Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

March 28, 2009

Saturday Afternoons

She was always harping on me to go outside and play. Get some fresh air and sunshine on my face, play with other kids. Much to her chagrin, I was the kind of kid who was more likely to be glued to PBS on Saturday mornings watching Julia Child and This Old House, than I was to be kicking a ball around with other boys.

So she worked with me.

Almost every Saturday afternoon, for many years, my Mother and I baked cookies.

Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin, or Cornflake Winks? I usually got to choose the variety, and my Betty Crocker Cooky Book was a never ending source of inspiration. It was the first book, of any kind, that I ever purchased with my own money...at the 3rd grade book fair.
The cookies were always mixed in her yellow Pyrex bowl. It was the largest of a nesting set, alternating solid yellow and white with yellow polka dots. They were the only mixing bowls she ever owned, and almost everything we ate while I was growing up was prepared in the big yellow Pyrex bowl. She also had this amazing, indestructible, wide stainless-steel mixing spoon. It was the tool of choice in Junie's kitchen, something she had purchased before she was even married, and had placed in her hope chest.

My Mother was not the most adventurous cook, in fact I don't think she particularly enjoyed cooking. But she did enjoy eating, and therefore her short kitchen repertoire was tried, true, and tasty. She had NO time for food that wasn't delicious, and the simple pleasure of eating good food was definitely something she taught me early on.

But that wasn't all she taught me. Baking cookies with her I learned how to co-create, to collaborate. I learned the importance of "process", and the satisfaction derived from following it. I've often wished that LIFE was as simple as following a recipe....

Before she passed away [3 years ago today], she started mulling over what she wanted us to have. She didn't have many "possessions" of financial importance, but she was very specific about a few things. She wanted my brother to have her piano. She wanted my sister to have her Tiffany [style] lamp, and the antique drum table of her mother's that it sat on. Because I lived in another state, across the country, the dilemma of what to leave for me weighed heavy on her mind. "Do you want your great-grandfather's writing desk? I don't know how you'll get it home." I said yes to the writing desk, assuring her that I could have it crated. But what I really had my eye on was that mixing spoon. So I told her that the spoon was all I really wanted.

"A mixing spoon? You want my mixing spoon?! You are crazy." Crazy is what she called you when she found your decision about something to be questionable.
That solidified what she had suspected for years. I was certifiable.

We didn't think she would last through the week, but she did. Man, she was a tough little bird, right till the end. I wanted to be there with her when she made her transition, but I couldn't be gone from work any longer, and had to return home to Chicago. I was packing my suitcase when I remembered to grab the spoon from the kitchen. My sister chuckled as I snagged my prize out of the 3rd drawer to the left of the sink. She totally "got it", and asked me if there was anything else from the kitchen I wanted. I pondered for a moment, and said "Yeah. The mixing bowl"

"Can you get it in your suitcase?", she asked. We carefully padded it with clothes, and hoped it would survive the baggage handlers and carousel. It did.

Just as when she had it, almost every meal I prepare begins it's journey to the table in that big yellow bowl. I soak beans in it. Mix my meatloaf. Toss salads. And today, since she's so clearly on my heart, I think I'll bake some cookies. It is after all, Saturday.

Peanut Butter. They were her favorite. Mine too.

March 27, 2009


Her Grandmother Amelia Roberts was proprietor of the local General Store back in the 1920's, and her mother [the ever-fabulous Carol] is a Professor of Anthropology. This pedigree of self-propelled and smart women has indeed not skipped a generation! For Sonia Mott is a whirlwind of creative energy and thinking. So is it any wonder that while her Bachelor's is in Business Administration [with a major in marketing and a minor in Art History] that she 's also run her own much celebrated retail home decor store, in addition to having a highly successful career in Human Resources? If you know Sonia, it doesn't surprise you at all...

Over the years I've had the opportunity to work both for and with this vibrant woman, and am thrilled to announce that she's going to be contributing a new series of articles for The Killer Bees called CareerFit. Once a month she'll be sharing with our readers her terrific tips and pointers for helping you find your place in today's competitive job market, and great ways for helping you keep yourself CareerFit... without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, Sonia Mott!

CareerFit #1

Bee CareerFit!

After spending 15 years in the Human Resources profession, I've seen it all. And now that the economy has dropped a big "noogie" on all of us, nothing is the same. The game has been changed!!! Everyone is looking at and re-evaluating who they are, and what they do. And most importantly, what they want to do. If you haven't been doing so yourself, you should be!

This is what I suggest everyone do in the near future, even if you're gainfully employed- be proactive. Here's how to start:

  • Update your resume! Pull out whatever you have and spiff it up. Most importantly, add your most current experience, and focus on your problem solving skills. It's more important now than ever to prove your worth to a perspective employer. Don't just tell them your job history. A great resource for resume ideas is a book called "Knock 'em Dead Resumes" by Martin Yates. He just published an updated edition- you can look for it on amazon.com

  • Social networking- whether it's Facebook or Linkedin, you need to be out there. If for no other reason, because everyone else is! It's also a great way to do a self-assessment of who you are and what you're looking for.

  • Personal networking- a new book called "Highly Effective Networking" just hit the bookshelves. It's by Orville Pierson. Because it's so new, I would love for you to share any comments/feedback you might have with fellow readers! You can do it by adding a comment at the bottom of this post...now that's what I call NETWORKING! Become a member of your industries associations. The best way to become known and loved is to volunteer for a project. Fellow members will get to see what you do firsthand- how you make decisions and problem solve.

  • Stay ahead of the curve regarding changes in your line of work or industry. This will not only impress your current employer, but will show potential employers that you have the initiative and desire to stay on top of best practices. You need to set yourself apart!

  • One last thing. Get a reference list started. Call past employers, co-workers, customers/clients. Nothing says more about a person than what another person who has experienced your work ethic, problem solving, and decision making skills can... all of which are mucho-importante!

So how's that for an assignment?! The time you put in now will pay off in the future, and it's always better to be prepared or as I like to say, CareerFit!

TO CONTACT SONIA, email her at: sm.mott@ymail.com

March 26, 2009


At the suggestion of many people, I've created a new web page to show off my paintings. The site is called DRIPDROPSPLITSPLATCOLORPRETTY, and it's up now. There's some nice shots from the show I did with Cherrie Hanson at Art & Soul Gallery last Spring, and I'll be adding new pictures of new pieces as I finish them...hopefully this will be a new way for them to find their way into other people's homes! DRIPDROPSPLISLATCOLORPRETTY will also be the place to check in and see what future shows are coming up. Enjoy!
There's a new link on the sidebar to go there or you can...


By now most of our regular readers have had a chance to see the stunning portraits that master [I bow to you] photographer Doug Krimmer took of The Killer Bees a couple of months ago. How could you miss them, right? I've decided to take them all and put them onto a special new webpage called The Family Bee. You can access it by clicking on the link on the right sidebar.

This new page serves as an online photo album for us, so we'll be posting pictures frequently from special events and outings that we attend both as a group, and individualy. Be sure to check it out every once in awhile to see where and what we've been up to...

Already posted: Our First Photo Shoot, The Bees Swarm Transfer, and A Double Bubblevision...
There's a new link on the sidebar, or you can find it by...
CLICKING HERE: http://www.ourkillerphotos.blogspot.com/

March 20, 2009

March 18, 2009


Google the name PAMELA. It's origin is Greek, and depending on the source of definition, you'll find it's meaning to be 'Honey", "Honeyed" "Made from honey", or "All things honey".

She was destined to Bee Our Guest...

I first met this vivacious bee 8 years ago when her then boyfriend [now fiance] Steven brought her into my then retail shop Transformations to meet me...and do a little shopping! Her retail venture THE UNDERWOOD GALLERY was just a yearling way back then, and we bonded over a love for great art, delicious food, and the trials and triumphs of being shopkeepers.

Speaking of shopkeeping. I can tell you from my own experience that while it can be very rewarding, it's often ALL consuming. And yet this outrageously talented woman manages to also be a mother, a painter, an art community organizer, and a master gardener.

Did I mention she's no slouch in the kitchen?

When I stopped by the gallery this afternoon she was up to her usual high-octane juggling act of helping customers, answering phones, getting promotions cemented for the up-coming Westside Artwalk, and counseling her son on prospective employment. She was also starving [Who has time for lunch?] so I sprinted over to nearby Le Reve for crepes poulet and 2 cafe au lait. When I returned with our goodies, she sat down, reveled in her yummy crepes with great enthusiasm, and asked me if I was following the TV show Wisconsin Foodie...

The Greeks nailed it. All things are more delicious when the recipe calls for a little PAMELA...

MPM: I know that these days your subject matter for painting is "abstract", but where do your inspirations come from? What other art forms [other than painting] do you enjoy?

PA: I am enjoying painting in the abstract expressionist style. I define myself through my painting. I draw from my surroundings, experiences and environment when I create. Emotion comes out in my colors and the composition directly relates to my interpretation, and culmination of my emotion onto the canvas. I enjoy all forms of art....some of my real passions are art glass, photography and sculpture. I am really drawn to all forms of great design.

MPM: Your goal as a gallery owner is very specific. Tell our readers a bit more about it.

PA: I started my Gallery to promote specifically American craft and fine art. I also enjoy working and helping artists market themselves. Often an artist doesn't know anything about promoting themselves and unless they like doing this, they will often go unnoticed....they could be the most gifted artist and may never be seen because they don't put themselves out there. I love helping them with this if they allow it, because it the most amazing feeling to see someone come into their own and experience success!

MPM: Your kitchen was purposely re-designed for two. Tell me about spending time in the kitchen with Mr. Steve Kaishian.

PA: Cooking is art to Steven and I. We can spend hours poring over cookbooks and putting menus together. We enjoy experimenting with flavor, trying ingredients in new ways....and I am in charge of the presentation. I love putting the "art of food" onto the plate! We love cooking in the kitchen together! Steven enjoys doing the entrees and appetizers...I love doing the salads and desserts. The finishing touches are the wine, ambiance and of course great guests to share it with.

MPM: I know your angels are important to you....

PA: I have many angels...my 3 sons are my angels...and of course my two furry children, the cats! Picasso and Kismet. My Steven is amazing. As is my host of angel friends. I cannot share enough time with all of the people in my life who mean so much to me. I get much joy from life, spending it with those I love.

MPM: You lead a VERY full life. Does Pamela relax?

PA: I relax more than I used to. Most of the time I am trying to figure out how I can cram more living into my too short days!! But yes...I do relax. I enjoy reading, having a glass of wine with friends. And as we already mentioned I love to entertain. When I can find the quality time, for all of my passions, painting, gardening and cooking; those are actually the things that relax me. If I am ever having a bad day...I can get into the kitchen and cook or bake and all of my cares melt away.

MPM: Okay girl, give me 5 things you can't live without!

PA: My loved ones... family, and my friends. My cats...Picasso and Kismet. Art....All art, visual and music.My garden....and all the nature in it! Fabulous food and wine...and great conversation. Ok...I guess that's more than 5 things but I have still more! I only wish I had more hours in my days to live it up even more!

To See Pamela's Paintings, Visit Her Website By
CLICKING HERE: http://www.paintmysky.com/

March 17, 2009


The Underwood Gallery
1430 Underwood Avenue
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Hours of Operation: 10-6 T&TH, 10-5 W-SAT

Nestled in the heart of the historic Village of Wauwatosa....
With it's vibrant walls and funky vintage architecture, you know from the get-go that The Underwood Gallery is not your typical "white box" modern art gallery....

This award-winning jewel of a gallery is showcase to more than 140 artists and craftspeople, the variety of which is carefully hand-selected by gallery proprietor, Pamela Anderson.

In addition to modern paintings, tapestries, and wall sculpture, Pamela has a wonderfully hip and unique eye for artisan-crafted ladies accessories and gifts....

The Underwood Gallery has one of the best selections of art glass [both fused and blown], and pottery...both decorative and functional. Why bother with utilitarian serving pieces?!

So head on down to The Underwood gallery, and while your there be sure to check out all of the other "little jewels" in the neighborhood! Maybe I need to do a special R&R spotlight on the Village....

March 12, 2009


Have you stopped by one of your old haunts recently, only to find that it no longer exists? That's exactly that happened to me on Sunday. Apparently there's no more dim sum in Milwaukee.

We all know that the economy is in big trouble, and therefore so are allot of Americans. We're eating out, and definitely shopping less...for some of us rarely if at all. That being said, I beg of you: SHOP AND EAT LOCAL! I'm not trying to make you feel guilty about going to Target for tube socks. But this is pretty serious business I'm talking about here. Keeping small business owners in business is PARAMOUNT to our fragile economy. And there's more to that than dollars and cents. When entrepreneurs are able sustain not only a business, but a state of Independence, then we collectively thrive(and strive) in the American dream. So important do I feel this issue to be, that I believe that shopping/eating local is the most important thing that you and I can do for our country. Right now, here today. Period.


Why would you go to an Olive Garden for dinner, when for about the same price [ and I guarantee you better food ] you can patronize a local Italian restaurant whose FAMILY SURVIVAL depends on that restaurant keeping it's doors open? Why would you spend $75 on a piece of mass-produced in China wall decor at Bed Bath & Beyond, when you can go to the Mount Mary Art Festival [where nothing is priced over $100 bucks], and buy a piece of ORIGINAL ART?!

I'll get off my soapbox and make my point. With fewer dollars to spend, spend them wisely my friends. It's not only about what you want anymore, it's about what WE need.
And I do mean WE THE PEOPLE....

I'm hoping that The R&R Report will be a weekly affair, just a little shout out to make you aware of the best of local-owned retail and restaurants in both the Chicago and Milwaukee metro areas.

No big reviews or lengthy interviews with the owners. Just simply that they get my vote. We start this week with The Highland Park Cafe...

March 11, 2009


Highland Park Pies & Cafe
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
4110 West Martin Drive ( at Highland )
Hours of Operation: M-F 6:30am-5pm & Sat 8am-5pm

I didn't have to travel far to do my 1st R&R Report. In fact, I just walked across the street.

I have to tell you that having this charming little nugget is feather in the cap of our little Martin Drive Neighborhood. It's a family affair for Sarah Buzzell and the whole Metzger-Buzzell clan. And they treat you like family as well, from the moment you walk in the door! Beyond the yummy coffee [see Stacey's up-coming feature on Johnson Brothers Coffee at Stacey's Hot Dish] and scrumptious deserts, you can grab a quick, nutritious breakfast, or grilled panini and cup of homemade soup for lunch. Sarah says that in the Summer they take advantage of the season and source as much as possible from Wisconsin farmers. Right on!

Housed in a quaint, vintage English Tudor style home at the corner of Martin Drive and Highland, the cozy atmosphere is as delicious as the food they serve. Celebrating 2 years since they took over the cafe from [one of my favorite people] Maureen Bohorfoush , Sarah and company are about to "re-brand" the cafe as BIRDIE'S over the next month.

Since the cafe is a converted house, there are charming private rooms that can be used for everything from business meetings to baby showers. A few other things you should know...

  • The cafe has a diverse menu, including: brakfast pizza, wraps, paninis, salads, and daily specials.
  • Catering and delivery is available.
  • NEW website with menu coming soon!
  • The cafe is available for rental on off hours, for groups up to 70 people. Perfect for wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, and other special occasions. You can order food through them, or bring in your own caterer.

Stop in and see Sarah & family soon, and do yourself a favor. Have a Viennese...it's a lovely latte style coffee drink, perfectly sweetened with what else...? Honey!

March 10, 2009


The Killer Bees[collectively] have now had over 5,000 hits to our blogs. This is just a little reminder [and perhaps some gentle encouragement] that we want YOU the people stopping by to leave comments. I understand that we all didn't have the proper "enabling" tool installed before...but now ANYONE can leave a comment, on any of the blogs, at the end of any posting!

We'd really like to have your feedback, and elaborations if you have them! I keep saying that this is all about sharing, and that means we want you to share your thoughts too!

March 9, 2009


I'll get right to the point. Despite what you may have heard, beige is not neutral.
In fact, there are only 3 neutral colors: Black, White, and Gray.
Why? Because black is presence of all color, white is the absence of all color, and together they make gray. In theory, this is what makes them compatible with all of the other colors that exist. Hence the term, neutral.

Of course there are cool whites, warm grays, and blue-blacks. But that's what happens when you add COLOR to neutrals...they become COLORS. At that point, they are no longer "technically" neutral, and fall into a category of colors I like to refer to as the flexibles. This is the same ambiguous gang that colors like beige, ivory, and many shades of taupe like to run with.

I want to make this clarification between neutral and flexible because in interior design, the coordination of colors is often omni-important. While beige is a flexible color, it's still a COLOR. Taupe [widely thought of as a warm, earthy gray] is open to interpretation because depending on it's complicated make-up, it can have undertones of violet, green, or gold.
The TRUE neutrals are not open to interpretation.

So if your using flexible colors in your project, make sure you understand them. Does your beige have more gold, brown, or green in it? Is that not-quite-white a little yellowish, or pinkish?

Just because your base is neutral, does not mean you're boring...
  • Black, white and gray are the base-point for some of the most sophisticated of design projects. Black rooms can be oh-so-chic! Every color looks even more vibrant and beautiful! All colors "POP" against neutrals.

  • Neutrals may come and go as design trends, HOWEVER they never go out of style!

  • Shabby Chic? Traditionalist? Modernist? Neutrals transcend all genres of design!

I hope that this once and for all clears up any gray matter on the subject of neutrals. This is what will more than likely be a 3 or 4 part series I'm calling COLOR 101...up next: Dark & Lovely!

March 3, 2009


Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!