Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 29, 2016

Memorial Day weekend arrived and with it the opportunity to get a lot of chores done.  I typically spend long weekends working on the "to do" list and in the spring that usually means garden chores.  I have just about all of the vegetable garden in now.  The weather has been pretty cooperative the last week and this spring as a whole.  Where April and the beginning of May were pretty wet and cold, the last 2 weeks have been warm and dry and the ground was pretty workable.  It had gotten to the point where it was too dry but a nice 1 1/2 of rain arrived Friday night.  I brought the chainsaw out and took down the wafer ash in the yard, as it looked really terrible.  It was misshapen from the time I planted it and I thought I could eventually prune it into a better shape, but it just didn't seem to cooperate.

The Joliet Library Star Wars event is less than a week away now.  Hard to believe!  I have that on my to-do list this weekend to get all remaining projects wrapped up before set up on Friday.  I decided it was time to wear the Naboo Pilot costume for the before parade photos and for the parade itself.  After the parade, I will be changing into street clothes to put the Naboo Pilot costume on a mannequin.  I need to drag that costume out and put it on to see what needs attention/repairs.  I have only worn the costume 2 times and it has been years since I wore it. 

Stick a fork in is done!!  My Episode 7 Resistance Pilot is finally finished (except for the inevitable tweaks) and I actually wore it to an event already.  Since I was busy with the display for JLSWD and William's Jedi costume, I knew that I would not have time to finish this costume so I commissioned a seamstress to put the final pieces I started together.  It was over 2 months that she had the flightsuit pieces I had started and had given her...and it was coming down to the wire.  After I finished the display and costume for William, I did finish all of the projects on that costume that I still had to do.  I put together the new chestbox, made the leg flare holder, worked out the attachment of the hose and worked on some tweaks to the flak vest.  Where I am never happy with anything I make, the Resistance Pilot looks pretty good.  It is a pain to wear...but aren't all of the costumes a pain to wear!

And, speaking of wearing it.  I gave the Resistance Pilot its' first road test on 5-21-16.  I wore it to an event in Shorewood that Crix's company was sponsoring.  It was a "Build a Bike" event where kids came and finished putting a bicycle together and then could keep the bike.  It was at one of the Shorewood Firestations that my "MapQuest" led me astray.  I usually have little trouble finding places using MapQuest, but clearly in trying to find the firehouse, they made some errors!  Fortunately, I ran into Crix as he was also riding around trying to find the Fire Station.  Where the costume is hot (aren't they all), it is actually fairly comfortable.  The one huge pain in the ass is the hose from the chestbox.  It is large and stiff and just a general pain in the ass.  I have a second chestbox that I think will be worn more often as I don't intend to add the hose attachment to that chestbox and can leave off the hose at some events. 

On 5-14-16 I ended up going to Soldier Field to do the "Autism Speaks" walk.  It was a nice and cool morning and I had tickets to an exhibit at the Field Museum for later in the morning so I decided to also suit up and do the walk.  Always strange to change into costumes in the locker rooms that professional football players use on game day. 

We don't get to use the Bear's locker room...but we do use the locker room for the visiting team.  I really have not done that many events this year as I have been too busy with other things.  I did enjoy doing this event as it wasn't that long of a morning.  With all of the arthritis issues, I find that I can not do long events anymore as I am in just too much pain. 

After the "Autism Speaks" walk, Laura Smith and I walked over to the Field Museum as I had a ticket to see the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit and Laura is a volunteer at the Field.  The display was amazing...the whole thing is amazing!  I saw a special on the Warriors some time ago and marveled at the whole thing.  I never thought that I would be able to see one of them close up as it was VERY unlikely that I would ever get to China. 

Since it is spring and all of the invasive species are doing their best to flower and set seed, it has been a busy few weeks of spraying at my restoration site.  The weather has not always been cooperative either as trying to find windows to spray have been frustrated by rain and threats of rain.  Tomorrow I will be going out to spray reed canary grass one more time as that is starting to form seed heads rapidly.  We have also found some serious issues of destruction from off road bikes at my site and a variety of other issues never ends.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10, 2016

Spring has sprung, and with it all of the chores of garden and restoration.  The weather has been truly all over the place, but it has been rather mild and wet.  Thankfully there have been no severe thunderstorms and weather events this spring.  We did have one threaten a couple times but nothing materialized.  I did have to send my generator out for repair after all of these years.  It is fixed and ready for the spring storms.  Which, speaking of storms, the neighbor's mulberry tree split badly at the crotch and was likely to come down on my power lines and garage.  With a storm due to come through that threatened hail also, I had to climb a ladder with a chainsaw and under power lines take down a huge portion of that tree.  Nerve wracking to be sure, but thankfully it went well and I didn't kill myself. 

I did finish the display for the Joliet Library Star Wars Day event.  All in all, I am fairly pleased with how the vidscreen came out with its' new panel.  The curtains are done as well as all of the pvc for that.  As in previous years the Rebel display will be at the Joliet Area Historical Museum and they have asked me to leave it up for the month of June following the event.  Works for me, then I don't have to lug it home following the event.  The thing I just need to work out is costumes on mannequins. 

I also had to start and finish a Jedi costume for a Make-A-Wish event we are doing the day after the Joliet Library event.  We are to make the patient "William" a Jedi.  So, to be a proper Jedi, you need a proper Jedi costume.  I made William an entire Jedi costume including outer tunic, inner tunic dickey, tabards, obi and robe.  One of our other members made him a belt, pouches, and a lightsaber.  It came out very nice, I just hope it fits him!!

The last month has been endless workdays for the FPDWC.  Not only have I been doing workdays on the weekend, I have also had my Tuesdays tied up and some nights after work also.  Then there has been the usual endless mixing of herbicide.  We found some serious issues at Hickory Creek Barrens with regard to mountain bikers tearing up a lot of different areas and one of the other volunteers who is a Trail Sentinel has done some great detective work in finding the culprits.  Signs have been put up, but it is anyone' guess how much of a deterrent that will be. 

This year I finally went down to our secret bluebell area and was stunned at how the bluebells have expanded the last couple of years.  The area was absolutely gorgeous and it was nice to just go and enjoy.