskell Ball - October 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another fantastic, wondrous Gaskell Ball! The October Ball is always one of most exciting, and for good reason! It's a "Fancy Dress" ball, which references the Victorian practice of dressing up in fanciful, historic, and Shakespearean costumes. So, we spend the night dressing up as Victorians dressing up...

The ceiling...
Duke and I originally planned in going in Indian dress, but we still need more accessories before we can really do those outfits justice, so we wore our Lolita outfits. I wore my favorite Peach Dress, cream tights, character shoes (brand new!), and lace socks, while Duke wore his minty Nehru jacket, trousers, and expansive bow. I wore Victorian-style side curls with flower and rose clips. I had nice curls when I left the house, but sitting quietly in the car was enough to straighten them. I still can't get my curls to set!
We arrived right as the Grand March started, but I had to dress and apply makeup in the ladies lounge, so we started dancing halfway through the first set, starting with a Congress of Vienna (our favorite dance). It's a unique feeling to know a choreographed social dance like the Congress. I'm usually looking at my beau, but every so often I take a glance at the floor and the other dancers. To see a crowd of beautifully costumed dancers partaking in such a romantic tradition gives me a sense of security and satisfaction. Ah, everything might turn out all right. Civility, gentleness, and elegance still exists in the souls of these good people. With every step and gesture, we keep these practices alive.


Here's a video of the Galop from that night! There is usually only one Galop per night, and boy, that's enough! It's a fast, frightening, fun, slightly dangerous dance that is usually described as "Victorian Bumper-cars". You hold your partner close and charge  into the crowd, trying your best not to slam into anyone, but casual bumps are normal and fun. It's even better to charge at your friends! Some people try to cross the brass disk set into the center of the floor as many times as they can. You are at the will of your leader, and there is always lots of joyful yelps and woohoos. You can see Duke and I come into the center of the video at 0:04.

Turning into a puddingpuff in the lobby.

After singing our praises to the Queen (yes, we sing "God Save the Queen" after every ball), we headed off to Afters in Berkeley, where I had an apple torte, vegetable chili, and hot chocolate! Can't wait until next the next ball in December!

Barre en Pointe Video!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Took the beginner/mixed level class en pointe last week. Still struggling with a stiff neck and back. :(

Getting ready for The Gatsby Summer Afternoon Picnic!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Some people enjoy reading The Great Gatsby. Others prefer to live it....

The San Francisco Bay Area has a little secret. Every so often, little pockets of history open up around the delta, beckoning the public to take a peek inside. If you give it your all and take the plunge inside, you are able to travel back through time for a few hours of peace. Some of these wormholes are stronger than others. Some still let fragments of the modern day pass through - A modern plastic chair here, a nylon backpack there. While many have learned to filter these artifacts out of the picture, they still create a slight disturbance.

One little pocket, however, will send you straight to heaven. Straight to the 1920s. No other adventure is so complete, so accurate, and so total as The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. You leave your auto-mobile on the asphalt and begin to walk. Concrete turns to dirt, which turns to grass. The bushes and shrubs rear up on either side of you as the lawn parts to make way for a small stream. You continue walking deeper into the park, the sound of the freeway fading into brass. Laughter tickles the air as the birds join in. You turn a corner...and you are in the past.

If you have ever read The Great Gatsby, take a deep breath - you're going to fall into its pages.

The modern world is gone. In its place are ladies and gentlemen (real gentlemen!) in pastel dresses and knickerbockers, sun hats and boaters. Plastic is replaced with the tink of glass, and lace tablecloths drape and delicately kiss the green grass below. Those great chrome beasts of the road stand long and proud on the lawn, their handlers standing close. The band plays away, their singers warbling with true, unadulterated voices as couples dance on the parquet floor before them.

No experience is as immersive and real as The Gatsby Picnic. It will be difficult to find remnants of the modern day, since no one in attendance wants to find them either. If you still delight in your denim pants, your hooded shirts, and plastic plates, be prepared to go no further. Unlike other experiences, which embrace the "secular" public, Mr. Gatsby would prefer you return when you are fully ready to travel into his world.

I made this wonderful journey into the past only once before, and now it is only days before I get to make it again. I do hope the pineapple upside-down cake comes out well!

"Heir to the Empire" A Summer Journey

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I have been watching Star Wars since 2nd or 3rd grade. My mother owned the original trilogy on VHS (the theatrical release - no souped up additions) and I watched them rather often as a child, especially Return of the Jedi. I didn't have any Star Wars figures or toys, but I still felt like a fan. We purchased all the Visual Guides (DK Publishing) as each new episode was released, and even got an Amidala paper doll book. I thoroughly read them all as a kid, then as a teen, and still as an adult.
Through much begging and pleading, I finally got my hands of "The Wildlife of Star Wars" by Terryl Whitlatch when I was in late middle/early high school, and remains today one of my very favorite books. I think it was this book that started me on a path of "mature fanship" of the SW universe. I wasn't into the violence or lasers, but instead the cultural and mythological influences, character development, the costumes, the different styles of art and architecture seen in the film, and the creatures. I wanted to be a Jedi for more than just a sparkly sword - I wanted to achieve their control, discipline, and emotional disconnect. I underwent many strong, negative emotions in high school, so the mantra, "What would Jedi do?" was often on my mind. I never was a Darth Vader fan.

During my college years, I didn't think very much of Star Wars. Maybe it was all that ballet. However, that has drastically changed in the past few months.

Duke, my beloved, was also a childhood Star Wars fan and introduced me back into the fandom through Star Wars literature. He heralded The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn and urged me to read it. Imagine my luck when I can across the entire set of books at Goodwill. In hardback nonetheless!

"Heir to the Empire" was the first book in the series and I started it soon after summer began. Oh my goodness. It felt like watching the films for the first time! Taking place after Return of the Jedi, Zahn's books continue the adventures of the New Republic seamlessly. They don't feel like misguided ramblings of a closeted fan, but instead feel as real as it gets. The writing is smooth, and the story is brilliant. The new characters are convincing, and delightful plot twists are woven in beautifully. The books feel more in touch with the spirit of the original films than Episodes I, II, and III.

I've never been a Darth Vader fan, and The Empire was never really that interesting to me as a child, but boy, are those guys COOL in Zahn's trilogy! The Imperials are much more fleshed out and you get to spend more time aboard Star Destroyers. ((Alas, there is still no real indication of what Imperials actually do aboard those giant things when they're not crewing, walking around menacingly, or listening to the sound of their own boot heels clicking against the polished floor...))

A girl can dream, can't she?
Captain Pellaeon is introduced. BISHIE ALERT! This guy is hot*. The perfect Imperial officer, he's strong, steady, loyal, and fair without all the fluffy "evil stuff". He's just trying to do his job and do it well. He's a realistic, refreshing character that adds more depth and relevancy to the Star Wars Universe. In fact, the Imperials don't really seem that bad in this trilogy.

*Now, it's worth saying that Pellaeon doesn't get a whole lot of visual description in the series, but he does have a definite canon appearance, which I have chosen to totally ignore. Ladies (and gentlemen), just ignore that profile pic on Wookiepedia and imagine away!  

Thrawn is just so damn cool that no picture does him justice.
Remember when I said that I was never really into Vader? Well, I'm still not. In fact, after reading Zahn's work, I'm convinced that Vader is filled with nothing but Harry and David pears. Enter Grand Admiral Thrawn. The best villain in the galaxy. Ever. Don't be put off by his cerulean appearance - this gentleman is anything but tacky. He dominates the book series and is written so well, you'll be upset upon reading the final book in the series, "The Last Command", because of that word "last". Three books are just not enough! Unlike Vader, who enjoyed killing off handsome (sometimes!) officers when the Rebels slipped out of their grasps, Thrawn treats his crew with respect while maintaining high standards. While he still invokes a chilling sense of fear (those glowing red eyes certainly do help), he's a far superior leader and tactician. Many naughty Imperials are pardoned to live another day instead of ending up as crumpled corpses on the floor of the bridge. His campaigns and battles are so spectacular and clever as to make one positively giddy with glee. In fact, Thrawn seems a lot like Sherlock Holmes... Oh, and did I mention that he formulates his plans by studying his enemy's artwork?

Eat your heart out, Vader.
I can't give enough accolades to these books. If you ever liked the original Star Wars trilogy, go out and give these books a read. The saga didn't end with Return of the Jedi.

The Dandy Maker

Sunday, August 5, 2012

With artwork by famed dandy-loving artist, Ysa comes a new stylish doll-maker - The Dandy Maker!

Choose all sorts of frock coats, fabulously tight pants, ascots, vests, silky hair styles, seductive hooded eyes, leather boots, canes, and dandy accessories to create your ultimate lover boy. Top it all off with some truly lovely backgrounds and you're ready to print out and tack that sexy boy on your wall!

Gerenuk Gazelle in Copic Markers

Monday, July 30, 2012

A little late in posting this to my blog, but here is my latest video! I loved taking a break from anime to create this, and I'm happy with how it turned out. It can be difficult to bring the eyes to life when you're working off a museum specimen, and the final piece has a bit of white gel added for highlight that is not seen. I hope you enjoy this little video!

Gerenuk by ~Stagsleap on deviantART


Friday, July 27, 2012

Wow. Opening ceremonies. I'm sure many people are totally fangirling over the crunking Victorian gentlemen and steampunkian nightmare carriages. A one hundred foot Lord Voldemort puppet? Kenneth F-ing Branagh? Bean?!
Duke and I, who are lucky enough to surround ourselves with true gentlemen, dance at stately Victorian balls, and enjoyably study history at the college level, were understandably giddy and awed by the first half of the ceremonies. A happy night of laugh and love between us. :)

However, I'm still disappointed that there is no sign of equestrian athletes in any of the commercials, intros, and other promotion material for the Olympics!

Heading to "Civil War Days"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We have a smattering of all sorts of historical events here in the California Bay Area, including an American Civil War reenactment! Civil War Days is a weekend event in Duncan Mills that I have been attending for the past few years. A picturesque valley near the Russian River is turned into a battleground flanked by the Union and Confederate campgrounds. While I'm not a Civil war buff, I do greatly enjoy this event - who doesn't love cannon fire and horse-drawn artillery?

In addition, the merchants at this event are truly intriguing - instead of selling stupid nicknacks, night lights, clay cherubs that hang from your teapot, and clumps of gears glued together, they sell actual historical accouterments for reenactors in addition to other useful and tasteful products. I have purchased more at this event in just 2-3 years than I have in my 7 years+ going to Dickens Fair.

This year, my beloved Duke and I are going together for the first time. We intend to watch both battles and spend the evening in the funky town of Guerneville!

Heading to New York City!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I never would have imagined....that I'm going to New York city! 

I am not much of a traveler at all. As for highlights, I've been to Las Vegas, Ohio, LA, and San Diego with my mother - and that's it. Going to NY will be my longest (distance) trip ever!

What brings me to New York? Kyle's parents currently live in Manhattan for work, but it's not guaranteed that they will remain there for long. With a fine apartment in the middle of the city, it's the perfect excuse to go!

(((I left for New York on Saturday, June 2 at 7am...)))

"Breaking Pointe" Review

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Currently watching CW's brand new docu-drama about the ballet world, "Breaking Pointe"...
It's incredibly refreshing to see ballet being presented that way it deserves - HARDCORE! Intended to be "an antidote to Black Swan" the show immediately establishes that ballet is not for pansies, and it certainly isn't easy. The men they spotlight are quite masculine, and the women seem kind and balanced, yet competitive.

The first episode focuses on the dancers waiting to see if their contracts will be renewed. It's realistic and honest. The class scenes are inspiring and lovely.
I wish they spent a little less time on the relationship stuff. I'm just not interested! The nightclub scene is also silly. I want to know about their pointe shoes, their rituals, their superstitions, the subtitles and histories of the variations and ballets their working on - dancer stuff. The mindless minutes they waste on dancer relationships gives a slight blandness to the first episode and leaves me a little disappointed. I only hope the next few episodes are better! 

Fanime and Clockwork Alchemy! 2 days!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I'm now in full convention mode as I gear up for Fanime and Clockwork Alchemy! It's going to be tricky dividing my time between both an insane anime convention and a brand-new steampunk convention, but I'll manage!

While I'll still be doing a little cosplay, I will probably be focusing more on my vintage, Victorian, and steampunk ensembles. My boyfriend, Duke, and I have never had a proper photoshoot done with us in our Victorian outfits, and we intend to change that this year!

Look for me at the Princess Tutu cosplay gathering on Sunday at 11am. Not sure if I will attend the Kuroshitsuji gatherings, however.

The highlight of the con will certainly be The Emperor Norton Ball at Clockwork Alchemy. It's going to blow Fanime's Black and White Ball out of the water, to be sure. I've written a little blurb about it over at my DA journal, so take a gander if you're interested in this dance event: Thinking about attending the B&W Ball at Fanime?

So excited! Can't wait!

IKEA Madness

Sunday, May 6, 2012

So IKEA had this deal where if you spend a certain amount of money on stuff, you can get your entire meal for free. WHATEVER YOU WANT. AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. ANYTHING IN THE RESTAURANT.

Needless to say, we all went a little cray-cray. :)

"It is only natural for you to be able to dance."

Friday, April 27, 2012

I really stopped caring about having a "typical" social life after I started social dancing.

Once you have experienced the thrill of the waltz and a long night of pure vintage dance, nothing compares. When you are dancing, you get to meet so many wonderful people in a safe, exciting, unique way. Perhaps the folks in the vintage groups I meet with are so lovely because there must be a connection of trust the moment you frame up and begin dancing...And when you have just spun around the room with someone to a Strauss waltz, it makes saying "hello" the next time you meet effortless. No awkwardness!

I think dancing also makes one a great deal more attractive. You are flushed and vibrant with warmth and smiles as the music plays happily in the background. The orchestra plays bright, cheerful tunes, and there are no modern aggressive lyrics or beats. It's blissful.

You must try dancing. It will elevate you above the mediocre sludge our culture is so deeply mired in, it will make you beautiful, and it will make you unbelievably happy.

Lilacs and Bees!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We've had a rather wacky spring season so far, alternating between hail, rainstorms, hot days, and overcast windy days. The storms with the heat wave following it has also led to a increase in ticks. I finally went ahead and bought "Repel" to spray on my shoes and pants when we go out hiking. Yes, I made a "lasts for only 100 steps" pokemon joke. :p

The lavender bush bloomed beautifully this year. Such fragrant, beautiful blooms! They last for only a short while, so I took some photos, bishounen included.

We also had quite an unexpected surprise earlier in the week. A swarm of honeybees descended into our juniper bush and created a great ball o' bees around their queen. It was about as big as two pineapples stuck together. It was a little scary at first, beau, mother, and I are bee fans. Bees are needed to keep the human species alive, and we need every last one.

However, our yard is much too small to support a hive (bees need a clear flightpath to and from their hive entrance), so we called the local county beekeepers association who sent out a gentlemen to safely collect them and transport them to his own farm. I took video of the collection process (to be uploaded soon), which was surprisingly easy and calm. He just shook the branch into a box with a shelf of comb in it, and the bees settled into the box for the course of the day. In the evening, when they had all settled into the box, the keeper took them to their new home. So cute!

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