Sunday, December 21, 2008

TW3

for those of you of a certain age, there may be a faint ringing of bells -- "TW3, TW3 -- I remember that but what was it"

It stood for the phrase "That Was The Week That Was", and was a 1960's satire of the news.

it just seems appropriate here, since it has been a week since I posted on any of my blogs

and it will be short

I'm still recovering

after 3 days of heavy pain killers, I've spent the rest of the week "tapering off" and slowly stretching the arm, trying to get range of motion and strength back

last night was the first night without pain killers, and it was nice to wake up and not feel hung over

I have managed to finish all but 2 of the planned projects for Christmas, and one of those should be done today. (the second one was a last minute "oh, I think I'll just whip this up" sort of project, and will probably be gifted "on the sticks" to be completed after Christmas)

computer work (at least at the desk top) is still painful, so the other project I need to be working on will be done on the laptop is small sessions

just wanted to let anyone that regularly reads here know I'm still "hangin' in"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

surrender

after nearly a week of trying heat, cold, and advil, I have given in to the idea that I needed a stronger medication to get this whole arm/shoulder issue under control

half of a pain killer later, I was actually able to use the arm more effectively without wishing that someone would just shot me -- seriously, one can only stand so much throbbing, stabbing, burning pain

for now the plan is to try to keep the pain level down enough that I can keep the shoulder from "freezing" from lack of use and to hold off any need for a trip to the doctor until after January 1, not wanting to try to deal with the financial impact of doctor's visits, testing, etc., etc.

this means though that any project that is not absolutely necessary is on the back burner -- I'm just hoping to finish the Christmas projects I had started -- this lack of being able to do any creative activity will not be easy to deal with

nuts

Friday, December 12, 2008

growing means changing

I had lunch with an artist friend earlier this week, and our conversation made me think about the way my work has changed

Back when I started making bears most of my work were medium to large bears, sort of a morphing of what I made as toys into something more collectible

Over the years, I have experimented with really big bears and really little bears, with dressed bears and bare bears, with boy bears and girl bears.

A while back I sort of hit a wall on bears -- I was feeling that I just didn't have any more ideas for bears, so I started making some different animals --- one of a kind birds, for instance --- and those were well recieved

So, while I still enjoy building the occasional one of a kind bear, I'm thinking I'll still be doing those unusual pieces, because it feeds the growth of my art

(but I also have a bear design that I started a while back and want to get back to)

I guess the whole thing is that growing means changing, if I don't try new things I get bored and the finished work isn't worth taking the pictures of

"bear" with me, I'll be experimenting with some new things here shortly

Monday, December 08, 2008

Playing at Mammy's House

Over at Travelin Oma's Marty wrote a great post about playing at her grandmother's house.

Since I had said a while back that I was going to write some more about the things I remember of my grandmother, I took Marty's idea for this post.

I spent a lot of time at Mammy's house.

During the summer there would be long stretches of time there.

Since there was no swimming pool in easy walking distance, our summer cool off place was a tin wash tub

I remember sitting in the tub and running a hose

Running through the hose was a big deal too -- as were the discussions with my grandparents about when it was warm enough to do so -- it had to be more that 75 degrees for us to be able to run through the hose


And there were marbles

Because my grandfather was a postman back in the days when they actually WALKED a route, he would find marbles in the street

Somewhere at my mother's house there is a deep cookie tin full of the marbles he found and brought home in his pockets

I remember blowing up the air mattress, putting one end of it up on the couch and running marbles down the grooves in it to race them to the bottom

One summer when Mammy had been teaching me to knit we used up a bunch of little scrap pieces of yarn to knit little 1 to 2 inch squares with tails at one end that my sister and I dubbed "mice" which we then took outside to play with over a blanket stretched across a wood frame. We bounced them all around like they could do double flips on a trampoline.


and then there were the paperdolls

Betsy McCall paperdolls to be exact -- (which I only recently discovered were introduced in 1951 -- the year I was born!)

Mammy let me have that highly coveted page as soon as the McCall's magazine arrived in the mail.

I had a box that greeting cards had come in that was the place that the carefully cut out dolls were stored.

Right now I'm wondering whatever happened to those, wishing I had kept them, wondering if my mother will find them as she is now going through all of the ephemera from Mammy's house that she hadn't gotten to.

And so it was that play time at Mammy's was also learning life skills --- I learned to sew and knit and cut --- and all of those skills are still the backbone of the arts I do today.

So what did you play with at your grandma's house?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

taking on one more project?

actually it's more a return to a project started long, long ago

we're Christmas crazy at our house -- at least that's the best excuse I have

on several occasions we have put up as many as 8 or 9 trees -- I have about 40 apple boxes full of Christmas decorations

many years ago (at least 10), I was part of a small online group that had formulated an idea for a Christmas book

Unfortunately, nothing ever came of it because -- well, life happens

but the idea of doing this has never really gone away, and it tends to rear it's head every year about this time

and it seems that it has made a return in the head of the DH as well as he went through a catalog we received this week, marked it up and handed it to me saying "this would be a good start on the book"

I guess it may be time to take the bull by the horns (or the reindeer)

One of the major problems with the book in it's former incarnation was the whole "how do we get it published" issue

In the last decade the amazing advances in the "publish it yourself" industry online has made that question into nothing more than an empty Christmas sock sort of excuse

So, I'll be asking you to bear with me as we babble on about Christmas long after the holiday is over this year while I try to figure out how to put this all together

Meantime, if you know of any artist that makes Christmas themed items, I'd welcome you sending me a link to their web presence so I can take a look!

Friday, December 05, 2008

trends, cycles and finding one's own "voice"

I've been involved this week in two converging conversations on line -- it's interesting how two totally unconnected groups of artists discuss some of the same things

So, let us begin with a confession: I'm what I would consider an "ambitious artist". I love to create things -- all kinds of things -- and in order to continue to do that I need to sell at least some of them.

Besides that, I have, for as long as I can remember, had that "I want to be the best at something and I want every body know it" thing in my head -- I guess now days they'd call that wanting to be "popular", but that's not really the same thing, in my opinion.

I am also a totally unfocused artist --- I have never been able to just do one thing, which may be the reason that I'm not really good at either selling or winning awards.

This week on one of the email lists that I belong to, someone posted about a big Dale Chihuly Exhibit, praising his work, etc., etc.

For me this once again set off the question that I have struggled with for years as a bear artist --- what defines an "artist" bear versus what is a "manufactured" bear --- I have for years worked under the idea that an "artist" bear is one made entirely by the designer(s), and a "manufactured" bear is designed by an artist then made in quantities by skilled labor. My husband and I make artist bears --- now days especially, many of our pieces are a collaboration of skills (he does pattern design, cutting, jointing; I do sewing, stuffing, finishing) and nearly every piece is a one of a kind.

Evidently this destinction does not apply to the "big A" art world, as it was pointed out to me quite clearly by others on the mailing list --- in the "big A" art world, especially in sculpture, and large installation art, one designer with many workers appears to be the norm.

At the same time that I was reading and responding to those emails, there were some quite interesting posts in another place regarding Etsy and the whole host of Stampington Press publications.

I have never been one to pay any attention to trends. When I was a child and a teenager it simply didn't matter if I wanted to do so or not --- it was not an option, and as an adult I just never got there.

I like what I like.

A while back I had submitted some pieces to one of the Stampington Press magazines for consideration, and was told that my pieces didn't fit in with anything they were doing right now. When I told my daughter about that her response was sure and swift --- "mom, your stuff is not "ugly" enough"

Now by ugly she means that sort of worn, primitive, folk art style that seems to be the current rage among the 20 to 40 age group that is snapping up those publications and doing the most crafting/selling/buying on Etsy.

I don't do that kind of pieces.

My tastes are more simple, elegant, clean and yes, occasionally very bold and ornate.

I've tried from time to time to make pieces (bears, jewelry) that I think will sell

Usually that sort of effort is a big failure, not only on the sales end, but as being personally satisfying to make ---- those are a lot more like work, and it would be more profitable financially to go flip burgers

So, the question becomes, how to find that niche market --- I have to believe that there are other 40+ women with similar tastes, but there does not appear to be any place on line that is paying any attention to us "old folks"

Meantime, today after over a year as a shop owner on Etsy, I made my first sale out of the shop. It is a custom order for a dog toy. I'll take it.

But I'm still looking for a place that will be a good venue for my "art pieces", and hoping the style trends will cycle around to my point of view.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Asking for help

Over at Yesterday's Glitter Kelly has a great post about irony and compassion.

It set me to thinking about how hard it is to "make it" in business out here on the world wide web --

yes, the internet is in some ways a great equalizer -- the individual in the basement in her pjs loading up stuff to sell can look like a much bigger company

but it also means that the whole world is your competition

I realized after reading Kelly's post that she is correct when she says "All too often when people complain over something it's a cry for help that they don't know how to ask for."

Those of you that have read this blog for a while know that this is the place where I sometimes complain. (Ok, I try to complain only here, not on the studio blog)

But I realize that what I'm really doing when I complain here is hope that because it is out there on the world wide web that someone will see what I've said and offer some suggestion that will help me solve whatever I've complained about

I also think that Kelly is right about not being in the right niche at the right time. As my mother has said from time to time "when my ship comes in I'll probably be at the airport".

I know at least two bear artists (neither of which has been making bears as long as I have), that on a regular basis will make a bear, list it on their web site, and sell it within a week -- one of them regularly sells her pieces for $500 and up.

A while back, when I was feeling particularly discouraged about the whole thing, I sent an email to one of them asking for some help.

I wanted to know how she managed this feat.

Was it that my pictures weren't good enough (though I've been told they're good)?

Was it that I didn't write up the descriptions well?

Was it that the product just wasn't good enough?

I guess she didn't feel like she wanted to share her success -- since she never replied

Recently I was reading an article about the "new crafters", and I'm beginning to wonder if it's just that the whole trend of what is selling now has passed me by

I think I'm pretty tech savvy for an old broad -- I do blog after all, but I don't do Face Book or Twitter or Flickr or any of those other things -- I like doing my art, and the more time I spend on the computer, the less time I have to do art.

How do you manage to balance all of that?

And most important of all is still that question -- is it the presentation (whatever form it takes) or is the work just not good enough?

Sure would be nice to know

Friday, November 21, 2008

not such a great grandma

This is my great grand daughter

through the miracle of the internet I found out that she was born back on the 11th

since my step daughter decided we had offended her a couple of years back and hasn't talked to us since, I'm not really surprised that she didn't let us know about the baby's arrival (and for all I know the baby's mother isn't talking to her mother)

At any rate, all this means I'm (technically) a great grandmother --- HUH?

Because I knew this baby was on the way, I made this quilt and the little knit lamb toy during the summer and now I'll be packing it up and shipping it off

I hope they like it

I hope they'll use it

On the whole, it's a really wierd situation



Have I mentioned recently how much I think the health care system in this country is screwed up?

I know, I know, this seems to be a rant I have about once a month, please bear with me here folks, it helps if I can get this out of my system

Here's the latest:

My husband was told by his doctor that it was time for him to have his pneumonia vaccination. She told him that she doesn't keep the vaccine on hand and we should arrange with the scheduler for a date to have the shot so they could get it in.

So, I talked to the scheduler, and set it up and figured we were set.

But no, when we got there at the appointed time, the other person (ie the one I nearly always want to hang up on when I have to talk to her on the phone and I refer to as the "Snippy B***H") was there and said they wouldn't give him the shot because they'd had all these problems with the insurance not paying for them, etc., etc., and that we should go to the pharmacy to have it done

So, we went to pharmacy (our local Walgreens) and tried again -- they tried to run it through on his Secure Horizons medicare supplement insurance and their system told them to run it through Medicare, and then supposedly Medicare told them he's not even in their system. After about 40 minutes in the pharmacy, we came home and I got on the phone

First I talked to Secure Horizons and was told that if his primary care physician gives him the pneumonia vaccine, they will cover it. If we go to a pharmacy, we have to pay up front and then send in the stuff to be reimbursed (whenenver they get around to it).

Then I called Medicare and verified that they do have a record of him (DUH!!), and figured the pharmacy just put in a number wrong.

Then I called the doctor's office and told them his insurance will cover it (what other insurances for other people are doing is NOT our problem), and we want them to get the vaccine and give him the shot.

He was supposed to get his shot at 1:30 yesterday -- they STILL didn't have the stuff. They called me about 3 p.m. and said the vaccine had finally arrived --

AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Part of this of course is just people trying to pass off the hard stuff to someone else because they don't want to deal with it.

It's frustrating.

Oh yes, I did survive all of that yesterday with minimal stress, so I guess the St John's Wort is starting to take affect

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The first test?

So today, after weeks of unseasonably warm weather, it actually looks (and feels) like November -- cold, gray, drizzlie

During the time I'm on the computer every morning, the dog usually alternates between patrolling the back yard to "supervise" the construction workers in the field beyond and laying in the front window in the sun to watch the kids go to school.

This morning after a brief trip around the yard she joined me at the computer as if to ask me if we were going to have to put up with this stuff for long.

I share her dismay

As I have said many times, I don't really like winter -- which is really not quite true -- I love the pretty days -- the sun on fresh snow, everything sparkling like brand new days -- but I don't like the gray, and I don't do well in the cold.

In fact, when I had my annual visit with the doctor recently I asked her about the "gray wall of winter"

And so, for the last 2 weeks I've been taking a daily dose of St John's Wort, which was her recommendation for a "homeopathic antidepressant" -- I'm hopeful that it will do the trick

I guess today is the first test

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The current magic number is 987

I can sense a lot of question marks forming over your heads

magic number for what?

current? as in it will change?

987!

Ok, I admit, I'm being deliberately difficult here

For a while now I've been trying to get the volumes and volumes of paper research I have done on our family's history into a computer program

The idea was to make it easier to share information, print a whole raft of reports, scrapbook pages, etc., and generally get everything into a more organized form -- not to mention being able to get rid of some of the paper (not the original birth certificates or pictures!) .

So on Sunday afternoons (and other times too) I have been putting the information in -- to date 987 names -- and I know for sure that I have barely scratched the surface of the information that I have

Good Grief!

Back when I was doing a lot of this research I guess I had no clue just how much information I had gathered because it was all in notebooks and it wasn't easy to put a number on it.

Amazing

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't Scam Me!!

I just hate it when someone tries to scam me.

When I opened this morning's emails, I saw one with the following subject line: "Invitation to Chapeau Blog Awards"

The contents were all about this wonderful award they were giving and how I was urged to submit my blog for consideration, blah, blah, blah

Ok, so I went and looked at their site

Oh yeah, I can submit my site --- for $195 --- HUH!?

So, there ya go, seems that blogland awards are about the same as the jewelry design awards and the teddy bear awards -- it's the golden rule -- they that have the gold, rule

needless to say, all future correspondance from this group will be going right into the SPAM folder

geesh (and I'm feeling stupid because I actually thought this was for real)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

learning as character building

not just in the usual way, of course

I've been thinking about how different people learn

some people learn by taking it step by step -- you know -- floating, dog paddling, swimming then diving

me, I have this whole other approach -- just jump into the deep end -- not with water, but with a whole host of other things

when I wanted to play the piano, I was not content with "Mary had a little lamb" or finger exercises -- nope, right into "Moonlight Sonata" -- which I actually could play all the way through at one point -- just not any more

so it is with other things too, and what happens sometimes is that I learn how to do some of the most difficult parts of the project before I have all of the basics -- sort of like building a bridge on a jello foundation (somehow that whole "see it wiggle" jingle is a BAD thing with bridges)

at any rate, it is at least challenging and interesting (and some times frustrating!)

So, how to you learn new things?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's gotta be the Hope

In the last week I've noticed some very interesting things here in the very conservative hamlet we live in.

While we are still in the midst of a very ugly economic mess, people in the stores and other public places are actually (gasp!) SMILING! and saying hello, or even having a full on conversation.

And, last night as I was out driving after dark I noticed something else -- Christmas lights -- all out decorating -- not on stores and commercial buildings (I'm immune to any thoughts about those, since we've been seeing Christmas merchandise in the stores since before Halloween), but these were on individual homes and apartments

This morning I mentioned it to someone and she said she had even put up her tree already.

It's like on November 4 the whole area got the most wonderful Christmas present ever -- a great BIG package of gift wrapped HOPE

WOW!

what a difference

Friday, November 07, 2008

Being the memory bearer

A while ago I wrote a piece here about my mother's mother. (If you want to go and take a look, you can see it here)

And Saturday I wrote a bit here about Día de los Muertos that included pictures of other family members.

Wednesday I had a long conversation with my mother which at one point turned to wondering what my grandmother would have thought about this election. We talked a bit about my grandmother's life and the amazing things she lived through. As we talked, I discovered that there are a lot of stories about my grandmother that my mother doesn't know.

Later in the day I had a conversation with my daughter and shared some of that discussion.

Out of the mouths of our children we are lead to righteousness -- my daughter said "mom, if you don't write it, it will die with you"

Whoa! ok, I've officially been chastised.

So in the next little while I will be sharing some of those stories -- both here and in print with my mother.

Oh yes, and I need to get back to scanning the rest of those old family photos and figuring out how to transcribe about a dozen tapes my aunt made about my dad's family

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Yes, We Can

For the first time in my life I stayed up to watch the election results come in

While I have voted in every election that I could, this year just seemed bigger than any one I voted in since that very first one

For weeks I had been saying to people on my blogs and otherwise -- vote like your life depends on it -- it does!!

The last time I cried over a political event was when Kennedy was shot. Those tears were over the end of the feeling that I could be part of changing the world.

So here, 40 years later, I have held my breath as another young Democrat spoke and stirred us all with the renewal of that feeling that we still could change the world.

Held my breath because I was afraid that this voice too might be horribly, totally silenced.

I listened to Obama speak Tuesday night and was struck by the fact that the message had not changed, but he spoke more seriously. Still with conficence, but seemingly already considering the enormous responsibility of the job.

Yesterday morning's email included one from Obama saying thank you to the people that helped him get elected. It included this sentence: "We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next."

Having used the technology of the 21st century to organize a grassroots 50 state campaign that got him elected, he shows every sign of now using it to change the direction of our country.

Do I think everything will be magically better? No -- I know that won't happen.

But I do feel like things are slowing going to be different -- he has appealed to our better angels, I think there will be a real attempt to let us all be part of the solutions.

I'm thinking about two song lyrics -- one that was used during some of his early campaign rallies:

There's a New World Coming
And it's just around the bend
There's a new world coming
This one's coming to an end

There's a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try
And it's growing stronger
With each day that passes by

There's a brand new morning
Rising clear and sweet and free
There's a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me

Yes a new world's coming
The one we've had visions of
Coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love


I'm also thinking of another set of lyrics -- probably because Obama actually said part of it:

This is the moment!
This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons
On their way!

Every endeavor,
I have made - ever -
Is coming into play,
Is here and now - today!

This is the moment,
This is the time,
When the momentum and the moment
Are in rhyme!

This is our chance, this is our moment

now let's all work together and not blow it!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Día de los Muertos

Let me begin by saying that there is no Hispanic heritage in my family line, so to any of my readers that are, an apology in advance for co-opting your celebration.

I know that this celebration is older than Christianity, having been celebrated for over 3000 years before the Spanish came to "the new world" and tried to stamp it out as pagan.

There's something that just feels right to spend at least one day a year remembering and being thankful for those that came before you.

While I believe that we each bring our own personality with us when we are born, we are influenced by the family we are born into as well.

So today, on the day that is now celebrated as All Saints Day, I am grateful for the ancestors that came before, and grateful to have even something so ephemeral as a tattered photo that gives me a tiny glimpse of who these people were.

May you also remember today those that are the reason you are here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

a momentary medical rant

Have I mentioned recently how much I hate the medical system?

I was recently reminded of this issue when reading Marty's blog Travelin Oma, where she was talking about her issues with health care and insurance. (You can read the post I'm talking about here).

Then, when I talked to my mother last night I just about lost it again.

It seems my dad had to have a procedure done yesterday which entails stretching the tissue in his esophogus (he had esophogial cancer surgery a couple of years back, and he makes scar tissue way too efficently, so they do this procedure about every 3 or 4 months).

So, it was time to do this again, and my dad had made his appointment where they told him they could do this yesterday morning. They get to the place to have this done and they are told he's not on the schedule. AGAIN! The last time he went in they had done this to him too. For whatever reason the doctor's office doesn't seem to be able to follow one simple thing -- write it down!!

Once they got that part straightened out, then they were told that the code for the procedure was coming back as something not covered by Medicare -- WHAT!? He's had this thing done nine times before and Medicare has always paid for it.

I swear, it's like the older we get the more difficult the system makes it for us -- why should my mother have to tell the billing clerk what code they should be using to ask Medicare to pay for something that they've billed 9 times before?

It's almost like they're hoping all of us older folks will just give up and die off so they don't have to deal with us

It makes me plenty mad (can you tell?)

geesh

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Life is messy

have you ever notice that?

A while back I decided to try to sort out my blogging by catagory, beading in one, fiber arts in another

trouble is, that kind of "neatness" just ISN'T me

So, today I posted my last posts on two of the ones I had started and I feel a huge relief at not having to try to come up with something to say on those, or even to explain why I don't have anything to say on them!

I will continue to post on Hatties Kitchen with recipes and household tips (a new recipe was posted this morning) and on Esmerldas Studio about all of the many cross media projects that I'm working on (I post there almost every day); and here with all those things that are of a more personal, philosophical or political nature.

I hope you'll join me on all three!

Over the weekend we had the pleasure of getting to hear our daughter sing in a performance -- the first we've gotten to attend for about 6 years!

She has recently joined the Loveland Opera Theatre, and Saturday evening was their fundraising Gala -- dinner, silent auction and entertainment by the company.

It had been my pleasure to donate a piece of music themed jewelry for them to auction (which raised a nice amount for them, I might add).

I'm looking forward to new opportunities to hear them perform and probably to be involved in other ways as well.


On the way back from our daughter's on Sunday we stopped by to visit with my folks. I can report (with a hugh sign of relief) that my dad seemed MUCH better than he had the last two times we had been there.

He was talkative and seemed much more alert. It was a good visit.

I can talk about it now

my daughter and her husband are buying a house!

looks like we'll be spending our Thanksgiving weekend helping them move

we'll be praying for good weather!!!



We went yesterday, the first day of early voting and cast our ballots

There was a line, but I'm sure it wasn't as long as the lines will be on election day!

If you have a mail in ballot -- get 'er done!!
If you can go to early voting -- go do it!!

I think this is probably the most important election I have ever voted in.

GO DO IT!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

fighting the "what if" monster

When I was walking yesterday morning I snapped some pictures of the fall colors in our neighborhood.

This one is just around the loop from our house, on the downhill side of the beginning of my walking route.

It had rained some on Saturday night, and everything was dripping, and the sun had just come up, hitting this tree with this spectacular light

The picture doesn't do it justice -- the tree "glowed"

Somehow, it just begged to be photographed

I feel the need to write about some difficult things this morning.

For the past 2 years I've been concerned especially about the health of my dad.

He had surgery for esophageal cancer, then developed an abdominal hernia which they will not repair because they don't want to do surgery on him again unless they must because he has lung issues (COPD and emphysema). All of these problems inpact him.

Recently he and my mom decided to take out a reverse mortgage on their home so they would have some financial breathing room. My sister helped them deal with the paperwork and the setting up of accounts, etc., and I worried from afar.

Frankly, I've been concerned these past few months if he is just tidying up loose ends.

The last two times I've seen him he seems fragile. He doesn't talk much when we're actually there and he doesn't answer the phone any more when we call -- just mom does.

And I wish I could talk about this whole thing in a more open way with my sister. It's not that we don't talk -- we can chat for hours about knitting and our animals and music and all of that, but our upbringing didn't teach us to talk about BIG stuff -- like what does she see and how does she feel about it.

As usual, I pour my worry and my energy into creative endeavors -- working on more projects keeps my hands and my head busy and helps me hold off the "what if" monster in my brain when I'm working.

So, my dear readers, forgive me for this intensely personal post.

and say a prayer for my dad

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday morning musings

On Sunday mornings, if I have nothing pressing to work on at the computer I go blog surfing.

This mornings ride included a trip to a site titled Colorstrology.com

I'm not really into the whole "the stars/your number/your astrological sign" control your life thing -- I do believe we have freedom to choose, but found the description of someone born on my birthdate to be interesting:


Mar 30
Faded Rose
Pantone 18-1629

Storyteller
Thinker
Messenger

People born on this day tend to teach others through the stories they share. Whether you are singing a song, writing a play or painting a picture, you are able to convey images and emotions that can affect others. It is very important to you to stay active and communicate. Your thoughts can turn to worry if you are not expressing yourself and connecting with the world at large. Your personal color embodies love, passion and courage.



So what do you think?

I'd say the "worry wart" thing fits perfectly, I am a lot happier if I'm creating (yes, any medium works!), and I've always loved the color RED.

What color are you?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thanks, but no thanks

Some days I hate the mail man

Quite a while back I had submitted a mini quilt for a challenge in one of Interweave Press' magazine

This arrived yesterday

Its a form letter (salutation "Dear Artist") telling me I didn't make the cut from the over 300 entries that they received

{sigh}

Oh well, on to other projects

(anybody need a large coaster?)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In print again

About a week ago one of the newspapers that we subscribe to included an article about a plan to tear down one of the historic high schools in the Denver area.

You can read the article here

The article ticked me off

My daughter attended a historic high school. The students there had a real pride of ownership

So once again I wrote a letter to the editor

You can read my letter here

GRRRRR!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

can you hear it?

It's whispering on the wind

"fall is coming, fall is coming"

the clock says its the same time

but its just the break of dawn

"fall is coming, fall is coming"

the air smells different

cooler

less floral as the last of the summer blooms are fading away

"fall is coming, fall is coming"

the leaves on the trees sound different

stiffer, more brittle

"fall is coming, fall is coming"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Standing on the edge of energy's future

Last weekend we made a trip to Kansas City to do a show.

When we travel to Kansas City (as we've done quite a few times over the past 5 years), we drive Interstate 70, right through the heart of the state of Kansas.



We're used to seeing these scattered across the farm fields

pumping away

sucking the oil (or the natural gas, more likely) out of the ground



and we know about this too

a refinery that breaks down all those gallons of oil into the parts that right now we need (this particular one is in Colorado)




to fuel our cars

to heat our homes

to cook our meals


We were in Kansas just one week over a year ago










In that year, these appeared

Giant sentries over the corn and sorgum and sunflower fields

Slowly turning

using the wind (that B L O W S through Kansas)

making power

power for light

power for heat

power for cooking

I am awed by the enormity of these. I am also impressed by just how quickly they were built.

Just over a year!!!!!

And there are a lot of them -- probably at least 100 in this little area off I-70 in Ellsworth County, Kansas

Its a wonderful thing

now we need more of them, and more solar panels

this industry can not only provide heat and light but another extremely important thing right now -- JOBS!!

as I said, I'm mightily impressed

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

fall's coming -- I must be a squirrel

that feeling is in the air

it's really cool in the morning when I go out for my walk -- I'm back to wearing a sweat shirt with a hood and some mornings I need my gloves

so far not many leaves are turning color or falling from the trees, but it's coming

the squirrels in the neighborhood are making the dog crazy -- they are busy, busy, busy -- yesterday afternoon one was running the fence with an apple as big as his head in his mouth (guess his mama never told him not to eat anything bigger than his head)

something about fall makes me want to work on getting ready for winter too -- aside from the many art projects that are crowding my brain, jockeying for what gets done first, a new list of household chores has joined in -- things like repairing the fence before the cold weather, painting the tool shed so the wood doesn't rot, repainting the master bathroom to take care of the little issue we had there, getting the weather stripping around the front door replaced

I'm starting to think I could use a few more hours in the day!

Monday, September 01, 2008

a bad case of the "I wants and gimmies"

see this book?

I want it!

put together by two bead artists who have inspired me to do some of the pieces I have done -- Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli -- it talks about the techniques they use, the process they use in designing a piece and the kind of things that inspire them

in better days I would have just gone to Amazon and bought this, but nowdays, I don't even buy a magazine without serious consideration to the impact that purchase will have on our budget, so I will just have to hope someone takes pity on me at Christmas time -- or that one of the 3 shows we're doing this month actually makes us some money!!

So there you have it

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

a while back I posted something that can only be described as a HUGE whine about not reading someone's blog because reading it made me feel bad

and for the past little while (since I posted that) I have stayed away from the subject blog

yesterday I took a peek

and instantly realized that the entire prior post should have actually been done in bright GREEN letters


here's the deal ---

first off, she has no idea I even read her stuff, so she's not aiming anything she writes at me, so it was stupid for me to think that way in the first place

second, and most important, I realize that I'm jealous of her accomplishments as she has (with seeming ease) achieved awards without being in the field for years and is now doing something else I want -- having a book published

herein is the place that I wonder somewhat if those who say it's all fate might have a point -- those who are fated to succeed will, the rest of us should just suck it up

or not

at any rate, I'm still not going to read her everyday, I don't need to have the jealousy reinforced

but I will acknowledge the issue is mine

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

not so well read

Over at Kay's Thinking Cap she was talking about the top 100 books and how many we've read.

"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."

I'm above average, but not as above average as Kay is!

How about you?

1. Look at the list and bold/colourize those you have read.
2. Post the list on your site.
(This can also remind you of some great books to read.)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkienn
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - A.S. Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo




Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In Print again - sort of

My apologies in advance to those of you that read all of my many blogs, as I am quite deliberately posting the same info on just about all of them.

The reason? I think it's important to "spread the word" about an effort to raise money for breast cancer research.



The Fall 2008 issue of Art Doll Quarterly is now on the newstands, and I went last night to pick up my copy.

In this issue (starting on page 50) is the write up about the Pink Artist Doll that I donated two squares for earlier in the year. We got top billing on the cover and an amazing write up in the "from the editor" page of the issue as well as the article that our leader, Monica Magness, wrote about the project.

For more information about a chance to win this beautiful creation (and have your money go to a great cause!), use this link to get further information from our project leader.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mammy

I've been working on family history for a couple of weeks, trying to apply the same semi-disciplined approach that I use for my artwork projects to actually get this project done too

(Ok, I know that family history is never really DONE, but I want to organize it, get it recorded on CDs that I can share and get rid of anything that I don't actually NEED to keep)

In the mornings, when I'm at desk top my computer, I've been scanning old photos and using my photoshop software to clean them up and save in several formats so I can share them. Working with these old photos makes me think of the people in them, some of whom I never met, and some of whom I remember well.

This is my grandmother.

My mother's mother.

This picture was taken in 1921 -- the year she married my grandfather.

From the time I can first remember, I called her Mammy. I have a couple of letters she wrote to me when I was in junior high school where she actually signed them "Your Mammy".

I remember her best, of course, through a child's eyes. I actually have earlier memories of her than I do of my own mother (who was a working woman in the 1950's).

Mammy taught me a lot of the things that are the foundation of the art I do today.

She taught me to sew -- first by hand, then (very carefully) on the old sewing machine (not a treddle, she had an electric one). I learned how to make clothing first from her, and how to be very frugal with the fabric. (I actually know how to turn a collar and a cuff on a dress shirt, something that nobody does any more) When a dress or skirt or shirt was considered at last to be beyond wearing, we removed the zippers and buttons and snaps and saved them to be reused -- something that was useful to me again recently when my daughter needed zippers replaced in a skirt and a summer dress, and I had something right on hand that would work.

She taught me to knit -- my grandfather brought home all of the string from the post office (back in those days they still tied packages with string), that we tied together, rolled into balls and used for "yarn". My first knitting was to make dish clothes out of that cotton string -- all those knots made extra texture that was good for scrubbing with.

She taught me how to make tatted lace edging (and I was thrilled after she was gone to be the one that inherited the little case she had made out of an oatmeal box and some brown herringbone tweed wool fabric (probably from an old skirt) to carry her tatting shuttles and thread in)

She taught me to love the sound of words -- a passion for poetry that carried over into song lyrics -- I remember her pushing me in the swing that hung from a tree in her yard and the words of Robert Louis Stevenson

Oh how do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall
Til I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside -
Til I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown -
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!


It is odd to think that I am now nearly the age she was as I first remember her.

Now there are a lot of questions I would like to ask her -- about her life before I knew her, about her life with my grandfather, about her family and the places she had been

perhaps it is that wondering that leads us to do family history!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

History Lesson for today -- The Bonus Army

It's funny how things you haven't ever heard of can become important to you in odd ways.

Last night as I was watching Keith Olbermann, he mentioned briefly that yesterday, July 28, was the anniversary of the burning of the tent city of World War I veterans in Washington D.C. by the army (under the command of General George Patton) at the command of Herbert Hoover.

I heard him say it, but it didn't fully "click" until later in the evening.


We've taken to watching a show on PBS on Monday evenings that's called The History Detectives. Last night they did a whole thing about The Bonus Army.

The federal government had promised them a bonus -- the crash of 1929 and the depression that followed left many of them jobless, homeless and penniless -- they wanted to be paid

So a group of them traveled from Oregon to Washington DC to lobby congress

Hoover considered them to be a threat to public order, and when 2 of them were shot in a "riot" on July 28, 1932, he ordered his active army to evict them from Washington (no wonder Hoover was so soundly defeated!)

The fellow on the right side of this picture is my grandfather.

He was a World War I veteran. (this picture was taken after the war when he was in college at John Brown College in Arkansas)

Suddenly, I'm interested in that bonus those veterans were supposed to be paid.

Was he entitled to it (I'm thinking he must have been)

Did he get it?

Did it make a major difference in the lives of my grandparents?

Or was it just a nice "bonus" since he was a civil servant all through the depression (he worked for the post office)

So now I'd like to know how to find out

I'll be starting by asking my mother

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why is reading blogs like a watching a train wreck?

I know, it sounds like something out of Lewis Carroll "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

Fear not, unlike Carroll, I will give you the answer to this riddle

I've been out and about on the "blog scene" for a couple of years now, and for most all of that time there has been one that I have read regularly.

and it never fails to make me feel diminished

perhaps it is because I have actually met the person doing the writing

perhaps it is the "tone"

perhaps it is all in my head

at any rate, reading it for me is sort of like watching a train wreck --


I

just

can't

look

away

{C R A S H}



starting today, I'm going to try to limit my exposure -- I think I'll feel better for it

added afterwards: If you have EVER commented on ANY of my blogs, I'm NOT talking about you here!! All of you who comment are greatly encouraging and I appreciate each and every one of you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

You've got to be carefully taught

Over at Kay's Thinking Cap she talked about a new and totally outrageous thing going on in Great Britan.

It seems that some government study has decided that toddlers who turn up their noses to foreign food are exhibiting RACIST behavior!

Say WHAT???

(Like Kay, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so I read the article about it which she provided the link for -- here)

I have to admit that this right away brought 2 song lyrics to mind.

The first is from Martina McBride's song In My Daughter's Eyes where she says (speaking about her infant):

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace



The second is from the musical South Pacific where Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote:

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to Year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To be Afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught



Children are not born to hate -- the "adults" teach them that -- to the detriment of us all

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The triumph of the squeeky wheel

Back the end of June I posted a bit here about a very scary experience we had in our local emergency room.

As I said then, it was our intent to send off letters of complaint to the hospital, the insurance company, the compliance board, etc.

I can report that we have received (to date) three letters in response to our incident.

One from the compliance board, one from the insurance company and one from the hospital -- the latter of which indicating that as soon as the insurance company pays the rest of the claim the hospital is going to reimburse us for our $50 copay.

What I find most disturbing is that the company that the emergency room physican works for has not responded in any way -- guess that tells us what the real issue is here

I just hope our making a fuss about this will put some changes into place that will keep someone else from a similar experience

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Finding "purpose"

Before you think that I've gone off the deep end again, this whole post is in response to an ongoing thread from one of the email lists that I belong to.

There has been a lot of discussion there lately about what your "Purpose" is.

Let me say first off that this is a demon that I have battled with off and on for quite a while, and how I respond to this question is dependent in large part to my state of mind at the moment.

Back in the dead of winter, this would have sent me off mumbling and fussing for days, but this week it produced a whole other response.

I think that saying we have only one purpose in life is a little nuts. Back when my daughter was small, my whole purpose revolved around her and her needs. Now days my purpose is more about creating art.

Each stage of our lives leads us to different things that are the most important. We can do it all -- but we can't do all of it all at once.

So, I'm back to my favorite "music pusher" who put this great song from Avenue Q on my MP3. It expresses my feelings quite well on this subject (note, the song is sung like a dialog between several characters, just read for content here!):

For Now


Why does everything have to be so hard?

Maybe you'll never find your purpose.

Lots of people don't.

But then- I don't know why I'm even alive!

Well, who does, really?
Everyone's a little bit unsatisfied.
Everyone goes 'round a little empty inside.

Take a breath,
Look around,
Swallow your pride,
For now...

Nothing lasts,
Life goes on,
Full of surprises.
You'll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.
You're going to have to make a few compromises...
For now...

But only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)


For now we're healthy.
For now we're employed.
For now we're happy...
If not overjoyed.
And we'll accept the things we cannot avoid, for now...


But only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)

Only for now!
(For now there's life!)
Only for now!
(For now there's love!)
Only for now!
(For now there's work!)
For now there's happiness!
But only for now!
(For now discomfort!)
Only for now!
(For now there's friendship!)
Only for now (For now!)
Only for now!

Only for now! (Sex!)
Is only for now! (Your hair!)
Is only for now! (George Bush!)
Is only for now!

Don't stress,
Relax,
Let life roll off your backs
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now!


Each time you smile...
It'll only last a while.
Life may be scary...
But it's only temporary

Everything in life is only for now.


Enjoy where you are, make the best of it! Everything in life -- is only for now!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Hey, do you want to come out and play the game

My daughter, my great "music pusher" filled up the little MP3 player I use when I walk every morning.

Now I've been listening to the "scramble" rotation for over a month now, and every now and then I'll hear something I didn't hear before -- ok, maybe I was looking at a bunny or a bird or some new flower along the way and I wasn't really Listening, which (as we all know) is not the same as hearing

anyway

one of the songs is Century Plant by Victoria Williams. Here are the lyrics that really caught me this morning:

Outside my house is a cactus plant, they call the Century Tree.
Only once in a hundred years, it flowers gracefully.
And you never know when it will bloom.


Hey, do you want to come out and play the game,
it's never too late.
Hey, do you want to come out and play the game,
it's never too late.


Clementine, honey, was fifty-four,
'fore she picked up her paint.
Old uncle Taylor was eighty-one,
when he rode his bike across the plains of China, u-huh.

And the sun was shining on their day,
just like today.


Do you want to come out and play the game,
it's never too late.
Do you want to come out and play the game,
it's never too late.


Reminder that its not too late to try new things no matter how old you are!!

I've spent some time the past week wondering just what "Mixed Media" art is, and have decided that its what ever mixture made into what ever form I want it to be --

Hey! Do you want to come out and play?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I don't get it

There has been a big uproar here in Colorado about the lyric of a song that was sung by a local jazz singer

Just because I didn't really understand the uproar, I went and got a copy of the lyric so I could read it

Here it is:

Lift ev'ry voice and sing,
'Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast'ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
'Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.


(James Weldon Johnson)

I find nothing offensive here.

I'm not offended by the fact that it was sung to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner -- after all, Francis Scott Key appropriated that tune from a commonly sung English drinking song (ok, maybe that explains why its so difficult to sing -- you need to be drunk?)

maybe I'm missing something -- but I still don't get it!

Monday, June 30, 2008

a digression from the plan.....

We had great plans for yesterday -- a bit of working in the garden, reading the paper at a leisurely pace, a bit of sketching and graphic work on a new quilt design and the web site then a nice dinner of chicken and fresh veggies from the farmers market

Alas, it was not to be

Instead we spent the entire afternoon and well into the evening sitting in the emergency room of our nearest hospital -- and it was far longer than we needed to be there

Shortly after breakfast the DH said he was having pain under his left arm that sort of wrapped around to his shoulder blade and a bit toward the front. He had taken Tylenol (the only over the counter pain killer he can handle), and it hadn't helped much.

So I called his doctor's office and had a chat with the urgent care nurse who suggested (after asking a lot of questions) that I should take him to the nearest emergency room to be checked out.

Off we go to the ER

The intake nurses were great -- no sooner had I started writing the information on the card at the desk when the nurse came with a wheel chair and whisked him into the room to take readings, put him on oxygen and quiz us about his medications (he carries a laminated card in his wallet -- thank goodness!), his symptoms and especially his allergies -- they gave him the usual id bracelet and TWO red bracelets with his allergies on them

The nurses on the emergency ward were great too -- checking his vital signs, the lab testing done promptly, the x-ray department taking a chest x-ray with their cute little portable unit -- all with normal results, except for one blood test that indicated that he MIGHT have a blood clot somewhere.

So the doctor in charge in the ER tells us that they need to call in a technician to do the special scan to see if there is a clot (usually this is done with a CAT scan, but that involves using a dye that he's allergic to), and they are calling him in. That was at 1:30.

Then began the waiting --- and WAITING --- and WAITING!

Around 2:30 we asked for the doctor to come back in because the pain level had gone back up

Around 4:15 I was back out wanting to know just how long he was going to have to wait for this test, and voicing concerns about the fact that it had been such a long time since he had eaten

By 6:00 he was at the "mad as hell" stage and ready to just sign himself out when they FINALLY came and took him for the test.

While the technicians were doing the test (a wonderfully pleasant husband and wife team), we found out from them that even though we were told at 1:30 that they had been called, they weren't actually called until 4:30!

After the test, they came in and asked him if he wanted something to eat, but they didn't offer to get him his medication (for diabetics that are treated with medication, meal time means the right little pills too)

Finally at about 7:30 the nurse came in and told us that all of the tests were normal and probably he had just strained a muscle in his side. The nurse brought in the doctor's follow up orders (note: from the time the doctor told us at 1:30 that the test needed to be run we never saw him again!)

There on the follow up sheet it said: "Ibuprofen 600-800mg every 6-8hrs as needed for pain"

HELLO! what part of anaphylactic shock didn't this bird brain get? This is why all the RED allergy bracelets -- he's allergic to this stuff, as in, he stops breathing!! We obviously will NOT be following those orders.

and I will be writing a letter to the hospital's administrator about the very poor way this was handled (I'm off now to mix up a batch of "poison" to load my pen with)

geesh!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Writer? Blogger? Both?


I have a "favorites" list that includes a pretty diverse group of blogs that I try to get to at least a couple of times a week.

The subject matter on these is fun, serious, artful and personal. Some of them make me laugh, some make me cry, some make be cheer and occasionally one will make me angry, but they are all interesting.

Over at Travelin Oma's Library and marta writes (a delightful mother/daughter pair of blogs if ever I saw one!) there has been some thought provoking discussion about why folks blog.

There were a couple of things they said that really got me to thinking about my blogs.

1. In Marta's post she says: "my main blogging goal is to write it out, find my voice, being true to myself, to whatever is whirling in my mind and just write. yet, i also want to make you love me."

2. Oma has this to say: "I blog the way I used to write in my journal. ... I kept my journal, imagining the people who would someday read it. It wasn't ever meant to be totally private. I'm an audience kind of writer. For me, writing doesn't feel complete unless someone reads it."

To each of them I want to say a loud, resounding YES!

I actually write several blogs, and each of them has its own purpose. The first one I started was because I wanted to keep in touch with people that had purchased a piece of my artwork, and to let them know what I was working on next.

This blog has always been intended to be a much more personal one, but like Oma, my writing doesn't feel complete unless someone reads it.

Maybe its the little kid in me that ALWAYS wants your attention, I get so excited when I get a comment on anything I've written.

This is the place that the whining and ranting goes on. It is the place that I feel safe in saying things that are difficult for me to say to myself and I am always touched and humbled when someone out there in the big wide world "hears" it and reaches back to touch my hand and my heart.

Oma asks in her post if we journal too -- I don't.

My blogging is my journal.

I have a friend in California that fills several 2 inch binder notebooks every year (I always see to it that she has the first one to start in as a Christmas gift). She carefully writes about what she has done and where she has been, she keeps letters and cards and children's art work. She is building a treasure for her children and her grandchildren in the future -- I hope they will appreciate it.

So, I don't hand write -- I blog and I put in lots of pictures -- and I have folders where I have printed out each entry.

And then there is the question of "is this writing"? It's sort of like asking "is it art"? Could we say that writing, like art, is in the eye of the beholder? Is what we write in our blogs more or less likely to be "writing"? Is it only writing if it gets published?

I don't know.

I only know that most days I feel better for the experience. And better still if someone reads it and comments -- yes, its the exhibitionist side of me -- because someone has "heard" what I had to say

If we didn't want someone to read it, we wouldn't put it out on the web

if there is no one to hear it, does the falling tree make a sound? yes, but no one cares

we blog because we want to be heard

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary


Today is our wedding anniversary.


We got a card in the mail from our daughter earlier in the week, which was cute and really sweet.

And this afternoon we'll be off setting up a booth for the art show we'll be doing tomorrow and Sunday.

No fancy dinner for us -- just working together on displaying the art jewelry we both work on.

Frankly, after the past few months, its a marvel that he hasn't "done me in" -- as I've been negotiating a roller coaster of emotional upheaval, trying hard to figure out the "now what" of being the mother of an adult child that is now married and really doesn't need my constant attention.

We're adjusting to the health concerns as well, and I'm trying to stop being so self centered as I make myself do things that are "good" for me (even when I don't want to!)

And so, we've survived another year --- and hope for the next one to be better!

Monday, June 16, 2008

the way into print.....

appears to be through letters to the editor!






















Early last week the Denver paper ran an article about the people that live in an area that has been called The Hayman Fire -- a massive fire that happened 6 years ago and was accidently set by a woman that was burning a distressing letter from her husband.

I was so struck by the hate that seemed to flow out of the page that I wrote a letter to the editor about it.

Mid week I got a call from the editor's office to get my permission to print it.

It will be interesting to watch the on-line forum to see if there are any responses to it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

one of life's random experiences.......

This morning's usual routine was interrupted by a a trip to the local DMV that was not planned until yesterday morning.

It seems when my husband went in to have some blood work done yesterday, they asked him for his photo id. When they handed it back to him, he looked at it (who knows why) and realized that it had expired LAST AUGUST!!

Needless to say, he forked over the keys and we decided that a trip to take care of the issue would be in order post haste!

(we were used to living in a state that sent out reminders in the mail -- I guess they don't do that here)

Anyway, this morning, we went over to the DMV, and as we're standing in line we were talking to a lady that was there with her son who was taking his test for his first driver's license.

As we talked, she revealed that she moved to our state from New Orleans after Katrina -- they lost their home and every thing in it, having lived in the St Bernard Parish (right next door to the 9th Ward, which has gotten a lot of press).

The only thing they were able to later retrieve was a gold ring set with little diamonds that she had left sitting in the window sill of the kitchen that Sunday morning before the hurricane. When they were finally able to get back into their home, it was still sitting there -- a real strange twist considering that everything else in the house was so turned upside down.

She also told me that in the last 6 months as they were on a family vacation back to that area, her husband died while they were on the road.

I was stunned. I would never have guessed she'd seen all that trouble.

A true testament to the strength of the human spirit.

My grandmother used to have a little frame above her desk that had this saying in it:

I used to complain because I had no shoes, until I met a man that had no feet.

Ok, I get the message -- time to quit whining --

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Looking back another way.....

Over at Traveling Oma, Marty was talking about having credentials to do things.

Now days, folks are pretty hung up in this idea. You practically have to have a degree in everything.

I never did get that college degree -- got busy with living instead I guess, and then there was the whole "what do you want to major in?" issue. If I had it to do again, I'd go major in art and writing.

But I also believe that what you learn along the way as you're living is worth while too (remember: life is what happens while you're making other plans)

So I've been thinking about all the things I have developed the ability to do, and figured it would help me to recognize those things.

Here then is my list:

* I know enough about remodeling to be the General Contractor on a major project -- I have personally done these things: paint a room (and clean up!); lay ceramic tile on a floor, a counter and in a shower; install an electrical outlet, an exhaust fan and a ceiling fixture; replace a washer in a faucet; hang a drapery rod; hang, tape and seal dry wall; install kitchen cabinets

* I can pack a whole household of stuff and have everything arrive at its destination intact (oh yeah, I drove the truck and towed the car too)

* I can organize a large event involving many other people

* I can bake and decorate a wedding cake

* I can create a teddy bear, a doll and a quilt from idea to finished item

* I can sew clothing (every formal my daughter wore in high school had my designer label in it)

* I can create a web site (taught myself HTML code when I had a back injury)

* I can cook a meal reasonably well, and I make a mean pot of apple butter

* I can supervise an accounts payable department in a large corporation

* I'm a good listener for an adult daughter (guess I did a good job listening from the time she was real little!)

* I can change a tire, check the fluids and know enough about auto mechanics to keep the repair shop from ripping me off with stuff that isn't true

* I can knit a sweater, a scarf, a vest, an afghan, a pair of mittens, and a variety of animal toys (just don't ask me to do socks!)

* I can write a reasonably clear business letter


I'm thinking there are probably a lot of other things I haven't thought of to put on this list -- I may add them as they come to me

So, what can you do?

Monday, June 02, 2008

on becoming art educated



its funny how one acquires knowledge

not long ago a friend sent me this card

The picture is titled "water heater walking" and its one of Dada's works

Now the fellow in question is an artist in his own right, but he was just struck by the humor of this particular piece and it made him think of us after all of our water heater issues last fall

To be honest, I had heard the name Dada, but I really had no clear idea of who he was (other than an artist) or when and where he worked or what his vision was

I've been getting educated --- just plug the word "dada" into Google and you'll get an eye full (so to speak!)

In a way some of what I'm seeing in some new publications, like Art Doll Quarterly reminds me of the dadaists -- assemblage, collage and lots of statements being made about life and politics --

and I find that the more I see and think about those pieces, the better I understand them -- and might be interested in creating some of my own "assemblage" pieces

something to think on anyway

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clean enough to be healthy......

Over at Bear Naked, there's a great post about dusting.

It made me think about the time when my daughter was little -- she had some friends that had big houses that always looked like they had just been finished by the decorator -- not a thing out of place -- and no real sign that any one really "lived" there

I definately had a more casual approach to cleaning -- the kitchen was clean, the house was clean enough to be healthy -- but I wanted to spend time with my kid -- doing messy art projects (shaving cream finger paint on the formica table top!), a trip to the library or a museum or a concert -- dust will always be there, children will not!

So, my house still is not a show piece, but it does look like we live here -- there is mohair fabric in the living room next to the tub full of teddy bears; there are little boxes of yarn next to the box of afghan squares and wool hats that have been knit for charity in the dining room; there are plastic shoe boxes full of beads stacked in the kitchen and a work tray of a bead project in the family room -- yup, it looks like the studio has exploded all over the house!

When I was talking to my daughter the other day, she was talking about her house -- her comment was "I clean when I can't find something" -- like mom, her kitchen is clean enough to eat out of -- but also like mom, she has "stuff" -- I'm so glad she found a great guy that doesn't get all upset about it (he has his own "stuff"!)

But there may be "cleaning" in the near future -- we just signed up for a community garage sale for next Saturday --- now where did I put that tennis racket and the box of books?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

shopping, the great speckled dog and learning to eat all over again



As I've been whining about the past week or so, I've been trying to walk every day

This is one of the liners from my old walking shoes (these babies are at least 8 years old, so cut me some slack here!)

So, after some discussion, we decided to go looking for new liners (I had bought a new pair of shoes about 4 years ago, and they always hurt my foot, so I was more interested in just making the old shoes better!)

Talk about sticker shock!!

A new pair of liners (which, by the way, I'm not even sure would fit in those old shoes) would have cost me at least $15, or as much as $20!!



So, here we are --- in the box a brand new pair of shoes -- for what it would have cost me to replace the liners!

Oh yeah, there are also new socks (let us say that my socks were in pretty sad shape, and there is no point getting blisters in my new shoes!)

And a new and healthy snack -- toasted edamame -- quite tasty actually




So off I went this morning in my new shoes, and while my feet (and knees!) felt fine afterwards, I could not manage as much distance this morning and came back feeling sort of discouraged -- not to mention panting like I'd been running for miles -- what the ????

I think I'm having some major allergy issues -- notice the white spots on the black dog?

Its COTTONWOOD!!! It is absolutely the worst I can ever remember -- it literally looks like its snowing

Ok, I'll hang in there and keep trying -- the cottonwood won't last forever

Meantime, I'm trying to learn to eat all over again.

I admit it, I'm one of those people that really enjoys eating (not to mention that is pretty much the one pleasure still available to me) -- and I like meat -- I do not think of a great meal as a plate that includes nothing but veggies -- and I'm going kicking and screaming in that direction

unfortunately, food is not like tobacco or alcohol where you can simply stop using it (well, ok, not simply, but you can stop)

Going to the grocery store has become a whole new field of land mines to negotiate.

I'm trying to be good, but I can't say I'm feeling good about it -- not yet anyway

(like the exercising -- how long does it take before you feel better anyway??)

And can someone tell me why every snack bar/protein bar type thing on the market has to taste SWEET!? Someone could make a fortune from me if they could make one that tasted like a bacon cheese burger, or a BLT with avacado

just saying.....