Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Okay, Mom, For Halloween I'll Need the Broom and the Cat...

Here's the dealio on the premature purchase of Trick or Treat costumes. We live in a teeny town, do our shopping in a small town, and Halloween is usually celebrated on the last full weekend of the month here (instead of the 31st). So, I told The Rottens that if they were good all last week, including their long Saturday helping Daddy while I was at the bead show, then I would let them pick out their costumes early.
James was worried sick all last week, fearing some other young apprentice Jedi might snag the size 7-8 Darth Vader costume. . .and then when he finally got to the store, he picked out something else! Granted, it's still a Star Wars character (Capt. Rex of the CloneTroopers), but after assuring himself that Darth Vader was still available, he moved on to something else.

Kate decided Hannah Montana might be a little boring, since practically every other little girl in town will be wanting a Hannah costume. Instead, Kate is a medieval sorceress of some sort. She politely informed me yesterday that she will need to borrow the broom and take the cat along with us when we go trick or treating. . .I'll get back to ya on whether or not the Mooch allows us to take her trick or treating, LOL.
P.S. "Please, Dad, get the CloneTrooper name right. It is a CloneTrooper, not a ClownTrooper!!" Heehee, that bit of exasperation comes to you straight from the mouth of the little boy who thinks it's hilarious when Daddy teases Kate about liking "Hannah Banana" :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Angelina-DORK-alina, Angelina-THINK-alina

Oh, good grief, I can be such a DORK some days! I do stuff because I'm thinking about a certain thing, then later realize that no one else could possibly have any idea what I was thinking about at the time. I don't do simple stuff that needs to be done because I have a vague idea that I should do "something" but don't know what that something really is and don't want to admit ignorance by just asking.
RECENT DORK MOMENT #1: I warned Elaine that the Saturday blog entry was a deep one, not a funny one. Elaine, I am an idiot. I didn't mean anything about you (and I value you for your forthright opinions, never would think you'd be a shallow Pollyanna about anything)-- I was thinking about how I can't seem to write anything funny lately. Everytime I think about that, I think about one time after I'd written funny posts for a while and then followed it with a thinking post. I think it was you who lightheartedly said something like "I go away for a day and come back to find you've gone all deep". And you know what? I think funny is what we all need more often than not, so I've been having a little self-pity party about not being able to think of a good funny post lately.
RECENT DORK MOMENT #2: You guys know all the computer problems I've been having lately because I'm a techno-weenie? Well, if I'd just learn how to do simple maintenance and take care of the laptop, I might not have so many "duh" moments. The hubby fixed the crazyhibernatinglaptop problem. All he did was go to the control panel and tweak my settings, which were all apparently too low and were causing this baby to snooze all the time. Whew. Then, after I attempted (and failed) at doing the control+alt+delete thing to get my toolbars to reappear, I finally admitted to same said hubby that I could only go to websites that had links in my blog. Ahem. It took him all of about five minutes to control+alt+delete and straighten out the problem (plus he started a defrag running while he was at it). Duh, duh, duh, dork-- that's me.
RECENT DORK MOMENT #3: "Oh, I'll take pictures of the show," said the AngelinaBeadalina before she got slightly lost on the way to the show, and therefore had to rush to set up her table, and therefore promptly forgot to bring the camera inside so she could take a picture of that table. I was following Miss Kate across the bridge back into Illinois late Saturday evening when that dork moment hit me. All day long, I had fun, people complimented me on the table setup, blah, blah, blah...and I never took one picture of it! Thankfully, Marilyn included my table in her pictures of the entire bead show :) Otherwise, these three snapshots from this morning's unpacking of the van would have been it:

So, that's all the Angelina-dork-alina moments I care to admit this morning, but I think that's enough for one day. Now, on to the THINK moments that came from last week and Saturday's show!

RECENT THINKALINA MOMENT #1: Most people in this world are genuinely nice! Not a new observation, but one of those that bears repeating often. Karla just followed me to my van and carried some stuff inside for me when I finally found my way to the community center Saturday morning. Lots of people were helping one another take down displays and carry boxes to cars when the show ended Saturday. Kate's friend Nancy was drawing people into conversation about what they "do" (glass? jewelry? just visiting?), and you could feel the warmth she was spreading.

RECENT THINKALINA MOMENT #1, COROLLARY A: Most people in this virtual world are genuinely nice! Another observation that bears repeating often. The online world is a bit different than the real world in that we can pick and choose online friends who share many of our own interests. That makes it even easier to play nice, but since we can be relatively anonymous in our "spoken" thoughts online, it would also be easy to be jerks to each other. . .but most of us put thought into what we say, and most of us genuinely care about the well-being of our virtual friends.

RECENT THINKALINA MOMENT #2: There's just no way to know for certain where life is going to take you, so you gotta live the journey, not just wait to arrive. Joan (Papimom on LE) put it very well the other day. She's a wife, mom, daughter, glass melter, motorcycle rider, traveler, and more. She says she wants to be able to look back at the end of her life and say, "Hell of a ride!" I need to tape that to my mirror (or maybe the bottom of the lenses on my glasses?) so that I see it when I wake up each morning!

RECENT THINKALINA MOMENT#3: Don't waste your free time doing things that don't bring out your passions! Now, if someone could just figure out how to turn housecleaning into a passion for me, then I'd have even more legitimate free time! Oops, did I say that? Yep, 'fraid I did. I surely don't mean I'd like to be passionate about scrubbing counters and floors, do I? I think what I mean is that if I could be a little bit more passionate about it, *then* it wouldn't feel like work. . .speaking of which, I gotta get some stuff cleaned up, so I'd better say Ta-ta for now!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thought for the Day. . .Elaine, I'm Warning Ya, This Is One of the Deep Ones Instead of One of the Funny Ones :-)

Peace and power are to be found in the act of accepting the beauty of our body just as it is today.

It won't change the world in a single stroke, but it will change part of your own outlook on the world. Even better, others will see it, think about it, maybe discover it for themselves. . .and the world does change as many small acts fall into place.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Frugal Frannie's Free FancyFootSpa. . .

So, do ya think I could give myself a pedicure and smooth the calloused soles of my feet with my handydandy Black & Decker Mouse Sander/Polisher?


See, there's my deep thought for the day. Maybe the sawdust and epoxy are going to the brain? Anyway, thanks for all the well wishes for tomorrow's show! I will take pictures, and I will work on this 'puter problem next week so I can get back to the regularly scheduled blogging/rambling :) Love each and every one of ya!! Ang

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whoooooooooo? I Say, Whooooooooooo?

Whooooooooooo? Whoooooooooooo?

Who knows if I'll get the shelf put together and painted in time for Saturday? I used a jigsaw for the first time yesterday and made some curving layers of wood for the shelves. I learned that screwing the shelves together will not be an option if the big drill is broken because the small drill's battery doesn't work. In the process of learning this last thing, I got two hints from my little brother when I called him: 1.) If you're gonna start playing with power tools, then you're gonna have to start figuring out problems for yourself, and 2.) Nails still work for holding things together, ya know. To that end, I've been to the store this morning to get myself a claw hammer (funny, a little tack hammer won't pull out the nail that hit the knot underneath the top piece of wood and slid sideways out the side of the bottom piece). Now, claw hammer in hand, I will make another go of finishing the shelf so I can paint it a nice glossy black to show off the sculptures standing upon it.

Who knows how many sculptures will get finished? I've got pieces of burled wood that need cavities burned into them (yep, imagine that, a glass melter resorting to FIRE to solve a problem in another medium!). I've got display stands waiting to be sealed and drilled and epoxied. I've got glass figures lounging all over the desk, waiting for their homes. I've got a freakingcrazydamn computer that may or may not talk to the expensivedamnprinterthatdoesn'tliketoprint...and I want to print out a bunch of the stories that go with the figures.

Who knows from reading this just exactly how happy as a clam I am to be dealing with these little things?? I LOVE IT!! Tuesday night, I kissed my torch goodnight after one last sculpture before the show. Okay, not literally, because even though I do love fire, I don't love burnt lips! All the chapstick in Jo's pockets and briefcases wouldn't be enough to sooth that kinda sizzle, LOL! I loved, loved, loved buzzing through that piece of cheap wood to make the curved pieces for my crooked little shelf yesterday afternoon! Oh, yeah, I can see me wanting to make all sorts of things now, just so I can rip through some wood. I love thinking about my table display and sketching a layout on the back of an envelope while I'm hunting down the tools I need for the next step. I love it, and I don't even know all of the words to describe the satisfaction and enthusiasm that well up in my brain when I spot a piece of junk that would look good with a piece of glass I've melted (or when I spot a great piece of junk that's just begging me to melt a piece of glass to go with it!).

Who knows how much I love knowing that you all are out there, doing the virtual hand-holding and butt-kicking and cheering, whichever is needed most on a particular day? Well, I hope *you* are the *who* who knows :)

P.S. Here's a really stupid question from a techno-not. "How do I get my computer's coffee cup holder to open out again?" Heehee. Actual question from a top ten list mentioned on the radio this morning! Okay, now, maybe my stupid question won't sound as bad, compared to that one. Somehow, despite the total disappearance of icons and even the Start button from my screen, I managed to get a Firefox window open by clicking on one of those annoying update this reminders (and how in the heck did it show up if the other stuff is all on vacation somewhere on a tropical cyberisland??). Okay, so now I've got some windows open, as long as the crazycomputer doesn't hibernate itself again. BUT how do I get my Start button to show up again so I can get to all my programs? Told ya it's a stupid question, but I don't know the answer (and I know it must be a simple one, I just know it). Thanks in advance for any hints that might get me through the next couple of days with this sucker. After the show, *then* I'll be able to think in terms of proper fixes. Okey-dokey, now I'm off to visit my friends Stanley and Makita and FreebiesNabbedFromVariousGenerousSouls :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ooooga-chucka-booga, or Something Like That :)

What was that PEtra said? Something like Ooooga-chucka-booga,which would probably be cavewoman for sending you good vibes for this weekend's show. Anyway, PE, the thought is most certainly appreciated!! All of you make my day by joining me and leaving comments, ya know! Thanks and great big virtual hugs to each of you as you make your way through the day!

Gots to run (coming to you right this very minute from the local library, courtesy of Mr. Chuck, the Irvington librarian who makes a trip to the tiny local library a joy!). Gots to pick up kiddos (they go to school right across the parking lot from here, all 80+ students in this tiny kindergarten-8th grade district). Gots to finish laundry (how do they wear that many sets of clothes in less than 7 days??). Gots to get up my nerve and just cut out the pieces for my display shelf for Saturday (hahahahaha-- there, Bubby, that's my comment in advance to whatever it is you have to say about moi and a hammer!). Gots to wonder a few things:

  • Why, oh, why, when I go buy a new shirt, do I always end up with something white??
  • Why, oh, why, I am so boring??
  • Why, oh, why, is it still eighty-freaking-six degrees this late September afternoon? Didn't anyone tell the weatherman that it is officially fall here?

Um, yeah, I gots to get going. . .Hope each of you is well, hope none of you have seen any cobra-related snakes, hope all of you had a good night's rest and woke up to a pleasant cup of coffee (or tea or Diet Coke or whatever your poison of choice) and a smile from your loved ones!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wonder What He (or Is That a She?) Would Think About Us?

WoooHooooooo! New National Geographic in the mailbox today!
BooooooHooooooooo! Gotta get my butt working on stuff for the Glass Galore show in St. Louis on Saturday.
That means I don't get to rip open the plastic and devour the NG until next week. When I was a kid, I rarely saw a National Geographic until we got a bunch of them from Grandpa and Grandma's attic. I don't even remember why we ended up with them, whether Grandpa had subscribed to that many years or whether they were a flea market find, or whatever happened to them. What I do remember is that it was like a dream to have yellow stacks of magazines that shrunk the world before any of us had ever dreamed of the world wide web. It was an adventure to grab one of those and see where it took me through print and pictures.
There must be something subliminal about the design of the Geographic, because my kids react the same way to the stack of them on the headboard of the waterbed. The pictures tell so many stories on their own, and then to hear the written words is to really hear the stories come to life.
I can't wait to read about the face on this issue. Look at that. Wonder who reconstructed that? Wonder who found the fragments of skull that began the search for that face? Wonder what the brain inside that skull could fathom? Wonder if he or she would be amused by the Geico commercials?
Wonder what he or she would think about us? Do we dress funny? Is our food weird? Why don't we live in caves anymore? What is this wasting fire to melt glass instead of roast food?
Yep, I need to get to work! The sculpture in the pic just seemed to suit the caveman. Simple, yet powerful. Hmmm, better go say the magic words that make the fire appear, better melt some glass. . .

Saturday, September 20, 2008

High Heels Are the Devil's Spawn, Romaine Is a Kind of Lettuce, and Romain Is a Guy

High heels are the devil's spawn. They are. Ask my feet. They are still cranky and complaining, and the shoes hit the floor at 2am this morning. My head is not fine, either, even though all I had from the free bar was a Diet Coke. . .it sure was a FUN evening, though!
The mystery wife finally got to meet the coworkers! Yep, they thought I just might be a figment of my hubby's imagination. . .well, not really, but it is true that Rick's coworkers still hadn't met me after two years.
Now that I've met everyone, I have yet another reason to say I WANT TO SHRINK THE WORLD! I want to shrink it so that we can live just a jump away from Grandma and Granddaddy and the rest of the family and friends (*waving at Bubby, Soupie, Tasha, Mari, Rachel*). I want to shrink it so that I can pop over to Miss Kate's and steal her sweet little teacup kitteh. I want to shrink it so that I can spend the day at Argonne Gallery with Joan or visit Libby at Third Degree, then I can meet Ricky after he's done with work and go out with the Sigma Aldrich crew. I want to shrink it so that Deb (New Zealand) and Mallory(Minnesota) don't have to skype to talk "in person"...and so I head over to see them after I swing by Marcy's (Atlanta), pick up Mich(South Africa), grab Carol (Arizona-- and I hope you're having a terrific Indiana visit with Dave's family!!), sheesh, I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea!
Well, I don't know how I got from high heels being the devil's spawn to shrinking the world, but there it is. High heels are evil. This particular pair is cushioned with pieces of rubber mat that I snipped out of the tool box yesterday afternoon-- believe it or not, it kind of helped matters, keeping my feet from sliding too much. Anyway, I have one more thing to say to each of you :
Thank you. That's all.
P.S. This is the sculpture I made yesterday in the wee- wee-hours of the morning. It's a man with his arms around a woman, their heads tilted toward one another. We included it in our gift to Brandi & Keith (*more congratulations and good wishes going out to the new Mr. & Mrs. Hibbler!*).
Oooh, and check out this gift wrap I found. Mmmm, it just spoke to me. Isn't it wonderful?
Alright, over and out. Really. I have to get up out of this chair and start straightening the mess of wrapping paper, jewelry doo-dads (believe it or not, I actually made a pendant to wear with the dress, pantyhose, evil heels, and makeup last night), kids' stuff from their visit with Terry and Eileen (*hey, thanks, again, for babysitting*), and coffee cups in the sink. Happy Saturday to all, and to all a good nap! Sheesh, I really gotta go now :) Toodle-oooo!
Wait! I forgot about Romain! This is for you, man :) If you are talking or writing about a French guy who is married to Josephine the auditor, then you must spell it this way-- Romain. If you are speaking of lettuce, then you spell it this way-- romaine. Glad I got to meet you all!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pure Evil in a Box. . .Chocolate. Cake Donuts. Cannot Resist.

Really. Evil. There's no way you can eat just one of these. Almost crunchy on the outside cake donuts (you know, that satisfying outside that gives way to the cakey goodness inside). Velvety smooth chocolate icing.
Mmm mmph mm mmmmmmph crumble crumble mmmmm. . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tell Me Again, Ang, Exactly Why Do You Keep Making Sculptures of Naked Women?

This is the picture on my new business cards. The text to the right of the picture looks pretty much like this:
Angela Greer Garren
Pouring Emotion into Glass
Mother, Sculptor, Writer
P.O. Box 28, Irvington, IL 62848
Those words on my card, "Celebrating the Beauty of the Human Condition," get as close to a short answer as I think I'm ever going to get. Don't think I don't think about this answer each and every time I make a sculpture that isn't a mask or Buddha of some sort, either. . .because I do.
From the very first foray into sculpting the human body, I heard "Put some clothes on them nekid wimmin," snickers, and giggles accompanied by embarrassed eye rolling. Oh, and let's not forget the sideways queries about why it's women and not men in the nude that I sculpt. Alright, you asked for it, gentlemen (and make no mistake, it is usually the men who find this so intriguing):
  • I am a woman, and I love a man.
  • Everything is not about sex.
  • Men are gorgeous to look at, especially a nice strong pair of biceps, but I can't seem to sculpt a male figure and get anything special out of the glass.
  • Women's bodies have more curves, more gracefulness, and I can seem to sculpt a female figure and get something special out of the glass.
  • No, I am not interested in a threesome with another woman and you. . .you can fantasize about that one if you really want, but it doesn't turn my crank. Anyway, I'm a woman. My fantasies are more about well thought out, meaningful surprises and soft looks. Remember that Mars and Venus thing? We're different.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk seriously about nakedness and beauty and bodies and art. Once you've spent enough time on earth, you come to realize a few things. Life is about the journey. Love others for who they are, not who they might become. Nature is awe inspiring with her intricacy and universal language. The human body is beautiful in all its different shapes and variations, especially the ones that have been lived in, the ones that exude experience and wisdom and grace.

Yes, the bodies that carry the souls with so much humility and grace, those are beautiful bodies to behold. Battle scars don't have to be from bullet wounds, and hearts can be seen even when covered by layers of flesh and bone. A breast cancer survivor once asked me to make a sculpture for her. Sculpting that figure with the reconstructed breast that was smaller than the other because the woman had gained weight since her reconstruction years ago-- that was an honor. She survived, she flourished, and she lives. That's a beauty that reaches beyond the body itself.

I used to sculpt goddesses, used to be inspired by myths and religious stories, used to need to read about a goddess and try to understand her before I tried to capture her in glass. Athena, Kali, Gaia, they inspired me to reach toward their greatness and grasp it in the flame. Those were good sculptures for me, but they were another time.

Now, I sculpt the human form. Mantras and myths might come with me to the torch, but what inspires me is the form, the curve, the graceful imperfections of the human body.

Goddess inspiration comes from the strength and wisdom we percieve in the myths and legends and religions. It strengthens a bit of the soul, somehow. Ah, but the human body does even more. It is us, in all our shapes and forms, that inspires me. We live. We breathe. We laugh. We love. We cry. We hope. We are.

It is this human condition that is most beautiful to me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Argh, Argh, and Double Argh!

  • Argh, technology makes me crazy! We have been putting off the whole dead desktop computer issue for a few months now. My husband decided sometime last winter that I should become the "tech person" of the household, since I can find my way around the internet so much more quickly than he can. Umm, that might make sense, if we weren't talking about ME. I am the person who can look at a piece of equipment and automatically send it don't-work-right vibes. I am the person who continually has these problems involving simple things like how to find the "on" switch...on ANYTHING. Ummm, yeah, this whole Angie-as-the-fix-it-woman thing just might be stretching things a wee bit. Really, just because I can drive the car faster than him, that doesn't mean the DH wants me to start being the mechanic, now does it? Okay, same thing goes for the computer schtuff.

  • Argh, I miss my fast car! Okay, sorry, but making that analogy about driving fast just slapped me upside the head with an urge to bury the accelerator on a curving road...seriously, I grew up in Kentucky, I can handle a curving road! If I were a puppy dog, I'd be the one standing on top of the tool box in the back of the pickup truck barreling down the country road. If I were a car, I'd be a sleek body with a V-8 rumbling inside and raring to explode in a burst of acceleration. If I were. . .oh, heck, I'm a MOM now, and I don't drive too fast anymore. Of course, "too" fast on a curving country road is a term relative to where you grew up. To my hubby, the gearhead, triple digits are nothing on a straight and wide road, but I can scare the beejesus out of him by driving 55 on a narrow and winding Kentucky road. Oh, and Bubby, if you dare imply that my driving is what's scary, then I will have to open that who-wrecked-the-nova can of worms :)

  • Argh, I really need to just head back to the house and hope the laptop has decided it's time to come out of hibernation! Do you know how hard it is to concentrate here in the library? Shhhhh, quiet please. No problem with that, actually, because the only conversation I can hear is one between the reference librarian and an elderly man trying to find lyrics to his favorite hymns. That is not an argh at all, mind you. In fact, it just goes to show the rewards of living in a small community:) My argh is just one of those little hmphs from the writing muse on my shoulder. She's a fickle little bird, she is.

You know what, I would delete this whole thing right now, but then I'm not sure what I'd write. My life is really a good one, and at the risk of sounding like PollyAnna stole my soul when no one was looking, I've got to say it again. . . my life is a good one, and all these little "arghs" are really nothing compared to the kid sitting two tables down, patiently waiting for the kind librarian to help him. He is obviously struggling, but Jean just cheerily told him to try emailing her some messages while he waits for help. "You can send me all the messages you want, okay? Don't worry about the spelling." My problems may be frustrating for me at the moment, but they are nothing, ya know? So, I think I'll log off, let someone else have a turn, and head on back to the house. Here's to the kind people in this world, the ones who remind us of the important things, just by being themselves :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Game On! Do You See What I See? Leave a Comment to Play :)

Okay, okay, I can hear you all, "Yeah, Ang, we see a piece of wood." :) This is one of a box full of burled wood pieces that I've just gotten from Jan (Glsgrl on LE). J, I gotta tell ya again, these are some beautiful pieces of wood, and THANK YOU.
I've done a little bit of sanding, and I've already made the somewhat flattened glass sculpture that I want to insert in it. Can you guess what I was inspired to make as soon as I saw the ring pattern in the center of this side?
Of course, now I'm hesitating to put it together. The pattern that inspired me only shows up on one side. If I replace it with the glass piece, then no one else will get to see the inspiration. If I put the glass on the other side, I have to figure out how to slant it all just a bit more, or the display will be lost on everyone except toddlers looking up from the edge of the table. . .hmmm.
So, soon as I figure it out, I'll show ya the end result. In the meantime, howzabout a little comment contest? Tell me what you think I saw in the rings, or tell me what you see in the rings, and whoever gets closest to guessing what I saw will get a package with a couple of glass doodads to use in your own multimedia sculpture of some sort. Game on! Let's hear those ideas :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Scrounger's Guide to Welding on the Cheap

Step 1: Set up a workspace if you don't already have one for welding. In my case, there is no workshop space at our house. My husband has a garage at his late mother's house, but this is strictly gearhead land, a mechanic's paradise with very little in the way of a carpenter's tools or accessories. Oh, and did I mention that said garage is pretty much filled bumper to bumper with old cars? However, the beancounter/gearhead did volunteer some goodies for my welding experiment. Voila! We have rotted sawhorses that have stood unused by the shed for decades, but remarkably, they still stand. Now, what to use for a work surface? Here's the big sacrifice, and trust me, if you know a gearhead, then you will understand why the gift of this car hood means almost as much to me as any gift I've ever received from my sweetie. When you live with a gearhead, you quickly learn to appreciate and respect cars. You do not lean on a car, doing so would leave scratches in the paint from the rivets on your jeans or from the keys in your pocket. You do not write in the dust on a car, no matter how tempting, doing so just grinds those dirt molecules against the paint and makes scratches. Heaven forbid you should ever set an object on a hood, doing could cause a major buckle. Taking all of this into consideration, then the gift of a spare car hood for me to clamp things to and melt things on and generally wreak havoc with-- that's quite a gift :)

Step 2: Be damn grateful for your packratting, junkloving relatives, for they will hear you say you'd like to try something, and they will inevitably produce an extra piece of equipment that you can have! Thank you, Uncle Ralph, for passing along the arc welder you bought sometime when I was just a wee anklebiter (and quite possibly a bit before I came into the world). I LOVE IT!! It works fine, and it will even weld thicker pieces than I thought (of course, I have to practice that particular skill, but it's nice to know the capacity is there when I'm ready). Thanks for the helmet, too! I replaced the regular dark lens with a daylight lens (my only real $ expense in this welding on the cheap experiment-- a whole 49 bucks).

Step 3: Play! Practice! Do something fun! I really wanted a welder so I could make raised designs on metal scraps, so that's what I played with the last two days while the kids were at school. I still suck at sticking two pieces of metal together, but I can see it just requires more practice. "Writing" with the welding rods is rather addictive, though! Oh, my, did I mention I had fun? After a bit, I was making crude designs, like these roses and vines I made all around this piece of scrap. Definitely need more practice, but hey, why waste an interesting piece of metal?

Step 4: Never throw away a practice project if you can possibly think of a way to use it instead of wasting it. Why waste it, indeed? I brought it home, proud as punch, and have proceeded to give it some faint color by coloring it with Sharpies! Unorthodox, I'm fairly certain, but once again, FUN! A little more grinding to soften the top and bottom edges, a bit of glass torching to make a sculpture to go with it, and I'll have a new Beadalina creation.

P.S. Did I mention I'm having FUN?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baby Teeth, Echidnas, and Wayward Laptops

Katie's first missing baby tooth! It came out while we were at the Book Fair last night, and she showed it to every single grownup in the school building :) Then, the Tooth Fairy paid a little visit overnight. Kate is proud, as well as just a little dismayed. . .seems now she can't do a "hiss" like a cat because "too much air comes whooshing out!"

Echindas, you ask? What are they, and what do they have to do with James? Well, I think they are animals that live in Australia, but I could very well have my words/animals mixed up. Hold on a second, I'll go look them up. Here ya go, echidnas: all about them on Wikipedia and all kinds of pictures of them if you dare. So, what about James and the echidnas?

James carried home a new journal on Monday. Apparently, even second graders rate free personalized journals for keeping track of homework and other assignments these days. James didn't show me the journal, though, so when he started insisting that he needed help with his "echidna," I had no earthly idea what he was trying to tell me. He kept repeating the exact same word, and I kept repeating, "Your what??" Poor kid, he wasn't used to the fancy word for his to-do list. . .

He thought Mrs. Bradham had given each of them an "echidna," and he'd never heard of an AGENDA.

Now, my agenda today was screwy but ended up being fun. Got up at 4:30am so I could torch a little bit. Ahem, finally got to the torch about 5:30am and made a sculpture and a duo of tiny beads for an upcoming show. Tried to check email and such while kids were waking. HA! This laptop has a freaky mind of its own, and it started hibernating and wouldn't wake up. Hmmph. I like to surf around a bit. . .not today. Instead of listing something or updating this or (egads, perish the thought) doing some housecleaning, I went to the DH's garage in town and practiced welding. Uh, well, I practiced after I made two trips to the hardware to get a spare key that worked (and they still don't work very well, but I'd seen enough of the helpful hardware man for one day!). The arc welding was FUN! Thank you, Uncle Ralph, for the oldie but goodie arc welder! I am learning :)

You know what I'm gonna do right now? I'm gonna have my afternoon cup of coffee. I am. My "echidna" is never organized, anyway, so I guess I'd have to say today was a success, even though it didn't go the way I hoped. Hope your day was a good one, too!

Hugs from Ang, who had better go stir the spaghetti sauce or there will be another mess to clean up!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

...a Little Bit of Dust on the Bottle (aka the rest of the "There Might Be..." story)

Ever heard the expression "there might be a little bit of dust on the bottle, but don't let it fool you about what's inside"?

I know it from a David Lee Murphy song (love this voice and this song together). It's about not letting an appearance of age fool you about what's inside the person.

It's also about love that grows mellower, yet stronger, over time. Oh, yeah, "there might be a little dust on the bottle, but it's one of those things that gets sweeter with time."

And here she is, Mrs. There Might Be a Little DOTB. She's pretty sure that, just like the song, the dust on the bottle isn't going to fool the one most important to her. After all these years, she's pretty sure that a few gray hairs and a few more pounds are just dust on the bottle when you've been together this long. After all these years, she's pretty sure that a difference of opinion and an annoying habit or two won't obscure what's in her heart. After all these years, she's pretty sure that they'd both change their shortcomings if they could. . . but it's good to know that the heart doesn't mind a little dust on the bottle once in a while.

Monday, September 8, 2008

There Might Be. . .

There might be. . .a little bit of a story to her.
But the kids need to go to sleep, and you just know I'm gonna fall asleep in the process of getting them quiet and cozy and comfy, dontcha?
See ya in the morning, Sweet Dreams!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Feel Like This Toad Looks. . .

Fat, bumpy, wrinkled, with short legs that barely hold my body up off the ground and squinting eyes, LOL
Nothing's wrong, just one of those Sunday's with a late start, which seems to be the death knell of any productivity at all around here.
Obviously, I also need to clean my glasses before I put them on again, too, because Mrs. Toad is slightly blurry. Sorry, but she won't come back out so I can retake her picture!
So, all the Illinois Garrens survived the weekend in the same house. Ricky took James and Kate into town with him yesterday morning, met up with Steve and his kids, and then I picked up all four kids in the late afternoon. The big boys stayed in town playing monkeywrench and smoking cigars until nightfall...they would've stayed later, but they feared the attack of the Munchkin Mafia if they didn't hurry out here to the house for birthday cupcakes and presents. Since Rick's birthday is coming up the next weekend that Steve has his kids, I thought we ought to go ahead and celebrate Victoria's birthday this weekend.
Let me just say this for Tanner the Teenager-- he may be uber-cool, but he still graciously consents to play with the munchkins when he's here :) He even brought James one of his Star Wars movies and told James he's very sorry he got rid of his Star Wars collection when he outgrew it because now he wishes he could give it to James. Good kid, that one, but don't go spreading it around that a grownup said that ;)
Alright, maybe I oughtta hop along now and do a few things. . . Toad-a-loo, see ya on the morrow!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

W. I. P. That Stands for Woman in Progress

Oh, she's meant to look like a W.I.P., as in "work in progress." I purposely made her arising from rough and unsculpted ivory glass, with an almost finished torso and a head not quite smooth or sculpted.

It occurred to me that she is so much more than merely a glass sculpture purposely suspended mid-finishing, though. She's a metaphor for many of us, isn't she? Haven't many of us learned to see ourselves as a "work in progress"? We're past the point of believing we can wake up one morning and instantly change parts of our lives to our immediate satisfaction. Oh, we know that some things can work that way. If you want to quit smoking or give up a particular food vice, it's possible to do it cold turkey.

I'll tell ya one thing, though, Butterball doesn't have enough cold turkeys in inventory the week before Thanksgiving to even touch all the things I've wanted to instantly change about myself! Sheesh, it's taken me the better part of four decades to realize that the best way to approach this game of life is with the steady swing of a small chiseling hammer. . .not the bam and shatter of a sledge hammer on glass.

Want to learn to do something new? Do it daily, even in small doses, and you will make it a habit *and* a new skill. Just look at Elaine's sketch journal sheets or check out all the new skills Sheila has added to her glass repertoire in the last 2 1/2 years. Listen to Michelle's two steps forward and one step back daily adjustment to moving her family, setting up homeschooling, and just generally being SuperMom. I am thinking about all of you, too, at this moment. I know there are private journeys being made, and I know you will succeed! You are the women I think of when I look at this W.I.P.


It stands for Woman in Progess.

Keep on being one! You go, girls!

Friday, September 5, 2008

They Popped All But One Bubble of My Bubble Wrap. . .Waaaaaaaah!

The very last, lonely, unpopped bubble in my stash of reuse-it-recycle-it bubblewrap rests in my hand in the picture you see. **POP** Well, it was still there when I snapped the pic, but you know I couldn't resist. It's gone, too. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

It's my own fault. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while Kate was still refusing to study for her upcoming math and spelling tests (that's another story-- we'll see how today goes for her), she was at least playing happily for the moment. This scenario beats the previous one, the one where Kate was not only refusing to study but was also wrestling with Jacob and taunting him with a light saber and yelling "missed me, missed me, now ya gotta kiss me" at the top of her lungs. Uh, yep, my kids were wound up, and having Jacob visit seemed to crank up the volume on the chaos.

Anyway, so Kate was finally playing happily, sitting on her "beach" on the deck. It was rainy and not that warm, but hey, she had her folding lawn chairs, her beach towel, her babydoll in its stroller, and a bag of doll clothes. She was content:

The boys, however, were still busy tugging and yanking and stomping on my last nerves (which shouldn't have taken long to do, since I seem to have so few of them left). Clearly, they needed something else to do. Clearly, they were not interested in finding it for themselves. Clearly, it was time for the mom to bring out the good stuff.

Yes. I sacrificed a giant sheet of bubble wrap from my last glass order. I can hear your sharp intake of breath, I can. It had to be done, though, for the sake of my sanity. I'm sure you'll understand. Besides, I have just discovered this explanation of bubble wrap etiquette, and giving bubble wrap to kids apparently creates good karma :)

Boys being boys, they did not just sit down and mindlessly pop bubbles. Heck, I don't want them to do anything mindlessly, but I was hoping for a little bit of sitting down instead of racing through the house and hopping over the couch!

Oh, puh-lease, what was I thinking? Boys don't sit. Boys create new ways to battle! Here's what they did with the bubble wrap. Mind you, they took turns, so chivalry and politeness do live on. . .

James would stand on the couch while Jacob held the piece of bubble wrap outstretched before him. Then, with a mighty warrior's cry, James would leap from the couch, aiming to karate chop the wrap with his foot.

As you can see from the look on James' face as he lands without even breaking the wrap, the karate chop from the couch method might be fun but lacks efficiency!

Can't you just hear the giggles and the "What the heck?" After about a dozen more leaps, the karate chop was abandoned, and the boys sat down for a bit. They watched SpongeBob and popped bubbles.

P.S. You want some bubble wrap to pop now, don't ya? I can tell, because I'm checking that last piece again myself, hoping to find another one they missed. Maybe I'll just go pop some virtual bubble wrap! Wanna join me? Here's a list of the ones I've found:
There are more, but I better get going. . .got more important things on the to-do list. Of course, since popping is a stress reliever, I imagine I can re-write my list and change the "waste time writing about something totally frivolous entry" to "do your civic duty by helping fellow humans relieve stress today" :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We Want to Fly. . .

sculpture, glass, $30 sale

We want to fly. We want to explore. We are friends, and we want to travel together. You can get us both from Angie for $30 plus $5 shipping-- just purchase both from Angie's Etsy shop, put Blog Sale in the note, and wait for Ang to send you a revised invoice for $35 (instead of the $25+$25+$5+$5 that they would have been separately).

Ang is busy torching so she can use the last bit of oxy in the tank and then head to town to get a refill. . .so we thought we'd just have one of those "while the manager is on vacation" sales like we hear in the commercials ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Time Was. . .

Time was. . .

I'd be too shy to stand before you this way.

Time was. . .

I wouldn't have known to be proud of who I am.

Time was. . .

I wasn't grown yet.
But now I am.

Time was. . . I would've written to you early in the morning, sipping my espresso and pondering life, reveling in the quietness before the kiddos wound up for the day. That just doesn't seem to happen much anymore :) This morning, I woke up early but laid back down with Kate so she'd go back to sleep. Yep, easy to fall back asleep with the Boo's arm draped across your shoulder. Then, the alarm on my phone rang, and James woke up scrambling to find it. They thought they would have a little fun with the mommy's phone before time to get ready for school! So, Uncle Bubby, if you actually got your messages today, the silent one is Katie trying to figure out whether or not she should talk to the voice. Mari, if you happen to see Grandma Vicky, tell her "you're welcome". . .because I know she'll thank me for not letting James call her that early in the morning :)

Time was. . .I wouldn't want to do a short post with not much in it, but then I'm playing catchup this afternoon. Spent the morning entertaining the four year old daughter of one of the guys working on the house. Her mom was here, but Jennifer was just itching to come inside James and Katie's house and play. Seems Jennifer's big sister Taylor just started kindergarten with Kindergarten Kathy (Hiya, Mrs. Bergen!) at James and Kate's school. So, Jennifer thought it was supercool to get to hang out here this morning. We had fun, too! (and that let her mom help her dad finish what he was doing) Drum roll, please. . . Jennifer learned to use my grown up scissors to cut paper today! "My sissy is going to be so proud of me!" "When I get big and go to school, I'll use scissors." We also played with a doll in a stroller and tried to get Moochie the cat to show her furry face. And last, but not least, we had to have a morning snack-- Goldfish and a glass of strawberry milk.

So, time was. . . I'd write you another paragraph or two, but I believe my torch is calling me, if only for a brief session before time to get the munchkins! Talk to ya later!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

If She an Angel Be. . .

If she an angel be,
Lord, let her watch over me.

If she a faerie be,
Danu, assign her to me.

If she a blessing be,
Let her go to my friends,
Let her go to my family.

If she a sign be,
Let her go to my heart,
Let her find her way to my soul.

If she a good thing be,
Let her spread her wings and fly,
Let her sprinkle heaven's dust worldwide.

P.S. I'm starting another string of $25 almost daily sculptures in my Etsy shop :) She's the first one this time.

Another P.S. For those of you who go to LE, Lisa Rippee (aka LRipster) is included in a Boston Globe newspaper article today! How cool is that?

And Yet Another P.S. Just Because I Can't Seem to Just Shut Up Already If you are in a goofy mood and don't mind earworms, here's The Llama Song. . .it *is* fun, at least for the first two times you hear it :)

Monday, September 1, 2008


^^^Check out what the boys were doing with empty bug shells the other day-- hanging them from their t-shirts and walking around with five or six bug "monsters" on their chest :)

This is a cicada shell, often called a "locust" shell around these parts. After all these years, I have decided that the reason we call them locusts is because they are a plague! I'm only about half kidding, ya know. The shells are really fascinating, always have drawn me like a magnet. My kids seem to agree, even though usually when they encounter a bug they run screaming at the top of their lungs, "Mom! Kill it! Get it away from me!" The bug-o-phobia does not come from me, by the way, but that's another story about nature vs. nurture and fathers *wink*

Oh, yeah, back to the part where I suggest that we call cicadas "locusts" because we consider them something of a plague, maybe not of Biblical proportions, but a plague upon the ears, nonetheless. All those beautiful maple trees in our yard are filled with cicadas, and I believe their breeding season must begin as soon as there are two warm spring days in a row and end only after the first snowfall. In case you haven't experienced them, cicadas hum. . .loudly. . .and that's just one. Multiply that by the hundreds and possibly thousands, and you can hear them clearly while sitting inside your air conditioned house.

The thing is, though, that I can't help being fascinated by them, even if I can't hear myself think some days because of their racket. You're gonna think I've lost my mind, but I would miss the noise if they suddenly disappeared.

You'd think I would've looked up information on these insects some time or another in my life, but I hadn't until the other day when I googled "cicadas in Illinois." I got no further in my surfing than the University of Illinois Extension pages explaining the life cycle and different species of cicadas in Illinois. These critters pretty much exist just to reproduce. Larvae fall to the ground from their mother's perch in the trees. Larvae burrow into the ground, only to re-emerge when ready to reproduce themselves. They dig out of the ground, climb a tree, shed their old exoskeleton, and go about the business of mating.

^^^^Ewwwwwwww, sorta gross! Here's what I saw yesterday, a larva emerging from its old shell. It just hung there for at least an hour, wings slowly expanding and drying. I missed the rest of the show, but maybe someday I'll capture a pic of one that has fully expanded its wings but is still waiting for them to dry.