Friday, February 27, 2009

Irvington Rocks! And They Do the Electric Slide, Too!

Irvington Rocks!
Irvington Grade School Talent & Patriotic Show 2009
Red, white, and blue decorations made by the students filled the stage at Irvington Grade School last night, and parents filled the folding chairs set out in the gym. We came to watch everyone from kindergarteners to eighth graders sing and tell us a patriotic story. When the "Americans We" narrative was done, we settled back for some talent show faire.
The first and second graders stationed themselves along a line of paper bag and popsicle stick log cabins, the third graders and up (but not all of the big kids?) manned the stage, and the kindergarteners marched in carrying American flags. We listened as the students on the stage read about American history and sprinkled the narrative with songs.
Great job from all the Irvington Grade School crew!

After a bit of microphone adjusting and popcorn eating, aka intermission, the talent show began with lots of singing acts, a dancing duo, and more guitars than a rock'n'roll concert.

Kate even did a solo on her guitar! Pretty brave for a six year old, don't ya think? The whole story behind her appearance is one of those that makes a parent sigh and say "all's well that ends well." She played her original composition (ie, she's never had a lesson and won't listen to her father try to teach her some chords, so she got up there and strummed to her heart's content for about a minute and a half), and she took a big bow at the end. The smile on her face was priceless! I caught it and the high five with her friend Angel on the videocamera which I was juggling with the regular camera.

The finale was a great big bunch of kids, parents, and teachers doing the electric slide. Lots of the younger kiddos jumped in and tried to learn it along the way, too. James picked up on it pretty good, but I never did catch a pic of his face while he was dancing-- he was too busy concentrating to look up at mom.
Well, I need to slide along myself. Gots things to do, things to do! Hope your Friday rocks!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Evidence

Clearly, the evidence has presented itself, and it is undeniable.



Undeniable fact #1: My son does not want to remember to take his glasses to school. Otherwise, why would he have "forgot them, Mom, just forgot them!" four out of five days in a row? Let's see. He forgot them last Friday. Monday, I subbed at his and Kate's school and noticed he wasn't wearing his glasses during class. Mommy ran back to the house on her lunch break and retrieved the specs for the boy (funny, he wasn't all that grateful that I did that...hmmm). Tuesday, remembered. Wednesday, forgot. Thursday, forgot. Guess you know where I'm headed in a few minutes :)

Undeniable fact #2: Some weeks, torching is neither productive nor fun. How do I know this, you ask? When you open the kiln, only to be accosted by a jaundiced Jolly Roger the freaky-weird pirate, then you'll know :)

So, what evidence has presented itself to you today?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turn Your (Transistor) Radio On. . .

Well, the tornado and snoring story reminded Carol of listening to the weather on the transistor radio. If that sentence didn't make any sense at all to you, then you were probably born long after I graduated from high school. If you want to amuse your friends and annoy your parents with references to the "olden days," read on, child, read on :)

Here's my list of things that would baffle my children, my list of things that bring a smile to me now even though I probably gave them no heed one way or the other at the time:

  • trying to tune in a transistor radio to a station you liked, instead of just the station nearest to you
  • can't carry the phone all over the house (much less out of the house and into the car) because it is connected to the wall with a cord
  • imagining a black in white television show in real color
  • having to wait for the weather reports to come on the radio or television, even during a major storm
  • rolling a sheet of paper into a typewriter
  • hating, hating, hating to make a mistake on that paper because correcting it either meant messing with various fluids and tapes or ripping the paper out and starting all over
  • sitting under a hair dryer, curlers poking you in the back of the neck and pins falling out every time you bump the hood of the dryer
  • rolling down the windows in the car
  • scribbling with an ink pen until it starts to write (and no, I don't go back as far as quills and inkpots, Bubby!)
  • wondering if someone called while you were away from the house
  • practicing your handwriting in school (don't laugh-- the other day, a teacher told me some schools don't even teach cursive any more!)
  • being excited to see the Sears and Penney's Christmas catalogs arrive in the mailbox

I know there are more things to add to this list. . .but apparently, I am ancient and my memory doesn't function well. Help me out here :) What can you add to the list?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Story of Snoresville

"Angela is trying to break this habit of waking in the middle of the night!"--posted by me in the middle of the night


"Angie, let me just say it must run in the family or it's an age thing.... lol! I can never sleep! "-- response from my younger cousin Lisa


"Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, don't you know it can't be a Greer thing unless we got it from Grandma? I don't know about Uncle Nelson, but your Uncle Stanley has been known to sleep through horrific storms...I don't think anything wakes Pop!"-- my response, after a bit of thought about the whole thing


******


Once upon a time, there was a family. The mother sent her children off to school in the morning, and she welcomed them home with lots of love in the afternoons. One April afternoon, as soon as her eldest daughter got off the school bus, the mother told all of her children to be ready to run to the basement if the weather turned bad. Not long afterward, the mother sent the three children to the basement. She followed them. They weren't big enough to see out the basement windows, but the mother stood at one and watched a tornado roar across one neighbor's field and then wrap another neighbor's trailer around a telephone pole. From then on, the mother and children were careful to pay heed to darkening skies and tornado warnings.


That mother is my mother, and that April afternoon was April 3, 1974. No one in the neighborhood was injured, although I think the neighbor who lived in that trailer wrecked the car that she drove down the road in her escape just ahead of the twister.


My mother goes to the basement when the sky turns green. I don't have a basement now, but it's with a sheer stubborness that I sit in my hallway and listen to stormwinds (my stubborness shored up by the knowledge that this house has been here for a long time and that the railroad ties in the walls must be pretty darn strong).


Now, don't worry, this story really is coming along to the bit about snoring.


When I graduated college, I ended up living in a studio apartment on the second floor of an old house in town. Apparently the landlords were not as 'skeered of tornadoes as I was, because the one time I thought it was time to camp out in the basement, they were nowhere to be found and the basement was locked. I remember looking out my window, only to see a huge round Coca-cola sign swinging violently from it's pole. . .you know, the kind of sign that is supposed to just hang from a pole? Well, this sign was getting ready to swing all the way up and over the pole and back. The sky should've been completely dark, but I remember a ghastly greenish cast to it. I ran downstairs to the basement, rattled the french doors, and couldn't believe no one else was worried enough to come down there for shelter.


What do you do when you're merely 22 or 23 years old and are faced with danger you don't know how to conquer? Well, if you're me at that age, you figure you might as well jump in the car and drive ten miles to your parents' home. Stupid, stupid, stupid, I know, but I made it all in one piece. I knew Mommy and Daddy would protect me from any harm on the planet. And yes, I think I might have called them Mommy and Daddy instead of Ma and Pop that night IF THEY HAD EVEN BEEN AWAKE TO HEAR ME COME IN FROM THE STORM!


I came into the house, probably still shaking from fright (and from the realization of how stupid I'd been to drive that lightweight Camaro anywhere in that storm) and expecting to see everyone in the basement. Nobody was even up! What was wrong with these people? Didn't they hear the storm or the tornado warnings?


Uh, no, they didn't. My father was snoring so loudly that no one (Mother included) was wakened by the roaring storm. Snoring. Never did wake up until morning when the alarm clock woke Mother and then she woke him.


Welcome to Snoresville :)



*****

P.S. I'm not here to deny ever snoring myself, because heaven knows I've even stirred myself awake with a buzzing snore at times. I'm just saying, Lisa, I think any Greer sleep problems might have skipped the boys, ya know? Maybe we ought to ask Tasha and Rachele about their dads, just to make sure. . . but I'm betting there's a whole Greer suburb of Snoresville :)


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Need Some Warm Fuzzies?

Need some warm fuzzies for a cold (again? why?) winter evening? Here's one. Just imagine yourself feeling as warm and cozy and loved as that pretty ginger cat Momo. Look at that face-- purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre contentment :)
Need more warm fuzzy feelings? Here's another. Go to your closest mirror. Imagine yourself feeling as warm and loving and loved as that person looking back at you. . . you are purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre sweetness to your friends here on the worldwideweb, just as you are for your friends in real life. Thanks from everyone who gets a smile and a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing you :)


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Swallow Your Drink Before You Read What I Just Read

I have completely and utterly given up trying to understand the ways in which the Y chromosome influences human behavior. All I know is I am not surprised that someone with a Y chromosome posted this story on the world wide web and was obviously proud to admit to this fiasco. . .and you know what else? It sounds a little too funny to be a true story, but who cares BECAUSE IT IS TEARS ROLLING DOWN YOUR CHEEKS FUNNY.


"Flaming balls of shit!I have a mate. He's a bad influence. When he and I get together, we're positively chaotic. This episode tells of a time shortly after he was blessed with his first child. Sit back and enjoy.So my mate lives on a fairly remote farm. Not served by regular trash pickup, he is quite canny with his rubbish. Once their little crotchfruit came along, however, he and the missus quickly (within three days) tired of terry-towelling nappies, and bought disposables. All was fine for four months. To deal with the disposables, he simply tossed them into a 55-gallon oil drum outside the house.Well, the inevitable happened and one day, the drum was full. This happily coincided with a hot autumn day, a visit from yours truly, and less happily, after quite a lot of beer had been drunk. What to do, what to do?Burying? Nope - not biodegradable. Can't take it to the tip, we're all too pissed. No more drums, so can't start another load. I know; let's burn it! It's, after all, a metal oil drum. That'll work great! Ah, but the drum is full - to the very brim - with sh*tty nappies.So Dumb and Dumber dug out a drill and cut a hole about a foot from the bottom of the drum. We then dribbled, over the course of the next two hours, five (FIVE!) gallons of petrol into the top of the barrel.Then - and we both thought we were SO very clever - we used some detonation cord, and ran it through the hole in the bottom of the drum to light the petrol from the base of the fire.Now - picture this in slow motion - the following things happened. The det cord lit. The burning ACME-like spark travelled prettily along the cord. It vanished into the freshly cut hole in the drum. There was a rumbling sound. That was the oh-no-second. We turned around and began to run. Behind us there was a sort of squishBOOM sound as the tragically explosive mixture of petrol and festering, rancid nappies exploded.So here's what happened next. It turns out that (who knew?) 55-gallon oil drums are stronger than nappies, especially when the top of the drum is missing. When you ignite a tightly packed drum full of nappies from the bottom, you have created a superb nappy cannon. As we found out. After the squishBOOM, there was a louder FLOOOOOOM sound. I looked over my shoulder to see a huge tongue of fire leaping out of the drum, and balls of fire above that.The balls of fire turned out to be flaming, shit filled nappies - which flew about 300 feet into the air and then started raining down on the house, the cars, the tractor, us and everything else. We also found out that stamping on them to put them out isn't nice.The smell was truly incredible. Some of those nappies had been festering throughout a British summer, at the bottom of the nappy cannon. The sound of the molotov shittails thumping down around us, along with the smell of roasting piss, shit and rotten nappy will stay with me forever.The final crowning glory was when his wife came out of the farmhouse, looked around at the still-unfolding carnage, muttered "fucking hell" and went back inside - not knowing that at least 30 flaming balls of shite were setting fire to the roof above her head.We eventually got the fires put out, with not too much damage to property, but I was banned for a LONG time. "-- unknown source at this time, but if I find out the link to this and other such stories I will pass it along!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kids, Glass, Etc. . .

Kid #1
Cool guitar shirt from the most recent shopping trip with Grandma
Currently obsessed with cars, especially anything made by Chevy
Not so crazy about his new glasses BUT likes being able to read car names more easily
Made a new career path decision-- gonna be a car designer
Played Star Wars with Jacob, Dylan, and Justin this afternoon

Kid #2
Insists she knows how to play guitar
Won't let Daddy or anyone else show her some chords
Plays for Mommy, who is tone deaf and not much good for constructive criticism
Wearing favorite hoodie t-shirt from Aunt Barb yet again
Considers Momo and Moochie to be her children. . .very furry children :)

Glass Sculpture #4719
Okay, I don't really know what number this one is
My new favorite
"When I walk into a room, heads are gonna be turning and hearts are gonna be burning..."
Reason #7,337,487 why I like melting glass :)
Happy Friday Night!
We're watching a movie on Disney and drawing pictures.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Desk of Doom

All week long, I've been telling myself that this is *the* week to finally clean up the desk. All week long, I've put it off. Wanna take a tour of the dumpsite in question? Why not? I've got the time. The kids are asleep. The kitchen and bathroom have been cleaned. The cats have been fed and watered. The laundry is pretty well caught up. I don't have any new books to read. What else am I gonna do? Clean the desk?? Bwahahahahaha! I think we all know the answer to that question!

So, what have we here in this first slice of desk? Oops, I think that USPS box would be Lea Zinke's gift that I managed to mail to an old address. Instead of forwarding it, someone returned it to sender. I laid it on the desk so I'd remember to re-label it and re-send it. Sorry, Lea. . . now, I'm afraid if I move it, it'll dislodge something and send a whole stack out into the floor to be trod upon.

Second slice, anything nice? Well, yes, actually. There's Katie's kindergarten graduation cap. You can see two members of my Madonna and Child collection. The sculpture is one Aunt Carol found and graciously passed along to me. The other one is from my ex's grandmother. That Grandma was a hoot and a holler and I miss her. . . but I get a little visual hug from her every time I look at this print. Hey, look, there's my package of permanent markers, too! Those, I like. The pack beneath them is a variety pack of gel pens in all sorts of colors. Looked reallllllllllllllllllllly pretty in the package, write reallllllllllllllllllllly bumpy and lumpy in real life.

Alright, this problem explains my lack of organization motivation. See that rubber-maid container under the desk? You know, the one inside the hole where your chair is supposed to fit? Problem number 1-- I see that chair hole as a space that needs to be filled. Problem number 2-- that rubber-maid container is part of a three stack which is now sagging in another closet, for lack of support. Problem number 3-- I can fill up storage containers and stack them, but I can never seem to put them back in place once I remove an item. Apparently, the packrat gene includes a few such characteristics, so it's not really my fault, now is it?


Ha! If you believed that last line, then maybe I can tell you a few more stories about this last picture. Oh, sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhh@#$#!! (why did my curse word suddenly take on an underline and color change, as if it is a link?? I didn't do that, folks, so if I were you, I wouldn't attempt to click that link! who knows where that would take you?) Pictures! There's an envelope with pictures in it, which reminds me that tomorrow is picture day at school for the kids. Oh, well, it's not the one for the yearbook. This is the springtime "see if we can guilt a bunch of parents into buying yet another set of overpriced but darling pictures in a single school year" picture session.
Oh, and one last observation. See that blue Wal-mart bag floating around in front of the desk? That's got to be an old one-- our Wally World has been using white bags for how long now, a year or two or three??
Hmmph. Yawn. No sense trying to do anything about it all now. Really ought to get to bed. Oh, darn, guess I can't clean the desk tonight. You think that's funny, don't you? Well, guess what? If anyone asks, you are aiding and abetting a known procrastinator by reading this, LOL. Uh-huh, if I didn't *have* to satisfy my readers, I could have been cleaning that desk. **snort** If you bought that one, I've got a bridge I need to talk to you about. . .



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

$pitball $urvival $ale!!

$pitball $urvival $ale!!


Yep, that's what I'm calling it! "Spitball Survival Sale" in honor of me surviving my first day back at subbing in over ten years. Yep, got myself back on the list for substitute teaching, but I sure wasn't expecting to get a call so soon. . .and I have to say IT WAS A FUN DAY :) Irvington Grade School junior high kids, you rock! All of you made me proud today! You listened, you really listened! I especially enjoyed 6th grade math and 5th grade math because all of you paid attention and jumped right in to the discussion!

Having been a sub in what seems another lifetime ago, I know a few things about what kids try to pull when the real teacher is away for the day. For instance, there are almost always a couple of kids who want to switch identities for the day. This used to really throw me for a loop, but now I just figure they'll end up tattling on each other before the day is out. Besides that, unless they get the exact same score on a pop quiz, one of them is going to be slightly unhappy about the whole name-switching bit and want to set the record straight :) A few other things to expect include "honest" answers to the tune of "of course, Mrs. Smith lets us drink sodas in the classroom!" and "Don't worry, we don't have to wait for the bell to ring before we leave." Yeah, yeah, nice try kid.

You do understand how I know some of these things involves not only my substitute teaching experience, right? You guessed it-- I never shied away from the let's make the substitute batty games when I was a kid! Although, now that I am writing this, I swear I couldn't tell you one single particular thing we did to the subs. I think it usually involved the class clowns acting extra ignorant about what to do on assignments, the "bad" kids going out of their way to cause trouble(you know there were always two or three in the class who were constantly wearing down a path to the principal's office, whether or not it's considered politically correct to say that anymore), and the rest of us, the "good" kids, driving the sub crazy with smart remarks and arguments. I remember feeling powerful enough to eat a sub for breakfast and spit them out, and I was a good kid. FYI-- kids can smell fear, and they feed on it!
I'd love to tell you about seventh grade, the peak of mine and my classmates' teacher intimidation tactics, but I'm afraid I'll hurt someone's feelings if they run across this (of course, this never stopped me before now, because I'm always telling this story). Suffice it to say one teacher was soon moved to my little brother's third grade class, another returned to law school and later became a judge (I think our class can take a great deal of credit for that swerve in her career path, LOL), and the third one walked in the door and said, "I'm Coach Gardner, and I'm not leaving so you guys better straighten up." He stuck with us, too. We could tell he liked us and he liked teaching. There wasn't much point in trying to run him away!
Hooooooooboy, that's another whole essay right there-- all the teachers, the really great teachers, who made a huge impact on our lives! There were many before Coach came along in seventh grade. Opal Howard, I can still see you leaning back against your desk, brushing the lint off your pant leg, and saying, "These pants! Attract everything except money and men!" We thought that was so funny, hearing a grownup say something like that, and we adored you because you didn't treat us like little bitty kids. You told us how smart we were, and you treated us like young adults. Anna Catherine Mattingly, I still say my Katherine should have to spend one school year in your classroom. . .you'd love her, you'd get exasperated, and in the end, she'd consider you a saint. Ah, yes, the really great teachers.
So, just because I'm in a mood to sale-e-brate feeling like a good teacher today, just because I'm giddy because no spitball wars erupted on my watch, just because I like writing the word "spitball," I'm having a $PITBALL $URVIVAL $ALE in both my Etsy and ArtFire shops! Click on the shops right over there in the sidebar------> When you make your purchase, write "SPITBALL" in the message to the seller, and I'll send you a revised invoice for 25% off your purchase!
****Sale good from right this minute until 11:59p.m. Sunday, March 1st****

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HolyFreakyHell! Doesn't FaceBook Scare You with All They Know about You??

Bear with me just a moment. I may quite possibly be the very last 40-something year old on the planet to join FaceBook, and I'm freaked out by the first couple of steps! Seriously, I gave them permission to search my email, but what about all the other familiar faces they've found for me? I know I haven't emailed many of them. . .gotten to know them online in the lampworking forums, yes, but they wouldn't be in my email account. Besides my email info, all I put in was West Hardin High School (Stephensburg, Kentucky), Murray State University (Murray, Kentucky), and AngelinaBeadalina. WOW-- did all those glass peeps show up from connections to pages where AngelinaBeadalina has been? Duh, I guess that must have been what did it. Still, it was rather weird.
So, what did I do about all those potential friends? Uh, skipped that page? I clicked a few of you just to try it out, but I was afraid to click everyone at once. . .what if I completely miss somebody once you've been added as my friend? How do people keep up with each other? I mean, obviously, FaceBook helps you find the people, but how do you keep up with everyone once you've found them?
P.S. Lisa Rippee, you might be the only glass person I didn't see on there yet, so I'll have to find ya!
P.P.S. (or is that P.S.S.?) If you're a FaceBooker reading this, then Angela Greer Garren would like to hear from you :) Just be patient with me, okay?

Whispers from Your Guardian Angel

You know you have one, we all do. Some of us may believe they are literally angels guarding us, while some of us may believe they are really our innermost self reaching outward to warn us when things are about to go wrong. We hear those whispers of deep thought most often when we are still enough to really hear all around us.
But when you already know the day is going to be so busy or nerve-wracking that you won't be able to hear those whispers precisely when you need them, why not carry a physical reminder? Write those whispers down on a pretty slip of paper, fold them with love and good intents, and tuck them into this guardian angel's basket to keep them close to your heart.
This particular whisper-carrying guardian angel is for sale in my ArtFire shop, but even if you're not in the market for one of a kind glass goodies today, please listen to your guardian angel. . . she's working hard to keep you happy and healthy and full of creative energy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Am a Sugar 'Ho

It's true. I am a sugar 'ho, and a cheap one at that. I don't need anything fancier than plain old granulated white sugar and an occasional dollop of dark brown sugar. One of these days, I'm guessing I'll have to quit cold turkey. I know gradually cutting back isn't going to work. Been there, tried that, got the four or five stacks of different size jeans to prove it.
My addiction to salt is also fairly abominable, but it isn't as dire as the sugar addiction. The sugar addiction follows me everywhere, from the time I make my coffee syrup in the morning until the last I-want-something-chocolate snack at night. Sugar in the bottom of my espresso cup, waiting to soak up what my kids call "train oil" and my hubby calls "European, definitely European style coffee, strong stuff". Sugar sprinkled on buttered bread which is then toasted in the oven (aka sugar toast). Sugar, sugar, sugar. Cheesecake. . .which is neither cheese nor cake, but is a heavenly sugary concoction. Nutty Bars. . .peanut butter and chocolate evil concoctions from Little Debbie. Ice cream. . .preferably a Dairy Queen blizzard, Snickers with no chocolate syrup would be my fav. Cake donuts. . .sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Steel cut oats. . .which would be a rather healthy breakfast food if not brown sugared and cinnamoned to death. Pineapple juice, brown sugar, and mustard glaze for ham. . .does throwing in some pineapple tidbits make it count as a fruit serving? Cheerios, Rice Chex, any unsugarcoated cereal. . .with sugar sprinkled on top after you pour the milk. Chocolate. . .melt in your mouth milk chocolate.
Junk, junk, and more junk. I know that. Like a fiend with his dope, I know I am hooked on bad stuff, and I know that even though I know the evils I am not ready to be unhooked. It's a shame you guys can't reach through this monitor and grab the sugar jar off the kitchen counter, ya know? Except, I'm not really serious about that yet. In fact, if I catch any sneaky fingers attempting to reach through the monitor, I will be forced to whack them with the cordless phone (or whatever else might be handy here on the desk), LOL.
Ah, but what about substitutes, you ask? Why not replace the sugar with something just as sweet?
By george, I think you've got a great idea there!
Here we go, a couple of SWEET DEALS:
Oh, and here's a link to some SWEET SCENTS:
Got some sweet glass color and videos from Washington state here with the Gaffer Girls:
Got any sweet deals of your own you'd like to add to the list? Just leave a comment, and I'll add your SWEET DEAL :)
More sweet glass confections to make your eyes happy:
And check out this sweet eBay auction that was only at $6.50 when I looked:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Uh, Mom?

"Uh, Mom? Could we get a little privacy, please? Our Webkinz are having a concert, and we don't really need you peeking inside the door."
Oh, no, sister, you didn't! This? From the child who once tried to sit in my lap while I went to the potty? The child who can never go to sleep unless she is convinced I am also asleep (and therefore, she's not missing out on anything)? The child who feels free to ask the details of any conversation I have on the phone? The child who digs through my craft desk, claiming this and asking for that and just generally being nosy? Heehee, yep, that's the child.
Okay, okay, before my brother and sister bust a gut or choke on the laughter. . . I admit, like mother, like daughter. I don't recall ever following Mother to the bathroom, though. Still, one of the things I naturally do as soon as I step inside the door of my parents' home is start the reconnaisance operation. "This is cute! Where'd ya get it?" "Hey, can I borrow a pair of socks (alright, I don't always ask)?" There's also a good chance that I will follow my mother from room to room, occasionally asking "Whatcha doing?" just to make sure she hasn't forgotten I'm there :)
Ah, but back to the munchkins and their request for privacy, LOL. To use a few southernisms, "Well, I declare!" and "Lawdamercy, them children!" How could I possibly not hover around the doorway after being informed that I was intruding upon their privacy? Not to mention, they had turned the bookshelf/headboard of the waterbed into the Webkinz stage and were walking (yes, walking) on the waterbed like it was a sidewalk instead of a big balloon full of water that we don't want on the bedroom floor. Uh, huh, little girl and young man, looks like Mom is going to be checking on you for a few more years! Lest anyone worry that I smother the munchkins with too much protective attention, please know that they get plenty of chances to just be kids. . . how else would I know that my daughter can climb to the top of the landlord's very nice evergreen tree that grows on the other side of our garage? If you're a parent or aunt or uncle or teacher or anyone who watches kids grow up, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, don't you? It's that balance between letting kids learn how to deal with life and not letting them fall off a cliff in the process. You do a whole lot of holding your breath until they reach the next step safely!
Yeah, but the whole, "Uh, Mom? Can we have a little privacy?" thing is too much like a dare or challenge that I have to take. Double-d0g-dare me, and I'm going to hover. Gleefully, I might add :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Well, This Is Stuck in My Head. . .

Haunting. Beautiful.
This music review brought to you by Ang, who lives under a rock and rarely listens to any current music. Saw this mentioned by Squid, youtubed it, and have become addicted to this one song.
Hope you've all had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Walking Forward into the Past (or the Gorilla Squatting in the Corner of the Studio)

May this shaman lead my art somewhere primitive, somewhere populated with archtypes. May this shaman teach me more about walking forward into the past.
From detailed sculptures of Cleopatras with three-dimensional eyelashes and ankh tattoes on their shoulders, my work has veered toward the more elemental in the last year or so. Occasionally, this incremental change hits my awareness like a very non-incremental gorilla suddenly stomping through the door and plopping down in the corner of the studio. It becomes a little difficult to get into creating when you know the gorilla is looking over your shoulder. Okay, before we ditch this gorilla illustration, let's talk about what the gorilla is whispering in my ear:
You used to create magnificent details in your sculptures, you know.
Remember some of those Cleopatras with their three-dimensional eyelashes? Those were damn fine.
Bet people would love to buy a detailed faery or dragon done in that style.
Can you imagine the demand for a series of holiday themed couples? You know, like Santa and the Mrs. or a masked couple in their Mardi Gras Ball finery?
What's with this primitive, primordial schlock that hides your sculpting ability?
So what if it takes a great deal of restraint to let the glass do its own talking in the flame? Who cares about that if what the glass says isn't literally pretty?
Now, those are some points that deserve attention, even though I value my more minimalist direction over the more detailed perspective I used to pursue with the same glee. I'm also pretty sure that I've been avoiding this conversation for months now, simply by hiding behind the economy and letting that dismal outlook serve as an excuse for not bothering to create as many sculptures. Same thing for letting the forum skirmishes depress me into not keeping up with my online glass friends and the cool online glass goody galleries every night-- I know showing work in the galleries improves sales and visits to the blog, so why can't I just look at it as a business concern and ignore the contentiousness and nastiness when it breaks out?
Whoops! Almost got away with evading the gorilla again! Back to the discussion of detailed versus minimalist sculpting. I walked forward into the past when I started moving from me bossing the glass to me aiding the glass in its quest. When I stopped trying to force the glass and started watching how the glass moves in the flame, then it became easier and easier to suppress the urge to add extraneous details and to just let the outline or archetype shine. Weird as it sounds, I think I had to learn (and practice, practice, practice) the more detail-oriented sculpting before I was ready to do this.
Now, the question becomes "what's the next step?" Where does my sculpting go from here? If I am addicted to the thrill of new discoveries and wow's, then how do I stay motivated when it looks like the next step is simply to learn self-confidence and patience and keep on letting the glass lead the way?


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

AngelinaSleuthalina

So, this is the most interesting picture I could take for you today. I was busy playing Angelina- Sleuthalina. It is not easy to drive a car and take a picture at the same time, especially in the pouring rain. When I was on my way back home, the rain had stopped along this stretch of road. Since there was actually a wide shoulder on the road, I pulled over, rolled down my window, and tried to get a decent shot of these buffalo. Must be lots and lots of good compost coming out of that barnyard!
So, what was I sleuthing? I was checking out a house on which we might be ready to make an offer!! Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah! Okay, enough optimism for the moment, don't want to completely jinx it. The house sets on some pretty flat land (imagine that in the midwest, LOL). With the constant rain we've had over the last twenty-four hours, I thought it would be a good idea to drive over there and see just how wet the yard was today. Hour and a half to get there in the rain. Yard didn't look too bad, in fact, looked like it was draining much better than the field across the road. Had a few more big puddles than the house down the road, but not really bad. Drove into the little bitty town closest to this country home. Talked to the grocery store clerk (another plus, town is big enough to have a grocery) about the town for a few minutes. Got back in the ol' van, headed back home, which would be yet another hour and a half drive.
Got home in time to make phone calls in attempt to find out how many trains really pass by the tracks near the house. Ha! I earned my sleuthing badge today! County clerk? Had no idea, but suggested Illinois Department of Transportation. IDOT not helpful, simply because I couldn't find anything that looked like the answer on the website. Called the county's historical museum. Thank you, ladies! They weren't sure, but they did mention coal trains and Union Pacific! Once again, Thank You, Mary Didn'tcatchyourlastnamebutyouwereverynice! Thank you, Union Pacific telephone guy, too!! Because of security reasons, they can't divulge actual schedules (and he said there really aren't any schedules for cargo trains, anyway), but he was able to tell me that section of track is frequently used. Aha! That helps! We are used to train noise, and we've even admitted aloud that we'd miss it if the house we do get has no nearby tracks. Soooooooooo, just good to know the volume of train noise to expect.
Ta-da! Two mysteries solved, at least to our satisfaction. I must admit the third mystery shall remain a mystery for the meantime. I tried unsuccessfully to find out the details of the home buyers tax credit that was supposedly still in the stimulus package that has been agreed upon by House and Senate. Oh, well, from the googled results, I got the feeling no one really knows the answers yet so I can go to bed knowing I at least tried :)
Sweet dreams to each of you! Oh, and Ellen, the junk I have accumulated is still contained within our small house (though barely, it would seem), but we are being picky about what we buy partly because a big requirement is room for the gearhead/beancounter's cars plus room for an ample workspace for moi :) The junk shall follow me-- at least the cool junk I can use with glass and sculpture! Heehee, I think (keep your fingers crossed for me) I am to the point where I can finally weed out the other stuff :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Warning: Don't Feed the Junk Monster




You know, ever since I read the comments on yesterday's "Can It! Just Can It!" post, I've been fighting the urge to say, "Yes! Please, oh, please, yes! I'll take some scrap soda cans from South Africa, Mich!"




Here is where I have to insert the megaphone voice to boom out a warning: Michelle Gebhardt, back away from the Junk Monster. Move slowly, and do not rattle junk until you are no longer within earshot of the Junk Monster.




Ohmyword, Mich, do you know how much those cans will cost me in family jokes about my penchant for collecting junk? I can hear it now, "AnFaye couldn't even find enough junk to drag home from this continent! She had to have some shipped from all the way around the world!"




Seriously, I don't know whether or not customs lets empty cans come into the country. Anybody else know? More importantly, do you think a few full cans of Dr. Pepper would survive the trip in the opposite direction, and would your customs let them in?




Ohmyword, myword, I can still hear the snorts and giggles about me and my junk collection from all around the world! Some of you know from experience what a junk hound I can be, don't you? What's bad is the proportion of junk piles to the actual number of pieces of junk that have been used to date. I justify this by saying that each particular piece of junk is just patiently waiting for the right sculpture. . . and I gleefully dig through the piles of all sorts of different metal castoffs each time I need to "find just the right something for this sculpture."




Guess what I used today? One of those Dr. Pepper cans you saw in the picture yesterday! Here's what my piddling around has learned me so far today:






  • Yes, you can use a regular hole punch on a piece of soda can.




  • That really thin craft wire you can get at the discount store makes a suitable thread for aluminum fabric.




  • Uh, huh, I think that stitch I did was pretty much a blanket stitch, except for all the extra kinks in my metal "thread".




  • By the way, the cheap scissors you buy for kids' school supplies will cut aluminum can "fabric" with a lot more comfort than a pair of tin snips. Ask me and my aching hands how I discovered that one!




  • Galvanized hardware cloth can be shaped by bending and twisting and pinching squares together. At least, I've gotten a few crude curves out of it. I can see the potential, though! Have you ever seen those sculptures someone makes from chicken wire? Same principle, I think (except those chicken wire sculptures are amazing!! ya gotta google that sometime and see).




  • I am truly a doofus who does too many things the hard way. After fussing around, covering my stand with plastic, thinking about how to cut out the hardware cloth in order to fashion a body and legs and arms, after a bunch of stewing about how-to-do-it, THEN I realized I don't have to use the hardware cloth for all of an armature. Duh. It will work really well for places where I want to mix aluminum can fabric and plaster, but why would I try to do all of the armature that way? It isn't going to show from underneath the parts that are all plaster, right? Like I said, I am truly a doofus sometimes.




  • Momo the kitten is scared to be outdoors for very long by herself. Just thought I'd throw that in here with the rest of the stuff I've learned today. Poor little kitten, I never did figure out what the problem was, so I let her back in the breezeway and opened the window so she could at least enjoy today's warm weather from her perch on the windowsill.


Well, toodles for now, everyone!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Can It! Just Can It!

Aha! The attack of the aluminum can recycler begins once more! Instead of crushing these cans, I have been saving them whole so that I can use the tin snips on them and cut out patches of aluminum. I shall prevail, you dastardly, light weight, stubborn pieces of aluminum!
Exactly how it is I intend to prevail is still a mystery, though.
The cats and I have been sitting on the deck for the past hour or so. I with my tin snips in hand, Moochie holding down a stout wooden chair, and Momo attempting to climb the railing upside down. . .yes, we are quite the entertaining trio, aren't we?
Moochie could hardly stifle her enthusiasm as she watched me pull the tabs off a soda can (that's Coke can for you fellow Southerners), clumsily cut through and then around the top rim to free up one end, make a sort of straight cut through the middle, and then cut the bottom off the can. Repeat that over and over. . . it's mesmerizing, I tell ya ;)
The pull tabs are getting saved, probably for my children. They keep telling me that so-and-so collects tabs to help raise money for such-and-such. Having heard this same story way back when I was in grade school, but never having heard of a miraculous discovery funded by such efforts, I am not too enthusiastic about giving up those tabs. Besides, I'm thinking those tabs could be woven together with wire scraps to make a pretty cool chain-maille type coverlet for something.
The patches of aluminum are laying underneath a tool box as we speak, hopefully losing a bit of their inclination to roll up. I do not have high hopes for this method of flattening them, though. In fact, as I walked away, I think they were already poofing up and causing the tool box to slide ever so slightly to the right. We'll see what happens. Right now, I'm having a sugar and caffeine and internet break.
Ah, yes, the internet break leads once more to my topic for the day, "Can It! Just Can It!" No, I don't mean you! You, I like. You are funny and encouraging! You are kind and friendly! You are thoughtful and inquisitive. You are creative and quirky and full of wisdom! You share your life through your own blogs and through your comments. Nope, I'm not talking about you. I am talking about people who can't seem to remember how to play nice with everyone. If you have gone out of your way to anonymously attack someone, then you know you shouldn't get recess today, don't you? In the words of plenty of moms the world over who've listened to children squabble and pick at each other and stir up trouble for no good reason except they're bored with being good, "Can it! Just can it!"
Ahem, now, back to the aluminum cans. Once again, I'm trying to find a way to use them as an art medium. This time, my idea is to try using them as part of the armature for a plaster sculpture. I can just see a plaster faery with aluminum soda can wings, a man with aluminum can overalls and plaster arms and head, and another plaster faery with a ragged aluminum can patchwork dress. As I've whined and moaned about before, though, I really don't know how to do what I want to do. The unknown scares me greatly, as is apparent when I have to do even the smallest new step. The good thing is that I have already taken some of those small new steps in the last year, so maybe this will be the time when I string them together and make them into a bigger step! Like I said earlier, we'll see what happens :)
********
P.S. (added hours after the other part of this post) Holymoly, I just realized in trying to be nice and tactful and not mention any names, I almost made it seem like the anonymous commenter left such a comment here. . . Not so. The person I'm talking about left a message for someone else, and I am just so freaking tired of people not being able to live and let live!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Catch Some Magic

Catch some magic with your imagination! Squint your eyes, and let those cobalt blues turn into irridescent bubbles floating in the air. See outlines of wings become delicate feathers in aerodynamic patterns. Let the stool become a toadstool while the railings morph into blades of tall grass.


Friday, February 6, 2009

BookMark This Page, Mother Nature



Dear Mother Nature,
How are you? I hope you are feeling fine and all is well with your world.
I am writing you today because I would like you to know how much I appreciated the sunshine, relatively warmer weather, and hint of spring you gave us today. Please know that I was very happy to receive this from you!
If I might be so bold, could I suggest that you turn down the corner of today's page in your Book of Wonders? If you have converted to digital technology for recordkeeping, then could you bookmark this day as a favorite?
I must admit to you that I have spent much of this glorious day indoors. However, its effects have not been lost on me. In fact, the intense blue sky is like a balm over the sore spots of the day, and the buds on the tree branches are like sprinkles on the icing of a fabulous cupcake.
Sincerely, Ang

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Double-Timing the Tooth Fairy

This, my friends, is a little girl with a plan for double-timing the Tooth Fairy. See, when Kate lost the first one of the missing front teeth, we were at Grandma and Granddaddy's. The Tooth Fairy knows where you on any given night, so that wasn't a problem. In fact, it turned into a bonus for Kate and for James, too!
The Tooth Fairy is one busy fairy, so she has been known to leave a last minute I.O.U. or some such message with me, the mommy. Luckily for the Tooth Fairy (and for moi), Kate and James are pretty laidback children and are more than happy to work with the Tooth Fairy's schedule.
Well, this last time she was to visit, I reminded her to leave coins under a pillow for Kate AND Granddaddy also reminded her to leave coins (lots of coins) on the kitchen table for Kate. He also whispered in the good fairy's ear and asked her to leave a few coins for James, too.
Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. . . that went over with squeals of delight all around!
It was also duly noted in the brains of these munchkins.
Tooth Fairy comes to visit at our house, you get one pile of coins.
Tooth Fairy comes to visit at Grandma and Granddaddy's, you could hit the jackpot!
So, this past Sunday, Kate lost the other front tooth, and this was what she said to me, "Here's my tooth so you can see it, but don't put it under my pillow tonight. I'm saving it for when we go to Grandma and Granddaddy's because I want to get more money for me and James to share!"
Guess what you started, Granddaddy?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pixelize It. . .and Where Do You Stand on The Dire Straits?


Listen to 'em. Bet that's gonna have you dancing across the living room. Try not to howl too loudly if you're at work, okay?
I have no earthly idea what this song has to do with today's picture, except that as soon as I pixelized this pic and cropped it, "Money for Nothing" started playing in my head and I could just see that gruff guy in his workclothes saying, "Now, that's the way you do it."
So, where do you stand? Like Dire Straits? Hate them? Don't think you've ever heard of them?
Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

She Came Out of What Box??

Hey, there, everyone! Before we start talking about creativity and boxes, let me throw in a few random notes and waves. First, thanks for the birthday wishes! You guys are great, and if I knew how to do it I would include the video card Deb sent me so you can get a happy face from it, too! I have decided that I shall celebrate my 43rd birthday all month long! My children are pretty darn excited about that declaration, since the whole idea brings visions of Dairy Queen, birthday cakes, and residual presents for those close to the birthday girl, don't ya know!
Second, pardon me while I eat some of my words. Every time I think I can predict my husband's reaction to a situation, he fools me yet again. This morning before he left for work, he asked me if I'd like to replace the cantakerous laptop computer of mine for my birthday. Would I? Of course, I would and THANK YOU :) Let me say this so far, this Acer seems pretty darn nice compared to the troubles that fancy but irritable Toshiba laid upon my head. Note to self and anyone else who tries to fight the urge to splurge when it comes to tools of the trade-- buy what you use, not what makes you drool. It's true, and it's sad that it always takes me time to figure this out. I used to select lots of different colors of glass when I would place an order. Then, I'd look at all the different pretty colors and proceed to melt only the ivory, turquoise, and Nile green. When I ran low on those three, I'd order again. . .completely ignoring the fact that I like to sculpt big and those three colors don't mind having the crap beat out of them in the flame in the process of being formed into those evocative sculptures. Same thing for the laptop, you know? I bought that fancy Toshiba on clearance at Wal-Mart two years ago. While it was a good deal, it still had plenty of features I never used, so I really didn't feel the need to upgrade this morning. If anything, I felt the need to be smart and downgrade to what I'll actually use. Hooboy, already off track in this post! The thing is I've been thinking about this for over a year now-- not the computer in particular, mind you, but the whole notion of learning to only buy things I'll really use. Do I like doodads, even when they are cute? Yep, but like most any other woman with an addiction to melting glass, I've finally been seeing money in terms of how many pounds of glass it will buy, LOL. Hmm, let's see, that pretty doodad that I won't really use is $50. Heck, for $50 I can get almost five pounds of dark ivory glass or a dozen Dremel bits or a box of colored pencils. . . you get the idea. Now, as far as mooching junk scraps and being a packrat, that is not changed by my streamlining of new purchases because I know that I will find a use for those bits and pieces as time passes. Do you see what I'm getting at here? I'm building my workshop even though I don't really have the physical space just yet. When we find the right house and I get to move my breezeway "studio" into the new space, things will really start to fall into place workshop-wise.
Oh, bother! Now, I'm really off track! As long as I am, let me add a few sidenotes to that rambling. Deb's card-- click here to go to Hallmark and play one like it. Mallory and Betsy, for no particular reason except that I hope you're getting similar good news, we should have temps in the 40's and 50's for the last part of this week! Hey, Gaffer Girls, I've been thinking I'm going to have to break out of my ivory obsession and try some of that gorgeously intense Gaffer color glass again soon. Look at these color lollipops! This time two years ago, my table at Tucson was right next to Gaffer Glass, and Mona and Hallynd were part of the wonderful people who made that experience so much fun. (Some more of those peeps were McDuck, Carol Saker and her dad, etc.)
Whew. That's a lot of writing, and I never did get to the point of the picture and the title. Let's start again :)




She Came Out of What Box??
For those of us who feel the need to create things, there often comes a time when we feel as if we are trapped in a routine and not creating fresh work but instead are re-creating the same-old-same-old. "Stepping out of the box" is a popular term for changing your approach to what you do, no matter your occupation or avocation. It's also one of those terms that can be used lightly, over-used, or abused, depending upon the thought you put into a situation. However, it can also be a powerful motivational tool, one that gives you the inspiration and "permission" to do the unusual and the unexpected.
So, what does it really mean, though? How do you do it? How do you even know if you were in a box? What if you happen to like the warmth and comfort of your box? What if all you end up doing is leaving one box and creating another?
I am here to tell you that your definitions of a "box" are going to change as you work and grow. . .and that the answers to the above questions are never going to be the same for any one person on any given day. When I was six months into lampworking and discovered sculpting glass, I thought I was stepping outside of a creative box every day, maybe even every hour that I torched. Now, three years into lampworking, I can see that I was very arrogant in my perception of what is and isn't "out of the box" at that stage in my creative pursuit. Because I was beginning to learn to sculpt, I really could learn a neat new trick almost every time I torched. Eventually, though, I came to a point where all I wanted to create were faces and masks. I thought that must be incredibly boring to watch, so I officially gave up making faces for one month. Talk about stepping outside of your box and then lighting a match and watching it go up in flames, LOL. Was it really necessary to step that far out of my box in order to insert some freshness into my creations? I thought so then, but now I'm not so sure.
For the past year or more, I have been really creatively obsessed with sculpting the female form, with making figures that have movement and personality. Sometimes, I get the feeling that I need to step out of that particular box, but then I look at an older figure in my archives and notice how much "stiffer" or less fluid it is than one I made last week. Sometimes, I make figures and then create an interesting display to accentuate them. Is that me trying to step out of the box, or is that me being distracted by the lure of multi-media when what I really want to do is pare down my sculptures to the essence of humanity? Which is more edgy and out of the box, a plain but elegant naked figure with no real face or arms or a funky diva with headdress and wire coils enveloping her? Which is more powerful? See what I mean?
There's nothing wrong with the funky and fun divas who land on my counter. In fact, I am really proud of many of them. BUT I have to tell you that I am even prouder of the minimalist ones, the simply naked figures with clean lines, the ones bursting with humanity, the ones that have an aura of femininity and power and magic. So, which part of that creative picture is the box and which part is the "outside"? It's not an easy call, is it?
Let this be a reminder when we look at other people's creations. We don't always know where their box is or how big it is or whether it even exists in their minds. Another thing to remember-- give yourself the same respect. Don't just blindly say "I never do anything new." Look at what you do, look at how it has changed, look at where you think it is going, and then decide whether or not you want or need to climb out of any box. If you do, then go for it. If you aren't quite ready to vacate a particular box, then by all means you should stay there and see what else it has to offer you before you abandon it.
P.S. I did the sketch of the fairy last night. Sketching isn't my forte', but I'm doing more of it lately. I think that's a good way to expand my creative abilities, and I think expanding your abilities little by little is a great way to eventually harness even more creative fire when you find yourself at a point where you only want to dig deeper and deeper into one particular box :)





Monday, February 2, 2009

What Kind of Conversation Begins with, "I Know You Are an Artist, But ______" ??



Uh, oh, you're saying to yourself. What's up with Ang now? With a title like that to begin a post, this could get ugly. . .

Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief, because it was a good conversation that began with those words, "I know you are an artist, but yada-yada-yada-yada."

Most of you have gleaned from my posts that I am married to an accountant, a beancounter extraordinaire who actually works as an internal auditor for a big corporation. He is very, very good at what he does for a living. He's thorough, and he doesn't hesitate to tactfully inform others when there is a problem that needs to be fixed. He is also very, very good at fixing automobiles. He can take any old piece of junk from someone's backyard and make it run again, given the free time to actually tinker. He doesn't usually have very much of that elusive thing called "free time," though.

Suffice it to say that all of these things add up to someone who just doesn't have time to be interested in art or anything remotely related to literature. Of course, he does love music, so album covers and song lyrics are exempt from this lack of enthusiasm. Suffice it to say this could be a rather sore subject between us at times, given that I tend to take this a little personally. After all, I point out, I am the one with the creative leanings, the one who makes sculptures and likes to write. After all is said and done, though, he points out, I am also the one who is lucky enough to get to pursue some artistic endeavors while the beancounter is chained to a calculator and the kids are at school . . .


See where this whole subject could lead to a little tension from either side?
But given that I am the one more likely to remember little jabs or notice that he doesn't notice what I do, I have to say I'm squeaky wheel here. . .AND I do realize that there is nothing wrong with not having art in your list of priorities in life. Heck, we each have our own special mix of wheels and cogs that make us tick. We are each very different. . .AND I do realize that this is part of what makes the world such an incredible journey. Heck, if you ask me, everyone having the exact same tastes and interests would be the epitome of BORING.
Still, I have this chip on my shoulder when the beancounter and I discuss careers, practical matters, etc. Actually, it's probably more of talking pet rock than a mere chip. I am always quick to defend the importance of art and some of those other "liberal" ideals. Political discussions can be quite the challenge, mostly because while we actually agree on a lot of things, I tend to care more about how those opinions are expressed. . . for instance, the attitude and expression and style of leadership can make the difference between a strong leader and a tyrant, right?
Anyway, another political discussion broke out in the car yesterday while we were driving home. I was all ready to jump in and defend my point of view, when out of nowhere an alien took over my husband's brain and made him begin his opinion with the qualification that "I know you are an artist, but. . ." The rest of the opinion is lost on me, can't even remember all of the words because I am still happily stunned by this unrehearsed and casual verbal bow of recognition.
Good thing I wasn't the one driving. . . we might have run off the road while my mouth was gaping and my eyes were searching for telltale signs of alien antennae or extra eyeballs or such :-)
Here's to a great Monday! Hope your week has started off happily!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What Are You Doing with That Camera?

Oh, you know I have a severely out of focus version of this shot. Curiosity might not have actually killed the cat, but it sure does lots of other interesting things. For instance, I think I probably have Momo's noseprint on the lens of my camera! Silly, curious, fun kitten :) Did I tell you what she did when I fired up the torch last week? She sat at my feet and stared upward at the flame for a long time, then she climbed into my chair and up onto my shoulder to try to get a better view! I wonder if they make didymium safety glasses or welding helmets in feline sizes? Heehee, can't you just see all our pets lined up at the torch? Sort of like that old print of dogs playing poker?
What am I doing with that camera today, by the way? I am taking that camera along for a ride to look at a house prospect. The way our luck is going now that the beancounter is actually serious about buying, we'll get there only to find out a contract was just signed late yesterday afternoon. Years of me saying, "When are we going to buy a house closer to St. Louis?" Years of him saying, "When the time is right." Now that the time has been deemed right, every time we get ready to make an offer on a house, we find out it has just been sold. Argh! The internet makes househunting from your own kitchen table fairly accessible, but it has its drawbacks. Consider that lovely Swiss style house I spotted online sometime last winter. It was beautiful, if a little dated by the stucco and timbers. Once we got there, it also turned out to be a beautiful house with a gigantic ditch between it and the road. It was located in Panama, Illinois. Funny coincidence, that. It looked like the Panama canal ran right between it and the road. We made the mistake of going into the driveway on a day when there was snow on the ground. Well, going in and coming out were two different things. I thought we were gonna have to push the van back up the hill. . .and our van has all wheel drive!
I'm taking the camera with me today, just in case we have a chance to detour back along the river and look for eagles. Of course, should the Grand Canyon or the Erie Canal have been relocated to the yard of the house we are touring, I'll try to take a picture :)

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