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 :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Praise the Pumpkin Pie and Pass the Duct Tape!

didn't go
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it gives us each a reason to put our thankfulness into words. I am thankful for my family...husband and children, parents I am lucky enough to have, grandparents I was lucky enough to have and still miss, aunts and uncles, cousins and cousins' kids, neighbors and family friends who might as well pencil themselves into the family tree because they've become a branch of their very own over the years, in-laws though they be few and flung far about the country, and don't forget my online glass-loving-glass-melting-good-gabbing family of friends!
I am thankful for the growing wisdom and self knowledge that is (hopefully) beginning to balance out my cynicism and smartass-attitude. Do take note that I'm not all goody-goody. I did say "balance out," not "overshadow and push out of existence." Smartass-ery has its place in my world, but I truly am happy to say that I think I can set it aside most of the time and look at the world from a much more enlightened perspective. Basically, if you love what you are doing with your life and you are hurting no one by doing it, then I'm happy for you! I don't give a rat's patooty if you have a different religion or philosophical outlook than me, as long as you aren't trying to cram it down my throat because I am a heathen who doesn't believe what you believe. I don't give a flyingflibbertygidget whether you voted Republican or Democrat or AlienSpeciesFromAnotherPlanet, as long as you don't insist that I should have voted the way you voted just because you said so. I don't particularly like show-offs or hypocrites, but who am I to say that, when there's a good chance I've appeared that way to you at some time or another myself??
I am thankful for a growing understanding of the differences in individuals, as well as for the certain knowledge that another person's actions don't have to mean anything to me one way or the other ( unless that person's action is one of smacking me upside the head with a baseball bat or stealing my torch...then, you got a fight on your hands). Basically, if you like to watch Surfing with the Planets and spend the rest of your spare time crocheting used plastic bags into dresses, that's your business, not mine. I might like to know the story behind how you starting crocheting, though, even if I'd rather recycle my own plastic bags. It's all good. And you know what? If you truly enjoy listening to violin music instead of the fiddle, then why would I make fun of you? I might ask you if you've really never heard of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," though, because that's just the way I am. It's all good. Let me put it just one more way. If you know how to melt glass but find that you actually prefer to cut and sew quilt pieces, it's no skin off my nose. In fact, I might like to hear about how you like to do your quilting, whether it's all by hand or some by machine or the sweet little elves from the attic come downstairs and stitch it together for you after you fall asleep at night. It's all good.
Well, I guess by now, you get the idea. I am a smartass, but I am trying to also be a good person deep down-- a tolerant, understanding, encouraging, and kind person. You know, the old "if you can't say something good, don't say anything at all" outlook on life. That being said, here's the reason for the mention of duct tape in the title of this post: tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and there will be millions of families sharing a holiday meal at some point during this long weekend. Heaven/Goddess/Kermit-the-Frog help us all, it's going to be a looooooooong weekend for those of us trying to be good and kind and tolerant and understanding. It's just a given. That many different personalities in one house/room/back porch at the same time are bound to rub together here and there and create some friction! Hence, the duct tape solution.
Really, don't you think it's a good solution? When the first words you hear from FatRelativeWhoHasn'tSeenYouInAtLeastAYear are "oh, look at you, you've really put on some weight, haven't you?". . . rip off a piece of that duct tape and stick it over your mouth before you can mutter anything about pots calling kettles black. Simple. And, of course, I realize you thought I should suggest using the duct tape on the mouth of the irritating relative, but let's face it, what good would that do? Some people never change and that duct tape is bound to wear off eventually.
When the DumbRelativeWhoAlwaysTriesToOneUpYouEvenThoughYouAren'tCompeting greets you with "so, Ms. Uppity, is that a used car you're driving? I can tell because it looks so crappy next to my brand new POS Tin Can,". . .it's time to rip off that piece of duct tape and slap it on your mouth. Simple. You know, you *know*, deep down that some people are always gonna be one-upping you. If you put the duct tape over their mouth, they'll just rush off to the local duct tape emporium and buy a more expensive brand of tape.
When the GossipyRelativeWhoKnowsWhatBrandOfUnderwearEveryoneIsWearing asks "well, dear, what's new with you this year," . . .it's time to cram that duct tape across your face and run! Yeah, I said RETREAT! Nobody ever wins against the gossipy one!
So, this Thanksgiving holiday, enjoy the ups and downs and sideways slants of family life, tell your mama how good that pumpkin pie tastes, and KEEP THE DUCT TAPE HANDY. . .it's all good :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Arrrrrrrrr, Matey, That DisneyWorld Be a Fine Place for the LandLubbin' Sort!

See Kate's eye patch? It was a ten point cheapie prize from Chuck E. Cheese's. Who knew Orlando had more than one famous mouse in the house? Anyway, Kate won that pirate's eye patch the night before we went to the Magic Kingdom at Disney, and she wore it from breakfast until it finally fell apart late that afternoon. We rode through the Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit twice in a row, and then had the dumb luck to walk right up to Jack Sparrow (no, not really Johnny Depp, but the guy did a darn good job of acting like him acting like a pirate!) and a crew member putting on a sidewalk show. Arrrrrrrr, matey, we haven't even watched all of those movies but we thoroughly enjoyed the swashbuckling effects of the afternoon!
So, seriously, what's the verdict from this cynic who can spot moneygrubbin' setups from a mile away? DISNEY IS WORTH IT! Every minute really is quite magical. . .okay, maybe not the minutes spent forking over $3 or $4 bucks for a single ice cream treat. Those are a bit hard to swallow. Still, if you plan ahead and get good deals on hotels and travel, Disney makes an incredible vacation. Orlando is filled with other attractions besides Disney, also, but we never seem to get past playing in the terrific pool at the Nickolodean Hotel (hint-- if you have Holiday Inn points, you can use them here to get a very reasonable deal) and spending two days at Walt's house.
Anyway, it's back to the real world today :) Hey, wait a minute! That's not so bad, either, once I get caught up on all the laundry that followed us home in our suitcases. Yep, a bit more domestic goddess stuff to get done, and then I might get to torch! Hooray! Hope your Tuesday is a fine one! Mine feels like a Monday, since we just got home late last night. Better get going for now...

Monday, November 24, 2008

You Did What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

"Hey, Mom, did you read my journal yet? "
James, what is this word?
"Survival, Mom. Aaron and I played survival."
Where exactly did you and Aaron play survival?, asks the Mom who knows what lives just beyond the fence at the edge of Aaron's backyard.
"Well, Mom, Uncle Jeff said we could. He gave us permission, you know."
Ja-aaaaaaaaaa-mes. . .
"Aw, come on, Mom. It was cool. I saw Old Bessie!"
P.S. Old Bessie is an ALLIGATOR!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Saw Something Magical Yesterday, and I Don't Have a Single Picture of It to Show You!

Yes, I saw something magical yesterday, and it made me wish the mommy could have a little bit of torching time this week! The closest glass pic I could find to my new inspiration was this abundant Gaia who will become a sculpture sometime next week, and she is lovely and more than a bit magical. BUT that woodland sprite covered with vines who gracefully slid through the crowd of people along the shaded path reminded me of a drop of mercury falling from a broken thermometer-- both heavy and light at the same time, both quick and mesmerizingly slow, both alive and surreal. She was lovely, and what I wouldn't give to be that graceful on my own feet, let alone standing on stilts and performing midst a crowd of gawking people!
At that particular moment, I certainly wished I hadn't left the camera at home. Still, I've come to appreciate the difference between seeing lovely things and people through the lens of a camera and truly seeing them through the naked lens of your own eye. This is not a popular opinion, I can guarantee it. Just ask my miffed DH, because he wants to know why I didn't bring the camera for the day. I'll tell you why. You know I love to take pictures. I'm sure you can tell that just by visiting my blog. I love closeups of my kiddos. I love to catch those quirky smiles and quarrelsome looks and queenly displays from Katie. James' raised eyebrows and warrior poses and goofy grins are likes magnets to my camera. Textures of flower petals and leaves, patterns in bark and fungi, and shadows playing on rocks are all fascinating subjects to be captured by a camera. If I knew how to make a living at it, I would become a photographer!
And yet, here I am telling you how I don't like to carry the camera around with me when I'm spending the day with family? It's true, and I'll tell you why. I LIKE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. FEEL IT. HEAR IT. DRINK IN ALL THE COLORS OF THE PICTURE. TOUCH THE MANY TEXTURES. SOAK UP THE MEMORY. There will be more pictures taken, of course. In fact, I'm going to finish this post and then take some. But yesterday's magic was for experiencing completely in the moment. Yes, the mind's pictures may become fuzzier more quickly, but they are infused with so much more than the visual information of a photograph. That is why I can tell you I saw something rather magical yesterday and still not offer you a photograph of it. . .
Have a magical day today! Do it for yourself :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rhinoplasty for Grandmother Time?

Grandmother Time began taking shape in clay over the weekend. Ever notice how concentrating on only one detail will get you all out of proportion in a hurry? I got so caught up in building her a nose with nostrils, separating the bump at the end of the nose with the tiny creases between it and the nostrils, flaring the nostrils, and building the bridge into the forehead. . .well, you can see, a very fine nose for a beginning sculptor to make BUT not necessarily one a beginning sculptor or a mythical character such as Grandmother Time might choose to don.

Sure it gave her lots of character, and I love character and personality. Otherwise, why would I be trying to sculpt a wizened Grandmother Time to be used for a candle mold? See, I think she'll be kind of comforting, sitting there on a table or shelf, helping to literally light the world with her wisdom.

And one bit of her wisdom might be, "Sweet child, play with that clay some more. I do adore this magnificent nose, but what if I sneezed?? All that wisdom I'm supposed to be imparting would fly right out through those honkin' big nostrils!"
***smiles*** and ***fun*** to you today!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Got the Warm Fuzzies!

Ahhhhhhhh, I've quite literally got the warm fuzzies! Check out this scarf Lauren sent me as a gift! Oh, my! It is the softest thing I've felt in I don't know when, and it is so comfortable. Just in time for winter, which I have no qualms telling you is not my favorite season, I have this cuddly scarf to help keep me warm. It's true, I detest wearing a coat, so I can see me happily donning gloves and sweatshirt and this scarf on any day when the temp is above 20 degrees this winter. Twenty degrees is an arbitrarily chosen threshold, but that's just the way it goes. That's my limit-- cross that, and I might have to wear the dreaded coat. Anyway, I am pretty sure there are days up there in Minnesota when 20 degrees seems relatively warm, right, Mallory?
As for the scarf, and some gorgeously intricate and magical dolls that Lauren creates, if you'd like to see her offer them online, why not convo her on Etsy and let her know you're interested?
One more important thing about the warm fuzzies-- I have to tell you that Lauren and Mallory and Mrs. Whirled Peas (a semi-anonymous Secret Santa from Huntington Beach, California) all spread warm fuzzies through my world yesterday morning! Thank you ladies! The "whirled peas" were thankfully in the dried form...and they were a sweet reminder that we all wish for world peace and can help bring it about one gesture at a time. Mallory secret santa'd me with an envelope of junk. . .yes, JUNK, and YOU KNOW I'M THE WOMAN WHO LOVES JUNK !! Bits and pieces of brass and assorted whatnots, and I was one happy camper as I sat in the parking lot of the post office! Then, Lauren sent me the handmade scarf, as well as a wonderful note and some glass!
So, the take home lesson of today's post is that warm fuzzies are always a good thing. You'd think I'd be able to put that into more eloquent terms, but I'm finding that it's one of those feelings that grabs your heart and squeezes it but defies further description. It's truly NICE. Hope each of you reading this has encountered a warm fuzzie or two this week!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here's a Tip for Anyone Living with a GrownUp-- When in Doubt, Bring More Chocolate :)

Well, if you know me, you know that I really am so much nicer online than I am in person when I am peeved about something. Just ask my husband. He happens to be one of those people who can push my buttons blindfolded. Here are two truths about each of us. Husband truth #1: He's a reformed slacker (seriously, he used to sleep under the tow truck at the gas station, snoozing on the clock with his feet sticking out from under that old truck) who now feels the need to tell everyone else the "right" way to do everything. Wife truth #1: I have always been a hard worker and very dependable when I am working "on the clock" but any time not officially on the clock is mine and I'll do it when I get around to it (which may not be any time soon, in case you're wondering). Husband truth #2: He gets grumpier as he gets older (he might suggest this is because the older he gets, the longer he has put up with moi...). Wife truth #2: I try to be more laid back and more accepting of others' right to be different as I get older (but, of course, if you push my buttons too many times in a row, I suddenly lose my hunger for world peace and am ready to verbally battle it out).
Oh, yeah, and did I mention that while I am a morning person who likes to smile and chat when I get up, he is a morning zombie who could stare a hole through Heidi Klum if she were in his kitchen before he'd had coffee and a few hours for it to sink in.
Have I set this scene for you yet? Do ya even need to know who did what? (I'll give you a hint-- I was wrong and he was a jerk about it.) I can just tell you that I muttered my way to the post office (cursing like a sailor who's had leave taken away), was happily distracted by packages from Mallory and Lauren and Mrs. Whirled Peas, and then had calmed down by the time I got back to the house. Being the male that he is (and I know that is a generalization, but geez, how do they do it??), he'd moved on with the day and was asking me questions about inane household stuff he'd already know if he opened his eyes. . .and I. was. still. on. the. verge. of. strangling. someone. at. the. drop. of. an. innocent. word. (hmmph, can ya tell I have an attitude once in a while, even after I'm pretty much over my fit? Might be the Sam Greer in me...)
THEN, I look at the kitchen counter and see my souveniers he brought me from the Germany/Switzerland trip. Yeah, you can get Lindt chocolate here, too. The thing is, he already had some of his shopping done when he called and I asked if he could find those pear shaped milk chocolates that came from Switzerland last time. Well, he couldn't get any of those, so he got orange flavored chocolates, chocolate coated apricots and marzipan, and plenty of milk chocolate with hazelnuts.
Mmmmmmmmmm. I guess I'll let him keep me :)

P.S. And for the record, I did clean out the lint trap, but then I did five or six different loads of laundry and forgot to empty it last night. And, yeah, he noticed because he's one of those guys who actually does his own laundry. I told you I might be wrong *sometimes*, didn't I?
Have a terrific Monday, everybody!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

G.O.F. Uh, What the ?!?! Is That?

What the heck is G.O.F.?? Well, like any good little student, I looked it up. Apparently it can mean Gang of Four (some type of design stuff), Gathering of the Faithful (MG car enthusiasts), or even Goblet of Fire (yup, Harry Potter clip). It could be Geographers on Film (truly, this page looks as dry as a desert, and I *like* science), Guest Observer Facility (another science link, but it's space stuff!), or British Gof (some sort of funky looking performance theater, gotta check that out).

But in this case? What does G.O.F. mean according to the Garren family? Simple.


Alright, alright. I know your eyes are watering at the thought, but hang with me for a minute, even though G.O.F. could now stand for Gross. Out. Friends. (or for me and Kate, who were the recipients of the wafting green veil, Gag. Our. Family.).
I don't know whether it was the Lunchables nachos or the Snyder's Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces or something that crawled inside him and died (sorry, but if the phrase fits...), but that kid Gassed. Our. Feminine-sensibilites. James and Kate have both been unduly fascinated with saying FART lately, partly to see if Mom will object (until I was in high school, I thought "fart" was the f-word because my mother has a fit if anyone says that word instead of "poot" or "toot" or anything besides "fart"). Their fascination with farting includes letting 'em rip to amuse friends, as well as making up phrases like "It's the fart of the day!"
When they were little, I could understand all the giggles and potty humor. In fact, I about doubled over laughing one day when I saw a three year old James sitting over the hole created in the party pit couch when you put down the armrest and let out the recliner. I had to ask, didn't I? His answer to "what are you doing?" was priceless. "Gassing. I had to gas, so I left it inside the couch." Nope, not to many of us wanted to sit in that spot of the couch for a while! Well, needless to say, 6 and 7 year old humor is a bit more sophisticated. Last night, as the green veil of Green. Onion. Fartfromhell. encroached upon me, my son turned to me and his sister and said,

"It wasn't me. It was the cat."
Anyway, I know you like pictures to go with these stories. Although I'm fairly certain the digital camera could've captured that radioactive glow last night, I decided to spare you that treat. Instead, for today's pictures, howzabout some Got. Outta. Focus. pics the kiddos snapped when I took them with me to a Gallery of Fantastic-art (that would be Argonne Gallery in Kirkwood, Missouri, where I have some glass sculptures on display). While I was chatting with Sarah and her dad Tom, the munchkins grabbed my camera and snapped a bunch of shots with the camera still set for macro shots. So, they really are outta focus pics, but they do have an interesting feel to them!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's All About MALLORY HOFFMAN :-) Go, go, Mrs. M!!

That's it! It is all about Mallory, now! Sweet Mrs. M has done so much to encourage so many of us in the lampworking community! Mallory is always writing about someone else, always leaving comments on all of our blogs, always smiling!
First, ya gotta check out her beads and wire wrapping in her Etsy shop and her Beader's Showcase gallery page. Heehee, Beader's Showcase is where I was when I too a picture of the computer monitor with my camera (sorry, don't know how to do a screenshot). I had fun browsing Mallory's photos there.
Well, it is the information age, so I googled Mallory Hoffman, too! Guess what else I found? She was interviewed for parts of a Mankato newspaper article when she had only been lampworking for about a year! Here's a more recent interview from the blog Cinnamon & Honey.
Let's see, now, what else do I know about Mallory Hoffman? This part I'm gonna try to do from memory, so my apologies up front for any mistakes, 'kay? Some things I know about Mallory:
  • She has a son named Nick who entertains his mother and the dog Spike when he comes to visit.
  • She has a daughter named Jenny. Jenny is her mom's favorite artist, and if you check out Jenny's photography, you'll understand why :)
  • Mallory insists she is now, and will always be, younger than her children. . .I think if you think in terms of youthful spirit and loving life, then Mallory is always gonna be a cheerful young woman!
  • Mallory is Spike's human.
  • Spike is one adorable puppy dog who likes to hide under blankets and take his human for walks/trots through the neighborhood.
  • Mallory likes to try glass melting tutorials and learn new things from them.
  • Mallory uses Skype to talk to Deb, another lampworker who happens to live on the other side of the world. It just amazes me, every time I think about Deb and Mallory's friendship...just think how the world wide web has helped so many of us meet kindred souls!
  • A woman handed Mallory a 30% coupon in a store the other day. Mallory is the kind of kind person who was very grateful for this seemingly small kindness. Yep, Mallory passed the coupon along to the next person in line, and then she came home and wrote a blog entry about small kindnesses and how they help make the world a better place!
  • Mallory always makes me smile :)


What the hell am I going to write about today?
I've got some notions, but none of them are sweet and gentle parlor conversations.
Imagine that.
Soooooooooooooo. . .

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get Bold, Baby, Get Bold!

Get bold, baby, get bold!
Of course, your definition of "bold" and how to "get" there will be relative to your experiences in life so far. For instance, the yellow dotted beads and the blue ones with flowers were what I considered "boldly" paired with all those bright seed beads when I first started learning to melt glass. Yep, Tash, I'll bet you saw those funky beads in my outstretched hand about 2 years and 7 or 8 months ago. Katie had this necklace stashed in a ziploc bag with some of my other beginner stuff. But mostly, it's just a picture to spark a little bit of conversation this morning.
Think about the bold things you have done in your life so far. What's on your list? Me? Been scuba diving, and swam right over a nurse shark (okay, those are the mild-mannered ones and I didn't know she'd be there, but a shark is still a shark, ya know?). The rest of my list of bold things is rather short and boring. Ah, but is it really? I mean, when we look at our lists of bold moves in life, do we see what other people see? or do we only see the things we should have done instead, the things we didn't do, the things we did later that seem more important? Do we compare our bold steps to what other people have done and then decide to dismiss our own as unexciting in comparison?
Look at yourself! Some of you play with fire flaring from a torch at 1400-1700 degrees! That's pretty damn exciting when you think about it like a non-torcher, isn't it? What about those of you who create other things like furniture and jewelry and paintings? Pretty exhilirating stuff to someone who's never tried it but wishes they could! Hey, I'm pretty sure some of you have moved far away from home. Some of you have travelled to far away countries. Some of you have left one profession and jumped into an entirely different one. All I'm saying is look at yourself fairly and squarely. Then, after you do that, I want you to think about your list of bold moves one more time and say to yourself:
Have a bold Thursday, peeps!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

My grandfather was a veteran of WWI. I never met him. He died about ten years before I was born. My father-in-law was a veteran of WWII. I never met him, either, as he passed while my husband was still a teenager. Two uncles on each side of my family served during Vietnam. Two are gone now, two are still here to thank. . . Thank you, Uncle Ralph and Uncle James, for your service. Thank you to my brother-in-law Michael Angelo Garren, chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, for serving still. Thank you to members of the next generations who serve now, too.

All these veterans, and I can tell you I have never had a clue how deep their sacrifices have been. The other Angie Garren, my late mother-in-law, was not a veteran of the military. However, she grew up in Germany and was there during WWII. She told her children more stories than I ever heard from her, but one of the few stories she told me about it did much to explain to me the horrors of war, any war: "We would walk down the street, stepping over the dead bodies, only stopping once in a while to turn one over if it looked like it might be someone we knew."

For those of us who value our freedom but have no idea of the extent of the sacrifices on the part of those who protect our freedom, today is the day to say THANK YOU.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Second All-Time Favorite Quick Hamburger Recipe ( I Cannot Deny That Spaghetti Is My #1)

Taco Casserole

So, if you use recipes, you're probably gonna have to look this one up for amounts. If you cook like my mom, you'll insist that Jiffy cornbread mix is nasty and you'll have to make a batch of cornbread batter from scratch. Me? I don't like to use recipes unless I'm baking cake or cookies or bread or need to make pie crust. Otherwise, for "food" food, not desserts, I like to just throw everything together from memory and/or according to whim.
This is what my brain can remember of the original recipe for this Taco Casserole. Mix up a box of Jiffy cornbread mix (yum! I happen to love sweet cornbread best!). Brown one pound of hamburger meat, drain grease off, and stir in a package of taco seasoning (which usually calls for some water, too). Spray or grease the bottom of a skillet or baking dish. Put part of the cornbread mix on the bottom of the skillet. Layer your taco seasoned hamburger over that cornbread. Add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the hamburger, and then top the cheese with the rest of the cornbread. Bake in 400 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. Serve with salsa.
Little variations that taste good:
  • add chopped red bell pepper or green onion or both to the cornbread mix
  • add a thin layer of whole kernel corn
  • use a cheddar jack or other "mexican" mix of shredded cheese instead of plain cheddar
  • instead of a single skillet, use muffin tins to make handy sandwich style servings
  • eat the cold leftovers for breakfast :)

There ya have it. Now ya know that ugly truth about me in the kitchen-- I don't mind using things from a box, even though I know from scratch can usually be healthier, and I consider a cookbook a source of great suggestions, not a step-by-step instruction book.

You know what, now that I think about it, I'm this way about most instructions, unless I'm learning to use a power tool for the first time-- I find that reading first is a small price to pay to keep my fingers ;-)

I've been thinking about this because I would like to teach lampworking classes or workshops once the kids are a bit bigger. Do you think my laid back style would go over well with someone who's forked out money for a class? I can't see myself doing a specific step-by-step lesson with a predictable result. . .I *can* picture myself demonstrating a sculpture, talking about the possible variations as I work, and then coaching my students as they work on their own sculptures. You wanna learn to sculpt a frog or a fish? Well, let's google some images of real and cartoon versions and sketch the main lines of the form. Then, we'll take it to the torch and work it out. You wanna make your own take on the human form? Let me give you all the hints I can, whether they are ones I can do or ones I wish I could do, and then sit at your elbow and tell you what I see happening as you sculpt it.

Yep, I torch like I cook (and no comments from the peanut gallery about my cooking just because I don't like to fry everything, Bubby). . .don't know what that means for the future, but at least I have a pretty good understanding of how I operate :-)

Hmmm, all this talk about "cooking" glass makes me wish I could head to the torch right this minute! Toodles for now! Hope your Monday has been a good one and that your Tuesday is even better!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stones in Your Shoe and The Boulder in the Garden...

Whew. My writing muse is tired. I spent part of the afternoon writing a new short essay/story for a blog I started last week.

The blog is Stones in Your Shoe. . .read this first post to see why it's named that.

Today's cross between an essay and a very short story wasn't as easy to put into words as I thought it would be, but hopefully someone, somewhere will get something from reading The Boulder in the Garden.

Backatcha with more glass and more rambling thoughts tomorrow :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

She Turned Out

She turned out.

I like the sound of that.

She's here.

She's fine.

And if anyone asks her friends,

they nod approvingly and say,

"She turned out."

Friday, November 7, 2008


Relax, it wasn't my Katie who did it. Whew, thank goodness for that, since I can imagine how she'd like to experiment with Mommy's hair. She is the child who took one look at me in a dress and high heels a couple months ago, brushed right past the novelty of Mommy in something other than worn out jeans and a ratty t-shirt, and loudly declared, "You're not wearing that dress AGAIN, are you?!" Nope, that's not the Katie who cut my hair.
This Katie is an all grown up version of a little girl who used to take my camera from me and snap tilted pictures that looked like a cross between Americana and the sloped t.v. Batman sets of the 1960's. That was when Katie was about 4 or 5 years old, and I was only in my early twenties. Let's see, now I'm 42. . .and she is 27 years old! I wish could remember where I stashed those snapshots, because now I'm suffering from a little case of nostalgia for all the nieces and nephews I used to have (and adore). Many of them were teens when their uncle and I divorced, and they had been a big part of my life since they were little kids. There are times when I run into one of them and feel sad for having missed out on watching them become young adults. (Plus, damn, it makes me feel older than I want to feel when someone I used to spoil is now big enough to have kids of their own!)
I am happy to report that Katie is still a sweetie and still funny and kind. She's still cute as a bug, just like when she was a little girl with long golden light brown waves of hair and a big smile. She still loves puppy dogs, and she told me about her furbabies. We reminisced a bit about her Grandpa and Sunday morning breakfasts with the family. Her Grandpa's cooking was strange but strangely good. . . and occasionally just a wee bit unorthodox for someone who was a doctor. Seems Doc never worried too much about the dishes from Sunday to Sunday. One Sunday morning, he came out to the farm to start cooking one of his breakfast concoctions. The only big skillet had been left outside for the assorted menagerie of puppydogs to lick clean at the end of breakfast the previous Sunday. Doc grabbed the skillet, took it inside, set it on the stove, and proceeded to start cooking. . .from what I remember, not too many people were hungry that Sunday, and from then on, someone always made sure to police the kitchen area before the gathering broke up for the day :)
Well, there was more catching up, and we even talked about her grandmother's hair (Dorothy has the most beautiful white hair, and it's been that way since before I met her twenty-some years ago). It was good to see this kid and the grownup person she has become. Besides that, Tease is such a cute hair and nail salon (that link is just to the phone number and map, but who knows when someone reading this might be here and be needing a haircut!).
And now, I must, must, must clean house and do a bit of torching. Seems my own Katie and her brother James are now ungrounded, and all their friends are coming over after school to play. Oh, and if you haven't heard the story of why the munchkins were grounded, don't worry, eventually you will. . .it's one of those "I had to try to keep a straight face while I was lecturing them" parent stories! Gotta run, see ya soon! Oh, and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let the Glass Flow! Let the Wind Blow! Let It Take Me Where I Want to Go! Okay, so where is it I want to go?

Yeah, let the wind blow, let the glass flow, and in the meantime, can somebody tell exactly where it is I want to go? This sculpture makes me wistful for all the things I might have done in life. When I think about it, though, I can't really say there is any particular thing I would choose to do differently if I could have a do-over. For me, it all boils down to my kids. If I had discovered art early in my life and chosen to major in that instead of psychology, would I have gone to Murray State University? If I hadn't gone to MSU, would I ever have even met the people who led me to where I am today? So, no fairly impractical liberal arts degree boils down to a me at 42 with no James and Katie. . .nah, I don't think I want to change anything.

The question is, does that come solely from being a parent, or does it come with age and acceptance of yourself? Both, I think. The ties of parenthood are so very deep, but they don't have to be strictly biological to be this strong. Our ability to form such very deep ties knows few limits, I venture to guess. Of course, with age and acceptance of yourself comes appreciation of all these ties you have accumulated, a genuine love of all you have become and an affection for all humanity. Doesn't mean you suddenly want to go hug all the bad people you've run across in life, just that you begin to understand they are also human (although, there's something to be said for that scene in Men in Black where Jay learns that one of his scary, creepy grade school teachers really was an alien, LOL).


We interrupt this serious train of thought because the author is right now giggling about the scene in MIB where this conversation takes place:

Jay: You do know Elvis is dead, right?

Kay: No, Elvis is not dead. He just went home.


Ahem. So. . .as I described that flowing sculpture, I could imagine the view from where she was standing. You know I have a good imagination (or at least ''weird" or "active" or whatever you want to call it, LOL), but I didn't try to see the future. Funny, I like the ride, and I like the notion that I will be able to find good wherever the wind blows me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Your Sticker Today in the USA

Election Day in the USA and time to exercise your right to VOTE! We have the right to vote in private, to vote with no coercion or physical threat, to vote for our personal choice among the candidates. Today is a good day, no matter how you feel about the resulting outcome!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mistress WinterTrail and Hound. . .and Some Ghost Hunting

And, on a completely unrelated note, my children were ghost hunting tonight. Now, if you've ever read much of my ramblings here, you know that I am half skeptic/smartass and half spiritual. If I am honest with myself, I can see where the skepticism comes in handy for a 'fraidy cat like me. If I really believed ghosts or other otherworldly creatures were real, then I'd have to be a wee bit anxious about unexplained sights and sounds. . .and we all know that's not good for a 'fraidy cat, LOL.
Funny, too, how my skepticism gets really quiet and almost urges me to believe that benign spirits such as faeries and Eastern dragons might actually have existed once upon a time. . .and we all know that is not a threat for a 'fraidy cat, so it's okay, LOL.
So, my children have ingrained in them a healthy love of science plus a big dose of fascination with the mystical. Which means what? Which means that when they go looking for ghosts in the dark, they don't tremble until they actually see something they think is unexplained. Then they come screaming and giggling back to me for protection. . .and we all know that is a trial for the 'fraidy cat who must be the brave one, LOL!
And why is it that the mommy has to be the only protector? Ah, that would be because the daddy avoids such subjects or gives out a rather hasty, "There's no such thing." To him, cemeteries are places to be avoided, while to some of my family, cemeteries make a good place to have a family reunion on Memorial Day. It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? Anyway, that's why the mommy gets to be privvy to the ghost hunting action. . .and we all know the mommy is actually a great big 'fraidy cat, don't we?
I'll let you know if the little ghost hunters find anything interesting besides shadows and reflections on trees, and in the meantime, please send me some extra "don't be a coward" vibes that you can spare, 'kay?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Handful of Good Fortune

What a handful of good fortune Mallory sent me! She made these "ancient" relic coins from polymer clay, and I'm the lucky person who got gifted a dozen of them :) Besides the job of "Spike's Mom," Mallory is also Mom to Jenny and Nick. She's also an adventurous glass melter who creates cool beads like the ones in this totem!

Thought I'd send you a taste of autumn in the MidWest, along with that handful of good fortune shot. A yard full of maple trees almost guarantees a colorful fall with lots of reds and oranges.

Nothing can beat the feel of a 70 degree day in the fall. Seventy in the summer has an entirely different quality to the light, and you just know Mother Nature is messing with you and then going to blast you with a skyrocket of the mercury to 95. In the fall, though, 70 is all good. . .warm enough for short sleeves, rays of sunshine slanting at an angle that doesn't glare in your eye, certain knowledge that you'd better bask in the mildness because tomorrow could easily bring the first snowflakes!

James attempts to make a leaf angel, sort of like a snow angel but kinda hard to do on a slightly windy day!
As we watch the colors gild the trees and then float to piles on the ground, those of you in the southern hemisphere are welcoming warmer days and greener plants as your spring blossoms. Hope you've enjoyed your day as much as we have ours, no matter which 'sphere you call home!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Acorn Elf

It's a quiet Saturday night here in the flatlands, and I am wondering what to ramble on nonsensically about tonight. We've looked at yet another house today, and I am afraid to jinx it by saying that both of us liked the same house! Still, I know my hubby, and I know something will jinx this and keep him from making the decision to actually make an offer. . . so I'll just go ahead and do my pouting right here for all the world to see. Oh, if you could have been in that yard with the full grown trees, in a nicely secluded but not isolated little group of houses on the edge of a small town, you would understand why the likes of me would be pouting right now. That's not sarcasm, either, in case you don't know that I'm so NOT a city girl. Ah, there was room for a clothesline and little garden. There was already a dog pen (for the dog my cat-loving-only hubby WILL come to like, because I WILL have to finally get me a doggie). There was a massive deck for hanging out, and there was one spot in the corner of the backyard which will make a decent place for the gearhead's extra garage. Oh, and there was a high ceilinged sunroom that will be a lovely studio for me and the Moochie cat :) I'm going to uncross my fingers right now so I can finish typing, but . . . *sigh*
Of course, the kids had their opinions, too. James gave it a thumbs up, no hesitation. Kate, however, was a bit more pragmatic. Seems she did not like the idea that there was no electricity. She told us it would be pretty dumb to buy a house that didn't have any electricity! After we explained that the electricity had just been shut off by accident since no one was living there, she gave us a big "Oh, I get it" and a thumbs up.
Not a lot of other stuff happening here today. Just hanging out and enjoying the perfectly warm (about 73 degrees F) and sunny afternoon. The kids have been playing a game that I remember playing with my sister and brother when we were little. James and Kate have been running and hiding from any cars they hear coming down the road. Soupie and Bubby and I used to do the very same thing. Must be one of those things that just occurs naturally to kids who live in sparsely populated places? My kids run behind the van or behind one of the big maple trees in the yard to hide. I remember running across the front yard, jumping the lower growing flowers in the first flower bed, and then diving behind the gladiolas just before a car would top the hill to the side of our house. We'd stay hidden until the car passed to the other side of the yard and over that hill. Guess it's not so surprising that I am inclined to be a bit of a hermit, now is it? Don't run and hide from cars anymore, but I can be a happy hermit.
Well, time for bed. Good Night. Sleep Tight. Don't Let the BedBugs Bite!