Friday, November 30, 2007

Scandalous!Tigger Crashed the Barbie Hot Tub!

Look out! The toys are getting out of control around here, and I can't guarantee that the WebKinz gorilla won't snatch that banana right out of your hand before you even get the first bite. Hey, the little yappyfluffypoodletype stuffed animals have been sprung from their purses and are constantly underfoot. The Barbies are in the bedroom plotting a scheme to lure Tigger out of their hot tub. SpongeBob, Patrick, and Plankton have put aside their differences and joined forces against the baby dolls.
Yep, Tigger was happily bathing in the Barbie house hot tub this morning when I came into the living room. No more Hunnert Acre Wood camping out for that guy, he's hooked on the amenities now!

If you are snickering and wondering if the toys have finally driven me cuckoo, you just might be right. . . well, not insane yet, but man, oh, man, we have too much stuff in this house! I cannot shirk all of the blame onto others. I'm the one who used to feel guilty about the long hours the kids had to be at "work" with me when I worked at the daycare, so I'd buy them a toy on payday. Seemed harmless at the time, seemed like they deserved something of a little treat, and seems like I wish I'd thought that one all the way through! Of course, the kiddos also get goodies because they are the only grandkids on my side, some friends here don't have grandchildren yet and "adopted" ours, and let's not forget that my children love to go thrift store and yard sale shopping with me and Grandma. Geezopeezo, little kids can sure find a lot of bargains with three bucks in their hand.

You know what? The rest of this post could go oh so many ways. We could talk about how kids have so much more today than we had as children, and how we turned out fine. We could talk about how lucky we are that this is our "problem," and remember to be truly grateful that we have all the necessities and then some. We could talk about how our children deserve to be taught about the more important things in life, instead of always getting treats.
But, seeing Tigger lounging in the hot tub just put me in a goofy frame of mind, and I wanna talk about things like:
  • Did Barbie and Ken ever get back together?
  • How come you never see Winnie the Pooh washing his hands, and don't you imagine his fur is all sticky and matted from all those globs of honey?
  • If Squidward really hates working at the Krusty Krab so much, why doesn't he get another job? or did he get a liberal arts degree in college,too?
  • If the Cat in the Hat came to visit your house, would you be like the goldfish and tell him to go away? or would you want to play?
  • Do those WebKinz really go to sleep when you put them to bed and log out of the program, or do they flick the lights back on and call up their friends for a party?
Okay, okay, enough goofing around. Time to get to the day's work. I've got laundry and torching to do! I hope your Friday is a fun one, and I hope you got a smile from reading this :)
Later, Peace, Ang

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Digital Discord-- My Camera and My Laptop Just Had an Argument

Please, enjoy the picture because apparently my digital camera and my laptop computer just had a fight and are no longer speaking to one another!

The picture is James and Katie demonstrating their penguin waddle. They're pretty good at it, too, cracks me up every time :) There's nothing like quietly cooking supper in the kitchen and being startled by the sound of shuffling feet as the two "penguins" come waddling through at high speed. Last time we went to the St. Louis Zoo, we got the shivers walking through the chilly penguin abode, but we also got the giggles. The humans might be shivering as they enter the chilled building, but it still isn't quite as cool as some penguins would like. Apparently, the little guy flapping his wings was standing over the air conditioning vent so he could get cooled off! Too funny, sort of like a penguin version of Marilyn Monroe over the subway grate.

Now, as for the digital discord in this house, I do hope it's just a minor spat and not a digital divorce! I am spoiled by the speed and portability of my laptop compared to the virtual dinosaur desktop. . .and I even took disposable cameras on vacation last week instead of subjecting my camera-baby to possible mishaps.

Even as I type this, there is a running discussion at LE about being clumsy. Oh, yeah, you know I chimed in-- I'm a clutz and not afraid to admit it. Actually, wouldn't matter whether or not I wanted to admit it, everybody already knows! Bumped my head while straightening the bunk beds not too long ago. Always walking into the wall when going around corners. Effortlessly able to trip over my own two feet. . .wait a second, how did the discussion go from digital discord to clutziness? Oh, right, talking about not subjecting my camera-baby to possible mishaps. Yeah, things just happen to me.

Well, guess I better go bumble my way through the rest of the day :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come to Your Senses

Pear peel feels just like a worn out piece of coarse sandpaper. Can't you just feel the outlines marking where the large grains were? Bite into it. The gritty peel scrapes across your tongue. The tart sweetness of the pear juice can't disguise the coarseness of the cream colored flesh.

Twist two pieces of copper wire together. Leaves smudges of metal goop on your fingers, as if you'd played at erasing the marks of a fat first grade pencil. Twisting, wrapping hands over and under, coiling soft metal. Sometimes the bends are tight against each other, sometimes you relax for a second and the bends become swooping loops.

Woven silk scarf in dusk colors. Deepened sunset sky with dark purple clouds. Let it float and billow as you drop it onto the table for a background. Imagine yards and yards of silk flowing across your room, creating a river of colors.

Come to your senses.
Savor the world around you.

This moment inspired by my "baby" cousin Bobby, a grown man with a toddler and a wife carrying the next one. He asked me where I find joy. My first answer was a gesture; I pointed to James and Katie as they were hunting for a missing toy in the living room. My second answer was "glass". Here is my third answer, now that a few days have passed and I've contemplated the possible depth of that question. Where do I find joy? I find joy in being, joy in creating, joy in sharing those tiny discoveries with others. I find joy in the dark blue pools that are James' eyes, joy in the much paler and grayer blue lakes that are Katie's eyes, and joy in being able to investigate those nuances. I find joy in grabbing the camera on a cold morning and heading to the backyard, joy in listening to the birds in the distance and hoping they will light in a tree near me, and joy in realizing even the bushy-tailed squirrels are hiding from me and the cold on a day like this. I find joy in choosing a tiny gift for my sister, joy in imagining how the thought behind a fairly inexpensive gift will make it a treasured one, and joy in having the opportunity to choose.

I think I shall try to remember these things more often.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rice Pudding for Breakfast

Let's see if I can remember the recipe without dragging the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook out of the cabinet. Three eggs, one cup cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup golden raisins, and some cinnamon to sprinkle on top. Bake 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Have a bowl while it is warm, and put the rest in the fridge to have for breakfast!
James liked it, but Katie had to force herself a bit to smile and say, "Oh, I think I do like it." Of course, Kate doesn't like pudding to begin with, so lumpybumpy pudding with raisins isn't likely to be a favorite with her.

Every time I make rice pudding, I think about two things: 1. Scott's version of rice pudding and 2. my Grandma Brashear's rice pudding.

I think Scottie's version goes like this-- stir up and heat cooked rice, milk, and sugar. Scott and Lisa are both good cooks, but I think I have to say I'll gladly eat Lisi's chocolate eclair cake for dessert but I'm still not sure I want to try Scottie's rice pudding. On the other hand, if I could cook meat the way he does, I could be an all-around good cook.

Now, Grandma Brashear's rice pudding recipe remains a mystery to me. In fact, I don't think I ever tasted it, so I couldn't even begin to guess the ingredients. What I do remember is my mother periodically trying to make rice pudding for my father. "ClaraBelle" is a darn good cook, but I don't think she ever recreated that rice pudding the way Pop remembers it. I tried with my version a few years ago. Pop ate a couple bites, deemed it okay if no other dessert was available, and that was that. . . still no rice pudding like Grandma made.

Mmmmmm, rice pudding. Custardy goodness with bits of rice and plump golden raisins. Sprinkles of cinnamon on the golden top. Mmmmmm.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Brrrrrrrrrrr...Back to the Flatlands and Winter

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr. Good chilly morning! We just returned to the flatlands after a trip to Florida and Kentucky, and let me tell ya, it's just tooooooooo cold up here in the Midwest. Well, not really, it's typical early winter dreary and cold weather but it's not too bad-- unless you've just spent half a week in Florida where it was sunny and at least 70 every day. We got lucky with our trip. The kiddos got to get in the unbelievably neat waterslides at the Nick Hotel, we didn't get rained on at Disney, and the cousins in Tampa had plenty of room for playing indoors when it did rain on Thanksgiving Day.

Oh, and yesterday, the Greer family had a big turnout at Grandma and Granddaddy's. The four "boys" were all there with their wives, and lots of cousins were there with their families (including one of Uncle Major and Aunt Marianne's to represent the fifth brother). Let me just shout this out because I don't think she ever thought she'd be called Grandma herself: Barbara Ann is a Grandma to lovely little Gracie! Lisa was already a grandma, but it's somehow more fun to tease "Barbie" just a bit since she's the oldest of all the cousins :)

The kiddos are back to school today, Ricky's back to work, and I am playing domestic goddess catchup while also trying to update a few things online. The sculpture in this picture just got added to my gallery pages at, and I have a winner for the Woman Emerging sculpture. Gotta get movin', but I'm sure to have stories to tell as the week goes on!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let the Glass Flow!

Oh, boy, here I am without torching until next week, and as I started cropping the pictures of this Green Man bead to put into my gallery pages at, I got the urge to melt some glass.

We are having a fun week! Thanks for checking in with me, and I'll be back to the daily routine next week. Don't forget about the contest to win that sculpture in the picture at the top of this've got a good chance of winning, but I won't know to put your name in the drawing iffen ya don't enter :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I am thankful for all of my family and friends!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Trying to Catch the Tree Spirits

Well, if you know me at all, you know that I'm half skeptic and half believer in all things mystical or spiritual. Ask me at any given moment what I think about the existence of anything, and you never know which way my answer will go.
There is this tree in my backyard that has been catching my eye for about a year now, making me think about why people would believe in tree spirits or Green Men. She is lovely, don't you think? Can you see the subtle hourglass shape of a woman? I've been trying to capture the spirit of this imaginary creature of the forest in glass.
My last attempt was dubbed a "reindeer" by Katie and an "alien" by James. Drat. . . but that would be another story in and of itself, one about a "housecoat" my mom sewed one time and paybacks as you have your own children :)
Back to the attempts in glass, I have to say that I do keep learning new things and getting closer each time I try to do a tree. Sculpturally, the texture of the bark is a challenge. I'm getting closer to that by laying down different ridges of glass as I work around the tree. As for the color, that continues to vex me. Art is all about creating an illusion, not necessarily copying details realistically. Still, brown is too brown, and gray is (you guessed it) too gray. I have gotten closer this past week. Don't know why I'm telling you this when I don't have much to show ya yet. Maybe, that tree is there to remind me and others to stop and look closely at the wonders of nature?
Hope your day is filled with things that make you think and dream!
Peace, Ang

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"O Holy Night, the Stars Are Brightly Shining..."

"O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Savior's birth."

That's the music playing in my head when I look at this Madonna and Child, and I think the whole feel of that song does more to explain my fascination with Mary and Child than anything I could write at the moment. That song is an exaltation of one of the most important moments in Christianity. It sets a beautiful scene in your mind when you listen to it, and it is all about that night. . .not presents or food or where you'll go to midnight services. Oh, I don't mean we should give up presents and food and celebrating with others, no way! What a wonderful holiday, with all the thrills and frustrations of finding just the right gift for our loved ones. What a wonderful feast, with all the German Chocolate Cakes and roasted turkey and real mashed potatoes! What a wonderful celebration of family, with all the get-togethers and that cozy feeling of sleepily walking out to the living room to see who's already awake!

Oh, but sometime during the season, I'll stop and think about the Madonna and Child on that night and start singing softly, "O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining. . ."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Carol, Here's a Glimpse of Fall Just for You :)

This bit of fall brought to you in honor of my friend Carol who lives in Arizona. Apparently, the only time it has been cold in Arizona was last winter when I thought I'd be escaping the Midwest chill and arrived in Tucson to be greeted by winter temps!
If you look up the street from our tiny Irvington post office, you will see a tree lined corridor leading to the city park. Okay, so corridor implies a big, wide, much-traveled road. Couldn't find a better word for it, though, because it is a grand scene with all those brilliant fall leaves.

This gorgeous maple is one of those lining the "corridor" in the top picture. Isn't it beautiful? I could show you pictures of the maples in our yard, but they didn't have the same brilliant colors this year. Don't know why. Maybe ours are a different variety of maple.

The park has lots of kid-friendly things to climb. I suspect my two aren't the only kids who've gotten stuck part way up the geodesic-dome-looking-climber-thingie and had to be rescued by their parents.

"I can see for miles and miles and miles. . ." Who sang that? I've got that song playing in my head, happens every time I look to the west from our driveway. On a clear, sunny day, you can see the water tower that belongs to the next town over-- Hoyleton is five miles from here!

Doesn't the corn field look desolate? It's a cloudy day, and we've already reached our high temp of 63 degrees this morning. You can see miles and miles in this direction on a sunny day, too. Centralia is five miles north of here, and we can see that water tower, too.

Hope you're having a great day! If it's a cloudy and dreary one where you are, warm it up with a smile or kind word to someone you meet along the way :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Here's the Mail, Dear"

"Here's the Mail, Dear" Santa & Mrs. Claus Christmas Scene
New 3-day listing on eBay, ends Nov. 14th at 18:44:28 PST.

Happy Monday, everyone! The kiddos are sleeping for a few minutes longer, and I am finishing my coffee. Just enough time to say I think the holiday spirit might be creeping up on me :) I could do Madonna and Child beads and sculptures all year 'round, but Santa and Mrs. Claus are definitely relegated to the winter holiday season. . . hmmmm, wonder what will strike my fancy at the torch today? Hope your day is a wonderful one, Ang

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WipeOut! at the Bend in the Drive

Here I was, sitting in the pre-dawn semi-darkness, trying to find a pic to write about today, and then it hit me. I could write about the big curve at the bottom of the hill at Grandma and Granddaddy's house. Zooming in on one of the pictures I took from the top of that hill last weekend, I realized that Kate has already experienced her first wipeout on the curve. Can you see her at the bottom of the hill, Jeep stuck in the grass? James saw it first, and he ran off to the rescue. Since no injuries seemed to be involved, this traffic 'copter just spied on the action from a distance. Big brother ran down the driveway without wiping out himself on the loose gravel. There was some earnest conversation, the hood of the Jeep remained closed this time, and Kate hopped back in to steer while James pushed. A much happier ending than my wipeout on that curve some thirty years ago!

So, yeah, I still have a scar on my right elbow, and obviously haven't forgotten about it :)
Wooohoooo, remember coasting down hills on your bike? You had to be brave to let gravity take over as you perched at the top of a hill and gave the slightest of shoves with your foot. I know, I know, the really brave kids were the ones who could pedal furiously part way down the hill and then let go! When I was a kid, we actually lived across the road from the house my parents have now. My dad never did like for us to ride bikes on the road, but eventually we got big enough to make the trek down the road to Tommy and Jason's on our bicycles. Exhilarating, but treacherous, this coasting down their driveway. One afternoon, I completely lost control by the time my pink bike with the banana seat got to the bottom of the hill and into the curve. I skidded, left the skin of my elbow in the gravel, and ran into the neighbor's house crying. Tommy and Jason's mom sat me down in the kitchen, washed the wound, and talked the tears away.
My parents bought that house the year I went away to college. It's been a long time since the wipeout, to say the least, but Thank You, Evelyn, for tending the neighborkid's "tragic" wound. I can't remember what adventures the Greer and Lucas kids pursued that afternoon, probably exploring in the ditch behind the house or maybe playing tag in the barn loft, but I'm sure we had fun. . . just like James and Katie have now, roaming around Grandma and Granddaddy's farm.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Winter Garden Goddess

A Winter Garden Goddess

A pared down reminder that though Mother Earth may seem a bit less verdant as the winter comes, there are still many things growing and flourishing. The evergreens have significance in the religions of the world for this very reason, this flourishing in the face of the hopeless, dreary winter. The lone, spare garland of holly leaves and berries trailing around this elemental Mother Earth represents this hope that flourishes through the cold winter months. . . a celebration of life.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tooth Fairy, Part Two :)

Well, if you were reading along on the post just before this one, you were expecting a story involving the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. I had to make a quick escape, though, for two reasons: low battery and a little boy who can read rather well now! Thank goodness, I hadn't written anything incriminating yet :)

Thinking about playing Tooth Fairy just reminded me of being 6 years old and quizzing my mom about Santa. I'm sure I'd asked about the Tooth Fairy, too, but I remember standing by the sink while she washed dishes that day. I kept asking more and more detailed questions about the jolly old elf, and finally my mom admitted that she didn't know too much about Santa because her family had been too poor for Santa to stop at their house every Christmas. This was certainly not an exaggeration, as those four kids were grateful if their stockings held an orange and some nuts or hard candy on Christmas morning. It didn't take much for me to make the connection that Santa must not be real if he couldn't stop at every house like proclaimed in all those songs and stories. It didn't really bother me. In fact, I felt immensely grownup and important, being in on this secret that I must not tell my little sister and brother.

All of this comes just as I've been reading a book called Not Buying It My Year Without Shopping, by Judith Levine. In 2004, the author decided to chronicle a year of living without purchasing any "extras". So far, I've read into July, and it's led me to discover a few interesting websites. As a packrat who is slowly paring down what she buys, I am intrigued by giving up all but necessities. Not ready to do it myself, especially not a month before Christmas, but it is intriguing. Levine gave up eating out, purchased locally grown food, didn't go to the movies or any other event that required a ticket purchase, and broke the rules of her experiment buying a shirt and pair of pants at a thrift store. While googling Voluntary Simplicity from Levine's book, I stumbled across No Impact Man, as well as one of his critics. No Impact Man has given up toilet paper and electricity, riding his bike through New York City. . .but his self-proclaimed nemesis Idyllopus points out that No Impact Man's sacrifices are going to culminate in a book and a movie. Well, it's all a very thought provoking, these conversations about using one washable glass jar versus a myriad of paper or styrofoam cups, these musings about whether or not one person's actions really make any difference, and the inevitable subtle bickering and finger-pointing between all the different factions with their different levels of carbon footprints.

So what about me, what do I do to reduce my carbon footprint on Mother Earth? Not enough. I use a real plate every meal, but give hubby and the kids the paper plates they prefer most meals. Hubby recycles, to the point of digging aluminum cans out of trash cans at a friend's house, but then he won't eat leftovers. I've pretty much narrowed down my purchases to gifts for others, glass supplies, and books, but my children are enamored of Happy Meal toys (actually, all toys, and it's my fault) and I can't bring myself to give up junk food. Guess No Impact Man is serving one good purpose-- making me think more closely about the necessities.

If You See the Tooth Fairy. . .Have Her Give This Message to Santa Claus

The Tooth Fairy just left a pile of quarters in exchange for James' front tooth. I am waiting for him to wake up and gain solace from these coins in exchange for the trauma of seeing his own blood in the sink last night when the tooth came out. He wasn't excited; he was in tears. After lots of reassurances, he fell asleep while talking about other things, but not before telling me to remind him "not to look in the mirror until my new tooth grows in all the way, Mom."

Hooray, the little boy just woke up, and his face lit up when he remembered that he needed to check under his pillow!

Oops, low battery. . . gotta go for now, be back later!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Personalized Gift Charms/Tags for the Holidays

I've been thinking. . .and yes, William, dear little brother, I know that is a dangerous thing :)
I've been thinking about adding a listing for personalized gift charms to my Etsy shop. I like for each AngelinaBeadalina creation to be a unique-can't-find-another-one-like-it-anywhere glass goodie, but I really do need my own version of earrings to sell.
What do earrings have to do with this discussion, you ask? Well, lots of jewelry and glass peeps will tell you that earrings are a very good moneymaker. They don't cost as much as a bigger, more complicated piece, so people will often "treat" themselves to this relatively inexpensive item while they just look at the more expensive glass art. Those "little" sales add up quickly, and everyone feels like they got a good deal-- the consumer got goodies from you without blowing their holiday budget, and you got a bit of money to buy more glass.
I just can't seem to do earrings, though. . .too little, too necessary to make them match, and I can't wear them so I never know if my attempts are acceptable or not. Aha, but I do love to write with glass stringer, and I love decorating gifts, so why not try personalized gift charms as my "earrings"?? Hmmmm, whaddya think?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mum's the Word!

The word for today is chrysanthemums. The pictures for today are from my mom and dad's yard. The feeling for today is quite literally f-r-o-s-t-y! It was a whopping 23 degrees Fahrenheit this morning in Irvington, Illinois, and that was after the sun started rising. Who knows just how cold it was in the dark, still hours of morning before sunrise!

I read some tips about writing blogs the other day, and the one that struck me was that you should limit the number of words you write because people don't really want to read much. You know me, that just doesn't seem right! However, got lots on the Mommy/DomesticGoddess/GlassArtist agenda today, so I think I'll practice what "they" were preaching and just leave you with those lovely mum pictures for today :)
TaTaForNow, Ang

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Going for a Sunday Drive in the Barbie Jeep :)

Kate and James were Jeep-drivin' fools this past weekend at Grandma and Granddaddy's house. They drove towards the chicken pen, around the front of the house, down a hill behind the shop, and swerved just in time to avoid the rock pile. Actually, I think they intended to test the four wheel drive capabilities of the Barbie Jeep on the rock pile but chickened out at the last minute. I was watching from the window inside, so I couldn't hear the conversation. All I know is I was scrambling for a pair of shoes and getting ready to run out the door to the rescue when I saw Kate hang a hard left away from the rock pile at the last possible moment. If you heard a sigh of relief around ten a.m. Sunday morning, that was just me. . .

Back when four wheel drives started becoming popular during my childhood, my dad's friend Charlie had a four wheel drive and we went for a ride with him and my dad. I think it was a Jeep, but it's been a loooooooooong time ago, and I was just a kid who really didn't care what the name of a car was, as long as it took you somewhere. C.W. McCall was big on country radio around that time, dontcha know. "Breaker 1-9, this here's the Rubber Duck." Back to that ride in the four wheel drive, it seems like Pop was driving Charlie's new toy but that's not what stands out in my mind. What I remember is riding up (yes, I said "up") the side of an Ohio River flood wall! Funny, how your childhood memories can be so exaggerated. I know that flood wall must not have had a slope as steep as it seems in my mind. What an adventure, hanging on, wondering if it were possible for us to slide off that slope!

Alright, back to the everyday adventures. . . Be sure to check my gallery pages for pics of the Santa and Mrs. Claus I made for my mom yesterday. They are less detailed than my usual big sculptures, but the Grandma said she wanted them about the same size as the one that gravity chipped. Each of them is a single bead, right at three inches tall. I think I'll have to make some more versions of the Claus' today!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Key to a Happy Monday Morning Is. . .

Don't lose your keys to the house! That would be a key factor in making things run smoothly on a Monday morning, just in case you've ever wondered :)

The bead is a mother and child bead for Keely Grayson, the newest addition to Grandma Jean Ann's family way down there in Sadler. She sure looks like a sweetie in the pictures I saw this weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. . .

. . .okay, so she doesn't have any hoof prints, so I'm guessing something else happened to her. Hmm, do ya think maybe it could have something to do with me being clumsy? The sweet little Mrs. Claus was intended for my mom, but instead gravity got her. Good grief, some days, I feel much too clumsy to be allowed to work with glass. It gets annealed for strength, but in the end, it is still g-l-a-s-s. . . and glass is still f-r-a-g-i-l-e.
Oooo, that brings to mind more Christmas pop culture besides the "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" song. Remember "A Christmas Story"?? Oh, I love that movie. That hideous lamp the dad won, remember it? Remember him reading the writing on that huge package and saying, "Fra-geee-leee. Must be Italian!" ??
Methinks, I'll revisit this whole entry again soon, because I gotta find you some links to that song and to clips from "A Christmas Story" :)
Have a great weekend!