Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Non-Resolutions

first just one more note about Christmas decorations

one of the things my mother gave me for Christmas is another building in the style of the little buildings that were her mother's

so the village grows

the only thing it doesn't have is the hole in the back to put the light bulb inside (I'm thinking I may be able to fix that)

it looks pretty good in there with the other buildings

so, it's New Year's Eve

I don't really do resolutions -- I know I don't do well keeping them -- changing is a process, not an event

I am reflecting, however, on where I am, how things are, what I hope for

it has been an "eventful" year -- recovery from the surgery is pretty much complete, so far the many doctors, labs and the hospital have agreed to let me pay amounts we can manage at least for now, and I'm grateful for that

for the first time in a long time the Christmas season was actually fun for me this year -- the result (I think) of having worked on presents from January so there was no big stress to come up with ideas and money all in one short month -- I think that is an idea that will continue

we have decided to put our house on the market in late spring (that is the time period when houses sell best in this area), so the next few months will include painting and repairing and packing and some of the accompanying stress that goes with any plan to move

we have lived in this house for the longest time I've lived in one place for my entire adult life, having moved in in January 2002 -- 8 years is a long time to acquire junk by my scale

but we do feel strongly about moving to the end of the state where our daughter and son-in-law are so we can continue to be a part of their lives -- it will also be a shorter distance to visit with my parents, who are "aging in place", but their needs will increase

and I sense within myself a subtle shift -- for years I have said that I wanted to be the best at something and have everyone know it -- but over the last six months or so that internal push has shifted -- I still want to do things the best way I can manage -- but the "have everyone know it" part has mellowed

whether that is because over the past year there has actually been "success" in terms of being recognized by achieving awards both at the State Fair and in a national competition, or for some other reason, I am much more at peace with doing what I do artistically for the pleasure of the journey

we will ring in the new year quietly -- a special dinner (as I write this the smell of yeast bread rising is drifting through the house), watch a movie

I look forward to the new year, to new possibilities, to facing and conquering challenges I don't even know about yet

I pray for peace -- within and without -- and wish it for all of you as well

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Decorating complete

can't believe I was actually able to find some little lights that I'm willing to use with this.

Since it is so old (my best guess is from some time in the 1930's), I'm not willing to use any lights that develop a lot of heat.

I actually found a 15 light string of battery powered LEDs for a really reasonable price -- they work really well

(and I used some pieces of quilt batting to create some "snow drifts" to add to the look)

I really like the way this looks too --- the Nativity scene is in a new place ---

and I like it better here than where we used to put it!


so now I have just a few more projects to complete, and there is actually time in the day for me to work on some art projects too

nice

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow Village















these were my grandmother's

I remember them from when I was a child, she used to set them up on a piece of cotton batting on top of the piano

last year at Christmas my mother gave them to me

and since the piano that used to live at our house has gone to it's rightful owner, I had to figure out a different place to put them

the DH built a sort of "shelf" that fits over the top of the loom out of some scrap lumber that we had in the workshop

then, because we decided against waiting to do a real "finish" job on the shelf (it's hard to paint and stain things when the temperature is below freezing!), I needed to figure out what I could cover the whole top with

this tablecloth is an antique -- a linen center with delicate hand crocheted lace corners -- made by some one's grandma, if not mine

because it's not used real often, I had to set up the iron and break out the spray starch, which was just another trip down memory lane to Mammy's house, ironing shirts -- not with spray starch -- no we did it the old way -- but the smell is just the same

so now I'm thinking about getting a 10 light strand of battery powered LED lights to put in the backs of the little houses (they're designed for that)

very cool!

Friday, November 20, 2009

and doesn't this just figure

I got a phone call yesterday --- from the anesthesiologist's office for the two surgeries this summer (oh yeah, I didn't even recognize the name as I have seen nothing from them yet as a bill --- six months later!!)

anyway, they wanted to know if my doctor (the primary care one) had completed the form from the insurance company about preexisting conditions

yes folks, after all this, the soon to be ex-insurance company had started looking for a way not to have to pay anything at all (and ask me to reimburse for what little they had paid) for the two surgical procedures I had this summer

excuse me?

when I sent the form to my primary care doctor her office was concerned that the insurance was looking for a way not to pay her for my office visit where we talked about blood pressure and cholesterol medication

but no, they are trying to say that I knew about the other problem before I got their insurance

nope, sorry -- if there is any preexisting condition involved here it is merely that I was born female

that phone call did remind me of one other thing though --- no doubt there will be still more bills (that I don't even know about yet) to add to the $4000 total that we're trying to find a way to pay

{sigh}

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Officially a Statistic

Weird

Usually you don't know the exact moment when you became a statistic --

This morning I sent a fax (via the internet -- did you know there were places you could do that? for FREE?! -- ok, maybe I'm just behind the times) that officially cancelled the little pathetic health insurance policy I had.

That's right folks, effective December 15 at 12:01 a.m., I will be uninsured

Before you go all crazy about how irresponsible this is and all, let me explain the cold, hard, facts about this.

Since I acquired this insurance I have paid to them $2710 in premiums.

Over that time, through various doctor visits, tests and two surgeries they have paid a total of $400 -- WOW, they paid a whole 15% of what I had paid to them.

So now, since they did not pay anything more than that, I have almost $4000 in medical bills that were not covered by the Colorado Indigent Care Program that paid for way more of my surgery than the insurance did.

I would have been better off if I'd just been sticking the premium in a savings account.

So, beginning in January, I will be using part of the amount I was paying in premiums to pay the medical bills and part of it will go in a savings account -- no, not a HSA because those all require you to put in a set amount every month AND pay a premium for a high risk health insurance policy, which defeats the whole purpose here of somehow being able to pay off those medical bills.

Meantime, I'm watching Washington DC very carefully and wondering if they will actually pass a bill that will be of any help and I'm well aware that even if it is, it's three or four years away -- in fact, I'm surer of getting Medicare -- which happens for me in 2016.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

considering the "why bother" factor

I've been doing the thing I loathe most in the whole world this morning -- summarizing the month's expenditures and trying to figure out where the money will go in the next month.

Yesterday we got the notice from the company the DH retired from, telling us what the new cost of insurance for him will be for next year. It went up by 22%.

In fact, what we will have to lay out every month for the foreseeable future just for medical expenses is going up 53% beginning in January.

Great -- now someone tell me again how you can keep up with costs climbing 53% when your income remains flat.

I've been trying to clean out books and things by listing them either on Ebay or Amazon, but that has not raised much.

Don't even talk to me about doing a show to sell my art -- I have no idea where the money would come from to do one, and doing one that doesn't generate a profit would be a financial disaster.

Someone explain to me what good forgiveness is if you can never recover from your mistake.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

confessions of a recovering procrastinator

You may recall that yesterday I was talking about self sabotage.

If I had actually tried to get the listing done BEFORE I wrote that post, it would have been more about the "I feel like an idiot" factor.

I spent several very frustrating hours yesterday afternoon trying to get a store set up on a new artist's website.

It was the same issue I've had with similar sites before --- I just couldn't figure out how to create a banner that would fit the size requirements both ways --- I could get the height right, or I could get the width right, but not both at the same time.

Finally I just gave up and put the computer away (before I was tempted to shove it off the table!)

This morning I was fiddling around in another program on my desk top machine and had one of those "what does this button do" moments (pretty much everything I know about any kind of graphics program has been discovered that way).

Quite by accident I found a button in Adobe that would let me modify both aspects of a file AT THE SAME TIME!! Oh joy!!

And while the new banner isn't real exciting, it does exactly match the graphics I am currently using both on my studio blog and on my website, which is exactly what I had in mind --- that whole "branding" thing

So, the new "shop" is set up -- you can take a look by clicking here, and I'm feeling much smarter for now (I'm sure there is a new hurdle right around the corner!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

self sabotage?

Isn't he cute?

I finished him the day before yesterday.

I have every intention of getting him out on a site (somewhere) and making him available for sale

You know what they say about intentions? As in the road to hell is paved with good ones?

So yesterday, day one of "he's finished, let's get him listed", I had a bunch of packages to get ready to go out from Ebay and Amazon sales, and I didn't get him out there.

And today? Well, no packages, but instead of getting up when the dog woke me the first time, I went back to sleep and didn't get up until 8:00 -- which is WAY late in my world, usually reserved for days when I'm sick.

(You know, actually sick, not just vaguely achy because the weather has changed - AGAIN - and the ol' bones are creakin')

So here it is, after 10 am, and I need to go get some breakfast, and I am now in day two of "he's finished, let's get him listed".

I'm trying hard here to make a change in a longstanding pattern of putting off what is unpleasant and/or difficult until it can not be avoided.

So, I'm going to get some breakfast, then I'm going to get on my laptop and see if I can't get this done!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

is this an actual answer?

this card arrived in the mail yesterday

I didn't recognize the name on the return address label, so I had a few minutes of "what? who?" as I walked from the mailbox to the house where I could properly open it up

(ok, I could have just ripped, but no, it's one of my "monk like" things -- no jagged ripped envelopes in my files!)

Inside the card a note apologizing for the delay in getting my prize money to me as the president of the Royal Gorge Quilt Council had been on vacation.

HUH?

I didn't even know I had won this prize.

So I went back online to the State Fair premium book and looked up all of the extra prizes that were being offered by different organizations for catagories in the fair.

And there it was ---

In memory of Maggie Langil. Addie Allison, Rosella Neilsen and Beth Micklejohn the Royal Gorge Quilt Council offers $25.00 for the 1st Place winner in...Class 414 Quilt, applique, hand quilted.

I'm speachless -- this was the quilt that won the blue ribbon

--- the quilt that was moved from one catagory to another without them asking me (something that will never happen again -- I'm told -- because I made a fuss about it)

uh, no wonder I didn't know about the extra prize


Even stranger, this is the second time in two weeks that I have been rewarded for this part of my art work --- last week I signed and sent off the contract to do a trunk show about my art quilts

So, at least for the moment, I seem to be getting a sort of confirmation that this is a direction worth going in

amazing

Monday, October 19, 2009

....about that fund raising....

I don't usually post anything on this blog that talks about selling my art or anything else, but right now I'm using anything I can to raise a little money to help offset those medical bills.

So, as I've been cleaning out my large stash of books, I've decided that anything I can't list on Amazon will be going directly to the front page of my website under the catagory "Garage Sale"

If you're interested in browsing, just click on the garage sale sign and hop on over to see what's available.

(and I'll be adding more!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rant Mode

Have I mentioned lately that I think the health care system in this country is broken?

Just as I suspected would happen, the phone calls have begun from the hospital regarding the payment of the bill.

Last month they called and wanted to know about payment and I asked them if they had billed the insurance company yet (after all it had been over 60 days since the surgery) and they said no, they hadn't billed because the insurance company had refused to pay on the June outpatient procedure.

HELLO? The July thing was NOT outpatient --- they needed to bill it!

Ok, so this month I got the billing for the June thing (which I had already been paying on) and a different billing, with a different account number, for the July thing.

I wrote small checks on both accounts and sent them in along with a letter asking if they would please combine the accounts and I would continue paying on them.

So yesterday I got the call.

Hospital: We need to work out a payment plan
Me: I'm making a payment on this every month
Hospital: We're rolling out a new policy, we used to require payment within 4 months, now we're stretching it out to 15 months
Me: Are you going to combine the accounts?
Hospital: No, we can't do that
Me: So you're going to want me to pay this new amount on both acccounts every month?
Hospital: Yes, that's our policy.

(let me point out here that their new amount is about twice as much as I had been sending them each month, and now they want that amount on each account, which amounts to about 4 times what I had been paying)

Me: So what happens if I can't pay that amount?
Hospital: The bill will go to collections.
Me: And if I agree to this and then at some point I can't pay it what will happen?
Hospital: The bill will go to collections.

I agreed to their payment plan, but I can almost bet that at some point I'm going to get sent to collections.

We're not getting a raise next year because it's been decided that the cost of living has gone down (HA!), so at some point I'll probably have to decide which is more important --- paying for the ongoing monthly medications that are needed or making that unreasonable payment.

Sure could use some "fund raising" ideas

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blogland is a Small World

This post could also have been titled "Cue the Twilight Zone Music"

Back in another lifetime (we're talking 1970s and 1980s) I worked in Silicon Valley.

For several years I shared those 8 hours a day (or more) with a great gal named Roberta. We did quilting projects together. She taught me to spin, I shared what I knew of weaving, we did natural dye classes together in the Santa Cruz mountains with a great teacher named Ann in the yard of a house that was over 100 years old. We shared victories of finding family members in our searching of family history.

Life happens

Starting in 1989 we were like gypsies (we moved 7 times in 3 years across 3 states)

Roberta moved out of California too

Shortly after I retired and we moved back to Colorado I got a phone call from Roberta's daughter, telling me that she had passed on --- it was a shock

Back on October 3 I wrote a post here where I discussed my sense of returning to activities that I had enjoyed before.

In that post I spoke about a woman in California that writes a blog that I read almost every day (when I miss a day I go back and catch up!). Yesterday it occurred to me that since she lives in the Silicon Valley area and she shares some similar interests (her blog is titled (Spin Dye Knit) that at some time she may have known Roberta too, or heard of the spinning group she had been part of, so I sent her an email and asked.

This morning I got an email back -- not only had she heard of the group, she was part of it, and yes, she knew Roberta.

As I said, Blogland is a small, small world --- now, cue the Twilight Zone music

And weirder still? My sister (who in the past 6 months or so has gotten interested in Family History and drug me back into it) is the one that told me about Spin Dye Knit in the first place because she reads it.

I'm breathless!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ok, I'm working on it

As I said in my last post here, I have been asked to do a Trunk Show, and I'm in the process of thinking about what all that entails.

I used "the google" and found out that trunk shows actually began in the fashion industry, where a designer would pack up the new designs in a trunk (hence the title) and schlepp them from boutique to boutique to sell the year's orders.

I had a conversation with my sister over the weekend about this. And even though she is still recovering from the flu (poor baby, she can't get the shots as she is allergic to eggs and she counts on all us other folks to do so --- and someone she came into contact just didn't do that for her), she was willing to share her experience of attending a trunk show with me.

So here is what she said she has heard discussed at trunk shows (by quilters, that is):

  1. how did the artist get started doing this
  2. what is the process the artist uses to do the work
  3. how has the artist's work progressed from the beginning works to current ones
  4. where does the artist get the ideas for the work
  5. who and what is the artist's inspiration
  6. what is the artist's philosophy about the work

Sounds like the beginning of an outline to me

Friday, October 09, 2009

who me?

It has been an amazingly strange week.

On Tuesday I went into the local fabric store to pick up a couple of quilt batts for tops that were ready and some other odds and ends and I got into a conversation with one of the assistant managers in the store.

By the end of the conversation she knew that I make art quilts, she had invited me to a meeting of the quilt guild that she is president of, and had asked me if I would come and talk at her guild about art quilts.

Last night I went and visited the guild meeting, met some really fun ladies and was told that the program chairman would "mail me a contract" for my "trunk show"

Reality (and a bit of panic) is beginning to set in. Who me? "TRUNK SHOW"?!

Ok, I have a bit of time to think about it, and maybe someone who has ever been to one of these things can tell me what is expected --- please?

Meantime, this week I have sort of figured out that the phase of my artistic life that involved making teddy bears has passed. (In the words of Carlye Simon "that part of our life together is over").

While I have enjoyed that, and it has brought me some monetary rewards and some great friends, what I am interested in and drawn to now has changed, and the collector base has changed, and those shows are how 1)far away and 2)expensive to do

I would rather put the money to shows where I can sell those things that are my current passion

This also means that shortly I will probably be selling off some of my fabrics and supplies for bear making --- so I can get materials for other things

like I said, it's been a strange week

Thursday, October 08, 2009

when watching TV is a good thing

Usually in the evening I work on quilting and knitting while I'm comfortably seated in my recliner in front of the TV.

Some nights the TV is just noise or light entertainment.

Last night was one of those rare occasions when what was on TV actually slowed down the process of the projects.

Since the presidental campaign we have been in the habit of watching Keith Olbermann's show in the evenings (it comes on right at dinner time for us). One of my favorite things is when he does a special comment.

If you are not familiar with him, his show or the special comment, these are the TV media's equivalant of the featured editorial column in the newspaper. He takes on issues of the day that strike him as important and speaks out in a very personal and opinionated way.

Most of the time when I watch these, I agree with him and cheer him on.

Last night he was talking about health care -- not just in the short 5 minute version of a special comment as he usually does, but for a WHOLE HOUR!

While he was talking I was alternately shouting and crying.

Talking about fear -- bad enough that you worry about what the diagnosis will be, but then, especially if you are minimally insured, you worry about how you will ever pay for it. (I remember an interview with a woman during the August town hall meetings where she said "why have the mammogram if you can't afford the cancer?" -- chilling!)

I can not begin to convey the power of what he said, so if you haven't seen it, use this link and go take a look -- or read the text of what he said, although hearing him talk about his father is much more effective.

And Olbermann's show was not the only "stop you in your tracks" show last night.

Later in the evening we flipped over to PBS, where they were showing an episode in their Craft in America series.

One of the artists they interviewed for this episode was a print maker, and they actually showed him at work creating one of the wood block prints. They showed how he uses tracing paper over his original drawing then flips it over to make the imprint on the wood he will carve --- it gave me goosebumps as that is exactly the same process I use when I create one of the stamps that I use -- no one taught me to do this, I just sort of did it -- and he talked about that self same journey of discovery.

I can't wait to see more of the episodes in this year's series.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Slowly I turned

For most of the time since I retired from my corporate job, I have been trying to figure out who the "new me" is.

After all, the way I had defined myself for years before had been where I worked, and as my daughter's mother.

Suddenly both of those identities had been swept away in the sense that I was no longer employed, and my daughter had actually grown up and become her own independent woman.

So what was I supposed to do with the next 30 or so years?

It has been a slow and many times painful journey.

And since I began blogging almost three years ago, I have used this space to talk about the things that have just needed to be blurted out.

In the past few months I have sensed something different -- a sort of returning to things that I had been interested in before and just after my college days -- a returning to the fiber arts and the writing.

Along the way I have found others who, through their own blogs, have turned my thoughts in new ways to those old themes.

One of those blogs is written by a woman who lives in the area of California that we left when we retired. We share a number of things -- and when I read her blog and get a little glimpse into her world I am reminded that a lot of who we are has to do with how we respond to the challenges we face.

She has faced hers with grace. I'm ashamed to say I have not always done so.

I still have much to learn, but I sense a slow turning of the key in a very rusty lock

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Getting satisfaction -- sort of

In response to the comment that ask which piece I saw someone wearing, here is a picture of it.

It took me a couple of days to dig through the photos of jewelry that is gone, but here it is

Interestingly, this was not my favorite of the two pieces on this music theme that I made. I really liked the one that had a trumpet and a keyboard, but the lady that bought this loves it, so it's all ok



Yesterday I got my check from the State Fair for my prize money.

Because of my complaint, next year the fair folks will not change any piece entered to a different catagory without first consulting with the person that entered it.

They have still not satisfactorily answered some of my other questions, but I'll take that little bit of progress anyway.

Time to get busy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fizzy Lifting Drinks and Finding Purpose

Last week, as I was in the crunch of putting the finishing touches on the charity auction, my daughter starting giving me Emergen C to help me keep from catching my son-in-law's head cold.

If you are familiar with the original movie of Willie Wonka, you may remember Charlie's adventure with the Fizzy Lifting Drinks.

We started calling the Emergen C "fizzy lifting drink", and had a good laugh about it. This week I'm still using the stuff as a "just in case" --- the raspberry is pretty good tasting.

Today I got an email telling me that the total amount earned from my efforts was about $13,000, giving them about $8,000 after expenses to put toward the production of the next opera.

That number makes me feel really good. It tells me that I did a good job.

While it may sound a little silly, it feels really good to have done such a big job and have it be so successful.

The past few years I have had some times that I have felt a bit useless -- the result of having retired from the corporate job and having my daughter leave home all at about the same time.

Coordinating the auction and working with adults toward a goal has been very rewarding (if some days exasperating!).

It's good to feel like there is a purpose to what I am doing.

Now it's on to the next adventure.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Exhausted, exasperated, exhilarated

Exhausted --- yup, setting up and running the auction was lots of work

several days last week were spent "pounding the keys" to get the data into a form that the cashiers could work with

then we spent a couple of evenings creating baskets out of the various pieces that had been donated to us

Exasperated --- the worst part of the whole event is the bundling up of the packages at the end of the process

there was not really enough space to take things from the numerical sequence to the alphabetical sequence and we had about 45 minutes of just waiting for the cashiers to do their work before we could even start doing that

and by then we had people waiting at the door to pick stuff up

Exhilarated --- last year I had donated a piece of jewelry to the auction

over the years of doing shows, I've donated a lot of things to auctions or as door prizes, and I've sold a lot of my art -- bears, jewelry

for the most part after I hand over the piece, I never know again if the person that bought it or received it actually likes it or uses it or if it just ends up in a box somewhere and will eventually end up in a garage sale or a trash can

so as I sat at the back of the room while people went through the auction it was an amazing feeling to look up and see someone actually wearing the piece of jewelry I donated last year

not only was she wearing it, but she had added a piece of chain to the back of it to extend it to the perfect length for her and she adores it

at the intermission she came back and ask me to sign the back of it

how amazing ----

Thursday, September 17, 2009

R.I.P. Mary

when I was a teenager I was more a fan of folk singers than rock and roll

even though I listened to the Beetles, I loved passionately the music of Peter, Paul and Mary

and although at that time in my life I didn't have the financial means to buy the albums, I listened to the radio and knew the tune and lyric to almost every song

so when I heard this morning that she was gone, I felt very sad

I'm really glad that we have all of those wonderful recordings of her reminding us that we have a social responsibility to those around us who are less fortunate that we

R.I.P.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

thoughts on when a blue ribbon is a bad thing

This is the quilt my DH and I designed and made for our son-in-law, hanging in the display at the State Fair.

See there on the bottom edge --- a blue ribbon

When I first saw this at the Fair, I was thrilled

Yesterday we went to the fair grounds to pick up our entries as the fair is now over

Right now, I'm unhappy about that blue ribbon

Why? Because the fair committee for this division decided when they did the judging that this was in the wrong catagory.

I entered it in the catagory that was described as "Original design, quilt or comforter, hand quilted"

They moved it to the catagory described as "Quilt, applique, hand quilted"

And yes, it is a quilt, yes it is appliqued and yes it is hand quilted. But what I'm upset about is that they decided, after I stated on my entry form that it was an original design, that it was not.

EXCUSE ME!??

Upset I guess is not really the word --- totally enraged is better.

Oh yes, and when I asked about it at pick up, the two ladies that were manning the area said "well there's so many parrot patterns out there......"

I don't care if there are a billion parrot patterns out there --- I didn't use one of those! Each and every little feather on this quilt was hand drawn by the DH and hand sewn by me.

And what about the quilter that placed second in this catagory because they decided to move my work here? That quilter should be angry too because the competition was not fair.

I sent off an email this morning to the only contact I have at the fair, trying to find out if there is someone specific I can address this issue to. Failing that, I will just write a letter to the entries department.

Much as I love to win (and yes, I DO love to win), this is not the right way

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

as the title says --- some random thoughts

I'm drowning in paperwork for the charity auction I volunteered to chair; it's been at least 6 weeks since I've visited some of the blogs I used to get to once a week; and I had signed up to do "class work" over at Marty's blog, but haven't done a one.

Fall is coming, the squash in the garden are setting on, the neighbor FINALLY moved his wood pile and instead of us having to, he actually repaired the fence, which means I'll get to paint the garden shed.

Over the weekend I had two days in the row that I felt energetic and strong again so I cleaned out another shelf in the linen closet (only one to go!!) and washed all of those things as well as a whole tub full of assorted dresser scarves, table cloths, doilies and napkins (all of which had been just sitting in that tub for probably 6 or 7 years!).

Yesterday I once again felt like I'd been run through the knot hole ---- BLEAH!!

Ok, I guess this whole recovering thing will continue to be two steps forward and one step back.

This morning I actually did get to one of the blogs I read almost every day while I was recovering (I hadn't been there in nearly a week!), and found myself smiling at her adventures and longing for a group of friends like she has.

I can't wait for the auction to be done so I can get on with planning and working to sell the house and move closer to our daughter --- with a deliberate plan to find that group!

Monday, September 07, 2009

in the garden

we've had a busy little spider!

this amazing web is over an evergreen tree right outside the patio door --- I took about a dozen pictures, and this is the only one where you can really see the web

(I used a squirt bottle to put a very fine mist of water over the web, so what makes it visable are the tiny little water droplets on the web)










even though the hail beat up some of the sunflowers, they are a hardy bunch and have decided to bloom anyway

I've noticed that there are a lot more bees in the garden now that they have bloomed too

so next year when I plant, I may think about planting some flowers out there in with the crops to help draw the bees






and here is why I want more bees ---

see him there in the blossom?

busy gathering necture to make honey

oh yeah, and pollinating the squash blossom

yup, we want more bees










so I can see more blossoms that look like this!

a pumpkin!

this year we planted acorn squash, hubbard squash and pumpkins, and it's looking like we might actually get some of each --- as long as there is no more hail and the frosts don't come too early



since we're getting toward fall now, it's time to do those chores that need to happen before the snow flies

today I'm planning to scrape the old cracked paint off of the garden shed so I can give it a fresh coat of paint --- and we'll be taking a look at the fence next to the shed to see what we need to do to it too

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

In praise of good kids

I have a great kid

and she married a really great kid too

she reads my blogs and follows along with the "trials and tribulations" as well as the artistic endeavors

last week she saw my post about the medical bills and the tight budget and that my little piece in the budget for art supplies would be cut yet again

when I got home yesterday from our trip to the fair, there was an envelope in the mail

pretty card (Sunflowers by Monet, which is a whole special connection of it's own) with a note from my daughter and her husband and a gift card to our local craft store

when I called her and asked what the occassion was, she said she can't magically make the medical bills go away, but she can help keep me from being so depressed by keeping me in art supplies (she knows how far I can stretch this card by using coupons and shopping sales) --- her husband says a lot of the art work ends up at their house, so they should help "support my habit"

love it

like I said --- I have great kids

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shame on us



we seen to have forgotten this horror as we've moved along crashing the economy -- seems to me this was perhaps the beginning of that crash



but the economy is really the least of the shame of New Orleans and how our government left the city to die




the real shame here is that we are 4 years later and there are huge areas that are still just piles of trash ---- it took less time to rebuild sections of Europe after WWII



shame on us

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

yet another whine

sorry folks, and for those of you that just don't want to read another blog where someone complains, take a clue and stop reading here

I went over the growing stack of bills yesterday --- and let me tell you, it is enough to make a grown woman cry

so far I have yet to receive a single bill for the actual surgery, but plenty of them on the diagnostic procedure done as an out patient the month before

after looking at these and doing some calculations based on what I do know, the bills will probably be in the $4000 to $5000 range

at the amount that I can AFFORD to pay on a monthly basis, that figures to be something that will take several years to pay off --- if the various places that have billed are willing to work it out with me

I'm not hopeful about that

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And so the harrassement begins

I got the first phone call yesterday

The one from the business office of the first doctor I went to (that did such a pathetic job with the testing that it all had to be redone).

So here's the conversation:

Office: You know you have a bill of $720.
Me: Yes, and I've been sending you a $10 check monthly.
Office: I see that on the records, but we like to have these amounts paid off within 90 days, or they want us to turn them over to collections.
Me: Well, I'd like that too, but I'm not able to do that (and I'm thinking "you can't get blood out of a turnip!")
Office: Could you just put it on a credit card?
Me: No, I don't even have a credit card.
Office: Could you pay $100 a month.
Me: No, I can't do that, we live on a fixed income and I have other medical bills from just having surgery.
Office: Well, could you manage $25?
Me: Maybe, it depends on what the rest of the bills from the surgery are when they arrive.
Office: Let me send you some paperwork on our financing plans.
Me: Ok

This should be interesting, we'll see what her "paperwork" looks like (oh and just as a side note, for the first procedure I have a $395 bill to the new doctor, and before the insurance pays the little it will pay, the bill for the actual surgery is $3500 just to the doctor)

Even if the Congress does the right thing and actually makes the changes we need, it will not help any for this situation.

Its going to be a long difficult struggle to get all of this paid off --- knowing what I know now I should have just ignored the problem

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

recovery thoughs

this should probably be subtitled "why I'm not a good patient"

I don't tolerate being told "you can't do that" very well, and I'm very used to being the one that just gets up and does whatever it is that needs doing

in fact, even before the surgery I was very frustrated now and then about not being as strong or as able to do things as I had been even just a few years ago

now that is even worse of course, wondering if this will get better or it's just going to be that way

so the last couple of days I'm sort of struggling -- I don't want just sit, and even though I'm working on projects, I'm having a serious case of "why bother" since there are no shows in the near future to be thinking about, and internet selling has been basically a bust too ----

just trying to be grateful that all of the shows I had applied to and sent money to were willing to refund us because I had a medical reason

wishing I was back in my California friend's kitchen, sharing ideas and learning new painting techniques and not feeling so isolated

now and then it would be good to have a friend that was within easy reach

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More about image

along with creating new "clean" graphics for the website, I'm thinking about other places to have my things available for purchase.

For quite a while I have had a store on Etsy, which I am thinking of closing or at least changing the name of so it has the same name as my own website --- just to make things easier for anyone that might be looking for my stuff.

But there are also some new venues out there that I'm thinking might be a good match for my pieces too.

These new places have some things in common with Etsy, but some differences too.

Here are the new places I've discovered so far:

1000 Markets there are both free and fee shops on this site

Art Fire so far I haven't been able to get much information about this site because it keeps crashing my browser --- not a good sign!

Trunkt a juried site that is not accepting any new applications until August 15

So, where should I go? Where will my creations fit best?

things to think about

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Figuring out my "image"

One of the things I had thought about doing while I'm recovering from my surgery is redesigning my web site.

I do that from time to time, trying to keep it "fresh" and to add new things to it.

This time, I'm struggling with just what do I want it to look like --- partly because I've changed what I do so much, and partly because I think it's time that all of the studio's online presence had a unified, professional look (scary thought!)

A while back I created this graphic, which I have been using for a while as the banner on the current website.

Along with that main graphic I also created these and a few others to use as "buttons" on the site.

Now I'm trying to come up with a new look that still makes use of all the work that went into creating the graphics.

and I want to figure out a way to put the newest pieces of work on the front page first, no matter what area they're going to end up in eventually.

There are also several new sales venues online that I'm going to be checking out. Etsy just doesn't seem to be doing it for my stuff. Although I admit I've not done much out there lately, and I know you need to be adding stuff more often, I just don't think my stuff is the "style" that Etsy promotes, and I'm not going to start doing stuff that looks like everyone else's style just to sell stuff there.

So, what do I want my "image" to look like? I'm working on it

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stormy weather

We had a bit of a storm yesterday afternoon

For about 15 minutes it was really noisy and the rain and hail just came down like someone had opened the bottom of a dump truck

These pictures show the leaves that were all stuck to the front of the house and the car afterwards (the cottonwood leaves are from the trees across the street!)


this is the little pile of hail still sitting under a bush in our front yard about half an hour after the storm --- we got about half an inch of moisture too

so, my garden took a beating --- the corn, which had not been doing very well anyway because it's just not been like summer here this year (only 2 days over 90 degrees is just not normal), is pretty beat up

This morning the tomatoes are perking up tho', and I think the summer squash and beans survived --- not so sure about the other squash yet ----

weird, weird weather continues this week too --- our high temperatures will be in the 70s for several days --- cooler here than in Alaska

and the final insult? because folks haven't been using as much water on lawns, gardens, etc., this summer, the water company is saying they'll have to raise our rates to make up for lost revenue ----AAAACCCCKKKK!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TV Remote Roulette

This picture makes me think of an old Kay Starr song. Remember The Wheel of Fortune?

The wheel of fortune
Goes spinning around
....
While the wheel is spining, spinning, spinning

It's a good description of how we view TV programs some evenings --- if there is nothing on that we know we want to watch, the DH plays what we refer to as remote roulette ---- just flipping through all 957 channels (ok, probably not actually that many, but there are a lot of channels on cable nowdays!) until we run across something that is not

a)obnoxious (ie reality tv of any sort)

or

b)something we've seen enough times to recite the dialogue along with the actors

Twice in the past week we have won the jack pot (so to speak) as we have come across art classes being televised on the local school district's access channel.

Last week was about painting and explained some techniques that I had recently done on fabric with my friend in California. It was nice to have those reinforced and to see how the same techniques work on another surface.

Last night it was a wonderful program about doing prints --- as in the whole stamp cutting print making process that we have also been doing with fabrics.

It was pretty exciting to see other materials used, but the same techniques that we have used to produce such things as this:

a stamp cut and stamped on fabric that has been embellished with beads, embroidery, markers and applique and is now being quilted










and this stamp which has not yet been embellished






This whole print making process is considered Fine Art by those who know about such things

I'm hoping to catch more of those art lessons at random times

Yup, I can just hear Kay Starr --- spinning, spinning, spinning

Saturday, July 11, 2009

wherein my daughter declares I'm a geek

Things at work here:

1. Since I'm having surgery next Friday (July 17) and my sister (the TRAINED nurse) will be here when I come home to help take care of me, she came down yesterday and went to the pre-op doctor's appointment with me.

2. Since today (July 11) is her birthday (Happy Birthday sis!!) I invited her to stay and have dinner with us. And yes there was CAKE!!! (yummy carrot cake with real cream cheese frosting)

3. Since she was going to spend the day, she brought along her laptop and we worked on sharing information on family history.

So when my daughter called, I told her that my sister and I were sitting with our laptops back to back exchanging data on family history (I've been working on this project off and on for almost 30 years, and my sister is trying to catch up!)

My daughter said "Mom, you two are geeks!"

heh, yeah, like she should talk --- this from the child that credits me with helping to teach her to touch type --- when she was in Junior High school we'd sit in the same room and Instant Message to each other

hehe

Love it, and I'm hoping that I'll feel well enough at least part of the time my sister's here after my surgery that we can do some more "geeking"

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Just what do other folks mean by "Mixed Media"?

In the past year I have come to realize that the best description of my art work is "Mixed Media".

It defines (at least in my head) the fact that many, many of my pieces incorporate more than one kind of material and more than one technique.

How much more "mixed media" can you get?

So, when I saw a call for members of a women's mixed media art group in our little village, I thought "hey, some folks I could relate to" and sent off an email requesting some information.

Here was the response:

This group is more for "assemblage", collage or digital artists. After reviewing your website, you might want to look into people working in "crafts" as we are not jewelers or fabric artists.

Oy!

Obviously we are still stuck in the "traditional" art definitions.

While I really would like to find a group of artists locally to hobnob with, it's clear this little clique is still stuck in the junior high school era.

I guess I should consider myself lucky that it only took me one email to find out it's not a group I want to go near

geeesh

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to tell things are bad in the economy

Here in our little village, things are bad with the economy.

On the main drag through town there is a restaurant that a couple of years ago was so busy it had expanded twice. When we drove past it yesterday, we discovered it was all boarded up and out of business.

And another example this morning.

Ever since we moved here eight years ago I've done business with the same tire shop. The guys in there actually recognize me when I walk in.

This morning I went over to have them check out the tires, etc., before I head off to California this weekend.

In times past he would have cheerfully done what I asked and we'd have made an appointment for the fall to have a new pair of tires installed ---- the tires on the back of the van are a 40,000 mile tire that have about 25,000 miles on them, and come fall I plan to replace them.

Not this morning. Today his whole push was to sell me a new pair of tires now --- giving me a 33% discount for the tread left on the tires that are on it.

HUH??

If there is still 33% of the tread on the tire, exactly why would I buy brand new ones today??

like I said, the economy is bad here in our little village

Friday, June 12, 2009

and good news again

As I've been saying, one of the things that was almost as scary as the possiblity of bad lab results was the fear of the hospital bill and the whole "how will I ever pay that" issue.

Yesterday I had a meeting with the young man at the hospital that is in charge of "Patient Benefit Access".

Last week, when I was still in a dither about just getting through the procedure, he had given me a list of documents I needed to bring with me: birth certificate, social security card, bank statement, proof of income, mortgage statement, auto registration. Seems they want you to prove who you are and how much income you have and the value of your property. Just like any government program.

Unlike any other time I've applied for any help, however, this time I was told that I can get assistance.

That little procedure they did last week ---- the hospital billing would have been almost $4800.00. With the assistance, the most the billing will be is about $600.00.

And it will also cover part of the cost of the surgery I'll be having in July.

Will wonders never cease?!

I'm glad that a big chunk of it will be taken care of --- I'll still have to figure out how to get the $600.00 paid, but it will be easier than it would have been.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

wherein we discuss why it's good to have your doctor's office on your side

Ok, so last week I went and had the procedure done --- the biopsy and all that, which included an outpatient surgery --- for which my pathetic little "health" insurance will pay 80% of the doctor, 25% of the anestheisiologist, but 0% of the hospital

Yesterday, I had my appointment with the doctor. The test results were wonderful --- there is no cancer, just the fibroids (one the size of a lemon) -- oh yes, and the continued (STILL!) unexplained bleeding.

While I was there she told me about a phone call her office got from the hospital billing folks wanting to know why she had scheduled the procedure when the insurance was not going to cover it. The doctor's office informed them in no uncertain terms that this was NOT an elective surgery.

WHAT? Like I did this FOR FUN!!??

So, I still have to have the hysterectomy (and at my age they'll just remove everything), which I will be doing mid-July.

Tomorrow I will be meeting with a fellow at the hospital that specializes in getting financial assistance for bills in cases like mine.

I'm not hopeful that I will qualify for anything, but I'm willing to try anything that might help.

Meantime, I'm trying not to have absolute panic attacks over just how big that hospital bill is going to be.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The mighty hunter?

Last week when we trimmed the pine tree at the back of the yard we heard the fussing and carrying on of the robins in the higher reaches of the tree.

Seems we have a pair of robins that have appropriated some real estate up there and had some baby robins.

Yesterday morning, the DH let the dog out.

She went tearing across the yard and literally swatted one of the baby robins out of the air as it took a test flight.

He called her in, and the mama robin was right there on the spot.

But later in the afternoon, as we prepared to mow the lawn, we found the little body.

The dog kept going back to the spot, trying to find it again after I picked it up.

At least I didn't have to do what my son-in-law has had to do several times with squirells and their dog. It seems their dog will catch and maim a squirell, then he has to go out and finish it off. They keep a crochet mallet at the ready for this activity. The whole idea gives me the whillies.

Ok, so the house wrens are starting to take exploratory flights --- I think I'll keep the dog in the house --- she just doesn't understand how strong she is.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Waiting to Exhale

What a weird week this has been

Let me begin by saying that I still don't have any results from the biopsy yet ---

should I think that no news is good news?

or should I think that the doctor doesn't want to tell me bad news on the phone?

or is it just that the lab hasn't gotten back to her yet?

And there is this strangeness of good news heaped over the possibility of bad news that has me walking into walls

Yesterday I was notified that both of the beaded pieces I entered in a big contest made the first cut from my photographs and the pieces themselves now go off for the second part of the competition.

This morning in my in box of emails were two other interesting things: an invitation from a Colorado art work agency to submit some of my work for inclusion in their online gallery and a request from a web gallery on art to be interviewed and included in their site.

I'm a little freaked out by the whole timing thing

The sceptical side of me instantly thinks of a lyric from the Tim Rice/Elton John version of Aida --
Is it written in the stars
Are we paying for some crime
Is that all that we are good for
Just a stretch of mortal time
Is this God's experiment
In which we have no say
In which we're given paradise
But only for a day

I'm trying to tell myself that these are the rewards for hard work and consistently trying to put my work out there to get recognized (and hopefully be able to reach a bigger audience)

And I'll also say I'm a little freaked out by the idea of actually succeeding

ok, I think the timing is strange

I'm still a little afraid

and grateful

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thoughts on Blogging

Over at Travelin Oma Marty's been talking about her recurrent bouts of paranoid soul-searching.

Frankly, I'm happy to hear that someone besides me has those!!

So, Marty posted a list of questions about blogging, which I thought was pretty interesting, here are my answers:

What kind of blogs do you like to read? (Infomercial, daily diary, advice, photography, pour-your-heart-out, sarcastic, rants, upbeat . . .) all of those plus any art projects, quilt projects, politics --- basically I'm an eclectic reader

Do you go back and read comments on somebody's post after you've already commented? yes, because I like to see what other people think of what the blogger said and maybe what I've commented

If someone asks a question in a comment, how do you answer them? (In a follow-up comment on your blog, in a follow-up post, in an email . . .) either in a follow up comment or another entire post, only rarely on email

When you link to another blog, do you email that blogger to let them know? usually I post a comment on the post that prompted the link (I'll be commenting on Marty's as soon as I finish this)

If you comment on a blog, and you get no response, do you stop reading that blog? No, but I may wonder why

How do you think of blogging? (Hobby, addiction, learning experience, waste of time . . .) everything but a waste of time, one of my main ways to reach out to the world beyond the little "village" I live in, a way that I record what I'm doing and thinking a sort of electronic diary

Do you feel funny talking about your posts in real life to a reader? No -- doesn't everyone do this?

Do you feel embarrassed or complimented if someone refers to what you've said? complimented, it sort of validates what I've said

If you could read your great-grandmother's experiences on a blog, would you? would that she had even left anything written for me to see!

How do you think reading blogs has helped you? allowing me to see that the more we learn about each other the more we have in common across all of our differences

Do you spend more time reading blogs or writing posts? about the same, my posts are sort of "stream of thought"

Do you comment on blogs you read? Why, or why not?
Absolutely, and I always hope that someone will comment on mine, otherwise how do I know anyone is reading?

Thanks Marty, for giving me something to think about today.

To my other readers: want to play along? What do you think about those questions?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wherein I remember why I was happy to go through "the change"

Ok, so today is the day when I'm going in to have the biopsy done to see what's really going on.

Now days you don't go into the hospital the night before so the nurses (who know what to expect from the various procedures) help you though the whole "getting ready" thing.

Nope, they give you a couple of little plastic baggies at your "pre-op" appointment and you're on your own. (Which makes me wonder how someone that has difficulties with reading and following instructions ever gets through this.)

So, last night I started with the first little baggie which involved taking not one shower, but two. One last night with this "soap"(?) --- and I'll get to do that step again this morning --- as soon as I finish with my morning computer time.

And then at bedtime, baggie number 2, inserting 4 little tablets. See when you go through menopause, the cervix closes up really, really tight, and to do the biopsy, it needs to relax, so these little tablets are supposed to take care of that.

Oh yeah, they neglicted to tell me that it would be like having a full blown period again, complete with cramps. And it pretty much freaked me out when I got up in the middle of the night and there was a lot more blood than I expected.

I can't tell you how glad I'll be to get this procedure over today so I can (maybe) not think about the whole thing for a couple of days ---

or not

geesh

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Garden's all in

now that the last of the garden is in (we planted corn in that corner yesterday), we've installed a little fencing

our labrador likes to go and lay on the soft cool dirt after we water, which is not a good thing for the little plants

and I'm really afraid she will do the same thing my daughter's dogs are doing to her corn plants --- eat them as they come up because they taste so good to doggies

it was warm and humid (a rare thing here) as we planted the corn yesterday afternoon

this morning its cold, windy and rainy (wind chill was around 32 degrees this morning --- on the first of JUNE!)

the moisture should be good for the seeds tho', and we're supposed to be back up in the 80's by the weekend

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting answers?

If you have been reading here for a long time you may remember my talking about struggling with finding where I belong in the whole scheme of being religious.

It's not that I'm an atheist or even an agnostic. I was raised with Christian values. I have been a member of several churches.

No, the struggle has been with squaring up what other people say (ie: "God talks to me and tells me what to do") with my own personal experience of these things.

It has never seemed that simple -- would that it were!

In fact, I have felt for some time that whatever it was I was asking for must not have been the right thing because there either seemed to be no answer or the answer was no.

This week has been odd.

I'm struggling with the medical issues and the big scare factor involved there and the stresses of minimal health insurance and the worries about how I will ever pay all of the bills that will follow.

And I'm not good about asking for help --- physically or emotionally. My life experience has been that I'm the one that must deal with it, and I better just "buck up" and deal.

So, there have been several really odd experiences this week.

For one thing, when my husband had his doctor's appointment on Friday, he talked to her about my issues, and when we were leaving she took my hand and said "it's going to be okay".

A couple of days ago I got an email from a cousin that I have not heard from for about 10 years, full of encouragement and newsy updates on her life --- and I'm not even sure how she got my email address.

Then when someone I have known only a short time found out what was going on she offered to bring us a meal when I need it, and her husband will come and give me a blessing before I have the Wednesday procedure done.

And yesterday I opened my mail box to find a letter from a friend that I have known for 26 years and we are admittedly bad at corresponding except at Christmas, but there it was, a 3 page letter.

Ok.

I'm up for admitting that maybe I just haven't been aware enough before to see the answers.

A while back I asked all of you to say a prayer for me. It seems you've all been doing that, because I'm being surrounded with support and love.

Thank you --- and could you please continue to do so? Even if I get good news after the biopsy, there will still be those pesky medical bills to deal with.

Thanks again to you all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An update and a diversional rant

Accept in advance my apologies for the rant that follows!

So, I went to the doctors office yesterday and they re-did the ultra sound exam and discovered that there is not one small fibroid, but there are two of them and one of them is about the size of a lime --- all of which translates into "you're going to have to have surgery"

Next Wednesday they will do a proper biopsy -- as in under anesthesia so they can actually get enough tissue to do the biopsy.

And you're thinking, why are they doing that if you already know you'll have to have surgery? Basically to find out if this is just a "simple" surgery that my gyn can do or if there is something more sinister that will require a specialist.

Oh yes, and that insurance that's costing me $250 a month? That's going to pay for 80% of the doctor, 25% of the anesthesia and NOTHING on the hospital itself -- and that's just for the biopsy.

At this point I can't even think about the next surgery and what it's going to cost.

I've been saying for a while here that I wasn't allowed to need anything more than minimal health care for another 7 years when I'll be eligible for Medicare. Turns out I was right in saying I couldn't afford to need it.

The insurance coordinator at the doctor's office gave me all the forms to apply for Medicaid, so this morning I went to the online questionaire to determine eligibility for any benefit in the state.

The only thing I'm eligible for is a reduced rate on a pass into the National Parks (and can I tell you just how THRILLED I am about that!?)

Add to this whole mix the fact that even though I FINALLY got juried into the fine arts area of a show that I've wanted to do for the past 5 years, I'm probably not going to get to do both the show and make the trip to California for my friend's birthday ---- there aren't enough weeks in between to have a surgery and 6 weeks to recover.

oh yeah, it's going to be just a great summer --- or not

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Garden

Things that we planted a while back are growing!

The little sprouts in the right hand picture are carrots

The other picture is either beets or swiss chard -- we planted both, and while I know which row is which in the garden, in the picture it's impossible to tell which this is since they look just alike at this point

Looks like before long it will be time to thin!

We put in tomatoes

Lots of tomatoes -- about 20 little plants, some of them that we got at the store and some heritage ones that I started from seed

With any luck we'll have tomatoes to eat and tomatoes to can and tomatoes to give to Second Harvest


In a double row along the fence behind the tomato baskets I planted these

These are not the seeds I originally intended to put there, but the ones that I started in pots indoors did not survive the transplanting, so we're trying again.

These can get to be very, VERY, tall plants, so I figured I can tie them to the fence if I need to

We hope to get sunflower seeds to share with our daughter (she has a bird that gets them as a treat sometimes)

See the string on the fence?

That is my bean lattice.

I know some folks prefer to plant bush beans, but I just don't like having to crawl around on the ground to pick them. So I've always tried to grow climbers and run them up some kind of support system.

Since we're planting all along the back fence this year, beans seemed like the right thing to put against it.

We planted yellow wax and green beans, and I only used about half of the seeds. I may run a similar lattice along the side fence and plant beans there too.

(and if all of these do well I'll be learning how to freeze them and maybe pickle them too)

We still have peppers and eggplant and cucumber plants to put in, and squash and corn seeds to plant, but when we got this much done it started raining on us, so we decided to go in the house. Maybe late today we'll be able to get back to it.

Gardening makes me think of my Mammy and Pappy (my mother's parents). When I was a child they had a huge garden. I can remember a lot of summers when a lot of what we ate came out of that garden. One of my favorite pictures of Pappy in his later years was taken of him standing in the corn in his garden.

Mammy was big on poetry. I can remember her quoting it for every occassion (maybe where I got my love for words --- especially the lyrics of meaningful songs). The garden poem (as I thought of it) was "you're nearer to God in the garden than anyplace else on earth". I know now that it was a misquote, but it is still dear to my heart and really is close to what the poet meant.

Just to set the record straight, here's the full poem with the poet's credit and the oft misquoted stanza highlighted. (I have to think somewhere Mammy is smiling about this!)


God's Garden

The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.

Dorothy Frances Gurney

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This handsome sailor is my dad

He is a veteran of World War II

He went into the Navy before he finished high school

When my daughter was in college, her major was History, with a specialty in the WWII era.

She kept a copy of this picture in a frame. A lot of her friends wanted to know if they could get introduced to the cute guy.

How cool is that?

A few years ago we took my folks with us to do an art show in Springfield, MO. My dad was sitting in our booth, wearing his WWII Vet baseball cap.

A couple of young men were walking down the street and stopped to talk with him, thanking him for his service.

I can't speak for my dad, but for me just to hear that exchange was an amazing experience.

Just an individual part of what Tom Brokaw calls The Greatest Generation

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bad Neighbors















we have new neighbors down in the cul de sac from our house

I am not thrilled

this is the site that greeted me when I went out to get the newspaper this morning

he's got furniture and boxes on the porch like someone getting evicted -- wood all piled up on the grass --broken down pickup in the driveway -- tools all over the place ---

It looks awful

I'm thinking of sending a copy of this photo to the people that own the house --- and live in another state. They were always such nice neighbors, kept the yard up so nice.

This guy's turning it into a mess --- I hate to think what he's doing inside where no one can see!

Friday, May 15, 2009

the beets go on

see 'em?

The tiny little red and green leaves poking out of the dirt

that is my beet crop!

there are lots and lots of these little gems

and the ground is starting to crack along the line where we planted chard

and I spotted one little carrot sprout

YEAH!!!!

next week we'll be putting in the wax beans and some other stuff ---- neat

oh yeah, that head line? from an old Sonny and Cher song

"...The beat goes on, the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain. La de da de dee, la de da de da..."

ok, so now I'm off for 3 days to do an art show (particulars here if you want to come and visit!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

working in the fog

woke up this morning and I could swear we must have slept through the summer and we're somehow back in winter again

or maybe it's just that I'm feeling like summer will never get here! (or even spring!!)

After another weekend of cool grayness, this morning it's foggy again --- bleah!

Of course the next weekend is supposedly going to be the first nice weekend we've had in ages, which I hope means there will be people at the art show we'll be doing (the first one of the summer --- meaning tents to be put up and dealing with whatever the weather is for three days)


So just excuse me while I wander off mumbling.......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Isn't my kid sweet ---- such a cute card!

Well, we have this mutual admiration society thing going on --- I'm one of her biggest fans and she's one of mine.

Hope all of you mom's have a great day!

and all of you women that are not mom's, it's your day too for the example you set for the children of others.

Enjoy!