Monday, February 27, 2012

Read this on

Here's a great scary story:
A little girl opened the door to her parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night.
“Daddy, I had a bad dream”, she said.
Her father blinked his eyes and sat up in bed, leaning on his elbows. The digital alarm clock glowed red in the darkness. It was 3:23 AM.
“Do you want to climb into bed and tell me about it?” he asked.
“No, Daddy.” came the reply.
The oddness of the situation made him wake up more fully. He could barely make out his daughter’s pale form, outlined in the light from the doorway.
“Why not, sweetie?” he asked.
The little girl began to cry. “Because in my dream, when I told you about the dream, the thing wearing Mommy’s skin sat up.” she whined.
For a moment, he felt paralyzed, unable to take his eyes off his daughter. Then he felt the covers behind him beginning to shift…

Sunday, February 12, 2012


My driver's license pictures, and really any government photos, have always been great.  I look tan and fit and fashionable.  It's really incredible.  For others it is as though the special cameras they use, at the DMV take a picture of you, in another dimension.  The you that eats all the cheesecake you want.  The you that never exercises and was born fifteen years earlier. 

I want to get a photo of what I really look like.

Actually I'd appreciate a driver's license picture where I am mid-sneeze.  Cheeks all blown out.  One eye partially open.  Lips flapping.  I would look forward to seeing the look on police officer's faces when they look at the pic. 

"License and registration please... thank you.  Sir do you know why I pulled you o- MY GOD!"  His hand covers his mouth.

"I was sneezing when she took the picture."  You'd probably get off with a warning, after the officer took a picture of your driver's license.  You've suffered enough.

And you KNOW that's the kind of picture the ladies at the DMV crave more than any.  There must be a wall, in the break room, where they post this month's "BEST PICS".  A mom shouting at her kids, off camera.  The girl with the bad sunburn around where she was clearly wearing sunglasses.  The guy with waaaaay too much fake tan.  The man dressed as a woman.

For my brother's learner's permit, back in the 80's he was trying to look good.  He was brushing the imaginary lint off the front of his shirt, when the lady said "look up".  His hands are on his chest in mid-swipe and he is clearly "looking up", eyes all open wide, like he's saying "For what?"


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I wish my last name was Bacon.  Then I could name a son Chris P. 

My brother and his wife considered awarding Abbey the middle name "Normal".  As wonderful as it is, having the same middle name as her, I really sort of like Abbey Normal.

Yesterday, I woke up thinking it was Saturday.  I was upstairs getting a cup of coffee and it occurred to me, I couldn't remember it if was Saturday or Sunday.  "Oh well, I'll check on the computer, when I get downstairs."

"Tuesday?"  I thought there's something wrong with my calendar.  That's the right date but...

It took fifteen minutes to really  get on board with the fact that not only do I have to go to work, but it's the beginning of the week.  [sigh]  It's like I flew from here to Japan four times, in one day, somehow and now it's four days ago.

Until about 11AM, I still had this odd, "Groundhog Day" feeling going on.  Rip van Winkle.  Like none of this is right.  I went back in time.

Unfortunately I didn't go back far enough to see dinosaurs.  At least that would have been more fun.  Until I got eaten.  And then we'd probably find out that the reason they all died out was that I gave them smallpox or something.  Just as the herd of raptors was closing in [ACHOO!] and they all fell over dead.  Turned out I was immune to dinosaurs!  Good for me... bad for them.  Today is not your day triceratops.  And the next 160M years are not looking good either.  Sure they'd be upset but I can't be responsible for Snarkasaurus Regina's bad day in the Bitchyolithic era.

Like Popeye, I am what I am.  My superpower is "Impervious to dinosaurs!"  Which I guess we all have since I don't know *anyone* who has been eaten by one.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Ouch!  Hip pain was a problem, for me, for years.  I finally found a stretch that worked and it went away.

P90x makes my thighs like ROCKS.  I think I could sharpen kitchen knives on my butt.  [SHHHING!]

Popping my hips made a big difference as well.  They don't really pop but make a noise like pulling a cooked chicken leg off the thigh?  A crackly squish and then the pain and tension goes away.  I stand with my feet about shoulder width apart and with my toes slightly out.  Then try to pull my legs together, against the friction of my feet, on the floor.  [poof!] pain gone!

The stretches involved turning my foot as far as it would go, then twisting my body, slowly to turn it even farther.  I went both ways and did that stretch for about a year, whenever I felt pain.  I stopped about two years ago, because my hips stopped hurting :)

Hips and shoulders need lots of things to be just right or they hurt and don't work.  Whose design was the human body, anyway?

"Let's put the nose right here!  Upside down, directly over the mouth.  GENIUS!  Moving on...  I'm not feeling very artistic and I'm sort of in a rush, so let's work on sinuses, toes and genitals..."

Fail :)

Don't get me started on turtles and platypus'.  And toads?  Seems like something someone sort of threw together at the last minute, for a project.  I give toads a "D".

What was I saying?  Oh yeah... P90x.  That Tony Horton guy really likes yoga.  I had no idea yoga was so strenuous!  OW!  you hold yourself in these rock-climber kind of poses, until your muscles want to kill you, then you switch to poses that are *really* hard, then just when you think you are going to die, he says the word no P90x user wants to hear... "Plyometrics!" and he makes it "hard".  I dream of choking Tony Horton to death, when he says "Don't forget to breathe!" and I am vacuuming my whole house with every inhale.

It's more difficult than I thought!  I am usually sweaty, breathing hard and ready to stop, during the 3-minute warm-up.  It's all I can do to keep going, when every atom in my body is saying,

"Stop it.  Stop it right now or you are going to pay dearly.  Remember the really-quite-unendurable-pain?  Well... lets just ramp that up, shall we?  Let's see if THAT doesn't get you to quit.  No?  Perhaps the pain you cannot ignore should be increased?  How does a stroke sound?  Well we are not going to reward you with that.  No, no.  Perhaps the sensation that wild animals are chewing on your muscles."  And it goes on in that style until the end of the stupid DVD.  I do not like the tone my muscle atoms take with me.  Like they are giving the orders, not my brain.

I think my fat is too lazy to really talk.  It just lays there, like water.  Flopping it's way to it's own level and dragging me down with it.  My fat mutters "Let's just lie here and not do anything."  And the more fat I get, the more I can hear it.  It wraps itself around my muscles and muffles their voices.

My muscles say things like "NOW NOW NOW!  Let's go DO something.  Anybody wanna play tag?  Let's go swimming!  Do you have a Frisbee?  Those are AWESOME!  COME ON!  It's SOOOOO sunny!!!!"

But the fat seems to think sunny is a good word for "hammock".  You know hammocks were invented by a fat guy.  It's a way to relax that punishes you for any movement.  If you don't believe me, try having sex in a hammock.  If you are willing to ridicule yourself, film it.  I guarantee it'd be more famous than any famous person's sex-tape.  Paris Hilton?  Kim Kardashian?  Pfff.  They'd have nothing on a total nobody like me, trying to get it on in a hammock.

It'd be even more funny because I'm fat.  I'd just need to find a fat girlfriend who's willing to be humiliated, on tape.  Well, I guess if she's dating me... [check].

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Atta Bee!

Atta bee
by David LeBailly Buschhorn
Specially dedicated to Abbey LeBailly Buschhorn

Chapter 1.

There once were a couple of bees.  

They were destined to be together because they had so much in common.

Like many bees, they had grown up together but never knew one another. 

They lived close together but did not know each other.

Like all bees, once they got old enough, they left home to make their lives, on their own.

It took FOREVER, but they flew all the way across the country, to experience new things, drink from new flowers and to meet new friends.

They flew all that way, only to meet somebee from home.  

They fell in love and made new friends together, with newbees who did not know their way of making honey. 

Then, as bees do, they made a home.  They got it ready and made as much honey as they could.  But you can only make so much, alone.  They needed more bees!  More bees take time to grow and get old enough to make honey; but what's a bee to do?

Chapter 2.

So Dadbee and Mombee started making babees.  

They decided to see what being parents was like with just one small bee.  It was a girl.  They did not know what to name her and decided to wait to see what she was like to be sure they gave her the correct name. 
They knew that when the right name came along, they'd know it right away!

In time, the babee learned to fly and would soon be strong enough to carry the nectar back to the home-hive, to make honey.  

But the babee liked to do things other than just collect nectar.  She liked to fly!  She wasn't great at it, at first, but fortunately bees are covered with fluff, like a teddy bear, so bonking, face-first into things (which runs in the family), was no big deal.

Babee also liked to look at people.  People couldn't fly or bonk things with their face, or make honey.  They were slow and pink but did very interesting things.  They all would do a dance for her that was very comical, whenever she flew near their faces.

The people would jump and flap their arms and say the same name over and over.

When Dadbee and Mombee heard the name... they knew.  It was the sign they had been waiting for.  They knew what to name their babee.

Chapter 3.
When they got home, that night, and flew in through the tiny opening to the hive, with as much nectar as they could hold and dusty with pollen, from a hard day's work, they taught babee how to turn nectar into honey.

They taught her the magic necessary to form a hive wall, out of wax, how to drip the honey in at just the right speed, so it didn't overflow.  Some bees know the honey cell is full, because the funnel is full. 

Those bees always make a big mess!

Honey is not like ice cream or debt.  You can't keep putting more in, after the container is full.

Babee was perfect at it, right from the start!  

Once she had learned how to be a perfect bee, her parents told her it was time for her to have her name.  

She stood over her perfectly made cell and her Mother and Father told her she had to sign it and every honey-filled cell she made, from then on.  To do that, she needed the name everyone had shouted wherever she went.


Chapter 4.

So she took her front foot and dipped it in the honey.  She used that bit of honey to carefully write her name on the wax cap, on top of the cell so when the honey dried, it would be hard and crystalline.  It would sparkle like amber when the sun went down and shone into the opening of the hive.

She was proud of her name and proud of her honey.

But what was it for?  Making honey is fine but compared to flying, it was not as exciting.  Only... satisfying somehow.  It felt right but she did not know why.

One evening, after making her honey and signing the caps, she asked Mombee what the honey was for.  Why make it?

Her mother said that everything made at home.  Everything they were doing was to make it safe for the newbees that they were making.  Soon there would be more babees just like she used to be.  And they all needed to be taught how to make honey and mold-with-wax and fly.  Abbey was going to have to help teach them, even though she was hardly more than a babee herself.

She was both worried and excited.  She needed to become very good at what she was going to teach!  She needed to fly really well and make perfect combs for the honey if she was going to teach the new babees how to do it right.

As the sun went down, she watched as the golden light crossed her first cell of honey and in the last moments of light, her name glowed.  She knew she could teach honey-making because she'd been doing it all along.  She had been teaching herself, while her parents taught her too.

Everything she had learned was her parents teaching her how to teach somebee else!  She realized that is how everything was, in life.  Everything you learn is something you might have to teach.

Chapter 5.

One day when she was older, Abbey was scouting for new flowers and she came across a delicious smelling plant, with beautiful curved leaves that had little eyelashes on the edges.  The leaves smelled wonderful, but she could not see any flowers.  

Something was not right.

Abbey was very brave, but she was also smart.  Many bees cannot tell the difference between bravery and stupidity.  Those bees tend to become a very thin layer on windshields or small, curved piles of white stuff, beneath birds' nests.

Abbey wanted to watch this plant and see what was going on.  

The first thing she noticed was that no other bees were going near the plant.  Some ants were on it, but not going on those delicious smelling leaves.  Abbey could not speak Ant and bees can only discuss things with one another when they are touching.

This was frustrating.  Abbey thought "Sometimes bravery and intelligence means doing nothing.  For a very long time."

Then she thought "Sometimes the smartest bee learns the most important lesson.  Ask Mom and Dad!!!"

So she carried on with her day and collected her usual load of nectar.  That night, when she had finished making honey cells, she asked Mom and Dad about the plant with eyelashes.

They were alarmed to hear that such a plant was within flying distance of the hive!  They carefully told her exactly what it was and how it could eat bees whole!  The plant smells good in order to get you to fly into it's eyelashes and then it closes on you!  

Since Mombee and Dadbee had been making new babees, for the last few weeks, some of them were old enough to fly and needed to be told not to go near that plant.

Chapter 6.

It took days to tell them all, with the vibrating dance that had to be used, to stay away from the plant.  On the third day, Abbey realized there had to be another way to tell bees how to do new things, than to teach them one at a time.

Communication was all about the dance, but the dance was all about making the air vibrate.  Why can't you vibrate the air enough so other bees can feel it, even if they aren't touching you?!?!  

You just can't.

That was the answer everybee always gave her.

Abbey realized that sometimes, no matter how smart you were, you really only learned what other bees knew too.  How could she think outside the hive?  How could she think a brand new thought that nobee had ever thought before?

This was DIFFICULT.  But Abbey knew... lots of things are difficult and you have do them anyway.  This was one of those things.  What if she had flown into that plant?  All she had needed was an answer to her question and she would have known not to go near it.  She got goosebumps thinking of it and it made all her hair stand up really funny.  

She looked like a bumblebee, she once saw, that had flown too close to a bug zapper.

She patted her hair down and tried to line up those new thoughts.  She wanted to be able to teach all the bees something new, even if they were not in the hive.  And teach them all at once!  The hive was getting so big, teaching everyone just one new thing, took a single bee days and days!

Communication is about the dance. 

The dance is about vibration.

Therefore... communication is about vibration!  Not dancing!  Dancing was just a way to deliver the vibrations to the next bee!!!!

Abbey felt different in her head!  This was new!!!  Nobee had ever thought this before!

Abbey decided to think of all the things that vibrated.  Wind made the leaves vibrate, but that was scary.  They moved too fast to get close to, when the wind blew like that.

Sticks vibrated, when she was learning to fly and bonked them, with her face.

Air vibrates.

Heck, even honey vibrates.  When they stand on honey cells, bees can communicate the best.

Maybe honey cells were the answer.  They certainly seemed the best, for bee communication.

Bees could say the most, over the deepest cells.  But cells were only ever made a certain depth.  Sometimes shallower, but never deeper.  It had to do with how much nectar you could hold and only one bee ever made a cell.  Two bees never worked together to make one cell. 

That's why you signed them.

What would happen if you made a deeper cell and put more honey in it?

Everybee told her that is not how it is done.

Abbey said she knew that was not how it was done but what would happen if it was done?

The reply was always the same.  

That is not how we do it.

Since Abbey was smart, she knew what bees were saying.  They were saying they did not know.

New thoughts are hard to have, but they are even harder to teach.

Maybe the cells only went down "so deep" because they ran into the bottom of the hive and then couldn't go any deeper.  

That seemed to make sense but something was not right.  What was it?!?!

It felt good to think new thoughts but then when she got stuck, her brain felt really strange and she could tell when she was not on the right track, but only that she was on the wrong track.  

She was not right.  

Her brain would not tell her what was right, only that she wasn't.

She went to look at the cells and see if they could tell her what she was thinking, wrong.

She felt the answer was here.  In the cells.  Why couldn't they be made deeper?

Abbey stayed up all night, staring at the cells.  Knowing it was there but the answer was playing hide-and-seek with her.

A babee flew past her, almost knocking her off the cell, she was sitting on, as it flew past, on it's way to the top of the hive.

Abbey walked back to the edge of the cells, looked up, after the babee and almost fell over!
That was it.  The babee had shown her what she needed to do.  You don't build a deeper cell...

You have to build a TALLER one!!!!

You have to build a cell TOWER!!!!

Chapter 7.

The honey cells that babees made were only about half as deep as an adult bee was long.

Adult bees and the oldest ones could make the deepest cells, because bigger bees hold more nectar, with which to make honey.

What if she built a very tall cell-tower and then filled it with honey, every day.  With each new day, she could take off the wax-cap and add more honey, then re-cap it.  Then when she stood on top of THAT cell, she might be able to talk to bees really far away.

She might be able to teach all the babees the same lessons at the same time!

First she went to the farthest reaches of the hive, where it seemed like all the other bees stored their lint, dust and dead earwigs.

Abbey cleared a space, so the wax could stick firmly to the bottom of the hive.  Once it was all clean and smooth, she began to build a single cell.  She made it three times as tall as a regular cell and the same size around.  It was empty of honey but it already had a strange effect on her sounds.  Her wing sounds were deeper and more pleasant.  She moved her wings over the opening to the cell for a long time, just enjoying the calming sounds she made as the vibrations came out of the top of the cell.

At the end of the next day she went to fill it with honey and discovered a problem.  The honey seemed to pile up on top of a bubble that never went away and all of the honey sat smoothly on top of that bubble.  She decided to let the air out of the bottom, by poking a hole in the side of the cell.

It worked!  But true to the nature of holes, it did not only let the air flow out of the cell.  It also let out all the honey.

The spilled honey made big messes look like little messes.

It took two days to clean it all up.  

She had honey in her hair for a week.

She spent that time cleaning and thinking.  Lots of thinking.

Next she made a regular sized cell and filled it.  Then without putting a cap on it, she built another cell right on top of that one.  The next day, she filled that one and built another cell.  When she filled that cell, the following afternoon and capped it, she was ready to try it out.  She quietly climbed to the top of the cell and stretched her wings and paused.  She was not certain what would happen.  She was certain nobee knew what was going to happen.

She gently vibrated her wings and her whole body jiggled!  Her vision got blurry!  Her hair was standing up, so much, from the goosebumps, she could hardly see through it!  She stopped vibrating and smoothed her wild hair back down.

Chapter 8.

Her voice was not louder, it was simply more powerful.  She was not sure whether that was good or not but it was fun to play with the way it made everything all fuzzy when she moved her wings so she did that for a while longer.  She tried words and sentences, directions to flowers and back to the hive.  It certainly sounded very different, but again... not louder.

What would happen if the tower was much larger?  How large could it be?

She spent a long time making the tower taller.  At some points, the vibrations got so powerful, they threw her right off the tower.  At other heights, there was no sound at all.  Not as though it did not  amplify her vibrations... it just turned them off.  She could not hear anything she tried to say!

She could see her wings moving and feel the wind, but there was no sound, at all.

Then one day, everything changed.

When the cell was 100 times her body length, and she had filled the top with honey and capped it off, like she did, everyday, flew in a couple of circles, to get her blood flowing again and landed on top of the tower.  It had a strange feeling to it.  She knew something was going to be different.

She gently vibrated her wings in a greeting and said quietly "Hello...?"

Abbey was disappointed.  Her voiced sounded exactly like it always did.

And then... for several seconds, a huge amount of nothing happened.


Abbey's eyes opened wide and she stepped backwards off the cell.

She caught herself halfway down the tower and walked back to the top, smoothed her hair back down and looked at the honey beneath her feet.

She said "You can hear me?"

The honey vibrated and said "YES! and you can hear me?!?"

Abbey was a little frightened.  She said "Yes... but...."

"What?" said her honey.

"Why can my honey talk back to me?"

"Ah! No!  I am a bee too!  My name is Itzahbee." and he vibrated his location, based on the position of the sun.  He told her his hive was a kind of Oriental beehive.

Abbey was having a feeling she frequently had nowadays.  The feeling she was having thoughts that were bigger than her head.  Her body became very still.  She stared into the distance, with her eyes beetled open and one antennae twitched slightly.   

Beetling your eyes was not as crazy-looking as bugging your eyes.  Nothing was as crazy-looking as bugging them.  When you bugged your eyes, other bees slooowly moved away from you, not making any sudden moves.

You didn't want to do that very often or your hive might decide to smother you in honey "for your own good". 

In the time it took to ooze and drag their way out of the honey-puddle, bug-eyed bees had pretty well settled back down to normal but the other bees kept a close eye on them.  And the hive seemed to have extra honey buckets on hand, for a while, "just in case" you went all bug-eyed again.

Yes, the honey was soothing and felt good, while you were in it, but with tiny hands, it took a very long, frustrating amount of time to get it all out of your hair so you didn't go sticking to every single other bee, you bumbled into.

One bee that had too much honey in his hair had gotten chilled and got goosebumps.  Well the honey stuck his hair together so it wouldn't stand up and all his hair fell out.  Underneath lay a surprise... he was pink.  The only pink bee, she ever saw.  He had freckles on his bottom.  He backed into an empty cell to cover his embarrassment and bees had to bring him honey to eat, while his hair grew back.

Later, if a babee asked him about it, he always put a hand over his eyes and said the same thing.  "I don't want to vibrate about it." and his antenna would twitch.  Abbey could feel his embarrassment.

When she realized her eyes were starting to cross the line into "bugging" territory, she looked around to see if anyone had noticed, but as usual, she had the whole back chamber to herself.

Then she had a moment where she thought she had either gone crazy or had just spoken to a bee that was not in her hive... NOT IN HER HIVE!

Chapter 9.

"How am I talking to you?  I am here and you are there and we are not in contact with one another?!?!" Abbey asked.

Itzabee replied "I think the honey makes our tiny vibrations so big it moves everything just a little.  When those little vibrations get to something the same size as the thing that made them, they become big again!  Then a bee standing in the same spot on the other end, can hear the vibrations and knows what the other bee was saying... maybe."

Without seeing him or knowing what he looked like, she knew he was frowning.  She did the same thing, when she was having those thoughts that were too big to fit in her head, all in one piece.

Chapter 10.

Abbey noticed something very different about Itzabee.  When she asked why the cell tower made it so she could talk to him, he had NOT said "It just does."  He had very nearly said he did not know!  Bees very rarely admitted not knowing something even though not knowing something was the most fun thing ever!
As they talked, late into the night, Abbey and Itzabee discovered that they had made the  exact same cells, far apart, at the same time, for the same reasons.  They were both trying to be able to teach babees and newbees, without having to do it one bee at a time.  

They had both failed.  

Itzabee had made his first cell far too tall and it was too heavy for the paper of his nest to hold.  One day, all at once, it fell right out the bottom and into an ant pile, on the sidewalk far below.  They were sugar ants so they sent Itzabee Christmas cards for the next five years, thanking him for dropping five years worth of honey onto their heads, just when they needed it most.

Abbey laughed very hard when he told her that, and it seemed to make him feel hurt and embarrassed.  So Abbey told him about draining her honey all over the floor and getting all six legs stuck in it and her fear of getting goosebumps that would make her hair fall out.  She told him she was afraid she might have freckles somewhere embarrassing, but she didn't know because she could only ever remember having hair, like everyone except Specklebottom, whose hair had grown back, but not before the name stuck.

Itzabee laughed and even though he laughed at her, it made her feel better because he was also laughing at himself.  They were not laughing to be mean.  They were laughing because they knew what the other bee felt like when they failed and it was good to laugh at your own embarrassment, with a friend.

They decided to meet halfway between their hives to talk the next day.

Chapter 11.

The spot was near a picnic table where a man was sleeping next to a couple of bottles of old honey that had gone very bad.  Abbey got there earliest and spent a few moments happily watching the scruffy-looking man snore, before Itzabee landed beside her, saying "HI!" making her jump, in surprise.  She smoothed her goosebump-fluffed hair, back down and scowled at him.

Itzabee looked very different.  Everyone in Abbey's hive was the same black and yellow.  He was more black and reddish-orange.

Abbey glanced back down at the sleeping man's gaping mouth and smiled and felt better.  Even though he was scruffy and even at this distance she smelled that she was far too close to him... something about him reminded her of home.

Itzabee said it was probably his smile.

Abbey said "That is it!  It's the same as me!  Black and yellow!  He has a nice smile."

They spent the rest of the day talking about their hives and wax and cells and honey and if different flowers made better sounding nectar.  Abbey's thoughts and Itzabees thoughts, combined to become thoughts that were bigger than not just their heads, but the whole hive!  Both their hives!  It was wonderful!  They needed nectar to think properly so they both flew down to the lawn and found some clover.  Clover made very good honey and it was easy to get nectar from it.  

Once full, they met back at the tree and kept talking.  

They discovered that their greatest invention was made entirely of mistakes and errors that accidentally turned into something magnificent!  What made it work was that they had not given up after the first fiasco.  Abbey could remember her failure and embarrassment, but not that it felt bad.  Only that she now knew one thing never to do again.  Every mistake was like that.  It didn't feel like failure.  Just a way that didn't work.  Failing got her closer to success, every single time!  If she had known where she would be now, meeting new bees, from faraway hives and drinking nectar from faraway flowers (even if it was really just plain old, boring clover), she would have cheered with each failure.  One step closer to success!

From their perch in the tree, they heard a sound.  The smelly man was waking up.  

Abbey said "I bet I can make that human speak our language, dance and say both our names."

"Pfff, if he doesn't speak our language he can't say our names!  None of the humans speak our language.  You're crazy and you're on!  I accept the bet."

Abbey held her breath, flew down and bonked her face against the man's nose.  He flapped his arms, just like humans always do and shouted "A bee! It's a bee!"

Abbey flew back to the perch and smirked, by raising one antenna straight up and bending the other one in the middle.  She wiggled her head back and forth in a manner clearly saying "Nanny nanny bee bee."

Although bees do not have eyelids, somehow Itzabee still managed to squint at her.

He was not angry.  In fact he was proud of Abbey.  He was proud of himself.  Thinking giant, new thoughts was becoming easier and more fun, even as the thoughts got larger and more incredible!  Abbey had looked at the sleeping man and had thought thoughts no other bee would have thought.  Not even him.  But he knew he also had thoughts she would never have.  They could look at the same thing and see it just slightly differently.  Both right.  But still different.

So if there was a problem, having two bees to look at it might solve it because only one bee had to see the answer.

They both knew it.

Chapter 12.

Over the years, Abbey and Itzabee changed the world of bees.  In time, they found many more hives where just one lonely bee had made this tall tower of honey and was able to talk to them, from great distances.  

Some bees were many days away.  Some were so far away, they would never see their faces, in bee.  Only by describing each other would each know how the other looked.

Abbey and Itzabee taught other hives to make a cell tower so they could talk if they wanted or needed to.  

Many hives could be saved, if they were in danger, by being able to call other hives for help or somewhere to stay if a home-hive was damaged, by human children or forest fires or hail.

Their cell towers were a big, good idea.

One day, a babee landed next to Abbey and asked her why bees couldn't talk to other bees that were not in a hive and not close enough to touch.

Abbey began to say "They just ca-" and she stopped.  Dear Mother-Of-All-Bees, she had almost said the words she hated most of all.  That was close!

Abbey started over again.  "I'm sorry, I very nearly stopped thinking there, for a moment.  I think I almost got old.  What I meant to say was 'No one has worked that out yet'.  But do you think you might be able to make it so bees can talk over short distances?"

Babee said he thought he could... maybe.

Bees make three things.  Honey, wax… and the thing most people forget... paper.  They use the paper for the outside of their hives.  It is very tough, in one direction but can be easily torn when pulled in the other direction.

Babee had noticed that as the hive got larger and heavier with honey, as the year wore on, the hive sagged slightly and the inner walls of the hive got tighter and all the wrinkles got pulled out.
Abbey thought… and yes.  It was true.  She did not say it but she could not see what that had to do with anything like bee-communication.  She did not say it because a small part of Abbey was like all bees.  She didn't want to not know something.  The difference was... the really important difference was that Abbey wanted to FIND OUT what she did not know and turn it into something she DID know.  She put on her 'wise teacher expression’ and said,
"Go on."

Babee looked nervous.  Everyone knew Abbey thought very big thoughts.  Somebees said she had extra brains that she kept somewhere that she could think with, when the thoughts got bigger than the hive.  It made him nervous.

"Um..." he said "... I was in the hive and tapped on the paper, where it was tightest and my friend, outside heard it, as she flew past."   

"I think I can talk inside a special spot, surrounded by very tight paper that touches me and I can talk to everyone in the hive, at once.  If I make it the right shape and size, I might be able to talk to bees that are out at the clover beds."

Abbey thought the Babee must have found some extra brains lying around because those were very big thoughts.  

Babee started to slowly move away from Abbey, because she had gone very still and her eyes were CLEARLY bugging.  She noticed his movement, smiled and explained that's what smart bees do, when they think big thoughts.  It is also what regular bees do when they get too many small thoughts all at once.  Sadly, most bees can only handle two very small thoughts before honey has to be quickly brought in, by the bucket-load.

Babee laughed at that and he felt good when Abbey said he had just had no less than three ENORMOUS thoughts all at one time and no one had to soak him in honey, even a little bit!  That was tremendous.

Babee could feel his face becoming pink, under his hair, because he was blushing.  He thought even his eyes might be blushing.  Abbey thought he was smart!  And she was the smartest bee he’d ever known!

Abbey told him to figure out how to stretch paper so it was tight enough to use.  She said he could use her old workshop, back where the cell tower was.  She would take him to it and show him where to find things that were strong enough to stretch paper on, but he would have to figure out how to do it.  

Babee asked "Can't you show me how?"

Chapter 12.

Abbey said "No one can teach you how to do new things.  When you learn how to do it, there will be only one bee in the world, who knows how to stretch paper tight, like you need it.  That bee will be you.  Then you can teach the rest of us, perhaps all at once.  I'll tell you something very few bees know... That is what I was trying to do, with the cell tower.  I was trying to make a way to talk to all bees all at once.  It obviously did not work, at all!  So if your paper drum does not work, maybe it will do something else amazing!"

"Do you have anyone to help you, who understands what you are trying to do?" Abbey asked.

"No one seems to know what I am vibrating about, when I tell them." babee said, dejectedly.

Abbey thought this would be a good thing to use the cell tower for.  She contacted some of her friends who were "her kind of bee" (which was ANY bee that had built its own cell tower) and asked them to see if they could find someone who would understand what babee was trying to accomplish.  

Three of her friends had babees that were asking the same sorts of questions.  Arrangements were made to fly those babees here, to her hive, to help solve problems.

One of the babees had brought small pieces of paper she had been making, in her spare time, that were different.  Some tore in more than one direction.  Some could not be torn at all.  Some were very beautiful and colorful and others had patterns on them, like flowers!

When Abbey sent them off to work, she realized they had already started.  After they said hello to one another they immediately began vibrating all together.  All four of them asking questions and answering at the same time.  They were so excited to be in a pack of bees that were all thinking in the same direction, but taking different paths.

They had completely forgotten about Abbey and she stood there, watching them walk to the workshop.  Abbey remembered the way she felt, when she was working like they were and knew very interesting things were going to come out of that room.  

The group started arguing about what size the drum needed to be, to communicate.  The girl bees thought the drum should be delicate and precise.  The boy bees wanted it to be large and loud.  They finally decided to build two.  One big and one small.

Chapter 13.

The small one was to be wrapped very, very tight, with paper that could not be torn.  It made a higher pitched sound and the wood framework was so thick with supporting branches, to keep it from breaking, the boy bees jokingly called it a treeble drum.  

The boys made hundreds of attempts.  Each new drum solved previous problems they had encountered, with the earlier drums.  The drums were good but each had a new problem.  Since the girls were finished with their small one, they helped the boys and the work went much faster with more smart bees to solve and predict problems.
Drum number 807 was so close to perfect, half of the bees argued to stop and just use this one.  But no.  It was finally decided, they were so close, they should make another that was perfect.  

The new drum had a thin ring of shiny metal on the front that made it very easy to tighten and loosen the paper on the drum.

The bees had made everything, on the drums themselves, except for that one metal ring.  

The girls asked where the boys had gotten it.  

"We used the cell tower and found a hive that had things we could not make ourselves.  They find them and bring them to their hive and then trade the things for honey, instead of collecting nectar and making it themselves.  There was something wrong with the flowers near their hive.  Those flowers did not make any nectar, at all."

"I wouldn't want to live there!" said one of the girls.  "What was the hive called?"

"Beebay.  And yes, except that they have such interesting things, we would not ever visit there."

When drum number 808 was done, they stood back and looked at it.  It was very large and looked almost right.  One of the girl bees clapped her antennae together once and ran off to get their treeble drum.  When she came back and put it on top of the 808… they fit perfectly together!  It just... worked!

One girl bee put it's back against the 808th drum and it's antennae against the treeble.  When the bee vibrated and said "Hello, can you hear me?" an explosion of buzzing came from everywhere.  

Something was wrong, in the hive!  They rushed out of the workshop, to find fluffed-up bees flying everywhere in the hive.  In and out of the opening and all around.  The babees figured out what had happened.  Everyone had heard what they had said, in the workshop and it frightened them!  No one got them prepared for a booming voice that seemed to come from everywhere at once!  

Chapter 14.

Then they heard it too!  A bee-less voice saying calmly and patiently "Everybee land and be quiet."
The voice had such a quiet tone of authority, most bees wings just stopped, in mid-air, to obey the voice, without the bee's brains controlling them.  The quiet thuds of bees falling from the air stopped soon enough.

"This is Abbey.  This has been a test.  Some young bees have just perfected a way to talk to everyone at once.  It seems they forgot to mention that today was the 'test day'.  From now on, we will let everyone know before anything is tested.  This was only a test."

Many bees were glaring at the babees, with angry antennae as they smoothed their fluffed-up hair back down.  Everyone went back to work and the babees walked back to the workshop, wondering what Abbey was going to do to them, for scaring the whole hive.

Would she throw them out of the hive forever?  Would she take their wings off and make them clean the bottom of the hive and eat only wax for dinner, every night?

When they walked slowly into the shop, they found Abbey jumping up and down, apparently so furious she was going crazy!  Oh no, they were in so much trouble!

When she turned around, they saw she was laughing!  She flew over and crashed into them.  Only when she made contact, could they hear what she was saying.


The whole hive had heard them!  One bee spoke to all the bees, without touching them.  Even the bees in the air had heard it.

Abbey took a deep breath, to calm herself and said "Like when other bees make their first cells of honey and have to sign them, this is your first cell of speech-everyone-can-hear.  You now need names to put on the drums you made."

Abbey moved to the boys.  She made compound-eye-contact with the first boy and said "Your name is Ace.  An ace is somebee who has done something perfectly."

She turned to the next boy and said "You will be Master.  A master is somebee who has learned, and now must teach, something great."

Abbey turned to the first girl and said "You will be Luminaria.  A luminary is somebee who radiates, like the sun.  When you spoke, through the drum, your voice radiated, like light that could not be stopped."

Abbey turned to the final girl and said "Your name will be Eminence.  An eminence is something very important or famous and I daresay, you will all be famous and you have certainly done something important."

As the young bees laughed and hugged and looked up to admire the drum, that none of them could have made alone, Abbey backed away and went to her cell tower to call the hives that had donated their babees so that they could make the drum that had been such a success.  She let each one know that their future babees would be faster to train and more honey could be made, keeping the hives safe, during long winters and dry summers, now that one bee could tell everyone where the flowers were producing the most nectar, where the eyelash plants were and where the roads were that would kill them, with their never-ending lines of car windshields.

Chapter 15.

But there was a problem! 

The paper on the hive made it so the vibrations did not leave the hive. Inside, everyone could hear the sounds, but outside there was nothing.  

There were always problems!  

Problems were frustrating, but for bees like Abbey, Ace, Master, Luminaria and Eminence, problems were examples of things you needed to know.

Problems just need bees to solve them and some kinds of bees seem to need problems to solve.  There were not many bees like that, but they all wanted to come to Abbey’s hive to learn and work and solve problems. 
Some bees appeared on their opening-step with problems no one knew they even had!  Fascinating!!!  

Abbey was just the bee to help.  If she did not have the answers, she was smart enough to say “I have no idea!” with a smile in her voice.  Then she would guide the babees to where to get started.

That was always one of the most important things.  Getting started.  

The next most important thing was keeping going.  

Step 1. Get started.
Step 2. Keep going.
Step 3. Do not say “That’s how it is.” because the smart bees would dump honey on you, if you did.  That is what you do with a bee that has a dangerous problem.  By the time you dug and ate your way out of the honey, you had learned not to answer questions with “That’s how it is.” 

Because if you did, nothing would change from “how it is” into “how it should be”.