Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scathach. . .Warrior and Woman

I am a warrior. I am a woman. Some say I was a queen. Some even say I rose to become a goddess, a Gaelic guardian of the dead, leading fallen warriors to their reward. I don't know. The heat of battle and smell of the blood of my enemies was my reward.
I am a warrior. I am a woman. Some say I taught young men the finer points of combat. Some say I even made those same young men "friends of my thighs" and taught them the finer points of much more delicate skills. I don't know. I taught what I knew to those who wanted to know it, too.
I am a warrior. I am a woman. Some say I birthed daughters. Some even say one of those daughters brought home a warrior named CĂșchulainn and that I gave him his deadly sword. I don't know. I helped one who would be a partner to my daughter.
I am a warrior. I am a woman. I say that should be enough for any lifetime.
More pictures of Scathach in my BeadArtists.org gallery pages and in my Etsy listings.

Thanks for coming to visit my bit-of-this, bit-of-that blog! I don't tell you all often enough how much it means to be a part of your online world, so THANK YOU :) Your own explorations, thoughts, and pictures add much enjoyment to my day when I visit your blogs, too!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Gotta Getta Guinea. . . Not! Well, Maybe. I Don't Know.

No doubt about it, I have a love/hate relationship with feathered creatures.
Love: eagles, hawks, blue jays, goldfinches, cardinals, robins, crows, and even butt-ugly turkey vultures
Like: chickens, who deserve their own category because I was terrified of roosters as a very little kid, didn't like the chickens as a bigger kid, and now as an adult cannot wait to move where I can have some chickens (Sophie, Ruby, Rose, and the Fluffy Red Hens, I hope to find some as fine as you!).
Love to hate: guineas
My mother's poor guineas have been fodder for my foul fowl jokes for years now. These days, there is only one guinea at Grandma's house, but he/she is still enough to inspire many wiseass cracks about inviting the guinea to Thanksgiving dinner and letting the guinea be a parking stop for the lawn mower. Okay, before anyone gets miffed at my jokes, remember, they are jokes.
Don't breathe a word of this to my mother, but I almost like that silly guinea. Almost. My dislike of these goofy birds began quite a few years ago. I am not the bravest person in the world, and in fact have been called such things as a chickensh**, 'fraidycat, etc., with good reason. Well, the guineas used to like to roost on a scaffolding outside my mom and dad's huge living room. Pop had been using the scaffolding while he worked on the outside of the house, and the guineas kept it warm for him at night for some reason known only to their little bird brains. I, however, did not realize this. Hellooooooooo, remember me, the 'fraidycat? Yep, the guard guineas started cackling about something in the middle of the night, and it startled me right out of a deep sleep on the couch. From then on, the guineas were on my bad list, quite possibly because seeing them reminded me of my well-deserved reputation of being afraid of even the tiniest noise in the night.
Well, the scaffolding/guinea roost has long been dismantled, only one guinea has survived various disasters, and I think I kinda like that sucker.
Yep, I like that sucker now, but I don't see the jokes and wisecracks stopping any time soon. Seriously. Can you tell what that crazy bird is doing in this picture? Fighting his shadow. He obviously seriously believes that "other" guinea is a threat. This makes me wonder how the five brain cells not involved in this behavior are sustaining his breathing, heartbeat, etc., all by themselves, LOL. Goofy darn bird. Walked right past that basement window and his reflection in it, but was instantly ready to fight his shadow. Maybe I'll name the guinea Don Quixote? Hey, it could be shortened to D.Q., which of course could lead to lots of snarky little digs about Dairy Queen's barbecue, fried foods, and why not-- guinea dogs instead of hot dogs. *snort* Sorry. Told you the jokes likely would continue, even though that guinea has grown on me. If anything happens to this last guinea, I'll be asking my mother when she's going to get some more, I know it.

Geez, there are actually lots of things to like about guineas. Those faces are so ugly that they are cute. Their feathers are magnificently patterned (try clicking on the pic to see the fine details and marvel at the way that pattern of dots is carried so perfectly across separate barbs). Not only are they fun to watch, but guineas are also great for ridding your yard of ticks and maybe even cutting down on mosquitos. If you like fresh eggs and can find where your guinea hen has hidden her nest, you can also have guinea eggs for eating.

If you've followed those last two links, you've discovered Jeannette Ferguson's online guinea farm at www.guineafowl.com. Scroll down to the bottom of that home page for lots of guinea stuff. Myself, I just clicked on the Guineas in Residential Areas page and visited some city guineas. I also learned that guineas are fascinated with their own mugs-- if you want to train them to stay away from your porch railing, then lure them to the chicken pen railing with a strategically placed mirror for admiring their own good looks :)

Hope you enjoyed your visit with the guinea today! See ya tomorrow :)




Saturday, December 27, 2008

Now, That's Ram Tough!

Here's a closeup of the Dodge Ram hood ornament for the old Dodge pickup truck my brother is restoring. Hey, it has to be an antique, because we had this truck when I was a kid...you do the math ;) This particular Dodge truck was christened "The Banana" by us Greer children because of it's pale pastel yellow paint job. Being the packrats that most Greers are, Pop and Bubby have kept the old Banana since it's demise long ago. Now, Bubby has started fixing it up. It's running. It has new tires. It's being transformed from "The Banana" to I'm not sure what shade of green with black hood and trim. Kinda cool. Kinda brings back childhood memories.
As for me, I've always loved taking pictures of hood ornaments. If I dig in the old photo albums and stacks of 35mm pictures from the years right after college, I'll find closeups of hood ornaments, dashboards, and trim from different car shows. Long before I ever went to an AMC show with the hubby, I took pictures at a car show in Elizabethtown. My best friend from high school was married to a gearhead at the time, and I went along with them to the show. I took all kinds of shots of glorious hood ornaments, funky tail lights, and reflections in wheels. It was fun!
Now that I have this camera and the kiddos are almost big enough, I might even want (OMG, did I really just type this??) to go to an AMC show with the hubby again this summer. Marlins, Javelins, and Levi Strauss Edition Gremlins, oh, my! Ugly as I do think a Gremlin is, it sure makes for some great pictures when you find one that has been lovingly redone. Not only that, but a blue on blue Marlin just screams "ocean dreams" and "wow, they really knew how to make some pretty cars back in the day". You know, without a doubt, that I like taking pictures with those kinds of themes!

Here it is, the bumper from hell. Okay, so my little brother won't call it that because he wants it on the back of the Dodge for protection. I will call it that, however, because I don't plan to be the one driving the Dodge. Let me just say, if you rear-end that truck, you'd better be driving a semi with a humongous snowplow blade, or you're gonna be crying about the damage that bumper does to your vehicle. Bubby is grinding some metal parts for the homemade bumper in this picture. I loved catching a pic of the sparks flying! He didn't offer to turn out the overhead lights so I could catch a really dramatic shot of those sparks, but I think you can still get the idea, right?
Back home for me and the kiddos tomorrow. We drove the van to Grandma's, but it wouldn't start yesterday so Ricky got it running and drove it back home. That leaves us, with our Christmas loot, clothes, and other assorted "necessities" to pack into (drumroll, please) the little Cavalier for the return home! I tried to send the bigger things in the van yesterday, but you know how it is when you try to pack up ahead of time. . .
Ah, well, I think I'm rambling. Time to say night-night :)



Friday, December 26, 2008

GoldFinch Quest

Aha! Gotcha! These cute little goldfinches are half the reason I was so excited to get a new camera for my early Christmas present, and I am thrilled to already have gotten a picture like this. When they first began arriving last spring and filling the bare rose bushes outside my mom and dad's living room window, I was a crazed woman trying to get close enough to take a good picture with my trusty Nikon CoolPix. . .crazed, because I could not get close enough for any really clear shots with that good but small camera. Every time those little buggers arrived to eat the bird feed, I'd run to get my camera. They would promptly disappear, or worse yet, would munch happily until I got one step away from a clear picture and then scatter!
Well, nyah, nyah, nya, na, nyah! This picture (zoomed with photo editing software) was taken from inside the living room today, and I plan on spending some time in a lawn chair that's even closer to the bird feeders. Yep, this chick is looking forward to the challenge now that she's armed a little better. Oh, yeah, and now I remember why I gave up on photography as a hobby a long time ago. Too addictive, too easy to want to keep buying bigger and bigger lenses, too all-consuming. . . yep, ranks right up there with golf (replace "bigger and bigger lenses" with "lighter and lighter clubs"). Good grief, between the camera and the torch, I'm gonna have to really start hawking my sculptures to finance my art addictions!
Better get myself to bed soon. Those birds will be up and chirping early, and there's a family get-together to attend in the afternoon. All in all, I'd say a laidback visit here to Kentucky has got to be the bestest trip of all!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day Is Done, Gone the Sun. . .

It is the end of the day, and my brain drags in a tiny snippet of poetry as I look again at this photograph of yesterday's sunset. For some reason, searching for the words to pair with this photo has led me to the haunting lyrics and melody of Taps. "Day is done, gone the sun" blurted my brain, and I had to stop and think of the rest of the words. Then I realized it was Taps. Such a deep emotional trigger the bugle pulls when it sounds taps. Strange that it has this power to mesmerize.

Stranger still, to the modern mind, might be the realization that some of the first words associated with this bugle call were, "Go to sleep, go to sleep..." Ahhh, there's the elusive connection between a sunset photo and a bugle call! Sixty seconds of lonely bugle call to herald the end of each day. Funny, that. How many times do I herald the end of each day, each ordinary day, with such an emotion stirring ritual?

The irony of that question is that I sit here alone, struggling to coax sufficiently respectful words to the keyboard, willing myself to finish writing this "quick" blog post and then re-join everyone downstairs to say good night. Day is done, and even the children know it is time to go to sleep. This feels like a half-written essay to which I've added a stilted summary sentence. . . I think maybe we will have to talk about this again sometime. Now, I have a few little people to go hug and kiss. Good night to you, and sweet dreams, Ang

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Star in the Night

A star shone over Bethlehem, and two thousand eight years later we still see its light.
We may each see this Light from a different perspective, but chances are it touches almost every one of us in some way. That Light may be the very core of our faith, or it may be one of many foundation blocks with which we build our faith. That Light may be something that shines so brightly for our friends that it casts shadows within our own life, or it may be just a speck on the landscape. That Light may be just another light among many in the world for us, or it may be The Light.
Whatever it is for you, may it bring you warmth this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Aw, Geez, Can't a Bird Get a Little Privacy??

Ahh, Calgon, take me away! It's been a rough day.

Alright, who took the bath mat? My claws are dripping!


Oops, almost forgot to wash my neck!


Hey, what was that I heard? Somebody sneaking up on me?




Well, here. If I'd known you wanted to take a picture, I would've done this in the first place. I call it my dignified pose.
Beautiful, isn't he/she? I've seen plenty of hawks sitting atop trees and posts, but this was the first time I've ever seen one taking a bath!





Monday, December 22, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4! I Declare a Thumb War!

One, two, three, four! I declare a thumb war!
Can't beat a good ol' thumb war, huh? Rock, Paper, Scissors is passe' at our house. Thumb Wars are the popular game now. Of course, you can't have either without some attempts to illegally control the outcome of the game! With R-P-S, James and Kate hesitate at the end to try to see what their opponent is going to choose. Kate has her fingers pointed out like she might choose scissors, and James skips a beat and then chooses rock. The same kind of wrestling for position happens with thumb wars, too, except it is literally wrestling for position. They both try to "steady" each other's hand.
We started out taking Christmas pictures, but there were many complaints from the peanut gallery each time the photographer requested a new pose. You know, if I'd torched any in the last week, I wouldn't be torturing the kids by making them pose for closeups. . .but that's the way the holidays go! Eventually, I'll get back to work :) In the meantime, guess you get kid pics and an occasional outdoor shot. Heck, even the outdoor shots are at a premium right now because I have very little desire to head out into the single to barely double digit temperatures and fiddle-faddle around with the camera. I am a cold weather wimp, apparently!
So, what's the funniest line, instead of the old standby "say cheese," that you've ever heard a photographer use? Our favorite is "say toilet paper"! Okay, so it isn't as funny now as it was when the photographer had a 4 and 5 year old Katie and James say that for her, but it works. Hope you've got some good ones to share, because I might have the rottens try this Christmas picture thing again later this afternoon!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Voices Singing "Let's Be Jolly"

Argh! The dreaded grade schooler fake grin! I do remember this stage from my own childhood. If I claimed otherwise, my mother would take you by the hand and lead you to my second grade school picture. . .horrors! However, since the little boy has been covering his face and ducking every time he sees the camera lately, I will happily take this pose :) Poor kid. Had to wear a sweater he didn't like (that's what he said in the store, out of the store, on the way home, at home, in the morning upon waking, you get the idea), but he didn't seem to mind once he got to the party. Handsome little devil also was miffed at the mom for taking him to a "girl hair-cutting place" yesterday afternoon. He survived the ordeal, just this once, but let everyone within earshot know he usually go to Ralph's, "you know, the barbershop, for boys."

Dress results are in-- Kate decided this green dress was kinda cute, after all. The change of opinion had something to do with the mom sewing jingle bells around the front collar :) If it makes noise when you walk, then how can it be bad??

The hooligans enjoying themselves in the gym after the program. Besides driving his mother crazy by climbing on the scorekeeper's table, he is also playing air guitar! Two of the bigger kids had guitar solos, and all the little kids were in awe of such coooooooooooolness.
Merry Jingle Jingle!



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Looking for That Special Christmas Dress!

To the saleswoman who smugly remarked that I "should've been buying dresses in July because that's when we had them in the store," let me just say this. How do you know I was shopping for a Christmas dress for Kate? If your "seasonal" lines run so darn far ahead of the calendar, then how do you know I wasn't shopping for the child's Easter dress??? So, why don't you have any dresses???
Natch. One of those retorts that escapes you until minutes after the fact. . . Just as well. Wasn't a very nice thing to say. I do believe the smartass is overpowering the spiritual in my mind lately.
The other day, I was describing the rough looking town near the house we're looking at, and I told someone who has only just met me last week, "Well, I can use a shotgun if I need to, but I don't really want to have to do that." She laughed and said, "I could tell that about you." What?? Uh-oh, must be the bad attitude showing itself!
Oh, back to the Christmas dress (the only one in a size 6 in the entire town, not counting the hideous corduroy jumper that even I wouldn't have worn when I was six and that was in style). Should I offer to sew some jingle bells on it for tonight's Christmas program? or do you think Kate the 6 year old inside the 60-something personna will find it toooooooooo embarrassing?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ahhhhhhhh, Heavenly Coconut CheeseCake...Mmm, Were We Talking about Something?

I swear, I meant to eat the salad. Really, I did. It's just an old-fashioned house salad with iceberg lettuce (romaine or even spinach would be yummier), shredded carrots (mmmm, great way to get extra Vitamin A), radishes (can anyone tell me what the purpose of a radish is?), cucumbers (you know I'm not gonna eat those, either), and THE WORLD'S BEST WINE AND CHEESE DRESSING EVER! After a morning spent Christmas shopping in the shopping equivalent of Podunk, USA, I decided I deserved a Christmas shopping lunch. Now, generally, if you make the hour drive to Fairview Heights to shop in a variety of stores, you also get to eat at Olive Garden or Red Lobster if there are no kids with you (with kids, you can bet Chuck E. Cheese or Red Robin will be requested). Are you getting the idea about shopping trips? If you have to shop, it sure is fun to make the trip out of town. Unfortunately, our small town is never going to get bigger or better stores if we all keep spending our money out of town.
Hmmph. Christmas is about the only time I ever go shopping in a true sense of the word, and by golly, I want to have fun going to real department stores, slipping into the bookstore for a minute, heading by Krispy Kreme for donuts and coffee, and deciding which of the many different stores I want to grace with my presence and pocketbook.
So, it was not without a tad bit of regret that I chose to stay close to home this morning and do my Christmas shopping in town. Wal-Mart is our biggest store, no getting around that. Toys, shoes, popcorn tins, and kids clothes purchased there will at least mean locals keep their cashier jobs. Goodman-Meares Welding Supply was a big hit! Found my little brother's presents, no problem! Another locally owned establishment shall remain un-named, however, since they don't take credit cards. . .that's all I brought, and I didn't see the sign until I'd spent half an hour browsing and choosing some cool gifts. Drat. Kirlin's Hallmark worked out fine, though. They get a big pat on the back from me today!
This is where the coconut cheesecake comes into the story. Ahhhhhh. Mmmmmmmmm. Got my shopping day treat, after all. Centralia may not have many stores, but it sure does have Jerry's (formerly known as Jerry's Bigger Jigger, in which the decor was as gaudy as the name, LOL, but that's another story)! Jerry's is the home of the finest homemade cheesecake in the world! The coconut cheesecake, slathered with whipped cream and built upon an incredible cookie/graham/sugar crust, is the silkiest, most sensuous dessert your tongue will ever know. I "forced" myself to eat some of the cheeseburger first (by the way, that wine and cheese dressing that was intended for the salad made a very tasty addition to the cheeseburger on the toasted bun).

Now, if I can recover from the sugar coma, I really need to run out to the van and get the presents so I can hide them! Hope you've been blessed with some little sweet spot in your day, too! Catch ya later! Peace, Ang

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As the Kiln Warms. . .Thoughts that Pop into My Brain

  • First thought is "Did I already get something on the lens of my camera, or is that coffee cup crusty?" It is true that I despise dishwashers, my eyesight is not so keen when I am in a hurry, and I don't like washing the dishes any more than I like rinsing them all off so I can put them in the dishwasher. If I were normal, I imagine I would cringe and not say a thing. If. I'm not, and I've gotten to the point where I recognize many of my shortcomings and don't necessarily see them getting better in this lifetime.
  • This warrior goddess was inspired by tales of Amazon warriors and Athena. She is truly a warrior, what with her shield at her hip, the spike of her headress, and the powerful tilt to her body. Why do warriors inspire us when all we are looking for is ourselves? Reading about a great warrior, or even seeing a documentary type show on television, will do strange things to our brains, don't you think? Something about the bravado and swagger appeals to us, makes us want to do battle with life and come out the winner. I find it ironic that larger than life legends prop me up in battles with enemies which are usually of my own making and have little to do with actual war scenarios. Why call on Athena to help me gain the courage to defeat a fear that I have created for myself? Warped, I tell you, a bit warped. Still, we all have our fears of failure, fears of achieving success, fears of not living up to other people's expectations. Believing in heroes is one coping mechanism we can all use. We may not be able to prevent ourselves from creating fears, but we can become inspired to change our thoughts so that they become less frightening. Hurrah for heroes!
  • The kiln is warming right now. Would you like to know the temperature on the display before it started heating? 44. That's it. Forty-four degrees Fahrenheit inside the little room that connects our kitchen to the garage. We all call it the "breezeway" even though it is fully enclosed. On days this cold, I think it deserves its name. Last night, the kids and I decided to head into town before Daddy got home from work. We couldn't stand being cooped up any longer, so we piled on layers and headed out in the 18 degree night. Then, while the van was warming, we were talking about how "cold" is a relative term. We talked about how cold it is north of here, and I reminded them that Marcy's daughter is in Anarctica right now. That's south, and that's cold even when the rest of the southern hemisphere is having summer.
  • The search for the perfect house closer to St. Louis continues. Speaking of warriors, the tiny town south of where we looked this weekend had me thinking in terms of getting a shotgun and a mean, mean dawg. I swear, I heard banjo music coming from one of those front porches. Aw, not really, but it did look like a rough place in some spots. The farm country where the house was located was almost like home for me, though. We're getting closer to finding our compromise. The city boy (okay, town raised, but he really likes when work takes him to big cities like London or New York) has almost total disregard for my love of trees and a bit of curve to the land, so I have to remind him that I am not going to be ecstatic about a house on five acres of flat as a board land, especially if there are no trees or creeks or something! He has finally taken due note of this preference, and we now know our compromise is going to have to include some flatland for a great big shed/car garage *plus* some gentle roll or some trees or a pond or something. Like how descriptive I am? "Or something." It's true, though, that any bit of those things makes a piece of land have the potential to feel like home for me. I don't carry a checklist in my hand-- I gauge my "feel" for a place.
  • Kate was awake in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep, so we had one of our rambling conversations. From the beginning of the school year, she has sort of dug herself into a hole as far as reading goes. She is very smart, but in a different way from her brother. Reading comes naturally for him, but Kate is going to have to work at it. She wants to do it all on her own, though. She's confident, too. The only problem is that this self-confidence leads her to think she always knows the answers. She'll guess a word and assume she's got it right, instead of asking for verification. Last night, she told me what she said to herself last week. "I said to myself, I'm going to work hard and get five out of five on my reading tests so I can go to the A.R. (Accelerated Reading) party this month. I did it!" Damn, I hope I live to see her in her forties or even fifties, because she's already a pretty old soul when it comes to knowing herself.

Time to hit the torch! One of these mornings, I gotta put some deep thought into a Christmas post for you. My children asked me (me, the religious eclectic who is unfond of organized religion but does enjoy spiritual exploration), "Mom, who is your favorite? Santa Claus? or Jesus?" Yeah. That's a loaded question, and how do I answer that one without seeming to both biased and hypocritical at the same time? For the record, I said "both because I can't choose." I wanted to say "Jesus because if you are a Christian there is much to love about the holiday celebrating his birth." But I'm not (at least, I'm not only a Christian if I am any religious type at all), so does that make me a hypocrite for singing Christmas songs and celebrating this holiday which is so much a part of our culture? See, that's going to be one looooooooong essay, isn't it? Peace and love and happy day to each of you, Ang

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Day!

Yep, hear the little boogers shout HOORAY! Hear the mom who needed to do some Christmas shopping and some work without the kids' help sighing OY VEY!
Shhhhhhhh, don't mention the whole Santa Claus thing because my two still seem to believe. That means Mom has some shopping to get done on the sly, and Christmas is coming soon, oh my! Alright, alright, you caught me. I am a last minute shopper. If shopping ahead of time works for you, then I am happy for you. . .but I can't do it. I like the whole Christmas gift hunting atmosphere that comes into play when you shop close to the holiday, plus so far I've been blessed with kids who aren't asking for the season's hottest new toy and haven't had to plan my attack on stores. It's also my horrible curse to not be able to hide things securely without forgetting where I hid them! Add to the list my inability to not buy some Christmas presents during December. I could buy ahead of time, but then I'd spend even more money because I'd just have to buy some more things when the big day got close.
No Christmas shopping today, though, and it's okay as long as the ice is gone by tomorrow or Wednesday. Let me tell ya, today is an 18 degree winter day, and I'm content to stay home and not venture out! Mallory, Betsy, and all of you who live farther north than me, your negative degree weather makes me shiver!
Ah, so what are we going to do with the rest of our day around here? We've made biscuits for breakfast, we've started straightening up the house, and now 2 out of 3 of that "we" are busy playing Webkinz, LOL. What do you like to do on a snow day? or do you get snow days?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Waiting on Christmas

While we wait on Christmas, may we think a bit about those who brought it to us.
My favorite Christmas carol is "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear". What's yours?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

TinCan TiltaWhirl Tallulah Glass and Recycled Cans Interactive Sculpture











So, here's what I've been fiddling with all day. Finally got her finished! Wanna see some pics of the process? Head on over to my pages in BeadArtists.org. How's your Saturday been?




Friday, December 12, 2008

Elusive Moonlight, Elusive Forgiveness...Almost Sounds Like the Title of a Harlequin Novel, Doesn't It?


I read too, too many of those Harlequin novels when I was a teenager. Even after I knew the heroine would always win the guy, I still read them for a while. So what would happen in a Harlequin by the name of Elusive Moonlight, Elusive Forgiveness ? Hmm. Yep, here's what would happen. The story would open as a young photographer named Elise was trying to capture the perfect picture of the Grand Canyon in the moonlight. (Note that heroines must never have a name that isn't in some way chic or almost foreign sounding. Note also that heroines the background for your story must not be limited to Podunk Street, EveryTinyTown, USA, but must include someplace grand or chic or possibly foreign.) Elise cannot get the angle she wants for the shot, so she bravely scrambles down an embankment and sets up her tripod. (Note that heroines must be brave, gutsy, etc.) She sets the timer, gets the shot, starts to climb back up the embankment, and the embankment crumbles, leaving her stuck at the bottom. (Must have some sort of dilemma for the guy to come along and help the heroine solve.) Along comes heartbroken ChadGunterTrey (hey, pick a name, they all ran together after a while for me), and he is awakened from his inner pain when he hears Elise's cry for HELP! Now, insert fifteen chapters including as many of these steps as possible:
  • ChadGunterTrey learns Elise's name from the label on her camera case.
  • Elise has no idea who ChadGunterTrey is.
  • ChadGunterTrey takes a long vacation from running his million-dollar business so that he can get over the heartbreak of losing his young wife in a tragic scuba diving accident.
  • ChadGunterTrey must find a nanny to care for his twin infants while he roams the world and tries to make sense of why he cannot get on with life.
  • Oh, yeah, you already know-- Elise needs a job to supplement her meager photography income, so she applies for a nanny position.
  • Elise discovers ChadGunterTrey is the potential employer.
  • ChadGunterTrey almost kisses Elise because she looks so adorable, but alas, the time is not right and he must head off into the sunset to find himself.
  • Although given strict instructions to communicate only through ChadGunterTrey's lawyer in an emergency, Elise feels she must contact him to tell him about the insinuations his mother-in-law has made that the twins should be adopted by her side of the family.
  • Insert more drama.
  • Elise finally admits to herself she really loves ChadGunterTrey.
  • They kiss.
  • The end.

What the heck?? Told you I read too many of those things when I was a teenager! What I was coming in here to tell you about got totally lost. Well, two things were on my mind. One, why is it so hard to photograph a full moon and have it look like the moon? Two, why is it so hard to truly forgive?

For the photography bit, I know, I know. I need to read some of the instruction book and start to re-learn what little I ever knew about manual photography. Bet after I do that, I'll be able to capture more of the surface lights/darks from the face of the moon. At least now, I can almost capture the immenseness of the moon in the sky. With my smaller camera, the moon could look as huge in the sky and only be a dot in my photo. Ah, Luna, I do love to look at your world, and I will eventually figure out the logistics of photographing it.

For the forgiveness bit, I'm not sure how to write what I want to say. Forgiveness is something I don't do well, but this isn't about me in particular. It's more about me seeing something in the way some people "forgive" and realizing just how badly I suck at forgiving. Here's the lesson I am trying to learn, now that I've had that moment of clarity:

If you are going to forgive, forgive. Don't add explanations. Don't "grant" forgiveness because it makes you more at peace with yourself. Don't dangle yet another opportunity for the person who has wronged you to finally apologize.

Forgive.

That's all.

I didn't say I can do it. I know I always hang on to that need to show everyone else exactly why I am right, exactly why I have been wronged. If I am honest with myself, then I can see that much of my forgiveness comes with a string attached-- I forgave you, now you have to do the right thing and apologize to me. Otherwise, consider my forgiveness null and void because you know this whole thing is going to stay with me to the grave. I'm a grudge holder, and I suspect that many people who think they are forgivers are grudge holders, too. It's just the way our minds are wired...well, not everyone, but you know what I'm saying?

Forgive.

You know, I have led a pretty charmed life, and I would say there is nothing horrible that has happened to me. Still, I hang on to little aggravations at times, there's no denying that. Doesn't mean I can't learn something from thinking about forgiveness and observing how it is approached by a variety of people, though, does it?

Done now. Hope the rambling didn't make you wish you'd picked up a Harlequin and read a romance instead of this entire post. . .come to think of it, either choice would've eaten up about the same amount of time :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Balls. Who's Got 'Em?

  • We do. We haven't hung them up on the lights outside yet, but we have them. We have green shatterproof balls. James and Kate decorated them using my permanent markers. The one on top (and I do apologize for including a hairy ball, but I had to show you this one) is Kate's creation. It is called "Reindeer Hair". James drew similar hatch marks and lines on another and titled it "DeathStar" (yep, Star Wars even has a place in Christmas decorations).
  • The Illinois Governor does. That is, unless he finally resigned overnight in light of being arrested on conspiracy charges, he has balls. Actually, he's the reason for my crude title today. Have you heard what that man was trying to do? Granted, we are talking about the state of Illinois and a passle of politicians from Chicago, so it shouldn't come as a complete shock. Still. Governor Blagojevich decided it would be a great idea to raise money for himself by clandestinely (he thought) auctioning off a soon to be empty Senate seat instead of simply appointing someone to fill President-elect Obama's Senate spot. Balls. That man has some balls. Wait, it gets even better. It has been reported that if he didn't get a $uitable offer, he was just going to appoint himself to the Senate seat! Can you believe that?? Oh, wait, sorry. Of course, we can all believe it. It's just not very fun to see it happening.
  • This guy has 'em, in a different way. Dang, this is a funny video. I'm still laughing, and I have no intention of trying to find out whether or not it is fake. Holycrapoli, that is some stunt to contemplate, isn't it? Thanks for sending that link, Michael.
  • Too many tomcats in our neighborhood, that's who has 'em. If I catch Patience and Tom having their pee'ing wars in my back yard again, I think I am going to scream. Thank goodness, it is winter and smells don't travel as far as they do on the wafting summer humidity. Let me just say that I like both of these cats when they are playing nice. I feed them when they come to visit. I even pet Patience (Tom is a bit unsure of people getting close to him). I also have a wicked surrealistic vision of one spraying and the liquid being frozen cartoon fashion midair, thereby sticking the tomcat in place for a bit. . .ahem. If they were mine, I'd take them to the vet for the ol' snip-snip and then spoil them endlessly because they are beautiful big cats.

That's all for me today. Time to get an oxygen tank and fire up the torch :) Happy Thursday, Peeps!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Lover or Book Burner? Which Are You?

Wait, don't answer that yet! The "book burner" part has a story. If you really are a book burner, if you really do make bonfires with books, then I'm not talking to you. My "live and let live" attitude gets a little cranky at the thought of people who toss matches and kerosene midst a bunch of Harry Potter books (or whatever other books you deem socially unacceptable).
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Are you a book lover, or are you a "book burner"? Seems in my former life (seriously, it seems like a lifetime ago because it was before I had children), I had a no-nonsense mother-in-law who simply did not like a bunch of books cluttering up her house. She is a sweet woman, and she still gives me hugs when she sees me, even though I'm not her daughter-in-law anymore. However, she and I were never gonna see eye-to-eye on the value of books, or rather the value of hoarding books, so I always tried to avoid the subject with her. Sorry, Dorothy, but those "uh-huhs" and nods from me when you were complaining about all of Doc's books? Those were my attempt to keep you on his trail and off of mine :)
Well, despite his wife's passion for getting rid of clutter in the form of piles of half-read novels and dog-eared favorites, Doc seemed equally determined to fill his house with the written word. He was a very smart man, that accidental book collector. I can close my eyes and still see the view as you rounded the corner of the kitchen at their house. Looking through the big kitchen windows, you might see a dog or cat or two, a few comfy old chairs, and (if it were the weekend) a man with a pipe reading a book. Glasses sliding down his nose, bits of stray pipe tobacco caught on his sweater vest, and a big fat book in his lap-- that was Doc when he wasn't being doctor(one of the best pediatricians ever) or concocting something strange in the kitchen(which might or might not have evolved from an actual recipe, and which might or might not actually taste delicious).
It seemed to me that Doc bought books every place he went. I was equally convinced that Dorothy complained about each and every new tome, too. Now, you must remember, this was many years ago, and time has that funny way of letting us mold our memories, so don't shoot me if I get details wrong, 'kay? I'll tell you, though, I loved the idea of having all those books scattered throughout the house. You could go into the tv den and pick and choose from a haphazard stack of books by the chairs. Want a Larry McMurtry western? How about yet another Civil War history of battles you vaguely remember from American history? Feel like cooking? One of the cookbooks from the kitchen might have grown legs and walked into the den. There were books lining shelves upstairs. There were books in the real living room. There were books in the kitchen.
For a book lover, also often known as book hoarders because we can't bear to get rid of a book we've bought, there is nothing closer to nirvana than free access to books with no "due by" date than a home filled with books that are generously loaned. I borrowed many a book, and I often had no problem figuring out a gift for Doc. That vintage set of Charles Dickens books in an antique shop somewhere in Pennsylvania? Bingo. Perfect Christmas present (and I wish I could remember the name of the antique store because they deserve praise for taking an order from a stranger over the phone and shipping all those books-- this was long before online shopping made everything easily accessible).
Well, there came a day when Doc and Dorothy decided a much smaller house would be better for them. Two story houses with dormers and basement are nearly perfect for raising eight children, but aren't really necessary once all the children are grown. Luck would have it that the smaller house had a huge den with bookshelves all along the length of the outside wall. Ah, book lovers' paradise :) Here's where the squabble over books took center stage once more.
Once again, I remind you that I was not a fly on the wall and my memory for detail is sometimes flawed. Now, to finish the story. It seems even those immense bookshelves were not going to hold all of the books from the two story house. Oh, how cruel, the thought of having to weed out some of your treasure. Oh, how delightful, having a bonafide reason to clear out clutter. Legend has it that Doc left the room, clenching his pipe between his teeth and muttering something about his wife being "a book burner!"
So, tell me, which are you? Book hoarder? or "Book Burner"? I promise I won't hold it against you if you say "book burner/clutter reducer". . .as long as you don't try to talk me into weeding out some of the books I haven't read in the last year or two :)



Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TeenyTiny Tuesday!


They say, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."
Well, this guy is only 1 1/8" tall.
He is crooked. He is funny. He is a wee bit mesmerizing. . . and that's not all.
He's also yet another reason why I admire anyone who can sculpt on a small scale! I love big, and I love bold, but sometimes I wonder if it's just a crutch I use at the torch. Could be, because this little Buddha had me twisting my mouth, squirming in my seat, and trying to hold my head just right, all in hopes I could finish him without him growing into one of my usual ginormous creations.
Oh, most definitely, if you or someone you know works this small in glass, YOU HAVE MY ADMIRATION! It takes a great deal of patience (counts me out, right there) and skill (glass is the one place where I feel like I have some of that). One without the other will get you a bunch of teenytiny blobs of colorful glass.
It was good for me to do it, though! Taught me a few things (or maybe I should say reminded me of things I knew a long time ago but had conveniently forgotten?). Challenged me. Thanks to Amber (oh, yeah, you want to click! It's her home page, with links to all her shops and galleries!) for the idea!

Monday, December 8, 2008

How Long Since You've Been Roller Skating?


Thanks for having your 7th birthday party at a roller rink, Sarah! James and Kate had a terrific time, and we can't wait to go roller skating again!
As you can see, James tends to roller skate like his mother. Kate, the jock/daredevil of the family, was rolling on her own after one trip around the rink holding my hand.
Me? Ain't no way I was putting on skates. I may have lots of padding to help with falls, may have the entertainer gene and not mind making a fool of myself, but I just couldn't do it yesterday. Too scared. I admit it.
********************
Guess what? I wrote the beginning of this post before the kiddos got up. I decided to go to town and get errands out of the way before coming back to the house after dropping the kids off at school. Know what I did on the way to town? Roller skating on four wheels! There was a thin sheet of ice on the roads closer to town. The roads here in Irvington didn't seem bad, so I got caught by surprise and did a little do-si-do around a curve. Good grief! I'm awake now!
Hope everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is blessed with an ice-free day today! As for you peeps in the Southern Hemisphere, I envy you today :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Recycling Done the Junk Afficianado's Way

Junk, stuff laying around, scraps, pieces of things you might need some day, and recyclable materials are all fine things in my book. My eyes light up when a new scrap pile is discovered, and my heart skips a beat when someone mentions cleaning out their junk drawer. Ah, the potential!
You can probably tell that my favorite method of recycling is adapting old material for new uses. We do collect tin cans, milk jugs, soda bottles, aluminum cans, glass jars, cardboard, paperboard, and newspaper to turn into Clean and Green for mass recycling into reusable material. But this sculptor always sighs at the thought of all the potential art material I am carting to the recycling center or feeding to the frog (that's the gimmick behind the green paper recycling dumpster at Irvington Grade School) when I could be repurposing it myself.
Yes, I have tried recycling glass bottles by melting them, but I didn't quite get the hang of it. There are still plenty of bottles on my work table, though, and I will try again. The problem is twofold: 1. because you can't know for certain the Coefficient of Expansion of the glass in two different bottles, you can't mix glass from different bottles into one piece (well, you can, but then it will crack) and 2. because I wanted to do something "different" and was trying to keep the bottom of the bottles intact while also melting a flowing curved line around broken tops to make a glass or cup. Once again, it all comes down to practicing what you want to accomplish.
Tin cans and aluminum soda cans are even more intriguing to me, and I have spent a good part of this week unsuccessfully tinkering and fiddling with them. Oh, yeah, I remember the soda can crochet purses and hats from the 1970's. . .but heck, I want to do my own thing, even if someone else has already done the same thing on their own (I'm a pretty big believer in this duality of creativity-- you must try to create your own unique style while keeping in mind that other people have done the same and may have stumbled upon the same "unique" styles).
What have I accomplished with my tinkering and fiddling? Not much. Hey, I did say "unsuccessfully tinkering and fiddling". I've used auto body hammers and dollies. I've finally figured out the right-hand, left-hand, and straight tin snips. I've dug out the soldering iron and copper foil, recycling those stained glass project materials. I have one hanging sculpture to show for it, and I'm not sure it's finished yet. That's it in the picture. See the slightly ribbed background for the plaster face? That would be a baby whole carrots can, a chicken noodle soup can,and a whole green beans can. Know what? I think I could work nonstop for seven days and still not get those ribs completely flattened! So much for that idea.
Back to the drawing board for the soda cans, too. While the tin cans seem too hard to reshape, the aluminum cans seem too soft. I had visions of stacking layers of aluminum, pushing out noses and cheekbones, and pushing in eye sockets and dimples to make faces. Taunting visions is what they are.
It seems I am writing this solely to justify my week of experimenting. Heck, I've spent plenty of weeks making crappy glass, all in the name of experimenting and learning. . .and was proud to admit it. So why am I feeling so crummy about my lack of results this particular week? Hmmm. Who am I to expect miraculous results with a minimum of effort? Back to the drawing board for me.
Yep, I'm feeling the need to melt some glass real soon. I can't take nonstop failure :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Enough Already with the Camera, Mom!



Bet my kids are gonna like all these pictures even less when they are teenagers :)
I have a few especially goofy ones I'm saving for their 16th birthdays.
In the meantime, I gotta share with Grandma and Granddaddy and Aunt Soupie and Uncle Bubby and anyone else who knows them, right?
This is where you nod your head and say, "Of course, Ang".
Have a terrific Saturday!

Get Me a Big Box of Nothing for Christmas!


For a while when I was a child, it seemed my granddaddy's answer to what he'd like for Christmas was always the same. "Nothing." One year, my mother kept asking her father for ideas, and he told her to get him a big box of nothing. Being her father's daughter, she did exactly that-- wrapped the box in pretty Christmas paper and everything. I think he usually managed to suggest a new pair of overalls or some long underwear or some slippers most years after that :)
After all these years, I still don't know for sure if there was ever something we could have given him that he was dying to have. For much of my childhood, he and Grandma lived in a large farmhouse with very few amenities. I can't say it didn't have running water because the well pump was inside the house, in a little room off the kitchen. They finally got a telephone after one of them was sick and they had no way to get in touch with my mom or one of her brothers. Neither one of them drove a car (and actually, if you'd ever seen the way Granddaddy drove a tractor, you'd offer up thanks that the man wasn't meeting you out on the road). The lighting in that old tenant house was probably dimmer and yellower than Edison's first projects. The toilet was an outhouse (a two-seater, but really, how many people want to share that much togetherness?). There might have been electric heat, I'm sure there must have been, but all I remember is them heating with a woodstove. Needless to say, air conditioning was not a feature (although none of us had it yet, either, and the great big poplar trees shading the yard did a fine job of making summer days quite pleasant on the porch).
As long as he had a chew of tobacco (gross, gross, nasty, nasty, and yuck), a few sticks of chewing gum to pass out to the grandkids (JuicyFruit or one of the mint ones), and a good book to read (I do believe his third grade education was probably equivalent to at least an eighth grade education today) he appeared to be content. You know, I have to say "appeared" because now that I'm a grownup I understand that kids don't always see everything. Still, he always seemed pretty happy to me. He and Granny raised a garden every year, kept chickens for eggs and three legged fried chicken dinners (Granny always made sure there were 3 chicken legs when we came for lunch, one for each of us kids), and watched wrestling and Lawrence Welk.
There's no date on this snapshot, but I'm guessing it was taken in the late 1950's because his face is chubbier than I ever remember and because that same recliner is in other snapshots. Those other snapshots show my mother getting ready for a high school dance (I think that's why she had on a dress and high heels) and my oldest cousin making sweet babydoll faces and my Granny looking quite young (the whole Granny's actual age thing would fill another post by itself, suffice it to say she was about twenty years younger than Granddaddy but always managed to look as old as he was).
While I sit here rambling about Granddaddy, I'm also thinking about Christmas presents and requests for "nothing." I've already gotten a very nice power tool from my little brother, and my hubby bought me a really nice Nikon on Black Friday, not to mention some great Secret Santa envelopes that brought huge smiles. . .I don't care if there's a single box under the tree for me. I've got a great life, and there is nothing I need (seriously, I don't think wanting lots more glass and a bigger kiln count as "needs").
Maybe I should make my wish a bit clearer, because I guess I do hope for a box or two under the tree. I do love to unwrap presents (rip 'em open, boys, and don't be dilly-dallying and trying to save that pretty wrapping paper). So, I'd like a big box or two of nothing for Christmas this year :)
I'm pretty sure Granddaddy would approve of my request. After all, it's not that you don't "need" any material goods, it's that you need the love and thoughtfulness of family and friends. Giving a gift is one more way we have of showing our loved ones how much they mean to us, isn't it? I know there's a better way of saying what I'm trying to say, but I'm more than a bit distracted by all the thoughts that snapshot has brought to mind. I have an idea for a way to make it into a present (maybe I should say "surprise" since I did steal the photo from her stash?) for my mom, and I'm trying to figure out how to do it. Better get to work. If it turns out, I'll show ya pictures after Christmas (if I show you before Christmas, then my mother will actually turn on the computer and find my blog on that very day, guaranteed!). Toodles, TGIF, and Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So Much for Compassion. Hmmph.

I did it.
I let myself gawk at a train wreck because I thought someone was being unjustly vilified.
I let my fingers type what my brain was thinking.
Mistake.
Now, I'm being just as petty and unreasonably irritated.
So much for spreading compassion, well-being, and peace.
Some days I'm bound to screw up...I blame my smartass gene.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Spread Compassion, Blessings, and Well-Being

Tibetans believe their mantra OM MANI PADME HUM calls to Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Each time the mantra is read or seen, it brings blessings and benevolent attention to the world. I love to read about these prayer wheels at dharma-haven.org.

Wanna know my little secret about mantras? I am not a very religious person, but I am a very spiritual smartass and find much comfort and joy in bits and pieces of religious ritual from around the globe. I've described the world as a giant religion and spirituality buffet, and chanting a mantra is one of the things I dip onto my plate every time I go through the serving line. Mantras really are calming and soothing to the soul. I learned that many years ago when a Catholic friend gave me a rosary and taught me how to say the Hail Mary. Repetitive comfort is what that prayer is to me. Please don't be offended if you are Catholic or Hindu or Buddhist, but as far as I can see, repetitive prayers and chanted mantras are pretty much the same thing --spiritual goodness.


Many times when I torch, I feel that melting and shaping glass is my meditation. This feeling will inevitably remind me of the good feeling evoked by chanting a mantra, and I will begin chanting. OM MANI PADME HUM is one of those chants I like, mostly because who can argue with the thought of calling more blessings and well-being into the world? If we each make an effort to spread compassion in our own little corner of life, then pretty soon there can be a blanket of peace and understanding gently covering the world.



OM MANI PADME HUM. HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE. OM MANI PADME HUM. BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN. OM MANI PADME HUM. AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF YOUR WOMB JESUS. OM MANI PADME HUM. HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD PRAY FOR US SINNERS NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATHS. OM MANI PADME HUM. AMEN.
May your day find you with time to contemplate compassion and well-being, find you receiving many blessings from the world, find you with the need to spread that compassion and share those blessings.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buy a CREATIVITY BOOST with AngelinaBeadalina (includes 1 hour virtual torching session plus 2 detailed email/phone talks re your creative glass art)

Well, this is just about the loosie-goosiest description I have ever written, so if you'd like to tailor your request even more, don't hesitate to ask! I have a simple webcam, so I can torch something while you watch or you can torch while I watch and make suggestions or we can split the time. The clock won't start ticking on our session until we get everything set up. I am a sculptor at heart, so you know I'm game for practically any subject you'd like to learn/improve. I can also help with stringer control, but I won't lie and tell you that my help will eliminate the need for you to practice. For your detailed discussions, we can talk about a variety of topics: ways to make your beads have their own unique look, how to take someone else's tutorial instructions and make a bead that looks like yours (not just an attempt to look like theirs), places on the web or in the library to find inspiration which suits your own interests, goals for stretching your imagination and art, ways to fine-tune your current work, armchair analysis of your glass art (I am a decent glass sculptor who can see and understand many things about glass, but I make no claim to be a seasoned glass professional, hence the "armchair" analysis), and ways to combine inspiration and current fascinations so that you're motivated to do some very satisfying torching. For both our benefit, we will agree upon the two topics of discussion ahead of time, as well as a tentative schedule. Also, "detailed discussion" will include at least two responses from me regarding each subject, so that you may ask questions and get replies. I do understand you may want to have torching time on your own between sessions, therefore we can spread the discussions over a schedule of up to 4 weeks. Of course, if for some reason I have to reschedule, that 4 week schedule will be extended until you have received your full two discussions. Cost of an AngelinaBeadalina Creativity Boost is $25. Also, if you choose to have me torch something during the virtual torching session, you will be able to purchase it for $15 (10 for a pound of glass, 5 for shipping) if it comes out of the kiln with no mishaps (told ya I'm not a glass god!). Please email me at angelinabeadalina@yahoo.com to schedule your Creativity Boost. IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY TO SPEND ON THIS CREATIVITY BOOST, I'D LOVE TO HELP YOU GET MORE FROM YOUR GLASS OBSESSION! IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO SPEND ON THIS RIGHT NOW BUT STILL HAVE QUESTIONS, EMAIL ME ANYWAY BECAUSE $$ ISN'T MY ONLY MOTIVATION! I'M SIMPLY A STAY AT HOME MOM WHO WANTS TO FIND WAYS TO FEED MY GLASS/TOOL/SCULPTING OBSESSION/SELF-EDUCATION WHILE STILL BEING AVAILABLE TO MY FIRST AND SECOND GRADER WHEN NEEDED :)



Hey, thanks for indulging me while I act like a self-promo 'ho! I just tried to put this CREATIVITY BOOST in the sidebar, but there's a limit of 100 characters. Good grief! Have you ever known me to explain anything in 100 letters or less??

Monday, December 1, 2008

Yes! Own Cyber Shopping! Get 3 Beadalinas for $125!

Items have been transferred back to my Etsy shop. Thanks for looking!
Buddha and the Labyrinth


The wisdom of Buddha, the meditative insight of walking a labyrinth. . .and the pleasure of having a tangible reminder of each right at your fingertips.


This Buddha and the Labyrinth sculpture was made by me in my southern Illinois studio. I sculpted the glass Buddha in the flame and annealed it in the kiln, then attached it to the pre-cut soft wood oval which I woodburned and roughly carved with the labyrinth design. Buddha is made entirely of Nile green Effetre glass, and he stands approximately 5 1/2" tall. The labyrinth oval is approximately 8 3/8" long and 6 3/8" wide, and it has been lightly sprayed with clear acrylic sealer.







A Deep Lonesome Mariah Blows Tonight


There's a deep,lonesome mariah blowing tonight. I stand at the precipice of time, feel the wind blowing my hair across my face, hear the folds of my cape fluttering, breathe in the lonesomeness of this very spot.



If I let go, where will the wind take me?


A Deep Lonesome Mariah Blows Tonight was sculpted in the flame and annealed in the kiln right here in my southern Illinois studio, and believe me, there are some lonesome mariahs that blow across these flatlands. Anyway, this sculpture stands approximately 5 5/8" tall, is made of dark ivory Effetre glass, and is epoxied to a 1 3/4" square slate tile. She won't mind if you play They Call the Wind Mariah once in a while, either :)










Serene Scene


She is serene, standing here observing the scene.


This Serene figure was sculpted in the flame and annealed in the kiln here in my southern Illinois studio. She is made of dark ivory Effetre glass attached to a piece of slate and a miscellaneous washer from my brother's junk bucket. . .and despite the chaos in the studio, she stands peacefully and seems to beg you pause for a moment and take in her elegant stance. The entire sculpture is approximately 8 3/8" tall and 3 1/2" wide at the base. The figure herself is approximately 7 7/8" tall.



Did You Ever Wonder How Much of "The Recipe" Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Sampled in Their Spare Time?

Well, Ellen, now ya got me thinking about The Walton's :) So, here I sit with my breakfast and coffee, googling "The Walton's". Good stuff can be found in the links section of the Wikipedia page about them, and did you guys know the show is being re-aired on The Hallmark Channel these days? Now, before you guys get all misty-eyed, let me warn you. . .the goody-goody Waltons will be mentioned here, but I'm really thinking about characters like the Baldwin sisters and Yancy this morning! Heehee, poor Ike Godsey would get more than one smack or two on his shoulder if he said aloud the things I intend to unearth about Miss Mamie and Miss Emily and that precious Recipe! Shhhhh, settle down now, Corabeth, I'm just kidding. Well, sort of kidding. Er, maybe kidding?

Oh, I loved to watch The Walton's up there on their mountain! Regular shows, reruns, whatever. I imagine ours was not the only family that occasionally got ready for bed at night and felt the urge to shout from bedroom to bedroom, "Goodnight, _______." We kids knew it was finally time to stop when our mother chimed in with a "Good. night. John. Boy." Anyway, I'm gonna write about the mountain from a grownup smartass point of view today. See. I warned you. I'm also not going to look up episodes to play online and refresh my memory about things, so there may be errors amid the conjectures. . . in other words, it's Monday, I have laundry to do, errands to run, glass to melt, etc., and can't justify sitting here watching episode after episode of The Walton's. That's what would happen if I started, I'm telling you.

Anyway, the question of the day is exactly how much of The Recipe the Baldwin sisters sampled in their spare time. Think about it. They seemed to be two little old ladies who had money and were retired. It must have gotten a bit boring sitting up there in that fancy house and not getting outside to roam around the mountain. (Speaking of the mountain, did you know you can go tour Walton's mountain?) I 'spect they had to sample The Recipe quite often to make sure Daddy's brew was still up to moonshine standards. Even in the free-wheeling 1970's, Miss Mamie and Miss Emily's exploits must have been too much for the television show to handle. Seriously, didn't they come across as just a little too delicately ladylike? Uh, huh. I know, television had much better standards for family shows back then. . .and as a kid, the hint of tippling little old ladies was scandalous! However, as a grownup, I 'spect there's must have been lines from the Baldwin sisters that had more meaning than I could grasp at the time. Like I said, I'm not going to allow myself to go back and watch again, but seriously! Was there ever an episode showing Miss Mamie and Miss Emily wobbling around the house, cup of The Recipe in hand, singing raunchy songs about hobos? Did we ever see them hiccuping and burping in John Walton's face? Do we really know whether or not they shared a cup or two or three with Grandpa Walton? You know he was a feisty feller. . .I'll bet he stopped by the Baldwin sisters' place for brewskies just to irritate Grandma Walton. Can't you just see sweet Ellen Corby's face screwed up in that tight-lipped mad pose, waiting to swat him with the broom when he stumbled back up the porch steps?

And Yancy! Why did I even say I was going to talk about Yancy? I barely remember a thing about him except he was a wild one. A rather poorly looking, pathetic rabble rowser in overalls and long johns is what I see in my mind's eye when I say the name Yancy. Exactly how bad was he? Was he simply uncouth, a redneck before we said the word redneck so freely? or was he really a criminal of sorts? Chime in and leave a comment if you remember details about Yancy. All I know is he seemed ripe for the devil's picking, and I don't even believe in the devil! Was he really out 'coon hunting at all hours of the night, or was he spending his time cultivating a bit of a patch of the wildwood weed and had to protect it?

Oh, goodness gracious me, where does the time go? I really have to get to my to-do list, so I'd better leave it at that for now. Now remember, for those of you who love The Walton's, I loved them, too-- this was all just a bit of speculation about the inside stories that I might have missed as a kid :) With that, I'll leave you with a "Goodnight, John-boy."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rainy Day Ramblings


Agent 269, aka Scruffy Marty the Cat, aka Spoiled Critter, looks into the camera and asks, "Why are you using your hands to carry that thing, when you could be using your hands to bring me food?"

The Daddy smiles, and the Katie does yet another funny face for the camera. In case there is any doubt, she gets the class-clown-goofy-as-hell gene from him :)


James felt the need to follow Aunt Soupie outside this morning, so he got to wear Granddaddy's coat and hat since they were right by the door. The little boy really is in there somewhere-- just look for the blue eyes!


Pop, aka Granddaddy, gives me a wave. He'd been watching Katie take a "shortcut" across the cornfield. I should have taken some pictures as he and Bubby built the fruit cellar, but I hadn't gotten the new camera out yet when they started setting up the walls. . .and today looks like it'll be fairly rainy and chilly. With lots of the Greer family coming today for the Thanksgiving get-together, the boys probably won't be working on the cellar much today.
Happy Sunday, and I do hope each of you gets to spend your day doing something that brings a smile to your face :)



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