Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Memory

you're probably asking your self just what these two pictures have to do with each other

one of the clearest memories I have of Christmas as a child was when my day would bring home a box of chocolate cherries --

I have always loved that combination

when I was in the store the other day I spotted this bag of cherry cordial m&ms

I just couldn't resist buying a bag to check them out


I'll be buying my dad one of these for Christmas this year

(yeah, that's him, there in the sailor suit!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

thinking about new directions

yesterday we made a trip to a craft show

we went with a purpose -- to find a stone cutter who has done some work for us in the past (I had a large chunk of turquoise I want him to cut for me), and to visit with friends that we knew were going to be there

I haven't done a show in almost 2 years

and while I really can not get excited about doing outdoor summer shows, the idea of an indoor show is a possibility

while we were there I talked with several fiber artists who were doing some interesting things as well as some painters

there didn't seem to be as much jewelry as there has been in the past either, which I found rather interesting -- perhaps that craze has burned itself out

so I'm now considering the idea of doing this show next year

and taking some of my small quilted pieces as well as some of my wearables (the small, "Colorado Beach Glass" pieces, etc.)

certainly that would give me the chance to get some feedback on new stuff

it would give me someplace to perhaps sell some of the "experimental" pieces that I'm thinking about doing to learn some new techniques -- and it might generate a commission or two, which would be worth while

I will continue to think about this -- especially if the items I currently have in a store show are well received

oh yeah, and I'm thinking about MOO cards too

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Representational or abstract, original or derivative?

I'll be doing a trunk show for my local quilt guild in January, so I'm starting to think about what I will say in that hour or so that I will have

as a member of SAQA I've read with interest the recent posts on the email list about art -- the cycles of what is "in fashion" between representational art or abstract art and the whole question of doing original versus derivative work

everything we create stands on the shoulders of our experiences and our learning

like technology, art comes out of what others before us have created

I will admit that I personally like representational pieces -- for me most abstract art is like progressive jazz -- created solely for the pleasure of the person making it -- but I will admit that a piece of art that is based on something like a leaf examined so close you can see every tiny texture but blown up to cover a wall has its own abstract but recognizable form

perhaps that is my real stumbling block -- recognizing -- my brain likes to be able to put a label on what I see

Sunday, October 31, 2010

standing at the intersection of art and politics

I try to keep my art and my politics separated

and I definitely don't talk about my politics on my art blog

but in this particular case the two have intersected

this piece of art work is titled "Coexist"

it is entirely fabric, using a number of techniques

I created it for a project called The Dream Rocket where a replica of a Saturn V rocket will be covered with 24x24 inch panels all created by folks all over the country

the instruction was to create a panel that represents your dream of the future

all those little "paper doll" shaped figures on my piece are all different colors to represent every race, and the embroidered symbols are for male, female, handicapped, Islam, Buddhist, Agnostic, Jewish, Pagan, Christian, Hindu, Confucian and Shinto

the quilting over the surface consists of one word "COEXIST"

politics of late has been really, REALLY, ugly

so much hate, so many lies, so little being done to actually make things better -- I just wish we would learn to coexist

and this week we all get a chance once again to have our say in what happens in our country

are we going to just keep on screaming at each other

calling each other names

threatening each other and even hurting each other

how did we get to this place?

I went already and voted as we have early voting here

I strongly urge you to vote too

cast a vote to take us to where we can coexist!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

F a a a l l l l l i n g

just like the leaves

the money arrived in my PayPal account yesterday afternoon

this morning I spent it

I signed up for the Visioning Conference with SAQA in May


remember that mountain I was talking about standing on the edge of?

I jumped! (with the help of a healthy push)

I'm doing a happy dance here while we're in the free fall

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baby Steps

and just where will those baby steps down the path and out the gate take me?

well, let us begin by saying THANK YOU a hundred times over (or more) to my sister for her offer to help with the cost of the conference in the spring -- it is so amazing (once again) to have her do this for me

(so am I holding up my end of this deal? I'm not sure, but I try by doing what I can for other people -- and this could be a whole (LONG) post on it's own)

right after I wrote the post about the conference I also had a lengthy phone conversation with a friend in California

she has a BA in fine art and was for many years a certified teacher (she's quit renewing her license now -- she's 80 -- no more high school class rooms for her!!)

so she's teaching a group of her daughter's co-workers about art -- a little informal group of ladies that get together about once a month

I'm now "signed up" to do this class by correspondence -- during our conversation she told me what this month's assignments are as well as what they did in class

I'll be doing the work and mailing it to her, then we'll talk some more

so, I'm thinking at some point this photo may become the starting point for a small quilted piece (which will probably then get donated some where)

meantime, I've been wrestling with two opposing points of view -- can I be happy doing only a few pieces every year and continue to do them entirely by hand, or do I want to do more pieces which will mean that at least some of the work will need to be done on the machine?

or do I truly have to do only one or the other? probably this will end up being one from column A and two from column B (and with six we get egg roll?)

one of the other things I've been struggling with on the SAQA University is the whole "WIKI" thing -- I've never used one, so I'm a little hesitant about it -- but I had a conversation with my daughter in the last couple of days and I'm feeling better about it -- she had used it for a project at work and her comment was "mom, you figured out Blogger and FaceBook, you can do Wiki!"-- so I'll be jumping in to that too

and I've decided that it's time to stop being in "lurk" mode on the email list for SAQA -- if I'm going to get the answers to my specific questions, I have to ASK them (who knew?!)

look out! here I come!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

yes, I know -- it's a bumper sticker -- and it ought to be on the back of my car

this was a tumultuous summer -- the quilt I thought would be a winner at the State Fair didn't even make the final cut, while the quilt I sent off on a whim thinking there was no way a first time entrant would ever get in made it to the Hoffman Challenge National Traveling Show

over my life time I've been very, very good at starting things that require a lot of concentrated effort, but not so good at finishing them -- college for example, and the program for being a master weaver, and....and... -- you get my point

part of the issue is that I want to run before I can crawl -- I don't have a lot of patience for sitting through a class when I've already covered/learned the material somewhere else just to get the credit hours

( I taught myself to play the piano -- and to play Moonlight Sonata just by playing it over and over and over)

I also have this need to be patted on the head frequently by someone other than family -- I like being told my stuff is good -- and only more recently have I been receptive to hearing constructive critique of what I'm doing

last spring I joined the Studio Art Quilt Association -- I had seen the work of some of their members and it felt like the kind of work that I was headed toward

they have a truly awesome website that includes PDF files of every newsletter/journal they have ever printed (which I'm slowly reading my way through) and an area called The University which I am trying to figure out

they have two levels of memberships -- the artist member (pay your dues and join) and the professional artist member (PAM - where you are juried in) -- I like this idea, and I especially like the part where it talks about how to determine if you are PAM material -- I think I am, but I find I have no idea how to get to the suggested guidelines for qualifying

and there is the Visioning Project -- which is literally a mentoring program which you can sign up for and they will help you get where you want to go

I want to sign up for the Visioning Project -- and I'm afraid to sign up for it -- I don't want to fail again and I fear that although I've done some of the preparatory work that I'm actually going to be in way over my head and it would be good if that mentor was actually someone right here within visiting reach but I doubt if it will be

oh yes, and next May, right here in the state I live in, there will be a 3 day conference that is open to all SAQA members that might help get me started -- $300 -- it might well be the only such conference I can reasonably expect to ever attend since it is right here and I won't have to have a hotel or large travel expenses

so I'm standing on that edge of the mountain thinking "don't look down, don't look down", but not quite ready to leap (and thinking about trying to raise that $300!!!)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

and another thing

back in January the insurance company made the DH change what sort of meter he has to use to test his sugar levels (my rant about that is here)

at the time I was really mad that we not only had to change from a piece of equipment that was working wonderfully, but that (unlike previous meters) we had to pay a $9 copay for it

last week that new meter, purchased in January of THIS YEAR, quit working

we made the trip to get new batteries only to discover that we could buy him an entire new meter -- without a prescription or anything else -- for (you guessed it) $9!!!

obviously we decided to just do that, but it still annoys me plenty

just sayin'

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

*#$@)$&#* Insurance Companies

maybe I should just rename this blog "Rants About Insurance"

about a month ago our doctor put the DH on a new diabetes medicine

it worked great -- it is an injection he gives himself once a day, but unlike insulin, it doesn't have to be kept cold, so it doesn't cause an issue when we visit with our daughter -- and it really helped bring down his sugar levels

so, since the sample worked so well, she wrote the prescription

we took it to the pharmacy

the pharmacy informed us that the insurance company would not pay for it without "pre-authorization"

so the doctor's office did their thing and sent in the form to get it authorized

yesterday I get the "robo call" from the insurance company that the authorization has been denied

they have some other medication that they want him to use instead

like the pencil pushers in the office know anything about medicine or his condition or anything else except probably the maker of the other medication gives them a bigger kick back

to say I am not pleased would be a vast understatement!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Up Side Down Side

I entered a number of things in the State Fair this year

it's an up side down side sort of proposition

the up side is that I won many blue ribbons, some red ribbons, some white ribbons and the accompanying monetary reward

good things all
but there are "puzzlements" too

this piece for example

this piece is titled "Diva"

last year it was a finalist in a national competition by Fire Mountain Gems

3rd place in the state fair


it confirms my feeling that the category it had to be entered in is WAY too broad and if you're not doing what the judge is interested in you have less chance to take first

still, I'll accept it

this, on the other hand, I really don't understand

mostly because I have no point of reference

this was the piece I worked on for months to carry out the whole "wild about flowers" theme

lots of techniques, embellishments, hours fussing with getting the whole "framed picture" look

didn't make the cut (even though the judging sheet had good ratings)

I don't regret making it -- I learned a lot, I really like the piece

and I may consider entering it in another competition if the right opportunity presents itself

meantime, no one even got to see it except the small group of judges and whoever was there that day

and I'm wondering why the things that won the prizes did so -- I'm mostly convinced that it's just too far out of the box -- the winners were all quilts in the traditional "bed cover" mode

and I think I probably won't do anything for the "special competition" next year

these two pieces have me really excited

not only did they win ribbons this year, but when I had to opportunity to show them to the assistant curator of the Fine Arts part of the state fair, she encouraged me to enter in that area next year

so, now I just need to make time to get back to this series and get some really good work done

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I must have done something good

life moves in interesting ways

a couple of years ago our doctor had a fire in her office -- for about a year every time we saw her we joked about Dr. R's traveling medical show -- while she wound her way through insurance adjusters and rebuilding her office

when I found out what colors her new reception area was going to be I created this wall hanging specifically to go there

when I went to see her in July, I took a picture of the piece and told her that as soon as it comes home from the State Fair, it will be coming to her

she seemed really pleased

yesterday the DH had an appointment with her

while we were there we told her that we thought something in her bookkeeper's office must have been missed because I hadn't yet received a billing for my office visit

she thanked us for thinking of her welfare and said that we should count it as "Divine Intervention"

it feels like being paid twice -- doing the piece was a pleasure, and I got to experiment with a lot of techniques, and not getting that bill in the mail?


Monday, July 26, 2010

don't fence me in

it has been a frustrating week

about a month ago my neighbor told me that she wanted to replace the fence between our two properties

we had talked about it before, and originally this was not going to happen until the fall -- but she decided to do our side first, and I've given her some of the money already, with the agreement to pay as I can -- and after I see receipts

so on Thursday of last week, we went out and helped her take out the old fence -- everything except the posts, which were sunk in concrete and we needed some help with -- which we got on Friday from another neighbor and so Saturday morning when her "help" showed up, all they had to do was run a string line from back to front and put in the new posts

and since two of the three of them work for a developer here in the state, I thought we'd be ok

not so much

the post line was about as straight as my dog's hind leg

and they trampled my dahlia even though we had our trellis standing there to give them a clue and they were told about it

and they knocked down some of my garden

oh yeah, and yesterday, all of those posts came back out -- which turns out to be good from more than the "not a straight line" standpoint -- they didn't really put in enough concrete to hold in the 60 mile an hour winds we get through here when it storms -- which is why my neighbor could get them out so easily

in the process of trying to help, the DH hurt his arm, so for the rest of this week at least he won't be doing much that requires him to lift his arm -- and hopefully this won't require a visit to the doctor and more serious treatment than ice and rest

next weekend someone else will come to work on the fence

I hope they get it right this time -- we're going to our daughter's next weekend so neither of us is in the way or tempted to go tell them "you're not doing that right"

and I'm wondering just how much this is going to cost

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

another small victory and facing the inevitable

the endless saga of the medical bills continues to haunt me

on Wednesday afternoon (just 3 days shy of a year after my surgery) I got a billing from the pathology lab

not a big surprise that the envelope had arrived, I get a monthly billing as I've made an arrangement with them to pay this

the big surprise was when I opened the envelope -- and a bill that I expected to say "total due $180" said "total due $672"!!


and of course it was after 5 pm when the mail man brought this little bundle of snakes, so I couldn't do anything about it but stew until Thursday morning

so I called them, and by then I'd figured out that the difference was that for some reason they had backed out all of the payments made by the Colorado Indigent Care Program -- and I was not pleased

the person on the other end was pleasant -- and just as puzzled as I was -- she simply couldn't see anything on her computer screen that gave her any reason they had done this

she told me she would look into it

yesterday morning I talked with them again

seems they had experienced a little computer glitch and that now all of those CICP payments had been reposted and the actual balance due is $180

makes me wonder how much money they actually rake in because some folks don't watch as carefully as I do and wouldn't have challenged it

it's another small victory!

and then there is the inevitable

earlier in the year I spent some time fussing over rather or not to continue paying for the domain name for my website

I decided to do it mostly because I've had it for a long time and because I don't want someone else putting X-rated stuff on it if I give it up

the deal is, however, that if I'm going to pay for it, I really should do something with it, even if I can't see much happening with it

so I'm starting to think about what I should do with it and what "look" it should morph into next

a good idea would be great here, I just don't really have any

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What might have been

Even if you're not a country western fan, you've probably heard this song by Little Texas -- it was written more about a male/female relationship, but it can be thought about in a broader sense

I try not to think about what might have been,
Cause that was then,
and we have taken different roads.
We can't go back again,
there's no use giving in,
and there's no way to know, what might have been.

No, we'll never know....
What might have been.

so the past few weeks, since I've had access to the Studio Arts Quilt Association website, I've been reading the back issues of their publication -- clear back to 1991 -- (heh, this is not the way I usually do things, usually I just jump in and fake it, but I'm trying to get an education here -- and my $60 worth!!)

in one of those old publications (newsletter number 2, I believe) there was a write up about a huge (14 by 14 FEET) quilt that was being hung in a public building

and there has been some discussion about folks beginning with a book that was written by Ruby Short McKim and using that as a spring board to the new art quilt movement

back in the 1970s I made this quilt for my grandfather

it is based on patterns in that self-same book by Ruby Short McKim

and that 14x14 foot quilt?

it hung in the convention center of the town I was living in back then

I guess it's okay for me to wonder if I had just kept making quilts back then where my art would have gone by now

it's not too often you see clearly what another path could have been

it's even less often, if ever, that you actually get a chance to walk there too

and there's no way to know, what might have been.

no, but I'm happy to see what might be -- taking what I know now and stepping timidly onto the path --

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Beating the system

sometimes it is possible

earlier this week I received our annual analysis of the escrow account that takes care of the property taxes and insurance on our mortgage

their analysis showed that there would be a shortfall, and they wanted me to send along a check to "make up" the shortfall -- or they could just increase the monthly payment

either option is a royal pain, but the increase would be easier to deal with than coming up with a lump sum that was not planned for

and then on Friday I got the paperwork from the insurance company showing that the rates were going up - AGAIN - despite the fact that we didn't even get to put in that claim on the fence

it just hit me wrong -- what the heck?!

so yesterday I called them

why did the rate go up? because there was an increase in claims in the entire state, so they feel justified in raising my rates --

but after some whining on my part the representative on the phone told be that the company has recently started using a new method to determine what rates to charge and that using that evaluation -- basically writing a new policy with exactly the same riders, conditions, etc. -- might lower my premiums

I figured "why not" and told him I'd like to find out if that would help

(oh and while he was putting data in his computer I could hear one of his co-workers tell someone "we don't just automatically reduce a rate -- we wait until the customer asks" -- suspicious confirmed!!)

the bottom line?

the re-write is going to save me $514!

this week I'll be calling the mortgage company and asking them to re-review the escrow with the new rate in there --- I don't think I'll need to worry about the payment going up

I'm feeling good!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

little things

my mother is getting rid of things

in the process, she has been giving some of them to me to sell on eBay

and some to keep

these were Mammy's

I remember them sitting on her desk in the bedroom of the house that served as what we would call an office now days -- her desk was there in the corner, and the sewing machine was right next to it on the same wall

the sewing machine that I learned to sew on in the table that Pappy built for it

there was just enough room to scoot your chair back then there were boxes of items stacked behind -- they didn't have a basement, that room held the trunk with her childhood doll in it (and a lot more, I just don't really remember what)

its officially summer, and there is something about summer that makes me think about Mammy and Pappy

maybe it is because I spent so many summer days with them as a child --

the garden with the corn and okra

the smell of starch and hot cotton when the ironing was being done

the sound of the sprinkler running in the yard and the fan running in the house

the hot concrete of the sidewalks and the cool tickle of the grass on my bare feet

I recognize now the work that summer was -- I am now the age that Mammy was when I was four years old -- I see her in my mind that way, and I marvel that I am now that old and still feel in ways like I am four

yes, it is the little things -- Mammy collected those little vases -- and I had forgotten about them until my mother pulled them out of a box of dishes

and they go well with a collection of little vases I've gathered on my own

full circle

Friday, June 04, 2010

heart broken and enraged

the pictures that are coming out of the Gulf of Mexico are heart breaking

birds being killed by the horrible thick sludge that has been gushing out of the BP well for 46 days now

we've seen devastation on the Gulf Coast before, but that was from the storms and there was something we felt we could do -- like donate to an organization that was working there --

but this?

this is murder most foul -- being done to the wetlands and the birds and the sea animals by a giant international corporation

who most likely will not even begin to do what they have promised -- make the area "whole" again

because they can't

no one knows how, especially those who are responsible for this "accident"

how many miles and miles of wetlands and beaches will be unusable for months or years or decades?

how many species of plants or animals will simply cease to exist because of this

and what of the human suffering?

the financial ruin (as if those folks hadn't had enough of that) and the illnesses that are sure to follow the exposure to all that petroleum and all those chemicals in the water

and the families of the eleven men who were killed by this "accident"

I'm angry, really angry, about this whole mess -- and truly sad that a close look at this through reality's eye seems that there is nothing any of us "mere mortals" can do to make it better

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

can you hear me now?

mumbling that is

on Monday we had wind -- as in BIG WIND -- 68 mile an hour gusts

and that fence that needed replacing -- heh, obviously our "patch" applied the last time is not going to hold it until later in June when we might have had some help doing the work

so here's the picture of what the wind did -- totally broke off the fence post right there at the top of the stairs and took the whole panel down into the yard behind us (oh look, there's a fire hydrant right there in case we ever needed to know)

since I already had a metal mesh nailed to the posts back there for my peas to climb up at least I didn't have to worry about the dog getting out of the yard
so yesterday, when the wind finally slowed a bit, we went out to examine the situation close up

we took out pry bars and hammers and the limb saw and took apart the panel that had been laying on the ground

of about 25 fence boards, I was able to salvage 10 that we will reuse when we put the fence back up

the panels on either side of the one that is down will also have to be rebuilt, but you can see our "props" there holding things together temporarily

the broken post is the only one we will have to replace, which is good news -- so the shopping list is only 2x4s and cement and fence boards

and we'll be doing this a little at a time since we're doing the work alone -- at least I have the money to do it thanks to a generous gift from my sister (pulled my butt out of the fire AGAIN!)

I was thinking yesterday as I was pulling the nails out of those fence boards that the outdoor work, like fencing, was about the only thing we didn't do ourselves when we remodeled the house we lived in in California -- guess that's why I'm getting to learn how here ---


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mammy and the molasses

A while back someone reminded me that there are a lot of stories that Mammy (my grandmother on my mother's side) told me that no one else who is still around knows.

She used to tell me a story when I'd go to bed at night -- sitting on the side of the big tall bed (the one that lives at my house now), in the dark with just a little light coming in from down the hall, and she'd talk about her girlhood -- where they lived and what their life was like

So I've decided that every so often it would be good for me to share these stories, and it's interesting that in a lot of rural areas nothing has changed about how this is done
In the fall, after the harvest, they would make molasses

She would talk about taking the cane and putting it in a big long pan over the fire

She described the pan as having little "doors" between the dividers in the pan, saying "the cane went into one end to cook and by the time it had been moved and pushed down the pan to the last section it was molasses"

Since she said cane and I had seen sugar cane in the grocery store occasionally, I thought that was what they were growing

I realize now that it was actually one of the varieties of sorghum -- they were making sorghum molasses -- they used it to sweeten cooking and to spread on bread -- they didn't keep bees, they had sorghum

Her story makes the process sound easy, it really takes hours and hours of work even before the cane can go into the pan to start cooking.

Those must have been sweet memories indeed for her, and it must have been before she was 14 years old, because her father died in 1910 when she was 14.

(NOTE: this post is being written on May 18, 2010 --- EXACTLY 100 YEARS after his death -- and no, I didn't plan that!!)

No wonder there was always a jar of molasses at Mammy's house -- and I learned to love it -- just stir it together with a little butter and spread it on a piece of warm toast

sweet indeed

Sunday, May 09, 2010

what if?

two really big words those --- just six letters, but the question forms a huge open space to consider infinite possibilities

sometimes this is a bad thing --

what if I fall down the stairs?
what if the fence falls down?
what if something bad happens?

those kind of what ifs have been a constant fiber in my life, and in a way I battle with them every day -- just some days more consciously than others

but more recently I've been thinking about what if in a more positive way

what if I try putting that fabric with that fabric
what if I print that rubber stamp on that print fabric
what if I use beads on this piece -- or embroidery -- or markers
what if I try to talk my artist friend into doing a collaborative piece of art

part of this more recent "what if" thought is because I've been looking at the websites of other artists in the last couple of weeks

looking at their work and thinking "wow, how did they do that" or "how did they come up with that idea?" followed with "what if I tried ___" (fill in the blank with many things there)

at least it is more positive "what if" thought!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Mother's Day Present a week early

my daughter has a beautiful soprano voice

it is one of the things I most miss now that she is married and has a home of her own

I loved listening to her sing when she was at home

she's been working with a teacher near where she lives

this weekend was their Spring Recital

and for the first time since 2001 I got to hear her perform


what a great mother's day present -----

encore! encore!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the doctor will see you now?

there's been a lot of discussion the last week or so about bartering

back before we had a health care system (or big insurance), this was an accepted way to get things

course this was back in the day when they used ether on a rag over your face and took out your tonsils on the kitchen table

but I'm wondering what I might possibly be able to barter with to get some of those medical bills paid down

oh yeah, and how many chickens would it take to get a fence repaired?


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

home owners insurance isn't what it used to be

ok, you'd think that wouldn't be a big surprise

after all it is an insurance company and since I've had lots of experience with health insurance companies, why did I expect any thing different?

time was when you had a piece of a fence blow down they'd come out and take a look and say "yup, this fence needs to be replaced" and write an estimate for the entire job

but those days are gone

they took a look, estimated for only the portions that actually came down, took off the "depreciation" then took the deductible

the bottom line is that I told them to just withdraw the claim -- I don't want it on my insurance history when it isn't going to pay us anything


just one more thing to try to work into the budget

Sunday, April 18, 2010

and it's heigh ho off to the fair

the health fair, that is

I went this morning

driving through the fog at 7:15 on a Sunday morning

at least I had a pretty good idea where I was going!

by 8:45 I was all done

blood work done -- the gal doing this job was GREAT -- kudos to her, since I'm a hard one to get blood from (haven't I said you can't get blood from a turnip!?) results will take about 4 weeks

bone density scan done -- a new experience for me -- in this case we get instant results, and this could have been better -- I'm on the low side of normal for my age -- guess I have to try to remember to take more calcium supplements since drinking more milk is definitely NOT going to happen -- can't stand the bloat

stop off at the Susan G Komen booth -- and get totally angry that I'm still making payments on the bill for having my mammogram done since it turns out I would have qualified to have it done for free -- have I mentioned lately that I think the health care system in this country is seriously screwed up

truth is I'm not looking forward to getting the results on this year's blood work -- after last year's tests my doctor told me I should occasionally test my blood sugar since those levels were a little high last year

confession time: I haven't done that -- it's just a pain to have to share equipment with someone else, and I don't think of it first thing when it should be done

add to that having not done much of anything in the form of exercise since about this time last year when I started having the problems that ended in my surgery and now having issues doing much walking because it bothers my knee

well, I'm just not looking forward to being told AGAIN that the magic elixir is exercise -- yeah, right, how would you suggest I do that

I know -- it's the same story and the definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results -- but I just haven't ever been good at exercising, and there's really nothing of that stuff that I enjoy, so it really is like drudgery

so add in the guilt factor too

ok, I'm done whining for today

I think

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

waiting for the other shoe - er, fence - to drop

why is it that just when I'm thinking "yes, I can handle what's happening" life throws me another little reminder that I have absolutely no control over anything

I've been moving along, trying to keep the finances in order so that I could come up with small amounts to do painting, etc., so we can put the house on the market

feeling pleased that I was whittling away at the medical bills

yeah, right

this month I blew that up by needing to have a tooth pulled -- a $240 expense that was totally unplanned and also totally ate up the little amounts I'd been setting aside for six months

and the day before yesterday I got the final determination on yet another lab bill from last summer's surgery -- right, the whole bill -- another $492 -- is entirely my responsibility

nothing like feeling like you're going backwards

so yesterday afternoon I was going to let the dog out into the yard and looked out to see this

yup, the wind had knocked down two sections of the fence -- actually broke off the post in the center of that section right at the ground

lovely, this wasn't even a section of the fence that we were planning on working on -- it had looked fine until yesterday

so great

strike any ideas of getting anything done INSIDE the house -- we're going to have to do something about the fence

I'm trying to figure out who to call about the possibility of putting in a claim on our homeowner's insurance -- except I can't even remember who that is since it's paid by the mortgage company, I never even see a bill --

and knowing we have a $1000 deduct able, but it might get us enough to buy materials

but what will it do to our premiums -- and so our house payment -- afterwards

oh, yes, and there's still that other section of fence, the one with multiple patches, that we're watching


some days I'd really like to not be an adult any more

or to just run away from home

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

are we out of focus here?

over on my studio blog someone commented the other day that they didn't know how I could work on so many different things at once.

it's that whole issue of focus

as in, I have a very hard time doing that

and thus has it ever been -- in fact it is that inability to focus continuously on one thing that has brought me to realize that I will never write the world's great novel

writing anything longer than a letter to a friend or a blog post requires more focus than comes naturally to me, and at this point in my life I don't see the advantage to it

I want to try things

lots of things that have to do with art

which means one successful project leads to experimenting with another -- then another -- until what the original project was is completely lost but I've found half a dozen others that are successful too

I've learned over the past two or three years to stop beating myself up about that

not that I don't regret from time to time not having focused while I was in the corporate world -- if I'd done that I might have an income and (gasp!) maybe even health insurance now

but then as now, I didn't have the patience for the "ordinaryness" of it -- once I'd done it once, I wanted to move on to something else -- not do the same thing over and over and over

the one place I was able to focus was in trying to keep my daughter on track -- food on the table, roof over the head and telling her not to make my mistakes --- I think I did a pretty good job of that (not to brag on myself here, but she's pretty damned awesome!)

so, about this time of year I think about this whole issue (my birthday's coming, what have I accomplished, blah, blah, blah)

this year I'm feeling okay with that

I'm making art, we're surviving financially -- at least for today, and right now neither one of us has any new major health issues -- its a whole new definition of success

I'll take it

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


we've been counted

our form arrived in the mail yesterday

it took us about 10 minutes (just as advertised)

as someone who has done family history, I can tell you that this census asks for almost no information

from the questions you will have no idea 70 years from now (when it will be available to family history searchers) what we did for a living or where we were born or even if we were citizens of the USA

pretty small information for future family history

but it is important none the less

when you get yours, spend the 10 minutes, send it in (you don't even need a stamp!)

don't make the census workers have to come and knock on your door (consider that your contribution to helping the cost of taking the census a little less)

just DO IT!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1000 Posts Give Away

Over on my other blog, I have posted 1000 times (how amazing is that!?)

To celebrate, I'm giving away this piece of my hand made Rocky Mountain Beach Glass jewelry

You can use this link to hop on over and see more about it and enter to win.

(Come on, you know you want to!)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Confessions of a 3rd generation pack rat

it is truly scary what a mess one can create when one lives in the same place for 8 years at a stretch

we've lived in this house for longer than I've lived in any one place my entire adult life

and there are two other bad things happening here --- I don't like to clean -- the kitchen and bathrooms are clean enough to be healthy, other parts of the house, well, you can walk through there

and the DH is not a cleaner either (guess that's my job)

and he collects stuff too -- maybe worse than I do

so there you are

but we really want to put our house on the market, which means I need to get it ready

so I'm starting in this room, a bedroom that at one time had a bed and a dresser and a desk and a bookcase and a bench in it -- and now all of that furniture (except the bench) is in my daughter's house, so this became the place to stash stuff

and last year at this time I had a table and grow lights in there so we could get seeds started for the garden

and I'm not leaving that color on the walls

which is why these paint chips came home from the hardware store and they are on the carpet in there so I can pick a very pale color to paint it

I'd like to get this done in the next week or so then get this room "staged" and move on to the next one

not really my favorite thing to do all the way around, so I'm trying to think about the creative side of the project

oh yeah, a lot of that "stuff" in this room is going to be going to eBay, so I'll be putting up notices about that here, just in case you might want some of the goodies that are stashed here

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Do I or Don't I?

The bill arrived yesterday for the renewal of my domain name

Last year because I didn't know if I wanted to keep the website up I only renewed it for a year thinking that would give me enough time to figure out where it was going

uh, right -- or not

so here we are again, trying to figure out if it's worth the cost of keeping the domain name registered and paying the monthly hosting fees

or should I just let it die

I'm thinking about it

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the better to see you with

I finally gave in and went to the eye doctor

after almost 2 years of "making do" using one pair of glasses to read and do close work and another older pair to drive or just walk around

it had gotten to the point that I was taking the glasses off entirely to work on beading projects which meant I couldn't see anything clearly that was more that 10 inches away

so you're asking -- why wait?

well, here's the deal -- these are bifocals -- but because the first bifocals I ever wore were "progressives", my attempt with the last pair to adjust to wearing the kind that have lines was a complete failure -- I just never could get used to there being only two clear fields of vision -- things very far away and things very close -- but nothing in between

but here's the real deal -- while the vision insurance plan that we have will pretty much cover all of the cost of bifocals that have lines, they don't do likewise for progressives

and why is that? well, because progressives are EXPENSIVE!

and the bigger the difference between the correction for distance vision and close up vision, the more expensive they are

so even with our very good vision insurance program, these cost me almost $400 (it would have been almost $800 without the insurance)

OUCH! so this is why I've put it off and put it off

shall we say the budget took a major hit this month for this -- I hope I won't have to do this again for at least a couple more years

oh yeah, and we still need to get what the DH needs too, but we'll have to work that into the budget another time -- after we put tires on the car

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Doing what I can

which, at this particular moment, doesn't seem like much

for the past couple of years I have participated in knitting of mittens (also known as Mittnz) that have gone to the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota

I came upon this activity in wanting somehow to "give back" to the world around me because I am grateful for what I have been given

and truthfully, even this activity would not be as possible as it is except that my sister is very generous with her yarn stash and has kept me in materials to create these out of

last night I was listening to a TV program and they were talking about the heavy snows in South Dakota, and that the people on the Cheyenne River Reservation have been without power for more than 10 days

wait! my feeble brain was brought up by the short hairs --- what? 10 days!!

they must be sleeping in those mittens!!

not only is it cold, but there is the whole issue of even having water to drink!

you can use this link to learn more about this crisis

you can use this link to donate a little bit to help them

I'll be knitting more mittnz

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Radio Silence

I may be off line for a while

attempts to correct the problems with my desk top computer have resulted in it's total inability to see my printer or my scanner or my zip drive

since it is tax time and I desperately need to be able to use those things I will be focusing my energies on trying to find a suitable work around

see you on the other side

Saturday, January 30, 2010

trying to change history

I bought this book for my son in law this week

the last few times we've been up to visit he has been working on some very cool charcoal drawings

and my daughter is a smart girl

she is encouraging his artistic side

and so am I

I didn't learn until I was much older than he is that it is not a good idea to suppress the inner artist

go for it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

one more example of why health insurance is so expensive

last year we got a notice from my husband's insurance company that they would no longer pay for the particular brand of the glucose test strips that he had been using for years

you know, the brand that fit in the testing meter he ALREADY HAS

no, now the insurance company is in cahoots with Walmart

we had to decide: he could continue to use what he has been using and have to pay more for the test strips; or we could ask his doctor to write a new prescription for a new test meter and the new strips (which, by the way, are available to us only by either mail ordering them or buying them at Walmart)

so, because in the end it is the test strips that add up in price, we had the doctor write the script and I sent it off for him

the package arrived yesterday

and for the first time in the 15+ years that he has been dealing with this condition, we have been billed for part of the price of the meter

a meter that we didn't even want to get

because you know he has that perfectly good meter

but of course if he kept using the original meter, we would very quickly spend a whole lot more than what we've been billed

but the wastefulness of the whole thing just bugs me

and the collusion

I'm thinking of calling and pitching a fit about it

just because I'll feel better getting it off my chest

Friday, January 22, 2010

the end of life as we knew it

in all the howling this week about how the election of a Republican to the Senate in Massachusetts was going to kill the hope of a real health care reform bill, we almost missed the even more ominous event yesterday

the Supreme Court -- the one that Bush loaded up with conservative idealogs -- decided that we no longer need to be governed by a democracy

nope, the corporations can now spend as much money as they like to elect the candidates they like

if you've ever worked for a bad boss, you've had a small taste of what this will be like

forget about affordable health care -- and if you think the scare tactics of the summer's discussions of "death panels" were bad, just wait -- the health insurance companies will decide who gets health care -- because they will own the representatives in congress

forget about being able to get a loan if you have a small business -- the bank will decide who gets their money -- because they will own the representatives in congress

get used to $4 a gallon gas -- or $5, or $10 -- the oil companies will decide what the price will be -- because they will own the representatives in congress

you want to put solar panels on your roof to cut your power bill and help clean the air -- forget about it -- that's going to cost you big time to the power company -- because they will own the representatives in congress

you think taxation on the middle class is bad now -- just wait -- the middle class will soon cease to exist under the new taxation while the rich will get the tax breaks -- because they will own the representatives in congress

perhaps we'll just avoid the whole voting thing --- we won't need to have Senators from Arkansas and Washington and Texas and Minnesota -- instead we'll have Senators from Walmart and MicroSoft and Halliburton and United Health Care

if you want to read (or listen to) Keith Olbermann's Special Comment about this issue, use this LINK

if you want to read about Alan Grayson's petition, use this LINK

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Show stewing

I know, it sounds like a new weird food, like maybe I've posted this on the wrong blog and it really belongs over there in Hattie's Kitchen


what I'm talking about is the unresolved "what do I do with these" thing that happened after I decided that I'm basically "Done" doing bears

I mean I have tubs and tubs of these critters still

and I can't donate them anywhere that they might end up in a kid's hands because they ARE NOT TOYS -- being that they have glass eyes and all

so I'm thinking that after we get done with all the "de-Christmasing" I may start putting them out on eBay at VERY reasonable prices and see if I can find them new homes

and there is still that lingering "why couldn't I ever get the selling of these right?" thing, but I'm trying to forget about that

so, now I'm thinking about shows with the newer stuff that we're doing

I'm thinking "in State" this year --- by the time I get all the "must be paid" things done every month there just isn't much to send off as a show fee (and then of course one must be able to actually get TO the show, and sleep and eat someplace en route and during, and all without being able to count on selling even one. little. tiny. item.)

ok --- 'nuf said

is the stewing done yet?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

wherein the winged monkeys stay caged

I can not wait for all of the almost $4K of doctor/hospital/lab bills to be paid off -- which of course at the agreed to payment amounts will be sometime in 2012 (barring any more incoming bills, any other major illnesses, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah)

on Saturday I got the monthly statement on one of the bills and it had two lines on it showing reduction of the bill but with the words "Bad Debt Adj"


so of course I got to fret and stew about it until yesterday morning when I could actually call and find out just exactly what was going on --- especially since the statement also recorded each and every one of my payments!

this was the bill that when I called about making a payment arrangement back in September they told me they had several matching programs that I might qualify for and had me do a boatload of paperwork and then I never heard anything back except the phone call in December where they told me they would no longer accept what I had been paying but needed a larger amount starting in January

first thing yesterday morning I called -- and while I was ready to be reasonable, I figured they better have a fast explanation or I was going to loose the winged monkeys

turns out that I did indeed qualify for the matching program -- in fact, for every $50 I pay they are going to write off $50

unfortunately, they program will note it with the obnoxious "bad debt adj" thing -- but they are not reporting me to credit agencies for it (which was my fear), and it means I will actually get this one paid off in half the time I thought it would take

ok, I can live with that

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

First "Pet Peeve" of 2010

let me say first that I have been a knitter for about 50 years, since the very first time I was introduced to it by my grandmother

my grandfather worked for the post office back in the 1950s -- in the days when packages and bundles of mail were tied together with white string (remember the line in the song "brown paper packages tied up with string" -- like that!)

anyway, he would bring chunks of that string home in his uniform pants pockets

I can remember helping tie the string together and rolling it into big balls

so, my grandmother taught me to knit with that stuff --- simple things first --- like dish rags made up of rows and rows of just plain knit stitch, the more knots the better because they added to the scrubbing power of the thing

after that I knit for my dolls, and graduated to sweaters and other "big" projects

like I said, I've been doing this a while

so of course, as I've been involved in the blog world, I've read the blogs of fellow knitters and LOVED them --- savoring their pictures, sympathizing with their solving of knitting problems, joining their knitting causes (knitting mittens that go to an Indian reservation for instance)

lately though my ability to "join the group" has been stymied by the fact that I'm not a member of "the group"

a while back someone came up with "Ravelry" and now those folks that are "in" belong to it and post their pictures there

ok, they want to be "exclusive" I guess, but it annoys me mightily that now instead of posting a link from their blogs to someplace that I can see their pictures, they are posting a link to Ravelry

folks, either you want to share with the rest of us or you want to share only with your little "in" group

I wish you wouldn't tease the rest of us lowly mortals

Monday, January 04, 2010

Be afraid

or not

in the last couple of days I've been catching up on reading of blogs of folks that I used to read every day

I haven't been doing that quite so much lately as I've been busy with my own "stuff" and instead of making myself and the DH quite so crazy have decided to get to those when I can and not stress about it

funny how we can create our own stress

what I've noticed, being not so much right on top of the daily postings, is a common thread that ties us --- change

one writer's husband had a major heart issue during the year; one went through radiation therapy for cancer; one had major surgery of her own; one has had some major issues that she has not revealed, but that have changed her life; one lost her husband

there have been changes in my life too, and changes to come

just because you decide to make that change does not necessarily make it easy

or keep you from feeling overwhelmed

I've been receiving applications to do art shows (both in the mail and by email) and I'm wondering how that will all work this year -- basically last year we did no shows -- mostly because of my medical issues -- and this year the financial commitment of them frightens me -- so who knows

meantime, I'm trying to not be afraid

change will come rather I'm ready or not, so I might as well try to embrace it and make it a friend instead of creating an enemy