Monday, April 30, 2007

Don't bend over in the garden, Granny. . . You know them taters got eyes!

In honor of all of you who are getting gardens started for the summer, here's a Mother Earth goddess and stand. You notice I don't have a garden picture to share with you? Well, of course not, since I have whatever is the opposite of a green thumb! However, since my mom does have a green thumb, I grew up knowing about all that stuff. See? "All that stuff"-- it just came out of my brain exactly like that, lumping all the nuances of gardening and tending Mother Nature's beautiful plants into one big blob of knowledge, not acknowledging all the finer points of plant care. I suck at it, that's why. Every year, I smell the newly turned earth as the farmers and gardeners prepare the soil, and every year, I take a deep breath and sigh. How wonderful to grow your own food, to raise crops that feed animals, to tend luscious flowers that grace your landscape!

. . . and then, thankfully, before I can get down the road to the nursery or into town to Wal-Mart or Lowe's for a big pile of sweet, colorful flowers to plant in pots on the patio, thankfully, I remember dropping endless rows of cut up potatoes, hoeing corn in the field (yes, Mother, I'm pretty sure we hoed the field corn at least one summer), picking green beans, you name it and we probably did it. Alright, Mother, before you read any further, you know I love your flowers and I've certainly come to appreciate your garden! You guys should see Ma and Pop's gigantic yard in the middle of summer:
  • petunias overflowing from whiskey barrel halves, not just a couple of them, but a row beside the parking spot
  • impatiens lining a good 2-3 foot border on the shady side of the house, plus sometimes they join some hostas right there by the big maple tree
  • lilies! oh my gosh, lilies of all colors and sizes! this has to be one of my favorite things my mom has added to her outdoor plant repetoire!
  • clematis climbing a trellis or two
  • marigolds somewhere, almost always, maybe just a row in the garden, but they will be present without a doubt
  • hostas and elephant ears-- gigantic dark purple elephant ears dressing up the old bulldozer
  • Grandma's roses-- don't know that I've ever called them anything other than that. They started at my dad's mom's house, but after all these years and the way they have multiplied, maybe they ought to be called Clarabelle's most lovely smelling and pretty roses ever! You should see them, old fashioned profusions of dark-lilac-with-a-hint-of-dark-pink petals around a small yellow center, with a profusion of good scent, too!
  • who knows yet what else there will be, you'll just have to stop by and see for yourself

Okay, see there?? I do notice and appreciate all those flowers! And I didn't even start on a list of all the good things that come from the garden every year. I love to put out flowers myself, and I have a pretty good eye for design when I do set them out. But after that? Water them? Oops, forgot to check, I mean, really, we had rain last week sometime. Weed them? Who can remember such a thing except when you're on your way out of the house in a hurry and notice that big weed taking over a pot? Don't want to have to run back inside to get the green stain and weedy smell off your hands, you're in a hurry. See what I mean? It's better that I just appreciate other people's flowers, take pictures, even talk plants, but not put out any myself because they'll somehow end up neglected. So, now that I've convinced you that I do love greenery, let me tell you what flashes back into my mind as soon as I contemplate having a garden myself. Oh, and you have to remember this is filtered through my brain after almost 3 decades. Oh, oh, and don't forget, I was not (and probably still not) an bonafide lover of the outdoors. Ready? Here we go with my gardening memories:
  • Pickles from a jar have nothing in common with the cucumbers they were made from, just trust me on this one. Pickles are sweet and smooth and twisting the jar open is the worst thing about them. Cucumbers, on the other hand, are prickley and the vines kinda scratch and if you get up really early so it's not so hot while you're picking that half acre of cukes then the dew and the dirt just add to the prickley, nasty, sweaty, dirty mess. But, at least when you're done, you can take a bath and go do something else, right? Wrong. That Vlasic stork ain't gonna swoop down over your house and pick up all those cukes! Now, you gotta take them to the pickle station in the middle of the boondocks and sit in that hot car and wait your turn to unload. I'm sure we entertained ourselves, and I'm pretty sure Mother brought along almost frozen Cokes to drink while we waited. . . but that's not the part I remember.
  • Tobacco cannot be worth the trouble to smoke if you ever have to raise it yourself. Truly, if we wanted to stop people from smoking, all we'd have to do is say, "Okay, have at it, but you gotta grow your own." Now, tobacco used to be a big cash crop where I grew up, and tobacco paid for a lot of extra goodies as we were growing up. I don't like smoking because it'll kill ya, plain and simple (except it won't be a plain and simple death, it'll be a slow and ugly one). But if the statistics and the hacking/wheezing of any smokers you know won't convince you that tobacco is evil, then maybe you should grow some one year. First, ya gotta sow a seed bed. You pull lots of plants from it once they are big enough, then set them out using a tobacco setter that keeps droning along as the tractor runs up and down the rows. Oh, yeah, the plants have dirt on their roots that dangles off slowly on your lap if you're the setter, and the water dumped along the row as you go helps ensure that feet and legs are coated with mud and dirt. Great, they're planted, now to sit back and wait until it's time to roll up a big cigar. . . not! There's hoeing, and a little bit of hilling, and weeding, and spraying, and suckering (now, there's a nasty job), and cutting and stripping and. . .then you might roll something up to puff on.
  • Ah, the potatoes! Potatoes plants grow from cut up potatoes that are beginning to sprout. The places where these sprouts will come out of the skin are called "eyes". My mother always insisted that we turn the eye part of a piece of seed potato upward when we dropped it in the row to plant. Now, this adds to the time it takes to drop the seed potatoes down five or six endless rows (our gardens were never small plots, always huge as in half-to-whole-or-more acre size). I hated that part and was convinced it was made up "busy work" to keep us occupied even longer. Then, in my thirties, I casually mentioned my mom's garden to Mr. Stuckey one day. Mr. Stuckey must be approaching 75 or 80, and I figured he wouldn't mind sharing his gardening secrets, namely the secret to growing potatoes. Guess what he said? "Gotta make sure them eyes are turned up when you plant them, or you won't get nothing."
So, if you're a granny and you still wear dresses, don't forget one of my favorite quotes from the South's best columnist ever, the late Lewis Grizzard: "Don't bend over in the garden, Granny! You know them 'taters got eyes."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spiderman & a Princess in the backyard

Wow, when I looked at this pic, the way the kids were running into the shadow makes it look like I photo-shopped the pic to put them in a park like setting. . . I have no clue how to do that kind of stuff, so you can rest assured that is our own backyard! It's just such a pretty spring day here, you wouldn't believe how bright the colors are today. Of course, we had to come in after a while because Spiderman informed us he needed to rest for a minute. Must have had something to do with chasing his sister the princess all over the yard for at least half an hour. Hope your Saturday is just as wonderful!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Well, If Frieda Could See This. . . I just don't know what she'd think!

This morning, someone made me think about the couple of years I spent working in a nursing home. Oh, it seems like a lifetime ago, but those people will always be with me. Now, if the elderly gentlemen in the Men's Club got a gander at that bead on the left, they'd blush and wheel those wheelchairs away just as fast as possible. But, if Frieda were still around, I think she and I would have some interesting discussions about my glass art. Frieda would not talk to anyone from the Activity Department when I first started working at the nursing home. Of course, since I was new, the bosses decided I should get the "opportunity" to do social visits with her. We were a pretty upbeat, positive group, but Frieda was not interested in talking to us or stringing beads on a string or listening to music or anything else. She was mad at the world, or at least at those of us inhabiting her world at the time. Me? I was determined to do my job, and being new on the job couldn't just give up. So, I made my trek to Frieda's room at least three times each week. First, I told her I had to. . . now, she did have a right to refuse services, but she didn't kick me out. She told me she reckoned I could sit down, but she hardly uttered a word while I was there. Shoot, when I was a kid and the neighbors got mad at us, we would smile and wave at them everytime we saw them. I was frustrated, but this grumpy woman was not gonna keep me from finding out what she'd done in life, how she'd gone blind, where she grew up, you name it. In fact, at first, I think I probably peppered her with those kinds of questions. When she didn't answer or grunted a terse "yes" or "no", I'd just rattle on about my own life. If I'd asked her where she grew up and gotten a single syllable answer, I'd start telling her all about Kentucky and living in the country. Eventually, she couldn't resist. She'd been a country girl herself, and she could teach me a thing or two! She did, too. I can't remember all the things she told me about, but I do remember that she was a pretty resourceful wife and mother. The most important thing Frieda taught me was to appreciate the beauty in life. Before long, we were visiting and talking a mile a minute. . . and then she told me a little about going blind. She hadn't always been blind, so she remembered so many things in her mind's eye that her real eyes could no longer see. I became her eyes three times a week. If I asked her to come to the Activity room and join us for an art project, she'd decline in one breath and in the next breath say, "But tell me what you're going to do this time! Describe the colors like you do, and tell me all about it." If I saw some pretty flowers at the apple orchard, she needed to know exactly what color those mums were from the center of the flower to the outer edges of the bloom. My best day ever at the nursing home? Had to be the day we marched in the Pumpkin Parade (I think that was it) and Frieda and I wore matching jester/harlequin satin costumes as I pushed her wheelchair along with the rest of the group. Well, there were other wonderful days, but that one does rank awfully high on the list if it's not number one. I moved away, but someone called me when Frieda died. Some people like to send somber, muted color flowers for a funeral. Not me, at least not for Frieda. She and I had loved color together, and I ordered the brightest color flowers possible from the flower shop. I heard they were very eye-catching, and her daughter sent word that the message was definitely appreciated. There are other people I remember from those days, but today, I just wanted to celebrate Mrs. Frieda-- and I do wish she were still around because she'd love to talk glass (even if it involved naughty "nekkid" women beads)!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Mommy Recliner

Did ya wonder what happened to me yesterday? No post all day long, and it wasn't even the weekend? Aw, nothing exciting going on here in the flatlands, just hanging out. I tried to
make a bead or two, but my light burnt out in the middle of the first one. I would not recommend torching without a light right there at your workspace. Yes, yes, I know, what about the light from that huge flame spurting out of the torch? Well, it actually creates a huge shadow in contrast, so that you can see much of the details of what you are doing. Gonna try again today, but right now I'm trying to write this while simultaneously spelling the names of all of Mickey Mouse's friends. Before this, we went to town in search of parachute toys which are nowhere to be found when you actually want to find them.

We had to sit outside and enjoy the spring weather, too. That's where the Mommy Recliner comment comes into today's title. Kate is the child who has been trying to return to the womb since her birth, so Mommy is her favorite piece of furniture. We sat on one of the patio chairs, feet up on the deck rail (rented house, they plan to re-do the whole thing, not just paint), and looked at the clouds moving across the sky. The farmer just disked and sprayed that field at the beginning of the week. Beautiful spring colors today, too, except the smattering of tiny brown leaves still clinging to the trees. It doesn't make sense that a late freeze would kill an entire tree, because it happens many years after the leaves start emerging, but a couple of these trees don't seem to have many new green leaves coming back. Well, I'm done spelling Mickey Mouse names but we've moved on to an imaginary food sale. . . guess I better go for now. Just wanted to say "Hi" and let ya know I didn't forget about ya! Peace, Ang

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brilliance, Joy, and Peace

Yesterday's torching brought these I Ching tiles: Brilliance, Joy, and Peace. Fire over Fire is #30, Li-- brilliance or radiance. Lake over Lake is #58, Tui-- joy. Earth over Heaven, is #11-- peace.
There are only 64 combinations, and each has a interpretation. I've got a couple of books about the I Ching. . . but they are just the gift-giving/picture book/interesting little books, and they don't have much more information than just the explanation of each of the 64 combinations. Of course, that's a lot to read in itself, but now I'm curious about how I Ching has been used in everyday life. On second thought, Taoism has been around for quite a long time, so that might make for a book that's longer than even I would like to read.
Hmmmm, can't wait to take some more pics after Kate and I take James to school. I'll post them in my gallery on

Hope your day brings moments of brilliance, lots of joy, and a sense of peace!

Monday, April 23, 2007

I have Breakfast with Elvis, and the PuppySitters play

This guy at left isn't Elvis. I just wanted to show you the pewter fan pull I found yesterday in the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart. Don't worry, it didn't come with the bead. That's one of my Buddha beads. I was wearing it as a pendant yesterday morning when I went to town. As soon as I got back to the van, I unwrapped the fan pull, undid the changeable pendant, and "slapped" them together. I put "slapped" in quotes because I discovered it isn't a simple thing to feed a wiggley piece of ball chain through a bead hole! Those little suckers defy gravity! I make most of my beads on an 1/8" mandrel, so there was room for the chain to slide through-- it just didn't want to slide. When I got that accomplished, I did a happy dance right there in the parking lot. . . as well as vowing not to remove the sucker. Now, instead of a Buddha pendant (mine), we have a Buddha fan pull (ours).

So, what happened to Elvis? I ate breakfast in the parking lot. Was the King sitting in a big Cadillac waiting for one of his boys to run inside and grab some peanut butter and bread and bananas if they had them? Not that I could tell. I did have breakfast with him, though. That was the name of the radio show I listened to on the way to town, "Breakfast with Elvis". It played lots of Elvis songs, as well as an old interview with Elvis. The King was talking about singing in Florida where the police were attending his concert to check for lewd behavior. Elvis laughed and said the only thing he could move while he sang was his upper lip-- no Elvis the Pelvis dancing at that concert. Wow, what a change in the last four or five decades, huh?

Okay, the PuppySitters. Katie found two of her poodle stuffed animals this weekend. You've probably seen little girls carrying these things around in a purse. They are kind of cute, but definitely girly. Now, if you remember, my son James is the little boy who refused to get in the bathtub one night until I removed "all of those naked Barbies of Katie's!" He thinks he should not like anything pink or purple, let alone anything remotely related to any girls except Mommy or Grandma or maybe Katie. Well, I think he's slowly adjusting to the fact that there are girls in the world. Plus, he really wants a puppy. Yesterday, when we went outside he and Kate each had a poodle to carry. Don't worry, though, he's still all boy, as he reassured me that "It's okay, Mom. I'm just puppysitting for Kate." Well, I'm glad he thought of that, because he and Kate then played for a looooooooong time, carrying those poodles around the yard and exploring.

Hope your week finds you doing whatever it is you'd like to try. . . and if it's something you don't think you ought to like, well, maybe you just need to do some "puppysitting" a la James. Happy Monday, Peace, Ang

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Uh-huh, the kids and the cats all had to help me decorate my deskpad last night! It was so nice outside yesterday evening. James and Kate wanted to play outside, and I needed something to do out there, too. So, I got the bright
idea to make a fresh page on my deskpad. . . Now, if you know me at all, you have an idea how
much I love paper and pens and just having a new notebook. Nerdy, but true. I also don't like to share my goodies. Sad,
but, once again, true. I'll happily give James and Kate sheets of this big paper, but sometimes, Mommy just wants to doodle on a whole sheet by herself. Ah, once you have children, you never do anything by yourself again. This would be both good and bad, and true, so true. So, I got a corner of my paper, and James and Kate drew some wonderful pictures of the cats on the rest of the page. Moochie helped out by posing a safe distance away from all of us. Meaty-head helped out by sitting on the paper! Yep, "you wanna color this spot, you gotta pet me first". Persistent cat, that one. . . I think the lines of Kate's monster king in the middle actually followed the curve of Meaty-Head's tail since he wouldn't move :)

So, what was I going to fill all that space with by myself, anyway?? Not sure, I just was thinking about summertime coming, goals and things to do, and how to fit those in with the Mommy role. Here's the deal-- until they both start school this fall, there will be very few uninterrupted spans of working time. For someone who always prided herself on being a great employee and actually working when at work, this causes some frustration. . . but what "they" say is true. They say: Enjoy them when they're little, because they grow up quickly and will be on their own before you know it. They are right. So, here's to my overall goal for now: Hug a couple of kids, watch with delight as their own artistic skills grow, hang out on the patio with said children (and furry "kids"), and squeeze in some glass here and there! Oops, gotta go. Gotta check out the coloring Katie just finished on the deskpad, and James is looking for more of the bunny and chick confetti from Grandma's package this week! Have a terrific Sunday, guys!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Good, the Potentially Troublesome, and Manties??

These make me happy.

She's going to cause me trouble.

And that just might sum up my day so far. Only 9a.m., so the jury is out on whether it will be good or bad. Just like the beads that came out of the kiln this morning, though, there's good and then there's potential for hassles. See, I got up early to clean up the kitchen-- good. Then sprayed water all over myself when I held a plate at just the right angle in the full stream of water from the faucet-- potential for trouble since I was already dressed and need to do laundry. This also resulted in a pool of water on the floor-- good. Well, yeah, good because it gave me a headstart on mopping the floor. Looked all over the garage for a drill that Ricky says Pop left here-- good. Didn't find the drill out there, but did find half a bag of Cat Chow so I don't have to rush to the store. Did find the drill in the back bedroom-- potential for trouble since I want it to work right now but the battery needs to charge. That gives me time to write to you. Could be good, could be trouble. . .

Look what AndreaJane from LE found on the internet:

Manties---panties for men.

Yes, you can click on it. No, I don't think there were any closeup shots of men hanging out in these things (but I didn't get past the first page, so you decide if you want to risk it). There is just something so wrong about this whole picture! Why?
  • Well, because I'm a woman and I don't even wear those nylon panties with roses on them. I don't think I could handle it very gracefully if my DH had purtier bloomers than me!
  • Because how do you size those things? According to the behind, or according to all the stuff that needs to be covered in the front?
  • Because this gives an added visual that I just didn't want. See, my father and my brother have this need to insult one another periodically. In fact, I do believe that if they haven't heard from each other part way through the work day, they do that Nextel squawkie thing just to throw in an insult for good measure. One of those insults being, "You're a pantywaist." Ewwwwwwwwwwww! That plus the added visual courtesy of Manties? Ewwwwwwww!
Alright, enough talk of good, bad, and manties. I think that drill is going to work :) Yeah! Could be a good day!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Bead-O-Matic 3000

So, this is what my almost 5 year old daughter presented to me yesterday afternoon.
She walked to me, arms folded behind her back, and coughed to get my attention. Then, as she hands over this paper and tape creation, she said in a very formal stage voice:

Ladies and gentleman, I give to you the Bead-O-Matic 3000!
You can use it to display beads!

(and here, her voice changes back to normal)
Or you can use it to change the color of a bead if you don't like it, Mom.

I guess she was paying more attention to my struggle with the display for the Oshun goddess than I thought. Hmmm, that just didn't go well at all. The problem being that I never bothered to take shop in high school or even go out to the shop and ask Pop to show me stuff. So, silly though it is, I really don't have a clue about how to build things. All I thought I needed to do was sand this little wood circle piece, paint it, drill some holes for wires, and then glue the wires into the holes. . . and then, voila, I'd have a display stand. Apparently, the sound of a tiny so-not-a-Dremel tool's motor struggling to move the bit against that cheap piece of wood wasn't enough of a hint to me! I just kept on trying to dig/hammer/sort of drill those holes. Well, it really doesn't work. Heck, it really didn't work, and it took me all afternoon and evening to figure that out, counting time to let the paint and clear coats dry. Not to mention the re-doing the painting because I got the bright idea to protect the painted piece from any grooves the vise might leave when I clamped it down so I could woodpecker it with the "drill". Once again, impatience got the better of me. That nice, smooth, protective piece of paperboard stuck to the not-as-dry-as-I-thought clear coat. Blech! Sand, sand, sand some more, and then repeat all those layers of paint. I can see my little brother shaking his head as he hears about this. I can hear my sister and mother laughing. I can only guess when my father will bring this up, with a smile, of course, but it will be long after I've breathed a sigh of relief and decided he's not going to tease me about it : )

So, in the meantime, I'm either going to Lowe's and get a real drill. . . or stick that sucker as far into the Bead-O-Matic 3000 as it will go and hope for the best!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wednesday in the Land of Pooh Bear,Borrowed Car Seats, and Secret Journals

Hey, there, would you happen to have a little smackeral of honey that I could borrow? Oops, sorry, channeling Pooh Bear again. The kiddos played outside with their stuffed animal characters yesterday afternoon while I finished cleaning up their outgrown car seats to pass along to the littlest Becker. Addie, my dear, you have been granted permission to "borrow" those car seats, as if James and Kate think they will need to squeeze into them again soon! Oh, my, oh, my, my children are packrats to the nth degree. Toys, I'd understand. Clothes, I'd say that's probably normal. Car seats, though? Outgrown car seats, at that? So, Lisi, if you're reading this, we'll bring them into town sometime today so that you can have them ready for Girls' Day.

Now, why would I still be channeling Pooh Bear? We are living and breathing the Hundred Acre Wood around here, even though we take enthusiastic breaks for Spiderman, Superman, Supergirl, Mickey, Minnie, and all things "Meet the Robinson's" related. Even Grandma has been playing with Pooh! The talking Pooh she found got left at her house, and she can't resist giving him a hug and listening to him say "snuggley-wuggley" and "tighter, please". Pooh and Piglet and Tigger and Roo, Owl and Rabbit and Eeyore, too! The kids "talk" their stuffed animals, which is what they call it when they pretend their characters are going on a trip or exploring or going to school or just about anything you can imagine. They make paper and tape clothes for their characters-- you should have seen Minnie Mouse's paper swimsuit. They use paper towels and kleenex for blankets and carseats(the ones I was trying to clean) for beds/ rocket ships.

When it's time to take a break from talking characters, we have a newfound hobby-- writing and drawing in our SECRET journals. Yep, capitalize SECRET because it is a big deal! If you even glance in the direction of the person opening his/her journal, then you must be trying to look in his/her SECRET book. Katie's book has a mermaid theme. It has a lock and key, as well as it's own storage box with another SECRET compartment for stashing SECRET things. James' book is Pooh Bear, and it has a little quote on the cover of the SECRET compartment flap, "Hum-de-dum, nothing to look at in here...". After I explained it to him, James couldn't stop giggling about Pooh trying to distract him away from the SECRET hiding place. He just kept repeating it and giggling as we were leaving the driveway yesterday morning. Kate has been making special drawings in her book and then using the attached satin ribbon to mark the pages. She even drew two Buddhas for me yesterday. . . but since it's a SECRET journal, I guess I'll wait until she shows me the rest of those drawings.

Ooops, time to get going. No SECRETS from me today, but I am getting ready to take some pics of the two beads I torched last night. I'll be posting them in my gallery pages at if ya wanna peek : ) Peace, Ang

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oh, shoot, Oh-shoooooon, and a Ouija Board

Her name is Oshun, and you say it like this, "Oh-shoon". She means many things to many different people on a few different continents, but we'll talk about that later, after I figure out how to fix the entire sculpture into a nice display piece, after I figure out how I'm going to get better pics of the shiny black plus bright yellow color combo. Right now, the important thing is that she and my friend Carol have reminded me of the Ouija Board I got one year when I was a kid.
Ouija boards, crystal balls, Magic 8-balls, name five boys and pick a number. . . just all of those "tell the future" games that intrigue a kid, especially twelve or thirteen or fourteen year old girls. Remember that? Wanting to know what would happen in your life? Just itching to know all sorts of stuff about who you'd be when you finally grew up? Well, we always got to make a Christmas list, picking out toys and things from the Sears and J.C.Penney Christmas catalogs. One year, probably when I was about 13, there was a Ouija board in the board games section of one of the catalogs. Woohoo! I made sure to budget my list so that it would be included in my Christmas loot under the tree. How did it work? How could it tell you things? How did it know? How? How? How? Well, I finally got up the nerve to try it a few times. It was kinda fun, but kinda disappointing, too. Remember how you use them? You and any other interested person lightly lay your fingers on the triangular piece with the clear peephole. This plastic piece is raised on little legs that allow it to slide over the smooth game board where there are letters of the alphabet. You ask the Ouija board a question, and then the piece starts to move across the board, pointing to one letter after another. The letters should spell out the answer to your question. Well, heck, that's simple enough to explain now that I'm a grown-up! Your intentions guide the piece, and any person with you playing the game is likely to know the same answers as you. . . it's a gimme. Ha! It ain't just a "gimme" when you are a gullible youngster. I believed this thing was going to tell me some interesting stuff about my future, and I wanted to know what it had to say! So, after the letdown of sessions with no mention of my future, I decided to get serious. Shannon Marie and I would take this to my room in the basement and try it, and we would concentrate, and we would get some answers, darn it. Now, I have always been a 'fraidy cat, even though I grew up in the country. Heck, after I got that room in the basement, my dad had to go shut the curtains for me if they were still open after dark. I couldn't go do it myself because someone or something might be staring at me through one of those basement windows! I could spook myself just listening to the noises of the house, and my bedroom was the only one in the basement. . . all alone. . .and if I needed help, someone was gonna have to hear my scream from all the way upstairs. . . So, Shannon and I take this Ouija board downstairs, after dark, and start asking it some serious questions. I don't remember all of them, but I suspect they had to do with whether or not certain boys might like us as more than just friends. All was going smoothly, so I decided to ask the board, "WHO ARE YOU?" I was just curious, but I never found out the complete answer because the first three letter were




Call me crazy, but I had no intention of finding out if that was our other-worldly spirit friend named LUC-Y or a more sinister spirit named LUC- IFER!

Now, pardon me, while I go open the shades and peer out into the daylight and come back to the present. Egads, that board scared me! Or was it my own mind playing tricks on me? Who knows? But you'll notice I didn't write this entry at night (~wink, wink~).

Monday, April 16, 2007

Older than dirt?? or just older than Kindergarten??

Older than dirt?? or just older than Kindergarten?? Not the bead! Me! and the answer is that I am not older than dirt but I am apparently older than Kindergarten in my own way. . . we didn't have kindergarten at Lynnvale Elementary School when I was five years old. What on earth am I talking about? Just thinking about Katie's kindergarten screening coming up later this morning. James didn't go to his, so I'm just not sure what we're going to be doing. Anyway, my hubby even went to kindergarten, and he's three years older than me, so I sorta feel like I don't understand the whole kindergarten thing on some levels. Maybe, I just wonder if there's some grand secret of the universe that they tell you in kindergarten-- and that means I'll never know it?? I'll tell you one thing, James pretty much loves his teacher and class (can't say he actually "loves" everything, you know, or I might get in trouble for including those g-i-r-l-s!).

Guess what we did have almost 35 years ago at Lynnvale? We had Head Start in the summertime, and everybody got to go. Yep, we had the whole building to ourselves, and we got to play in the third grade room. Of course, it's been a few years, so forgive me if I get the details wrong; I'm just telling you what I can see in that fog of memory deep in my brain :) Think we had Ms. Jane Hayes for our teacher, and we loved her instantly. Know what stands out in my mind? Every day, all of us would play dress-up. . . and then march to the cafeteria and put on a fashion parade for the lunchroom ladies! And when it was lunchtime, we got to sit in that big-kid cafeteria. Can't remember if the tables had those benches or those round plastic stools that bloomed at the top of a metal pipe stalk? Anyway, I do remember sitting in that lunchroom sometime later in first grade, opening my lunch box, and drinking strawberry milk from my thermos. Hmm, I sure do hope James and Kate's school memories are just as happy, no matter how foggy they become over the decades!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thumbs Up for Glass!

Thumbs up for glass! Yep, gotta love making beads! This one is one of those beads that just begs you to pick it up and feel the texture. While I was trying to think of a catchy name for this beadie, I was absentmindedly stroking my thumb up and down the raised stringer in the middle of it. Days like this, when something good like this comes out of the kiln, days like this make me want to jump up and down and shout, "I love glass!" Ya wanna see the rest of the pics of this one and the other two I got out of the kiln? Click here to go to my gallery pages on

It's just a fine day all around! The kids both woke up in a good mood, and they are playing together this very minute. They have an old Fire Mountain catalog, cutting out pictures of different color Swarovski crystals. They are playing some sort of game, looking for certain colors to collect. I'm not sure about the details, but I am sure they are enjoying it and that an interruption from Mommy might break the spell. . . so we'll just let them be, and hope this is one of those magical games that inspires them to play like this all day long!

Hey, I'm gonna go for now, maybe fry a little bacon for breakfast, maybe have another cup of espresso and then venture out into the cold to retrieve the Sunday paper. . . Have a great day! Love ya, Ang

Friday, April 13, 2007

Procrastination, Pretty Purple Petals, and "Peculiar People"

Well, here I sit, late at night, trying to think of what to write for my Saturday blog entry. The kids and I have a full day tomorrow. Actually, not so full, but there sure won't be any torch time unless it's early in the day. So, as much as I love to talk, I'm thinking I'd rather write to you ahead of time and then maybe, just maybe, have a little bit of torch time tomorrow morning. Got some ideas I'd like to try. Got things I'd like to try to make with these purple flowers. Got this urge to do the opposite of procrastination for once. I'm stumped, though. Rick's flight got delayed, and I've got the t.v. on for the "company". Problem is, I keep getting distracted by what's on television. First, as I was cropping this picture, Seinfeld was on. It was the cock-fighting episode where Kramer names his pet rooster Little Jerry and George dates a prison inmate. Flip through the channels for something less distracting ( but not until Seinfeld's done), find a Travel Channel show about different religions. . . and the group that was just highlighted were self-proclaimed "Peculiar People", snake-handlers. Sorry, I really don't mean to be this way, but I can't help it...I AM SCARED TO DEATH OF SNAKES. I don't care who/which/what God calls on me, I ain't picking up a snake! But, as the narrator says, there's a lot of faith in that church, and it is beautiful to witness. I tend to agree, so there's another distraction while I watch people declare their desire to speak in tongues and handle these serpents. Still haven't thought of an entertaining topic for you, though! That's it. Going to bed and read a book. Ain't no fighting with the words when you're a writer-- they either flow, or they don't. I do hope you have a fabulous Saturday, though! And I do hope I can entertain ya a little better Sunday :) Peace, Ang

Sunshine, Scarabs, and Stringer Therapy

Well, the real sun is shining almost as brightly in the sky as this yellow and orange sun on the scarab bead this morning! It's so nice to wake up to daylight, instead of overcast skies. Okay, okay, I did get up long before daylight this morning, but I think I'm just now starting to wake up! There were too many nights this week when the wind blowing across the flatlands sounded loud and harsh enough to keep me awake in the wee hours. So, yep, I am a happy woman to see sunny skies!

Ah, the scarab, that ancient Egyptian marvel. Well, actually, I imagine there are still dung beetles (scarabs) in the world. The marvel is the way the Egyptians took the example of the dung beetle to heart. You see, they could see these beetles rolling balls of dung all day long, and new beetles seemed to magically appear from the dung. . . The scarab began to represent the god who rolled the sun across the sky each day, as well as the rebirth of the sun day after day. Scarabs decorated amulets and other items. Not bad for a lowly beetle, huh?

Stringer Therapy? Now what is that? Some sort of new fad? Nope, it's just what I think of after I've made a bead with lots and lots of stringer work like this one. Glass does not like to be laid down in a line; it much prefers to ball up when it gets hot. Getting the hang of using stringer to create lines instead of blobs has been one of the biggest thrills of my glass life! You should've seen how happy I was when I first did it fairly successfully last fall. Now, I've really become a sculpting girl, but every once in a while, I feel the need to do some stringer work. It's like meditation when you get into the groove. There's nothing like putting down line after line after line to sooth your artistic soul. . . probably the same feeling a gardener gets from putting out rows and rows of seeds, or the feeling a cook gets from methodically dicing onions, or a brick layer gets from slapping down mortar and laying on bricks and tapping them into place, or-- Hey, bet we've all done a version of Stringer Therapy!

So, I'm off to finish the laundry, post pics of an Isis sculpture in my gallery, straighten the house, take some flower beadies off the mandrels and clean them, and who knows what else the day holds in store! Peace, Ang

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Munchkins Are Awake and Ready to Go : )

Okay, it's time to get going! Got school for one, and the other one has to help me go to town. We need a couple of birthday presents-- one for Jacob (James' #1 friend in kindergarten) and one for Nathan (Happy 17th, Nat!). Just wanted to say "Hiya!" to everyone, and send out some happy thoughts. Think about it, isn't that a great feeling when you first wake up and the day is new and full of possibilities? Hope your possibilities all become realities today! Peace, Ang

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Glass Makes a Liar Out of Me Every Time!

Look at these transparent blue beads, just look at them! Notice how you can see through them? Amazing, and totally unexpected for me! I made them yesterday with the intent of etching them because I knew they would come out of the kiln all gunky and boiled and nasty looking, just knew it in my heart of hearts. What happened? They came out so pretty and water-like, which is what I really wanted but knew better than to expect. Once again, the glass has made a liar out of me. . . because just last night I told Loco how much I hate transparents and how I never do anything with them and blahblahblah. Honestly, if I say anything to predict what I might make, the glass gods send me some humbling vibes right away! Don't believe me? Here's some evidence for ya:
  • If you ever look in my gallery pages at, take note of how many pages have a message that I'm working on more of the same style of bead or trying to finish some idea. I'm too scared to investigate this, but I'm fairly certain that most of those pages still don't have the promised "more pics of more beads like this".
  • I really wanted to do a collaboration with another lampworker, a fabulous lampworker and artist who has given me advice and encouragement, so I asked if we could work together. I refused to reveal her name to someone, in fear of jinxing the whole project. . . but I did tell my sister and brother part of the deal because my brother had to mail the package with my part of the project. La-dee-da and oooooooo-weeeeeeeee-ooooo! Guess what? It didn't work out that time. Now, the logical part of my brain says, "It's okay, you can work together again sometime. This had a lot of parts and a lot of ways to get delayed." The superstitious part of my brain is still beating me over the head with, "If you'd just have kept your mouth shut and been patient, you wouldn't have jinxed the whole thing!"
  • Paul, Paul, Paul! Carol's dad gave me some great links to Maori tribe information and told me he'd love to see me try to capture a warrior's expression in glass. Has it happened yet? No, because I keep trying too hard to make really cool tattoed warrior masks and sculptures. . . and in the process end up cracking something because I tried to stretch too far beyond the limits of my skills and equipment.
  • Hallynd, Hallynd, Hallynd! I am so embarrassed that I still haven't made your blonde beauty figures. I thought it would be so simple, but my setup and the way I work just clashed with that beautiful glass she gave me to use for this project. I've tried making them in plain old light pink pastel, but they just don't have that soulful personality of the beads I did in browns.
So, guess what?? I'm not telling you what I'm going to try to make today. Heck, I don't think I'll even tell myself until I actually get the torch lit! Keep your fingers crossed for me, though, won't ya? Hey, I'll talk to ya tomorrow! Have a wonderful Wednesday, whatever you may be doing : ) Peace, Ang

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Do I Smell Like Garlic to You?

Alright, the pictures are of my Ganesh sculpture, but the smell emanating from your monitor is probably the scent of garlic from the garlic chicken I made yesterday afternoon! If ya wanna see a few more pics of the Ganesh sculpture, be sure to check out my gallery pages at Now, let's talk food! Ever seen that recipe for 30-clove garlic chicken? I know I saw that somewhere this weekend, probably in one of my mom's magazines. Southern Living always has such good recipes, and about the only thing I really read in Martha Stewart Living is the recipes. Anyway, got home Sunday just in time to go to Scott and Lisa's for a scrumptious Easter dinner, after having already had my favorite Easter meal at my mom and dad's on Saturday. Talk about eating good food instead of wanting junk! Turkey breast (well, she cooks the whole bird, but I don't think any of us ever choose anything but the white meat off the plate), cornbread dressing, gravy, corn, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce-- that's got to be my favorite meal when my mom cooks. Ah, the taste of turkey with a bit of dressing and cranberry sauce, can't you just taste it now? Then, Scott and Lisa had a selection of grilled pork and chicken, plus lots of fixin's like a potato casserole, cabbage, and rolls.

So, if you think that's still fattening faire, even though it's not fast food junk, you're right. . . but give me a little break. I'm trying to get back to the point where I want real food instead of just hamburgers and pizza, and that is not an easy thing to do at first. Once you can get started back on the homecooked track, then you start making the healthier versions, right? I know it's possible, I've done it. The problem for me is that one pizza can set up a whole year-long cycle of wanting warm crust with lotsa cheese or a great hamburger (or even just a grease-wad like a White Castle will do). Ah, but yesterday at the grocery, Kate and I got some bunches of garlic out of the bin, some chicken breasts, and carrots. Mmmmmmmmm, I was still thinking about that 30-clove garlic chicken recipe! Couldn't remember what else was in it besides the chicken and the garlic, and to be honest, I quit peeling garlic cloves after about eight or nine. Sprinkled a little bit of black pepper in there with the chicken and the garlic cloves, put it in the oven, and WOW what a scrumptious smell. We feasted on chicken, sliced carrots, and mac'ncheese (kids just gotta have some kid stuff like macaroni). Later last night, instead of junk, all I wanted was some chicken and Vidalia Sweet Onion salad dressing on Ritz crackers. Ya gotta admit, that's better than a chocolate donut :) Strawberries and cereal this morning tasted good, too, so maybe, just maybe, I can slowly work my way back to healthier food. . . and with the scent of garlic still lingering in the air, I have a feeling we'll also be safe from the vampires for a while :)

Monday, April 9, 2007

African Violets, African Proverbs, and a Native Wolf

Hey, check out the African Violet providing the lush backdrop for that plant hanger bead! That violet is one of the Queen of the Green Thumbs' plants. Can't call it the star, because my mom has so many plants, indoors and out, that are beautiful-- but this one sure is pretty. It's a huge pot, and it is filled with velvety African Violet leaves. You can see a bit more of it, plus what I did with the flower beads (the hanger is Grandma Vicky's Easter present; and I made a glass flower bouquet for Mother) in my gallery at

Now, for the African proverbs mentioned in the title. . . I've been reading some more from my stack of library books, switching back and forth between different books and different cultures. Last night, I was reading about African mythology, and I found another proverb that goes along with "It takes a village to raise a child." Now, I've certainly noticed all the sarcasm and jokes that have been associated with this proverb since Hillary Clinton referred to it years ago. The thing is, I think some people just like to make fun of Hillary and deride whatever she says because of who she is. I don't really see what's so wrong about "It takes a village to raise a child." Just think of all the people who contributed to your upbringing. Our parents are the main ones, if we're lucky (and I consider myself lucky), but so many other people add to our lives in bits and pieces, too. Doesn't that add even more dimension and perspective, add even more love and kindness, add even more wisdom and understanding to a child's life? You know, it seems to me that having the love and strength of your own parents is a wonderful gift, and having 0ther people watch out for you just adds to the love and strength and security a child feels. Okay, enough sticking up for Hillary; here's the proverb I found that goes along with it. This one is about everyone, not just the children: I am because we are, we are because I am. You know what? That makes so much sense to me, especially when I go home and see family and friends I've known for all my life ( or close to it). We just might have to talk about this again.

Now, where does "and a Native Wolf" fit in to today's blog? Ah, it's the family and the library books again! One of the other books I'm reading is about Native American's and their way of living in harmony with Nature. Some of the examples are given with stories about the characteristics of particular animals. The wolf lives in packs, hunts in packs, raises young in packs, etc. A wolf is "one among many." Of course, if you are a rancher or farmer, you probably won't appreciate this, but try thinking about it just in terms of surviving in nature. Now, think about us, think about humans. Don't we seem to thrive when we find the balance between independence and being a valuable "one among many"?

Just some thoughts, some ramblings, for a Monday morning. Hope you have a terrific week! Talk to ya tomorrow, Peace, Ang

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Bead Mouse

Shhhhhhhhh. . . all's quiet here, except for the bead mouse squeaking and tapping as she writes this little note to you. We had storms Tuesday afternoon, so there went my plans to torch a bunch so I'd have new things to show you all through the weekend. So, tonight, I bribed the kiddos just a bit. Whoever fell asleep first gets to pick what we do when we make the first pitstop on the way to Grandma's. Just between you and me, Katie got quiet first, but James was snoring first. Call that one a tie! After they went to sleep, I went back to the torch, and I can't wait to see how everything turned out! Keep your fingers crossed ( if you're awake and reading this before 7am Central time) that some good stuff makes it out of the kiln!

This flower power bead is part of a set (well, sort of a "set" since I made more than one) that I'm going to use to make my Mom's Easter present. Don't really think my Dad is going to want any beads to hang in the cabin of whatever plane he gets to fly. . .you never know, though. If he gets his own plane, he might be so tickled that he'd let me hang beads in an inconspicuous corner. You know, my brother had glass goddesses hanging from his rearview mirror last summer.

Hmmm, "the bead mouse", that could be a regular thing with me. Imagine a cross between a mouse and Alice in Wonderland, better yet, make it Bead Mouse in GlassLand! What would you see on my worktable? A mountain of stringer ends that I can't bear to throw away because I might be able to use those to make some really cool multi-color fused pieces-- if I ever learn to fuse. An almost empty packet of gold foil-- that stuff just adds so much to a bead. A jumble of pulled stringer-- I don't know why I save it, I almost always pull new ones before I start a bead.
Lots of tiny woodcarving tools and some great Whimsicalities brass tools-- I love my old favs, but Maria's brass tools are just so much nicer. Lots of sketches taped up in front of the torch-- okay, far enough away that they won't catch fire, but it's like a journal except instead of turning pages you have to lift scraps of paper and see what's underneath. A box of matches-- I admit it, I got tired of the darn striker and used a lighter for a long time, then I just decided matches are the easiest. One Disney book about the yetis, a library book about American Indians (North & South)-- and I might have left a book about Tibetan religious art out there, too, can't seem to find it here on my desk. That's just part of it. . . but now the bead mouse is getting sleepy. Talk to ya Friday! Peace, Ang

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough PopTarts!

Hey, wanna bite? Chocolate chip cookie dough flavored PopTart. I know, I know, it's junk and PopTarts have virtually no personality, but it's pretty good. . . especially if there is no other chocolate in the house! Good grief, one of these days, I gotta get back to eating healthy. I just love food, and even eating healthy there are tons of things that make me say, "Mmmmmmmmm, that's good stuff". Like roasted asparagus with a bit of olive oil and garlic, like spinach salad with asiagio peppercorn dressing, like fresh pineapple, like fresh strawberries without any sugar water, like a slice of whole wheat bread ( the real stuff) with a bit of scrambled egg and some garden ripe tomato. . .

What am I doing talking about food, when I oughta be talking about beads or glass or something?? Don't know. I do have a few beadies to take pics of and post in my gallery later today. Gotta make a few today, too!

My daughter just noticed the picture of the PopTart. Big laugh and smile and, "How'd the PopTart get on there, Mommy?" Gotta go, got places to pack for, got beadies to make, got kiddos to play with : ) Peace, Ang

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Scooby and Daphne at the Library, and I Mess with a Buddha Pic

Wouldn't ya know it? I forgot about returning my library books until it was too late Sunday afternoon. Ricky usually watches the kids on Sunday mornings, that's my time to go to town by myself. Yippee, there's lots open on Sunday morning in a small town! Oh, but I do enjoy just going to the grocery and to Wal-Mart all by myself, browsing a little if I feel like it, just enjoying doing whatever I feel like doing without having to worry about anyone else. This Sunday, though, Ricky slept late, and all I really wanted to do was torch. That worked out fine at the time, but the results from the kiln were less than fine, check out my gallery to see how the glass gods flipped me off ;-) Anyway, got busy torching and forgot about heading in town to the library. The kids are getting plenty big enough to handle the library, though, so we all three enjoy making the trip. Yesterday, James and Kate started playing Scooby Doo and the gang just as soon as the school bus dropped the little boy off at home. I hated to interrupt the solving of mysteries, but we needed to return those movies and books before I forgot again! Well, James brought along his stuffed Scooby Doo, and Katie brought her pink Care Bear that stands in for Daphne. Scooby and Daphne looked at books and magazines, when they weren't making funny noises at the guys at the front desk. There's a little window between the front desk and the corner of the library where I like to explore all the religion and culture books. Don't know how it looked when the library was first built, but nowadays, it's covered with some sort of metalwork screen thingie. . . and that means you can peek through the holes, and more importantly, you can make funny noises at the library staff and then giggle until they figure out where you are! Ah, but I have to say, Scooby and Daphne did a fairly good job yesterday, and they even picked out a book apiece to go with the free movies. Aha! They already loved books, but now they're beginning to see all the possibilities in a library :-)

Oh, almost forgot the Buddha pic. Isn't that cool, the way it looks embossed? Some people are just naturals with all the tech stuff, but not me! So, I had to show you that pic. Know what it started out as? A sketch I did on my deskpad. Took a closeup pic of it, then messed with some of the extra doo-dads in my photo software-- somehow, it made the black marker lines look like embossed lines! Wow, this could be fun. . . Gotta go now, got books that just absolutely will read better outside on the deck for some unknown reason (it's a gorgeous day), so Kate and I are heading outside for a bit. See ya later, Ang

Monday, April 2, 2007

April Fool's Day. . . All Day Long Yesterday!

"Look, Mommy, there's a monkey on the cabinet!"

" Hey, Daddy, there's a hundred dollar bill on the patio!"

Another time, a voice is heard coming from around the corner, "Look, Daddy! I'm invisible!"

Oh, yeah, we played the "Ha! I tricked you! April Fool's!" game from sunup 'til past sunset yesterday. The kids couldn't get enough of the thrill of fooling someone into looking at the imaginary monkies and dollar bills. They did go to the park with Ricky for an hour or so yesterday afternoon, so Daddy might have been present for a reprieve, but I'm pretty sure it went on non-stop the rest of the day. . . I know because I had to be "surprised" and "tricked" many times. You know what, it was pretty funny even with all the repeats, because Katie would let out a peal of giggles every time, too. James, being almost 6 and quintessentially cooooooler since he's almost done with kindergarten, was a bit more subtle with his tricks, adding a nonchalant "No, seriously, look!" to some of his tricks.

Egads, the tricking with the kids was fine, but I'm not happy with the tricks from the kiln! Don't breathe a word of it, because I changed my mind after I saw the results, but I was contemplating making little personalized nametags decorated like eggs for James' class. Nope, ain't gonna be happening, after all! Opened the kiln this morning, saw the first four (with a mere 8 left to do), and decided it wouldn't be appropriate to give those kids glass beads anyway. Heck, when they took a look at the icky bright colors and dropped the bead, they might be standing on concrete or tile and the bead might break. . . or something like that. Hmmmm, wonder what tricks I can look forward to today? Oh, there was also the bead making an unkind gesture to me, did I tell you about that one? Oh, not happy about that one, not happy at all. Thought I made this really cool hand, lines in the palm, knuckles, long fingers extended, etc. Aha! Did you notice what I said last in that list just now, the part about long fingers extended? Yep, an unfortunate choice of finger to be on the mandrel and a terrible lack of sense of proportion led to my bead giving me the bird when I took it out of the kiln. ***big sigh*** Gotta make a mental note of that for next time-- never wind the glass for the middle finger around the mandrel, Angie! Okay, time to go experiment some more! It's still fun, even when things don't go the way you intended :) Peace, Ang