Sunday, August 31, 2008

What the Heck?? New Criteria for the House Hunt...Oh, Yeah, This Is Going to Be a Pissy Post!

Thankfully, there will be no pictures to illustrate today's post, and if you care to read further, you will understand why it's a no picture day. . .

We have been looking for a house that is closer to St. Louis, since the hubby has an hour long drive to and from work each day as it is now.

Have you ever tried to look for a house with someone who has the polar opposite in taste (and I use that term loosely here)? About the only thing on which we can agree is that we want to live in the country because we both like a bit of privacy and that we want a detached workshop/garage for all our "toys". As for the rest, it's almost comical, if you aren't the one living it. . .

He wants:
  • brand new
  • cookie cutter, nothing unusual
  • two story
  • flat yard
  • no annoyingly large patches of bug condos (as he refers to flowers)

She wants:
  • well built without any plastic porch posts
  • character, interest, something unusual
  • any story is fine as long as the damn house has a "story"
  • a little bit of grade to the yard, in fact, a small hill or two or a stream would be ideal
  • room for patches of wildflowers or perennials
Guess how much fun it is for the official house hunter (that would be me) to spend hours scouring the Realtor.com site for suitable compromises, only to have the official check signer/final decision maker (that would not be me, as far as he's concerned) veto all the possible houses on a list in a matter of oh, say, twenty minutes?

Okay, so are ya getting a feel for my mood this morning? If you just guessed "about an 11 on a 1 to 10 scale of grouchiness," then you are on the right track. Imagine my joy, then to hear all the things that were wrong with the house we looked at yesterday. Truly, some points were valid. The driveway was way too steep, as was the yard, no argument there. The neighbors to the side were way too close, and in fact, I agree with this assessment. HOWEVER, the way he described the situation just hit me the wrong way this morning:

"If I want to take a leak outside, then I don't want to have neighbors close enough to see what I am doing."

There you have it, house hunting isn't really about spending hours searching for the perfect compromise. No, such lofty goals are not necessarily important. Uh,uh, what it all really boils down to is whether or not you can piss off your back porch when you want.




I think I'm going to be in a pissy mood today.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Childhood. Late Summer Afternoon. Any Year. Any Place.


Maybe it's because I know the boys that are attached to the hands in the picture, maybe it's because I was so engrossed in watching them try to catch the frog, maybe it's because my decaffeinated brain is still foggy, but I think this picture is timeless (well, except for the end of the light saber pointing to the late twentieth/early twentyfirst century).

The coffee is slowly seeping towards my brain as I write this, and I'm still enchanted with this picture that I had no idea would turn out, let alone turn out to be one that speaks to me.

I have to tell you I did feel sorry for the frog, but the fright was inflicted with the very first grab that caught it. . .and, yet, the frog later jumped vigorously away from all those grubby human hands, so I'm guessing no harm done.

After noisily (i.e. lots of arguments between the girls and the boys over who was next) taking turns throwing the boomerang yesterday afternoon, the gang of curtain climbers got newly distracted by locust shells. I helped them pluck dozens of empty shells off the trees, and Justin is now the proud owner of one that hadn't cracked open yet. . .I'm not so sure how his parents are going to feel about a big bug like that emerging inside the house later, but that will surely be another story!

Anyway, as the locust shell collecting fervor was fading, Dylan remembered that he'd seen a frog near the lawn chairs last time he and Justin visited. The hunt was on! First, it was just me and Dylan, searching the rocks for movement, but then Katie and Angel joined. Justin, all boy that he is, jumped into the fray, and James, squeamish but curious, had to come see what all the fuss was.

Then, we spotted the frog. Oh, lawdy, lawdy! What a furious explosion of little hands trying to catch that frog! My suggestions of "Let's be quiet and see where he goes" and "Hey, you'll squish him" were nothing more than the annoying buzzing of a darn fly around their ears, I can tell you that. Whether it was the luck of the pluck, or whether no one else was brave enough to touch it, I don't know for sure, but Dylan and Justin were the ones who finally ended up holding the frog. Katie took off running, not because she was scared, but because she wanted to find a bucket for the frog's new home.

She did. Frog went in. Frog immediately jumped out. End of that endeavor.

When Dylan and Justin's dad arrived, the boys were still talking about taking that frog home with them :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Owl Watches. . .a Totem Bead (OMG, Yes, Angie Made a BEAD!)


Owl Watches-- Totem Bead
Owl sits in the tree. Owl watches for opportunity. Owl is wise that way.


Owl is wise, but did you ever wonder why we've come to think so? It occurs to me that owl's wisdom comes in part from having the patience to quietly observe all around her. Wisdom gained from many nights of this observation, from many nights of waiting for just the right opportunity. All that observation, all that patience, all that intensity. . .all of it becomes embedded in the brain and creates wisdom bit by bit. Seems quite a useful method, whether you are trying to catch mice or trying to catch reality inside a piece of molten glass, don't you think?



P.S. Owl is actually a bead! She is about 3 1/4" tall. I think I'll put her in my Etsy shop. . .wouldn't she look great as the focal point of a necklace of earthy browns in wood or glass or stone? If I were any good at making jewelry (instead of just visualizing it), I'd mix all of those elements and find a way to dangle a feather with owl, too.

Okay, back to some work. Got the house under control-- just in time for James and Kate to each bring friends home with them this afternoon after school. Between the territory wars and the occasional truces so they can make bigger messes together, I'm sure the house will look trashed again in no time. . .ah, well, guess the reason I'm not such a great domestic goddess is that I like to see the house lived in :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Belly Button Humility. . . Don't Giggle (Yet), I Think I'm On To Something


Belly button.
Belly button.
Belly button.

Ha! Bet you can't say it three times without at least thinking you might giggle. My kids and their friends appear to be fascinated with belly buttons. So-and-so has an outie. . . giggle. Grandma says she doesn't have a belly button. . .giggle. Imagine the giggles and howls when they discover that some people pierce their belly buttons and wear jewelry there!

I almost didn't put a belly button on the sculpture in the circle up there, but at the last minute I realized she wouldn't be complete without one. She's a piece inspired by a sculpture that Cindy gets to see on her way to work. To me, that sculpture is a very evocative figure. Without seeing it up close, I imagine my own story for it. I imagine headgear reminiscent of Egyptian queens and African tribes. I imagine a bountiful mother figure representing womankind. I also imagine a few chiropractic visits if she doesn't get the kinks out of her shoulders, but then maybe that's just the weight of the world imposing itself on her.

So, like I said, at the last minute, I picked up my favorite pokey tool and marred my own sculpture's magnificent torso with a belly button. Some days, I make this decision one way or the other with very little thought. This was another day, though, one of those days when I thought about the implications of belly buttons before branding the sculpture a mortal and not a goddess of creation who would not require a belly button. This substantial woman, regal though she be, is mortal, a mere human.

Mere human. . .therein lies the humility. Don't think I ever before thought about a belly button in terms of symbolizing humility. It does, though! Think about it. We all have one, no exceptions, no inherent social status for those who do or don't. Every human being has one, period (unless you are Adam or Eve, but I think that was before our time). This thought is nothing new to the world, just fresh for me today.

Giggle. . . ever hear someone snidely remark that someone else wasn't doing anything except "sitting there contemplating his/her navel"? Wonder if the friends of the ancient philosophers ever muttered that about Aristotle or Plato or Socrates?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Celery Chronicles


*

You know what's coming, don't you?

*

Especially if you have children or nieces/nephews of your own, right?

*

Yep, you guessed it:


Next time, I won't bother with the celery. I'll just tell the kid he can have some peanut butter on a spoon :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby! Part Two-- Yeah, I Forgot Something :)


Shoot! I got to wound up in listening and listing music in the earlier post today, I forgot to add a front view of the Ice Relic! The earlier pic just showed all the pretty light prisms reflecting on the kitchen table as the sun shone on the relic, but you can't even begin to guess what it is from that angle!

Ice, Ice, Baby!


Okay, so it's not really ice of any sort. Not frozen water, not cut diamond, not whatever it was Vanilla was talking about in his song so long ago. Hmm, what did he talk about in that song? I have always been into classic country or classic rock 'n roll, haven't kept up with music's evolution since 1980-something, unless you count Toby Keith (love that voice) or Miley Cyrus (just about sick of Hannah Montana, but her daddy at least adds some interest to the television show, ya know). Guess I ought to google Mr. Vanilla Ice and find that song to see how shocked I can be at the actual lyrics. Back in a bit.

****

Yo, I gotta tell ya, this chick couldn't stand to read very much-- here are the lyrics in case you're interested.


Now, you know for sure that my taste in music is fairly vanilla, as in plain, huh?

****

There, that was your musical interlude of the day from the non-musically talented AngelinaBeadalina. If I were you, I'd just thank my lucky stars that she didn't attempt to singfor you! Very few people are subjected to that torture. Tone deaf, rhythmless, that's me, but I do still sing along to all my favorites. . . when you aren't listening :)

See, I may have thought for years that there was a song about a "Secret Asian Man" (oops, that would be Secret Agent Man sung by Johnny Rivers), but I can't help but try to memorize words to songs from my childhood so that I can sing them whenever I feel the urge.
Oh, lawdy, look at me, traveling back in time instead of writing about the glass-- torching has been good, if still limited since the hubby took a few days off work and that messes with my routine. Or writing about the kiddos-- school has been okay so far, but then the infamous card flipping is due to officially start today, so we'll see. So, what songs do you know (or at least feel fairly certain you know) by heart?

My list includes:

  • Country Roads (John Denver)-- sing this one to the kiddos lots of nights at bedtime, they can even sing along with most of the words
  • Long Black Veil (Lefty Frizzell)-- my own Granddaddy used to sing this when I was a kid, and I never knew which song it was until I was a grownup. I memorized the words when James was a bitty baby, playing that song over and over on one of our four hour drives to Kentucky. This one used to calm James when he was crying (or maybe, even at a few months old, he knew he wouldn't be able to drown out my horrible howling?)
  • Let Me Be There (Olivia Newton John)-- just remember bits and pieces, as well as that this was one of the favorites of my cousins, my sister, and me when we'd have our afternoon long concerts on the banister of Grandma and Granddaddy's porch
  • Ruby (aka in my mind as Don't Take Your Love to Town; Kenny Rogers)-- uh, huh, I used to know the words to The Gambler when I was a kid, too
  • Margaritaville (Mr. Buffet)-- this is one of Katie's favorite bedtime songs, hope she doesn't grow up to be a pathetic beach bum alcoholic with only one flip flop because of it

Whoops, I gotta get some other work done today. Better stop before I really get sucked in to Youtube and can't find my way back out again!

Monday, August 25, 2008

RightBackAtcha!


Boomerang something to somebody today. . . hey, hey, slow down, wait a minute, wipe that devilish grin off your face before you go to work or you'll be getting yourself into trouble before you know it, what with letting that smart "take a number, get in line" remark fly from your lips. Uh-huh, see, I know how some days go.

Now, back to the boomerang thing. If you throw it just right, a boomerang tumbles its way right back to you. That's a cool thing, unless, of course, you really aren't expecting it to work and aren't looking up when it whacks you in the noggin. No worries, mate, I didn't get it to work well enough to get right back to me, but I did make sure to keep an eye on the thing until it returned to the ground.

Whoops, that's not where this post was going. One more time, back to the boomerang thing. Okay, here's the idea. Lots of people send out really kind thoughts, loving gestures, or even just a friendly nod at the right moment. Do we send them right back? I think that for today, I will try to be more conscientious about returning those kind thoughts, loving gestures, and friendly nods in a way that will make the sender/recipient feel just as good as they made me feel. For me, that's usually easy to do here in the virtual world. I'm not shy about telling someone how much I admire them or what I like about something they've made-- here in the virtual world. BUT in the real world, I'm kinda shy about that at times. Mostly, I think I fall into the mindset that no one notices me, anyway, so they won't notice if I'm quiet.

So, as I'm writing this, I am aware that the boomerang analogy is a bit different from how I've described it in the last paragraph. Actually, if a boomerang works, it is because you sent something and it comes right back to you. Hmmm, another perspective worthy of some attention, at least in my little world. Gotta remember that if you send out good thoughts, you'll likely receive good ones in return. That also means that if you send out crabby-get-outta-my-face-negative thoughts, you're gonna be receiving some nasty ones in return.

You can even carry this to the level of all those motivational ditties about envisioning good things, asking for good things, expecting to receive good things, etc. Hoooooooboy! Lots to think about, right there in a single piece of carved wood. Boomerang it, baby. . . whichever definition you like, just boomerang it :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Spy with My Little Blue Eye. . .

I spy with my little blue eye quite a few things. For instance, apparently while my husband was flying back from Australia and gaining a day, I lost the very same day! Where the heck did Saturday go? Seems you've all been busy, too, so I'll be catching up on all the good reads in the blog list to your left in just a bit. In the meantime, here's a wee list of things I've spied in the last day or so:

  • at least three very prominent gray hairs in my bangs! Damn, why is that you can smooth down regular hair with those "make your hair so shiny and smooth that it reflects light like a stainless steel pan" hair spritzs but gray hair can't be held down with anything less than two inches of shellac? Gray hair is no biggie, just adds some highlights and ensures no one will ever card me again (as if they wouldn't notice the wrinkles around the eyes or the dumpy middle age body *if* it weren't for those three stray gray hairs that won't lay down!). And, before my sister or brother chime in, YES, I do realize that I have hundreds more gray hairs besides those three that like to do the samba across my forehead.
  • a house full of peeps who all want a turn on my laptop! Did I ever have more than five minutes online yesterday before someone was asking for a turn? Nope. With the desktop dinosaur dead for all intents and purposes (Deb, I am still amazed that you fix your own computer problems!), the Mommy's laptop is a coveted thing. James needed his Star Wars video fix. Katie wanted to feed her WebKinz and make sure they were wearing cool outfits. My brother-in-law needed to check his email. The teenager (aka the nephew Tanner) had pressing matters in his in-box, too. Of course, Victoria had to show Katie and James the way her WebKinz' rooms have been decorated.
  • a video of my husband falling out of an airplane-- on purpose! Why? I mean, seriously, why would you not forfeit your $100 deposit and hop your ass right back into the rental car as soon as you see the "first aid kit" prominently displayed in the skydiving shop?? Oh, did I mention what the first aid kit consists of? A shovel. Yeah, that's it. Don't have much use for band-aids when you splat the ground from 14,000 feet. Your friends might want a shovel so they can dig you out and send you back home in a box, though.
  • at least one presidential candidate whose choice for running mate failed to meet my new criteria for world leaders! Don't worry, I'm not off on a political rant. This is more of an affirmation of those 1970's sentiments about "if a woman ruled the world." We need a woman in office! No joke. Just think about it from an everyday life perspective. Women are the ones who make sure everyone plays nice. Just imagine if a mom was the leader. "What? You scratched your brother because he wouldn't share world resources? Shame on you. Go give him a hug, and don't let me see you do that again, little missy." "You did what to your sister? Oh, son, I am so ashamed to hear that you thought it would be okay to send your troops across the border to raid her villages. Go to your room and stay there until you can play like a civilized nation. We don't use armed forces for no good reason in this house, young man." It's not just moms who make sure everyone plays nice and no one gets hurt, either. It's practically every human being over the age of twenty who has two X chromosomes. (We won't try to fit sniping teenage girls into this picture, as an uncomfortable percentage of them clearly tend to fall into the ranks of wannabe dictators who would just as soon ban Crocs as footwear and impose text messaging as the official language *wink*). Do you know how many women I've known in my life who weren't mothers but who nurtured everyone around them? Okay, so "nurture" might not be the exact word for the times Anna Catherine Mattingly made us fifth graders practice walking up and down the stairs until we didn't sound like a herd of elephants. . .but it was a part of making sure we would eventually grow up to be civilized adults who would know better than to tromp leaden footed across the graduation stage or to blow spitballs across the conference table in the middle of an important consultation with the company's best client.
  • brand new boxes of Crayolas for 25 cents! Oh, you know I had to go back to the dreaded Wal-Mart to get some of those back-to-school specials for the stash at home! At a mere quarter for a 24 box, who can resist an extra box or two? As I get older, I get better at not being wasteful, but I cannot lie-- I'd rather chew my toenails off after accidentally walking through unidentified poo in the backyard than use a broken crayon with no point and half the wrapper peeled off.
And that's it for today. Here it is, already practically noon, and I guess I'd better think about corralling all the stray glasses and spoons floating here and there. Toodles.


P.S. Cindy, the Desert Traveler didn't come from a dream, more like from that meditative trance that comes as I melt dark ivory uninterrupted, LOL. She isn't in my Etsy just yet because I think she's waiting for me to do something more with her, not just put her on a stand by herself. Dang stubborn glass!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Anybody Remember What I Thought I Was Going to Write About Today??


I *did* have a terrific idea for a funny list of some sort for today's blog. . . just can't remember what the heck it was! Guess I'd better start trying to drink that green tea to help with my memory, huh?

You know those people who say they wake up from their dreams and write them down? Doesn't work for me, either for dreams or for middle of the night great ideas. I'm just not a night owl. If I were awake enough to write down a great idea so I'd remember it the next day, well, I would remember it anyway without writing it down.

Do you have any idea how many books I've written in this slumbering-fool-who-can't-get-back-to-sleep-but-also-can't-concentrate mode? I will dream that I am reading a really good book, actually reading and turning pages in what feels like real time in my dream. You'd think I should be able to wake myself up and write down the story line, huh? Nope.

Same goes for cool new glass ideas, too. Torching in my dreams, can't even begin to remember it next day.

Well, the muse isn't coughing up the goods on what that blog idea was last night, so I guess I might as well just wave and say "See ya tomorrow." Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh, Details, Schmeeetails, Mom!



School let out at 3:10 yesterday.

First full day of school. No homework.

As expected, Kate had hatched plans to go to Sarah's house. Sarah had hatched plans to come to our house. When I asked Liz if she just wanted to trade daughters for the afternoon, the girls decided they could both come to our house this time. James took off out the door, racing to catch Dylan and invite him to come play.

So, with the boys camped out in one room discussing Star Wars and snacking on cold pizza and with the girls camped out in another room with their cold pizza, I started doing what all moms feel obligated to do-- snooping and trying to get answers about how the school day went!

Here's your background information, in case you are like me and remember the days when the teacher didn't warn you about impending doom when you were misbehaving. Talked while the teacher was talking, did you? 100 sentences. Flew an airplane across the classroom, made eye contact with the teacher, and realized at that moment that you indeed had not invented an invisible airplane, did you? Principal's office, take the paddle with you since writing those sentences didn't drum any sense into your head. (Remember, I was a teacher's pet who didn't get caught, so these examples are courtesy of 8 years of elementary school with a full complement of boys, boys whom we shall say were not exactly mature enough to understand the finer points of getting away with mischief.) Anyway, these days, teachers must rely on the old standby of stern looks but without the old standby of paddling. . . Instead of the threat of an oversized, engraved wooden paddle hanging from the edge of the chalkboard, today's kids get a card chart. Your card starts out as a smiley face or good color, but if you sass the teacher or forget that you aren't supposed to sneak toys into your shirt pocket and play with them while copying this week's spelling words, then YOU GET A CARD FLIPPED. The more times you get your card flipped to progressively "worse" colors, the bigger trouble you are going to have when Mom finds out at the end of the day.

So, here are the results of my snooping about the first full day in Mrs. Bradham's first and second grade classroom:

Me: How was school today, girls? Anybody get any cards flipped?
Kate: Not me.
Sarah: Uh-uh, me neither.
Kate: Actually, everyone was good. Nobody got cards flipped.

Me: Hey, boys, you didn't get any cards flipped did you?
James: Not me.
Dylan: No.


Me (on the phone to Grandma a few hours later): Yep, they had a good day. No cards flipped.
James (whispering in the background): Mom! Nobody got cards flipped! That's because the cards aren't out yet. That doesn't start until tomorrow.





Details, schmeeetails!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Heard a Rumor. . .


I heard a rumor. . . that today is the first full day of school for James and Katie as they head into first and second grade.
TRUE



I heard a rumor. . . that James might really love his little sister a whole bunch, despite what he says.
TRUE


I heard a rumor. . . that James and Kate go to such a small school that first and second grade classes are combined, and there are still only 16 kids in the class.
TRUE

I heard a rumor. . . that Kate was excited about school until yesterday when she got home from the two hour registration/orientation session.
TRUE

I heard a rumor. . . that Kate told James "Man, that was long, and all she wanted us to do was listen while she talked!"
TRUE

I heard a rumor. . .that Mommy might be in the principal's office by the end of the very first full day, considering the battling duo will be sharing a classroom, considering James says the only good things about school are the "good dairy milks and recess," considering Kate has had her eyes opened to the difference between kindergarten and first grade, considering. . . oh, hell, just considering everything and multiplying times two, LOL
I'LL LET YOU KNOW

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Okey-dokey, Patience Isn't Necessarily My Strong Point. . .


I just put hair on the Katie head, and I am done erasing on this page. . .

Well, the "twins," James and his blond haired brown eyed friend Jacob were busy playing light sabers. Now, they are going to watch a Thomas the Tank Engine video. They are justifying watching this "baby" movie because "Dude, someday when I have a little boy, I'm going to give him my movies, so I've got to see if it's still any good."

Toodles. Gots things to do while the boys are busy having fart wars and while Kate is busy at Sarah's house :)

Glass, Paper, Whatever It Might Be. . . Here's a Reminder


Yep, friendly reminder for the day, as I sit here looking at my daughter's eyes and Batman's chiseled five o'clock shadow, when you are learning something, you can not compare your progress to anyone else's. You have to concentrate on looking for the ways you've grown from attempt to attempt!

You've heard it before, and so have I, there is always someone whose skills are worse and always someone whose skills are better. If you focus your mind on looking for examples of those who are far behind you, then you won't be putting energy into growing your own skills. Your skills will stagnate, maybe even regress, if you don't practice, practice, practice. . .and also try to do a little bit of grow, grow, grow.

On the other hand, if all you see when you look around you are examples of people who can do it sooooooooo much better than you, you'll stunt your own I-can-do-it muscle!

Time and time again, cliche and cliche again, it hits me, this idea that to survive you have to focus on watching your own progress and separating that time/growth line from the time/growth lines of other people whose progress interests you. I learned to do this with glass a long time ago, and there is great joy for me in watching how everyone grows bit by bit. Now, I gotta remind myself of this principle, seeing as how shading and lighting and smudging and all those other little things to do with pencil and paper are teasing me. I will finish the five o'clock shadow toddler portrait, whether I figure out how to fix the chin shading/shaping or whether I end up erasing a hole through the paper (not an easy feat, considering the very soft kneaded eraser and the very tough paper in the sketchbook!).


Monday, August 18, 2008

So, What's Your Cup of Tea?

I'll tell ya right now, *my* cup of tea is. . . coffee. I've tried, I really have. I've tried different flavored teas, hoping that would get me used to the taste of grass stirred up in a little hot water. I've mixed pear and tangerine flavors (not too bad, actually, but I'm pretty sure sipping down iced flavors is a wee bit different than actually drinking some real loose leaf tea). I've read the articles over the years, you know the ones. Green tea has loads of antioxidants. Cultures where tea drinking is prevalent have fewer cancers. Tea can work miracles, even give you the power to find those five missing socks each time you do laundry. Okay, okay, I made the last one up, but I do know tea is supposed to be good for you. That's why I'm writing about it today.

See, last week while the kids and I were at Ma and Pop's, I noticed my dad drinking one of those bottled green teas instead of his usual Diet Spit, um, sorry, that's supposed to say Diet 7-Up or even Diet Sprite in a pinch. (I tend to think "Diet Spit" describes them both, but that's just me.) What makes a 67 year old soda and coffee drinking man decide to start drinking tea after all these years? This is the story, according to my mother:

While watching the news one night, Pop pays particular attention to a report about the benefits of green tea, especially the part that talks about green tea being good for improving memory. He says maybe he should start drinking green tea so he can improve his memory. He comes home from work one night later in the week and finds that Mother has replaced his usual Diet 7-Up bottle with a bottle of flavored green tea. He then proceeds to ask his thoughtful wife, "Why am I drinking this?" Heehee, hope the tea works for ya, Pop!

Anyway, this little incident has been on my mind every time I am thirsty and go to the fridge to get a drink. It also crosses my mind every time I forget something, but that could be a whole other story in itself. (You're welcome, Pop. *insert impish grin from me* I know you don't want me driving down that road, Mr. I Didn't Do It Yet Because I Forgot You Said Anything About It Clara.)

You know, I could go on and on from here. For instance, I could talk about how I'm apparently not as Southern as I've always thought I was. Grits? Yes. Peanut butter? Yes! Sweet tea? Uh, no, thank you, ma'm. Yep, I could go on, but I'm kinda thirsty.

Think I'll go fix myself a cup






of coffee :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bit of a Blast of Balloon Color to Start Sunday!


You saw this one the other day, but the picture wasn't taken in the bright morning light like this time. Kate calls this one "The '70's Balloon." If I actually bothered to read our local fish wrapper/bird cage liner, instead of just tossing it onto Ricky's counter, I would have the Balloon Fest guide in front of me and be able to tell you the real name of each of these balloons. For now, I think The '70's Balloon will work :)


Check it out, Bubby. Yep, that would be a Dodge Ram symbol on this silky red balloon! We missed the balloons all the way around yesterday, but this morning when I stepped out onto the deck I saw them coming rising over the trees and heading in our direction. How wonderful to awaken to the promise of a multitude of colorful splashes of silk floating your way. Spotting them as they left the Centralia city limits, we strolled around the yard and waited to see which direction the wind would carry them.


Grabbed some sweatshirts for the kids, coffee for me, and headed out in the car to see how close we could get to some balloons. Smiles and waves from James and Kate were answered by the same from the pilots in this balloon as it floated over the edge of a cornfield and lowered close to the tops of the soybeans in this field.

We waved goodbye and headed on down the road in search of more balloons. James' favorite was the Pepsi can balloon, and we watched as it flew right in front of us.

More pics next time. Right now, gotta fry the bacon, scramble the eggs, and make the sugar toast.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Balloons Flying into the Late Evening Sky


Hey, what are those specks floating above the soybean fields? Yep, the Friday evening balloon race drifted southwest of Centralia, right into our line of sight from the deck. There are 41 or 42 balloons in Centralia for the Balloon Festival this weekend. I counted 27 of them across the horizon at one time after I snapped this quick pic in the fading daylight.


We needed milk and bread, and the back road we usually take into town was lined with many more cars and trucks than usual. Lots of people were out, following the balloons and chase crews. Some years, the cars whipping on and off the shoulders of the little country roads are kind of scary, but everyone seemed fairly restrained and courteous tonight :) Lots of times over the years, I've heard various people try to discourage fans from chasing the balloons. . . but when the crews can get through to their balloons as they land, and when everyone is playing nice, there is nothing as exciting as following the pack of balloons and waving to the pilots and riders in the baskets!


One of the balloons familiar to Balloon Fest fans. Oh, there are so many pretty ones, and I am hoping to get you some good, bright daylight pics of one of the morning races this weekend. Stay tuned for more balloons. . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fox


Fox, standing on the far side of the pond, between the fencerow and front cornfield.


Fox, standing by the driveway, getting ready to run back into the same cornfield.
Think it's the same one in both pics, or two different ones?

Times like these make me long for a camera with a lot more zoom power! These are the clearest pics I've gotten in my attempts to get close to the fox. I do believe my father and brother also wish I had a much better zoom on my camera, too. Neither one of them was thrilled with the idea of me trying to get close to the fox (or foxes). Of course, we've all heard that foxes carry rabies, and we've all heard about those very painful thirteen rabies shots you'll have to endure if you are bitten by an uncaptured wild animal or bitten by an obviously rabid one. . . so I have to admit that I was cautious as I inched closer and closer. I truly don't believe he/she would've come after me. I really think a fox would leave a human alone, but I guess you never know for sure about a wild animal.

I can tell you this, whether or not that is the same creature in the two different pictures, I was amazed at how familiar a real fox looked to me-- looked just like all the pictures and illustrations I've seen throughout my life. A fox's movements are so graceful and delicate, and that tail is so plush and feathery.

It was an experience, to say the least.

I imagine I will have more to say about foxes, but the hour is getting late, and you know I'm not really a night owl. Hope all is well for each of you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back to Pretty Flowers and Stuff. . . Sorry, Bubby


Magic Lilies.
They came up in the flower spot I fixed last time we were at Grandma and Granddaddy's. Pretty cool to see these pale, almost pink, almost lavender petals at the tops of leafless stalks. Oh, and the hostas Mother and I transplanted have had a tough month, but the Green Thumb thinks they will be fine next year. The portulacas (rose moss) is spreading, but not as much as the mint! The caladium is still a lovely, velvety magenta and green. I pulled grass, though, 'cause that stuff grew while I was gone, too!


Black Eyed Susans, or at least a domesticated version. Don't know the exact name, but the patch of these is a bright, sunny spot mixed into the biggest flower garden.


Duh moment here. Rose of Sharon? or Hibiscus? If it were one of the brighter, darker hibiscus colors, I probably wouldn't hesitate. Now that I'm sitting here, trying to write quickly, I can't remember which it is!


Seedless grapes growing on the fence of the chicken pen. The ladies (the hens) like for us to stop and eat grapes because they get the skins from most of the grapes. Me, I eat the skins. I love how homegrown grapes have a more velvety skin that storebought ones, so the chickens don't get any scraps from me.


Grape clusters hanging from the top of the chicken pen. Beautiful, and probably safe from my hands, since I don't want to venture in there and have the hens peck at my toes while I try to get the grapes. Yes, I'm a chicken :)

So, I've still got to tell you about the foxes, but I worry Pop and Bubby both when I try to get close enough to get a good picture with my camera. Yeah, great for macro shots is my little Nikon, but not so great in the zoom department. Anyway, I used the flash last night even though I was all the way across the pond from the fox, so I have several very dark landscape shots with bright eyes peering my way. . . but not even a good silhouette of the fox.

Okay, toodles for now! I'll check everyone's blogs tonight. The kiddos are about to mutiny sitting here in the restaurant, so I gots to go for now. Hugs all 'round, Ang

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hairy Situation with the Blog. . . or My Brother Wants to Explain Why Real Men Don't Shave Their Legs


According to my little brother, there have been waaaaaaaaaay too many pictures of Mother's flowers in my blog this week. According to said brother, I should write about something else. In fact, he gave me a topic-- "Why Men Don't Shave Their Legs."

Here's his little story, and I'm sticking to it (at least until the writing muse delivers on her promise to provide some really good jokes about the story): Real men don't shave their legs because real men wear shorts while using the weed trimmer. Real men aren't concerned that the Weed-eater string will whack them on their bare legs. Real men are tough. Real men grow hair on their legs as a protective barrier to all the weed and grass trimmings thrown out the side of the weed-eater. Real men also don't wipe this grass off their leg because real men know that the thicker the layer of grass, the more protection provided. End of real men story.

Here's my little story, and I'm sticking to it: I apologize for the hairy ankle shot in place of a pretty flower shot. However, my little brother does indulge me by letting me dig through his junk pile in the shop (and I haven't had a chance to do that yet this trip). My little brother also lets me use his wireless card so I can bring these blog entries to you without having to drive the ten miles into town, find a table at the Panera bread store, resist buying a few loaves of three cheese bread, and also resist heading on over to Michael's or Lowe's to spend more money than I should. There ya go. . . I have to make the Bubby happy with this post that was his idea :)

Now, for tomorrow, back to some regularly scheduled sappy flower pics, maybe an obligatory shot or two of the munchkins, or who knows, maybe another glass pic! Hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Just Humming Along With Just a Bit of Internet Time...


Here's the view when you lie on the ground almost underneath the hummingbird feeder. Those little hummers are so busy this time of the year that they no longer care if you get close to them. Early on this summer, I would run to get my camera as soon as somebody on the porch spotted a hummingbird, and the hummingbird would spy me with the camera and fly away to parts unknown. . . until after I gave up and took the camera back inside. Little rascals!

Here it is, getting to be late summer, and those hummingbirds are so busy they don't even bat an eye at the sight of one of us groundhuggers. If you sit on the porch, you are inviting them to buzz your head. If, like me, you lie down in the grass a few feet from the feeder, the only thing you risk is a squirt of hummingbird doodoo if you don't remember to keep your mouth shut :)


That's part of what I've been doing this afternoon. Kiddos, Aunt Soupie, Grandma, and I went to town this morning on a mission to buy a new school outfit and a new pair of shoes for James and Kate. Grandma got James a SpiderMan jean and sweatshirt set, which was not his first choice. She was patiently explaining to him why he couldn't have the Star Wars t-shirt he found. It was too little and was going to be too tight after it was washed. James' solution? "Okay, then, Grandma, I just won't wash it!"


Katie helped Grandma shell some beans this afternoon. Butter beans, lima beans, whichever they were, they were pretty. Of course, I detest beans. Can't help it, just don't like the taste. I don't mind shelling them, though. The kiddos have also helped string and break some green beans, too.

So, I'm around, just quiet for a few days. Guess what, though? I actually ran into Tasha in Michael's at lunchtime today! Well, she had to walk around me is what really happened, I think. I was camped out in the pencil/drawing aisle, drooling over all the pretty sets of colored pencils. It was really a nice surprise to see ya, Tash! Although, we could debate how much of a surprise it can be considered to find either of us in a Michael's looking at craft goodies, huh?

Here's a big virtual wave and hug for the rest of ya (and a warning to Mari that I should be calling soon to see when she'll be home). Hope your Monday was a fine one!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dahlia-pa-looza!






Dahlia-deliciousness for your senses, courtesy of the Grandma!
Have a terrific Sunday!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Fashion Moment with The Mooch


Meow to my feline buds, and a growl to all you humanoids who think pet clothes are fun. Hmmph. That Angie person who delivers the cat chow around here will not be writing this, as I have tricked her into locking the door behind her when she brought breakfast to me. Silly woman, at least put on your pajama bottoms before you go outside.

Now, listen closely, if you want to spare the silly woman additional humiliation. I. Want. That. Hideous. Pink. Bow. Contraption. Destroyed.

Or, you could put it on a dog and spread the humiliation, whichever. I. Just. Want. It. Gone. From. Around. My. Neck. Thank you.

I am not amused by "haute CAT-oure." I am an outside cat. I am a lounger. I am a snuggler when I feel like it. I am a watchcat. I am not a mannequin, er maybe that should be cat-equin. Whichever.

Bring me your scrambled eggs. Bring me your milk. Bring me your tiny, carefully chopped up bits of ham. Bring me ice cubes for my water on a sweltering summer day. BUT DON'T BRING ME ANY FREAKIN' PINK BOWS FROM THE CLEARANCE AISLE AT WAL-MART. That goes for blue bows from the clearance aisle, full price yellow bows, peach bows from the hoity-toity doggie store, too.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I wish to sneak around the side of the garage and watch that silly woman try to wake up the kiddos so they can let her back in the house. Funny, the way humans look when they try to run in their underwear. Hmmph. How do you think she would look if I could stick that pink froufrou bow around her neck, or even her ankle, whichever.

Hmmph. I am so out of here.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Bug- a- BOO


Backyard, late evening shadows reaching even longer than the maples are tall.


Green ocean of soybeans to the north. Even taller corn guards the west. Can see for what seems miles over the waves of beans.


Bug- a - BOO! I know next to nothing about these things, so I can't tell you whether or not the moldy looking stuff is normal for a formidable looking insect carcass like this one. Heck, I might even go back to the deck and find out it wasn't a carcass, after all, and has flown away. I can tell you one thing, though, these critters are most likely responsible for at least part of the constant hum/buzz/racket you can even hear inside the house all summer long.


Great texture in the faded, gnarled bark near the very base of one of the maple trees. In fact, this one slopes so gently right about where this shot was taken that I sometimes use it as an outdoor recliner.


This is totally Captain Elaine's fault. She has been drawing or painting something every day and posting the page in her blog. Well, I've been sketching just a little bit more, having been bitten by the learning bug after seeing her sketches. This started as part of the bark from the picture of the tree trunk, then this morning I *had* to add the eye of a tree spirit peeking through the bark.

That's my Thursday evening/Friday morning. How's your day been?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sploosh!


Sploosh! The rock is dropped into the pool of water, and for a split second a tiny crown of droplets arises to welcome it into the depths.

Hold on a minute. That puddle of water is setting on top of the gravel, not in it. Hey, it's got a few ripples, but it isn't flowing around the rocks. What's up with that? Oh, I get it now-- it's glass!



Hey, I think I'm gonna list it in my Etsy shop, just because it could be fun to write this one. See, I've been battling with boro for almost the entire summer. Granted, my torch time has been very limited, so it worked out to be a great learning project. It's just that without a lot of good time at the flame with the glass, it's hard to really get into a groove with the glass. Clear boro is fascinating to me because of the possibilities for capturing things like movement in water. You can surf around the 'net and find many glass artists who make incredible sculptures of dolphins and fish emerging from the water. That is the way to use the glass-- pair its particular characteristics wisely with a subject that has similar characteristics.

Hmmm. Sea creatures are indeed fascinating, but I can't seem to get myself underneath their scales and really "into" them, but the water thing could be paired with a variety of ideas. See why I love glass melting and sculpting so much?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

May the Farts Be with You. . .It's Truly a Boys' World Here Today


Well, the explosion of Star Wars fun left bits and pieces scattered all over the house. When James, Jacob, and Tyler tired of light saber battles, I got out the markers, crayons, and some paper plates for an art break. While the girls were still busy playing house, the boys and I were drawing Star Wars characters. So, this Yoda mask was my sole creative endeavor yesterday. . .I swear, he looked like Yoda to me when I was drawing him, but this morning he seems to have morphed into some sort of Yoda wannabe ;)

Anyway, Tyler went home, Kate joined Sarah and family for Pizza Hut and more play until dark, and Jacob ended up spending the night. The boys were itching to use my computer this morning, so what did I hear soon after they opened the laptop? Giggles, lots of giggles! The source of all those giggles and knee-slaps? Yoda farting. I kid you not. Fart Wars. Yoda Farts. Videos in slightly poor taste, but with a certain adolescent appeal, ya know-- so here ya go:

Yoda Farts

Fart Wars

Duel of the Farts III

I have no doubt but what my little brother just clicked on all those links! (Let me reassure the moms and grandmas, though, I was peeking over the boys' shoulders and ran them off of youtube before their surfing took any truly bad turns. )

Gotta run. Gotta check on the Jedi knights. They just went outside to jump puddles left from the rain last night. Just so they aren't jumping off the cars to do so, all is well. . .but you just never know with little boys :)





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