Monday, November 21, 2011

Unphotogenic O-phail-ia, the ScaerieFaerie

Poor unphotogenic Ophailia! She's the epitomy of a ScaerieFaerie. Even her kickass, funkycool wings couldn't soften her fiercesome gaze. Poor Ophailia (that's oh-fail-ya, sort of like Ophelia, but a "fail")!

Bless her Munster-meets-Tinkerbell-in-a-dark-alley heart, she did teach me a few things, though! First, those kickass wickedwings should have had a hole punched in the middle of them before they were shrunk in the oven. Glue by itself doesn't seem to want to hold Shrinkydink material in place, since I easily removed her wings today while thinking about how to salvage them. Two, tattoes can be cool on a scaeriefaerie, but they will smudge when you first apply them. Third, inspiration and ideas come from every project, fail or no fail... and ScaerieFaeries have been born in my imagination, as well as a few ideas about how to adorn them!

So, dear Ophailia, I know I said I couldn't wait to write your story, but now I'm busy working on the next attempt. Please forgive my haste, and please accept my thanks :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sunlight Faerie Trap

Seen any sunlight faeries flitting around these shorter and darker days lately? I haven't caught them, but I imagine the time is drawing near when I'd like to lure a few of them to sprinkle sunlight beams here and there.

Think they might be drawn to the brightness and shimmering pretties in this faerie trap?


Hope all is well with each of you! Shorter daylight hours, more kiddo homework as the school year progresses, etc. have given me excuses to not sit downstairs and write in the blog lately. I use the smart phone to keep connected to facebook friends... phones are easy to carry around the house and yard. Anyway, hope to catch up with everyone soon!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Auspicious numbers? Special lucky days? What do you think? I understand attaching symbolic meaning to particular numbers, but I'm not sure how much numerology means to me. I tend to think dates and numbers are the same in life as they are in baseball-- for any given situation, there is a special meaning or statistic to be recognized. Still, it's hard to argue with the "hey, I was there, and it won't happen again until the next century" sentiment.

I remember the year one of my friends turned eight years old on the eighth day of the eighth month. At least, I think I "remember" it. Probably, I remember everyone talking about it once we returned to school after summer vacation! It was a pretty neat happening in the eyes of a third grader, I can tell you that much!

So, what do days like 11.11.11 mean to you? Signing the Armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month made the ceasing of hostilities with Germany an easy date to remember in the timeline of WWI. I'm sure the people who arranged such things gave some thought to details, such as this one, which would lend even more gravity to the momentous occasion. We all do it when we can, don't we? This attaching special numbers to momentous occasions in our lives? How many people were married today? How many people hope for children to be born on a birthday they'll share with grandparents or other family members? I'm sure you can think of more examples.

For 11.11.11, I choose to be reminded of the number "one," instead of "eleven," when I consider its symbolism. In the end, at least in my view of the world, we are all one. We may be scattered around the globe, separated by oceans and centuries, defined by our current physical bodies, but we all come from the same source... and we all reach in the same direction, all feel pulled back to the same things, all are one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Insert Witty Caption Here

Hmmm. Should I go with "Get Your Nest Made" and talk about phrases used by grandmothers and mothers? How about "Let the Bells Ring" since this shape reminds me of a bell, and then I'd segue into... well, I'm not sure what I'd segue into from there.

You know what this photo makes me think of every time I scroll past it on my phone? It makes me think of a National Geographic spread about those temples covered with vines, the ones in Cambodia (is that where?) that look as if they're carved into cliffsides and have been overgrown by giant trees. Ha! If you can understand that last sentence, you are either clairvoyant or similarly memory-challenged like myself. Let me see if I can find the name of that lost place and give you an interesting link or two. Be right back.

Aha. Found it, at least I think this is the place I was trying to recall. It's Angkor Wat, a lost city of Cambodia. Maybe it's the color of the wasp nest, or maybe it's the shape and openings, whatever it is, this wasp nest makes me think of grander things than stinging insects building their homes on my rose bushes. The almost shimmering gray paper is gorgeous, if you can look at it only for its texture and color. It makes me want to create with paper clay, except that I already know I won't achieve the same delicately smooth, papery look.

Hmmm. Now, I'm wondering whether or not it's cold enough that the wasps are out of their bell-like temple. Would it be fair, or prudent, to swipe their nest and use it in a creation? I'm guessing not so prudent, but the wondering does lead to inspiration, right? Inspiration, I got covered... just ask all the never-started and/or never-finished inspired ideas surrounding me!

So, that's my blogging bit for today. Lately, I find myself avoiding the basement "dungeon" (where the computer resides) in favor of reading or sitting outside in the late autumn sunshine. Anyway, I hope this finds you each well and happily enjoying your own sunshine (be it autumn or spring where you are)!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rain or Shine, I Love This Tree

It isn't a grand tree in size, not like the hedge apple tree you see in the distance. It's a rather small tree in comparison to others that have survived along the roadsides and in the fencerows here in the flatlands. It is, however, a grand tree. Every time I drive this particular road, which is many times each week, I slow down to marvel at the way this tree stands out against the backdrop of broad midwestern sky. Spring, summer, fall, winter... rain, shine, moonlight... this tree has a presence that I find captivating.

I don't know what kind of tree it is, except that I'm pretty sure it isn't a maple, oak, or fruit tree. Its leaves and bark are nothing showy, but there's something about its shape that draws your eye. The branches are lovely fingers reaching up into the wind on a late autumn day, and snow shadows stack prettily upon them in winter. Spring's new leaves create a tease, and summer's full regalia simply poofs out a brilliant shape.

I love this tree.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November in the Northern Hemisphere


Northern hemisphere.

Roses still blooming.

Probably not that unusual.

Still a little befuddling to the brain... and welcome to the eyes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Veil Draws Thin... and Where Have I Been?

They say the veil between the worlds draws thin at this time of year. "They" being mostly a mix of all manner of Pagans and Christians who believe in the reality of the spirit world. Ghosts, haints, unsettled spirits, they try to reach us this time of year.
You know me, skeptic extraordinaire, fascinated nonetheless by any and all things spiritual and mysterious... and I think there must be a reason, so old it has been forgotten, behind the connection of ghosts and spirits with Halloween. All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' Day, all these things must surely have been recognized at this time of year for a reason. I imagine there are plenty of theories about this, so I'll just tell you about my quick Halloween afternoon ramble on the backroads.

It's a beautiful autumn day, sunny and crisp. I don't have a lot of time between work and time for the kids to be home from school, but there's some time. Today, I felt drawn to an old cemetery I'd seen on one of the backroads in our area. When I first drove by this old graveyard, it was a little scruffy looking. It has no gates, no drive, no signs (nor any "no trespassing" signs). It probably wasn't meant to be right off the side of a county road, but how could people in the mid to late 1800's predict where horseless carriage paths would emerge? The reason I point out the lack of a "no trespassing" sign is that I'm trying to justify intruding upon it without asking anyone whether it is public or private. It now appears that someone, whether an owner of the land or an employee of the county, has begun tending and cleaning it. I've wanted to stop and walk up into it many times. Every time I've driven slowly alongside it but not stopped.

Today, I picked the last of the marigolds growing in my hapless garden of weeds and tied them with a tiny slip of leather. I grabbed a pretty gourd from the basket my mom sent home with me, and I grabbed my keys... and took off straight toward that graveyard with the feeling that today was the day to step into it.

I've been thinking a bit about Halloween celebrations, trick-or-treating, fanciful witches and monsters and bats, and the secularization of Christmas. Wait, did I mean to type "Christmas"? Yes, I did, because I wonder why it is that no one laments the trivialization of Halloween the way we do the commercialization of Christmas. I will tell you that I am not a Christian, that I celebrate Christmas anyway because I love the family togetherness and traditions, and that (strange as it seems coming from me) I prefer Christmas hymns to Rudolph and Frosty. I'm starting to have the same type of feelings about Halloween. I don't think it's merely a candy-buying, fake-witch-t-shirt-wearing, monster-mashing kind of holiday. It's okay by me to have trick-0r-treating and fun and parties, but I feel the growing need to recognize more than the commercial part of the event, ya know? I'm not sure yet what that means, except that I'm thinking more today about the veil and whether or not this is the only time of year it can be lifted. I'm thinking about showing thanks and reverence to those who came before us, and not only at Thanksgiving or Memorial Day. I'm thinking about the goodness and kindness in the soul of the person who started what looks to be a reclamation of the place. I'm thinking about the four gravestones I saw lined up next to each other, each bearing the same name at the bottom of the writing (maybe a parent?). I didn't read the last one, but the first three were children. One was a baby, one a toddler, and one an eleven year old who died ten years after the baby and toddler. What was childhood like for that eleven year old? Did he or she expect to die young? Did he or she feel the presence of those siblings when this time of year came? Was anyone left in the family to pass along these stories? I wish I knew.

I left the marigolds and gourd with them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sasquatch Call

Yep, that would be the self-proclaimed "Sasquatch Siblings" demonstrating their sasquatch call while on the trampoline. But, of course, I'm sure you all gathered all that information from the picture itself, right? Ha ha ha ha, it has been entertaining around here today!

After finishing their homework, the boy and girl decided to share the upstairs television while I was taking a nap, um, I mean, reading a book. I woke to strange shouts and serious discussion about what was happening on the show "Finding Bigfoot." Well, after listening long enough to discern that no one was getting scared, I strolled into the living room for a closer look. I promptly became hooked, just like them, even though my days of badly wanting to believe in Bigfoot are long gone.
Oh, you know I wanted to believe, way back when I was in fifth or sixth grade. James is in fifth grade, and Kate in fourth, so I guess their fascination is right on schedule. I also wanted to believe aliens and the Loch Ness monster were real. Wanted to believe, sure did. Really believed, not quite ever.
Still, despite the skeptic in me, I have to admit that I don't really know the truth about sasquatches, aliens, mysterious monsters, and other creatures who make the grade in Scooby Doo's world. Actually, maybe all the Scooby cartoons ending with the revelation that the bad guys were dressing up as the mythical monsters helped reinforce my budding skepticism when I was a kid. There's also the fact that if I'd really believed, then I would never have been able to sleep at night since I was already the biggest 'fraidy cat in the world!
So, which strange, mythical, outlandish creatures make the grade in your world? Which ones have you, or someone you know, seen? Which ones do you wish were real? Which ones are you convinced will be proven to be real? Which ones make you laugh and snort coffee out your nose when someone speaks seriously of them?
Me, I believe lots of people truly believe they've seen alien space craft, sasquatches, Loch Ness monsters, and such. I believe plenty of people truly believe in faeries and sprites and other friends of Tinkerbell. I believe I want to believe in some of them myself... and probably will continue to enjoy imagining their lives and their stories, even when half of my brain is insisting they cannot possibly exist in the real world. So, there. How's that for a definitive answer? I'd write some more, but everyone else is back upstairs watching the "Finding Bigfoot" marathon, and I'm afraid I'll miss something interesting if I don't join them for a while :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Catch a Little Bit of Sunshine

Catch a little bit of sunshine. Reach out, and grab it with your eyes. Fold it up, and stuff it into your pocket. Pull it out, and look at it whenever your day needs brightened.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Imagine This...

It's one of those autumn nights when the air feels soft and wisps of clouds can be seen trailing the horizon. Bright stars lay strewn across the uppermost velvet reaches of the sky. The cats saunter towards you and settle on the ground at your feet.You take a deep breath, wrap your sweatshirt tighter around your body, and sink cross-legged into the grass. Someone walks quietly toward you and joins you. Whether or not you know this person in real life, you sense that your kindness and support are needed. You put your hand gently on the person's shoulder as you both take another deep breath and lean back to look at the sky. Contentment grows and dissolves some of the person's worries. You think you might try counting stars until you fall asleep, cradled by the soft grass, listening to the cricket chorus sing a slow lullaby.

You're almost asleep when you hear it.

It's the sound of raindrops on drying leaves, and you stretch out your open palm to catch a few. What lands in your hand is a tiny white feather. The person with you reaches out her hand and shimmering flakes of gold swirl and land on it. In the dim light, you can see falling purplish petals from the season's late blooming flowers. The feathery, sweet scented, magical downpour continues at a slow and steady pace. Somewhere from the heavens, you hear echoes of giggles and peals of laughter. You stretch your arms high into the air, catching more blessings, letting the ones that fall soak into the edges of your lives.

In the midst of the shower of good wishes and loving kindness, the other person rises, smiles, and turns to walk back to her path. You see her skipping happily as she reaches the edge of the yard, and you hear the mellow tinkling of bells in the distance.

Magical, magical... and somehow, you know the person's spirit has been lifted and she will feel your energy surrounding her as the earth keeps spinning toward a new day.


I do this for a friend, for someone who simply asked for positive vibes to be sent into their world. Maybe you will join me, and I will extend my thoughts in your directions... and together, we will gather the starlight and distill it into kindness.

Friday, October 21, 2011

And She Said...

And she said, "Hello, country bumpkin! How's the frost out on the pumpkin? I've seen some sights, and man, you're something. Where'd you come from, country bumpkin?"

Thank you, Cal Smith, for a song that pops into my head every fall with the first frost. (Oh, yeah, you really need to click on that link if you've ever liked country music!)

This morning's driving to work adventure involved a hunt for a patch of frost. It did have a few requirements, bright fall colors not being one. The most important requirement was that the patch of frost had to be somewhere near the little drive I trespass upon when I

want to stop and take a picture without feeling guilty about stopping on the side of a fairly narrow road. Shhhhhhhh, you don't have to tell everything you know, so please, feel free to ignore that word "trespass." At least it isn't someone's driveway :)

Frost, frost, frost! Too soon, too soon, too soon! Last time Mother Nature asked me my preferences, I made it quite clear that 50 to 65 degree weather, twenty-four hours per day, would be perfect. I don't know where She came up with the idea to spring winter upon us when it should still be fall. Hee hee, wonder how I could re-write that sentence so that it also included the word "summer"? Serious business, M.N., what are you planning? I've been doing my darndest to appreciate each day, each season, each peak, and each transition, but you are making my head spin! Not to mention, my fingers and toes are having a tough time adjusting to this chilly blast. There. I'm done complaining. You know what you're doing, and I'm sure you'll give me plenty of opportunity to observe and learn.

Oooooooooookay, allllriiiiiiighty, then. Guess it's time for Angie to rummage through the closet and find her gloves and a snug hat. The coat is already in the car, so hey, I'm getting prepared... bring it on, 'cause I love your seasons!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Thursday morning sky, blurry picture, and clear thoughts about how life is a lot like the sky:

  • Every day is unique. The sun rises in a slightly different position, at a slightly different time. Clouds, temperatures, moisture, winds, and all combine to create different scenes in the sky. It's the same for each of us, too. We rise, knowing each day is a little bit different from the very beginning. Our thoughts, feelings, family and friends, pets, and all combine to create different situations in our world.

  • Each of us has our very own unique perspective. What you see as clouds to the north, I see as a storm brewing in the south. What you see as a passing event that doesn't affect you, I see as a big problem heading my way. Other days, you see rain, and I see the rainbows.

  • Dark clouds may obscure the view, but the stars and planets are always in the great sky. Daily details and small problems may blind us temporarily to possibilities and the grandness of life, but those miraculous things are always out there, waiting for us to enjoy.

  • Ah, but I know someone will think of this, so let's not forget that the star light we see from any given star may be tricking our brain. The light takes so long to travel to us that the star may actually have died before we ever see its light. Easy, peasy... the kindnesses you show to another person may have happened long, long ago, but the effects continue to shine in their life long afterward... or, the people we have loved in the past might have left our lives, but the love we felt still fills a space in our heart for as long as we live... or, you may have a dream that was very real but didn't seem to be coming true, until years later when the hard work you put into it finally produces results.

Obvious, I know, but I tend to forget. Trying to capture these thoughts and write them helps me remind myself, ya know? Sky therapy, yeah, that's what I'll call it. This morning when I stepped out the front door in search of a good picture to start the day, all I saw was those dark clouds on the horizon... until I remembered those 360 degrees and looked all around me. The faint light of the coming sunrise shone above those clouds. The half moon hung right over my head. Stars were still blinking in the western sky. It's all there. We just have to remind ourselves.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Feel Winter Walking Slowly to Our Door

In the quiet of a foggy Fall morning, I hear Winter's shuffling footsteps coming along the path to our door. Later in the afternoon, with the wind whipping out of the north and scattering clouds across the sky, I feel a tiny shiver and remember Winter's touch.

Yes, I know Autumn is still the biggest player in the room, but Winter is tiptoeing up to the corner and humming a soft and cozy song so we won't be completely startled when she does walk into the room.

I'm not sure why the exploding milkweed pod in the photo made me think of winter this morning, but it did. The sky was blanketed behind me, and the sun in front of me was shining on patches of fog. The car windows were down, letting the day ride with me to work. The greens of summer were still out in plenty of places, and the oranges and golds of fall were splashed all around me... and yet, I felt Winter.

I felt the call of that silly fluff of milkweed, too. This morning, I didn't stop to photograph it, thinking I'd surely see another on the rest of the drive. Nope, not a one caught my eye. So, on the way home from work, I backtracked and stopped to take the picture. Isn't that milkweed pod beautiful in a very primevel sort of way? The pod's rough texture seems such an incredible contrast to the angel hair fluff of seeds and fibers within it. In fact, I'm wondering how durable those fibers might be, as well as whether or not they'll still be attached to the pod when I drive by it tomorrow morning. Wouldn't those fibers make gorgeous hair for a paper clay face of Winter? Of course, that's most likely simply another idea that will never come to fruition, but hey, thinking up the ideas is the fun part!

On that note, I do believe I should head outside for a few minutes to commune with Autumn and her sounds and smells. Lately, it seems homework duty and other such everyday stuff leaves little time for sitting on the front step and noticing Nature's transitions... gotta change that a wee bit and not lose touch with the sensations of the outdoors, ya know? Have yourself a terrific rest of the evening (or beginning of Tuesday)! Ang

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

They Ate It...

Isn't this too cute? The three little pigs in the pen at Rhodes Family Farm have a house of sticks, a house of bricks, and no wolf in sight. They are missing one thing, though. They don't have a house of straw. Seems they kept eating it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nature's Kiss

Grass clinging to bare feet,

Dew outlining an intricate web,

Sunrise peering over the roof of the old barn...

Kisses from Nature, every one.

Nature, Nature,

Bless me again in some little way,

each and every day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blessings, I Have Them...

Blessings, I have them... and they are called:

Ricky, James, and Katie

Mother, Pop, Soupie, and Bubby


Classmates and childhood friends

Family friends and neighbors in Kentucky

Illinois friends

Garrens, Grays, and other family in far flung places :)


Torch, glass, creativity, and fellow artists

Eyes, cameras, memories

I am grateful to the powers of the universe for allowing me the pleasure of experiencing all of the above, as well as the few hundred other things I'm sure I've forgotten to include!

I do hope you have a long list yourself, and I hope you continue to be blessed.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011



"Magician Cat."

If well fed, treated to the first mouthful of food and drink at each meal, the black cat matagot brings wealth to the home. Who wouldn't like to have one of these living with their family?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cats and Their Crones: Liam and Lucy


She's my human.

I've loved her since the first full moon I can remember.

She walked down the middle of the moonlit country road in that cloak of hers.

I followed her.

Somehow, I knew she was the one who would keep me, cherish me, honor me.

Somehow, she knew I was the one who would become the living hem to her flowing cloak, the cuff to her ankle boots, the mantle to her heart.

Lucy didn't need to tell me her life story.

I knew it, surely as I knew she'd place a saucer of cream on her porch every evening.

To some, she seems an old woman.

To some, she seems little more than a slow gaited waft of fabric moving along the outer pathways of the village.

To me, she is the grandest personification of compassion and wisdom ever put on this earth by the gods.

Lucy wears that cloak from long habit.

Once, when she was young and not so fair as the other girls, she hid behind it.

Habit became her habit, for she is a nun married to solitude.

The years brought her self-acceptance and clearer vision when she looked in mirrors, but the cloak remained.

Only I know the depth of the nap of that velvety fabric.

Only I can see the creases of time and translate them into the paragraphs of knowledge gained.

I am Liam, and Lucy is my crone.

Must Have Been Looking for His Uptown Girl

Here's yet another reason I like to take the backroads on my way to work in the mornings. Of course, the first reason has to be that I'm a Kentucky girl at heart and will always choose the backroads if given the chance. The next reason is that I can almost always score a cool picture along the way, even though I take the same roads Monday through Friday, August to May. I've seen an eagle standing in the shade of a tree alongside the road. His talons were practically on the chip-and-seal surface. Turkey vultures, Canada geese, herons, and blackbirds frequent the skies and fields along this route. Prairie grasses, weeds, and wildflowers fill the fencerows. It's a short drive, but it resets my mood to "happy to be alive."

This morning, I thought I'd stop and take a picture of some goldenrod. I did. Those pictures were better than this one, BUT this one is more interesting. See the fellow standing by the side of the road? That's not a dog, nor is it a stray cow or llama. It's a deer. I know they've gone from "plentiful" to "virtually a nuisance" in the past decades, but I still don't see them up close for more than a few seconds when they appear. Deer usually like to stand still and hope you ignore them. If that doesn't work, they bound away quickly and hide. This guy didn't seem to know the drill. I saw him running perpendicular to the road, passing between a fence and the outer row of a corn field. I could see his antlers very well from that vantage point, even in the flash of an eye. Still wishing I had been able to take a picture of him, I pulled over on the side of the road and took a few pictures of goldenrod. In a hurry to get to work early, I jumped back in the van, turned on the radio, and start to pull back onto the road... and plain as day in the filthy sideview mirror, there stood the buck some 30 or 40 yards behind me. He must be a Billy Joel fan, that's all I can figure. Instead of running back into the field, he trotted up the middle of the road as "Uptown Girl" played on my radio. I thought he was going to finally leap the fence, but he sauntered closer and stood quietly. Obviously, the buck likes KLOU 103.3 and Billy Joel. He didn't run until I looked at my watch and decided I had better get the van in gear and head to work. What an interesting start to the morning!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Obviously, it's coffee time. That's "coffee time" as in Angie obviously needs some coffee or a Ski or something because she's having trouble thinking of ideas to write in that blog.

The kids will be stepping off the school bus in about fifteen minutes. I've had lunch, torched one sculpture that we hope turns out okay, fed the cats, and roamed the backyard for a short while.

I could start a project that's been incubating in my brain since yesterday afternoon, OR I could go to the kitchen and clean and fill the Bialetti and set it on the stovetop to brew me a cup of coffee.

Heh, heh. Wanna take votes on which I'll do?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Don't Even Know Why...

Well, I do know why I like this photograph I took at Six Flags yesterday, but I don't even know why it seems a little cheesy or "off" or something to use it as the focus of my blog entry. Maybe, it feels funny because the whole setting around the Batman ride is meant to create a replica of the imaginary city of Gotham... too much fantastic fakeness brought to real life but in a trick-the-mind kind of way?
Eh, so what.
What I really like about this picture is the dappled sunlight on the druid's face. Um, if that is supposed to be a druid, I should say. I confess to having loved a few Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer portrayals of Batman, but I'm not very well versed in the details of the storylines as they appear in the comic books and become translated into movies. I just happened to think this guy and his twin who stood on the other side of the archway looked the way I imagine Druids would look if I designed the set of their world: serene, powerful, in possession of some sort of magical sword or weapon but not brandishing it, infused with the light of Nature.
I do love the way the simple but bold lines of this sculpture can evoke so much thought from me. I think that says a good deal about the people who have the fun of designing those scenery setups for the amusement park. Gorgeous work, Six Flags peeps!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Second Thought

I absolutely love country music, at least the older stuff and some of the newer stuff. I grew up listening to Johnny, Johnny, and Johnny (Cash, Paycheck, Rodriguez). I had George and Tammy in my veins, and Loretta sat on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. If you ask me, George Strait is certainly an acceptable bridge between older and newer music.

HOWEVER, in the interest of women everywhere, let me write a little note about George's song "Write This Down."

Dear George (or the songwriter or the character singing),

If you had just told her those things, then it would have been good. If you couldn't remember to do that until it was almost too late, then it would have been good to simply say "I'm sorry." Instead, dude, you did what to many men seem to find acceptable. You told her that she should write it down, make herself a note, do it herself if you forgot. Really, man? You can't be bothered to take the time to remember to appreciate her on a regular basis, so now you are putting on her shoulders the responsibility to remind herself that you love her?

Dude, now that I've reconsidered this song, I'm in the mood to write one myself, and it probably won't be any Lady Antebellum kinda sweet longing stuff... naw, I'm thinking more along the lines of something that would make Tammy, Loretta, and Jeannie C proud.


Me (or any other woman who is having a little trouble translating Martian to Venusian lately)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Echoes Fell from the Temple Walls

Echoes Fell from the Temple Walls

The blindingly bright sun at my back, I stood at the threshold. Like some Raider of emotional Covenants, I paused and listened for sounds of the past revelries, sounds of forgotten treasures growing more valuable every decade, sounds of the last breaths breathed within these walls finally being released to the outside.

When the sounds did not come, I forced my body into a paralysis of expectation. Still, the sounds of history could not be heard. Remembering all the books, all the legends, all the mythic attempts to create epics from fragments, I inhaled slowly the scent of possibility, held it to the count of an imaginary drum, and exhaled forward knowledge into the past.

At first, the rumble could only be felt, not heard. Then came the great roar of stones grating against one another and the microscopic crack of sunlight near the ceiling. Blinking ecstatically, I could barely hold my soul within my skin.

My eyes began to focus around the motes of dust sparkling in that glimmer of light, and my excitement imploded into itself to become a black hole of spiritual contentment.

There it was, and it was real to my mind.

It was the walkway to the inner sanctum, and it was charged with the energy of souls chanting offerings. I started to lift my foot and cross into it. Instead, I softly put down the foot and listened more closely to the words of the chant. Almost grasping an entire phrase here, catching a syllable there, I strained to tie them together and burn them into my memory. Hoping to make it all more real, I stooped to pick up a tiny stone and tossed it a few feet into the hallway of the temple...

... and the Present intervened as the echoes fell from the temple walls. My heart raced, my hand shook a tiny bit, and my feet remained at the edge of the threshold. Ah, but my ears had heard, and they recorded the message to the beat of the falling echoes:

Life is life,

Good is good,

Hold high your arms in gratitude.

That is where the replica was born. That is where the ideas have been toyed with and worn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

All Tends Toward Chaos...

Isn't that one of the rules of physics? Everything moves toward chaos. I think it deserves some sort of mention in art, too, don't you? There's a lot to be said for fine workmanship-- its beauty, intricacy, polished assembly. There's even more to be said for the effects of the unraveling of such fine workmanship upon the eye and the imagination. When you drive by a well built barn, are you inspired to create a painting or snap more than a cursory photo? For me, I know that I tend to give a well built barn a nod of satisfaction and then move on, looking for something with more character to inspire a great photograph. That almost seems wrong, doesn't it? I value skilled workmanship and fine materials. However, I'm pretty sure they don't inspire me as much as skilled workmanship from another era and fine materials that have aged.

What's the draw of rust and faded wood? I believe it is the knowledge that many stories must have enfolded within the walls of a building old enough to be falling down from age. When I spotted the barn in this photograph, I wondered:

  • Who owned that farm when the barn was built?

  • Who cut the wood and took it to the sawmill?

  • Did that wood actually come from trees growing somewhere on the farm?

  • How much did it cost to buy the metal for the roof?

  • How many seasons of savings had to be gathered to build the barn?

  • Was there a barn-raising with neighbors bringing food and spending the day joking and laughing while they put up the frame?

  • What did the farmer wear? Overalls? Khakis? Whatever Sunday clothes had been worn to rags?

  • Did the farmer's wife keep chickens and a cow in that barn?

  • Who milked the cow?

  • Did the cow have a name, like Bessie or Ol' Bossie?

  • Were there barncats and hound dogs sleeping in the sunlit loft on winter afternoons?

  • What happened when the farmers got older and could no longer handle all of the daily chores?

  • Did someone move back home to help them run the farm?

  • Did those helpers attempt to slow the ravages of time, or did they just let it all slowly die?

  • Are there any antiques hidden in the corners of that barn?

  • Would anyone get mad if I parked the car on the bank of the road and walked into the barn?

See? Lots more to think about an old barn that's tending toward chaos, isn't there?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Get Low! Go Sumo!

Don't ya love the battered and worn sumo wrestler for still being ready to take on the world? There were so many cool things to capture in photographs during our Sunday visit to the St. Louis City Museum (<--- one of the coolest places on earth, by the way). The sumo statue just begged for some attention of his own, though. I patted his topknot of hair as I walked by him. James and Kate were happy to pose with him, too.

How much do I know about sumo wrestlers? Not much. Do I still think I have to admire this one? Of course! Look at him. He's ready to take on his opponent, nothing between them other than a strip of strategically draped cloth and some steaming breath pouring from their nostrils. Raw intensity, that's what it is.

When you're ready to take on a challenge, get low, and go sumo! Bring the intensity. Bring all the weight you can carry. Keep it all low, and dare the challenge to knock you over... because low and heavy is not easily overturned.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yeah, What If?

I spotted this mural and quote on the wall of Beatnik Bob's inside the City Museum in St. Louis yesterday afternoon:

So, yeah, Rollo May (an existential psychologist of the twentieth century, by the way), what if imagination and art aren't merely the frosting on the cake of modern life?

You know, we'd still be talking about cake, dessert, optional extras besides the necessities of food and shelter. However, if we could allow ourselves think of imagination and art as "the fountainhead of human experience" without equivocation, then wouldn't the quality of our lives change for the better?

If we could allow ourselves to think of imagination and art as essential parts of emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth, then instead of spending time explaining and rationalizing creativity, we could dive right in to the middle of the refreshing pool of art. If everyone could agree to agree those qualities are important for growth and general well-being of society, then we could spend less time arguing about the "why's" of budget cuts and more time figuring out reasonable solutions. After all, people eating is more important than people clapping for a performance... but acknowledging the arts do have an essential role in our life would go a long way toward healing a rift between the arts and the realities.

If we could all agree imagination and art are integral parts of learning, then all teachers would be encouraged to incorporate skills into as many subjects and problem-solving sessions as possible. How many times has imagination created a solution where we previously thought there was none? How many times have art and math entwined to create amazing landscapes and tools? Wouldn't it be great if we could all encourage our inner daVinci without fear of retribution for wasting time and resources fooling around with imagination?

Wouldn't it be great if we could all encourage one another to imagine, to create, to appreciate... and to do so without having anyone say we were ignoring the importance of realities like eating, working, and finding shelter for our families?

Friday, September 23, 2011

'Midst Lovely Autumn's Tears

'Midst lovely autumn's tears, I will walk the path of restoration. I will scoot my feet along the seeding grass, kicking the colorful leaves of memories, looking for meanings and divinations like so many hidden acorns waiting for the squirrels. From autumn's front walkway, summer's abandoned list of needs is still apparent, and I will sort them as I saunter toward the porch. From autumn's creaking porch swing, winter's rest will beckon, and I will nod sleepily. Autumn will be a lazy afternoon of life, the napping and daydreaming afternoon we need between summers and winters. The balm of intermittent soft showers and faint golden sunlight heals our restlessness and soothes our spirit.

To the casual eye, Nature appears to be dying in autumn, but those who watch have seen the seeds being cast from the trees and plants. Autumn in really a time of rest and restoration of the soul, a time to review the growth of spring and summer, a time to prune and shelter that which must grow again come spring.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rainy Day

If I could slow down time, I'd stand by the little creek (ditch in the dry summertime) behind our house for an hour in the rain. I'd watch the patterns the raindrops make as they land on the surface, noticing how the rings merged and listening to the sounds as the drops fell through the leaves of the overhanging trees.


I love the sounds and the sights and the scents.

Like the late Eddie Rabbit, I do love a rainy night. I love a rainy afternoon even more, though. The cozy sky and the sounds seeping into the house from the slightly opened windows make me feel both sleepy and energized at once. Maybe the sleepy part is really a calm contentment, but whatever it is, it sure is nice.

What a nice afternoon... hope yours was as nice and cozy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Does Your Base Fit Your Being?

How does your base fit your being? Were you raised in one way and now live in another, or does your base fit smoothly into the big picture of your life as it is now? Not that it's any of my business. I'm just fiddlefarting around with ideas as I try to decide which glass sculpture to pair with this piece of copper, once I actually decide what I'm doing to this piece of copper!
Spirals and repetitive borders speak to me in some materials, but the copper piece and the glass piece don't seem to be speaking to each other. Maybe, a different glass beadalina sculpture is the answer, but I'm not sure which one. Maybe, removing the nail polish and starting over on the design I want to etch is the answer, but I'm not sure about that, either. That's not the point of this post, though.
The point of this post is that I wonder how many of us feel as if the foundation of our personality, the base upon which it was built, is no longer a good fit with the person we have become? I wonder how many of us still value that foundation but feel we have grown beyond it, even out of it? You know, we feel our start in life was a solid one but that it somehow isn't big enough to hold up the meandering floor plan full of add-ons that is our personality now.
Well, I suspect this topic is way beyond being addressed in a single blog entry, so maybe I'll just leave it at this and coyly say, "It's food for thought."
Truth is, I'm sleepy, and the brain is not functioning full-tilt. It's more like my brain is wandering here, there, and everywhere, and still only moving in circles... interesting, intriguing circles, but circles, nonetheless :) Guess it's time for sleep. Maybe, I'll dream about writing the rest of this little essay! Good night, and sweet dreams to each of you!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quick! Look in the Mirror! Tell Us Something Good You See!

Yeah, you. Go, look in the mirror, and tell us what you see. Don't tell us what you wish you saw or what you wish you didn't see. Pretend that's a friend looking back at you, instead of your own reflection. Wouldn't you tell a friend what you like about them? Well, of course, you would if you thought about it. So, make sure you treat yourself as kindly as you would a friend. Go on. Go look again. What do you see? Me, I look at this picture and see my sister and brother, blueblueblue eyes, shining streaks of gray, and lotsa freckles.

I also see things I wish I didn't see, but hey, that's a big part of the reason I'm writing this blog post about looking in the mirror. After snapping and deleting at least one dozen photos of my new short haircut, I felt fairly vain, particularly silly, and definitely warped by my expectations of other people's expectations. You know, as well as I know, that this picture captured a single moment that I found acceptable when I looked at it. The question is, why were all the others so unacceptable to me? I looked like that and that and that at those moments, so why weren't they suitable? Crazy, right? Right.

I'm not doing that to myself any more if I can help it. Of course, there will be pictures and reflections that make me cringe. That's life. But I don't have to mentally beat myself with the ugly stick every time, do I? No, I don't. It's ridiculous to frown at a reflection that obviously slept too few hours, as well as with her face crammed into a wedge on top of the pillow for those short hours. So, what if I look older every time I wake up? Does that make me any less happy about still being on the planet? Sometimes it does, but it sure as hell shouldn't! I'm not a girly girl. I take pride in having earned those gray hairs, take satisfaction in knowing those crinkles around my eyes have come with time. So, why in the world do I ever need to experience another truly unhappy moment when I look in the mirror? Oh, there can be moments of dissatisfaction, moments of annoyance, moments of regret, but they should only be moments... not big enough to undermine my self-confidence, not traceable enough to shake my self-image. I am who I am. That "am" ain't a supermodel, doesn't have legs that can be shown in shorts, needs to exercise and make her body stronger, but she's okay. Your "am" is okay, too, and don't you forget it!

Have you ever compared yourself to others and found yourself lacking? Don't do it again. Whatever her name is, she is not perfect. Chances are, she is comparing herself to someone else at the same time you are disparaging yourself for not being like her. Is either of you any better off for having those feelings of inadequacy? Nope.

For a great deal of my adult life, I lived in the shadow of a fabulously pretty woman who'd been the girlfriend of my ex and then of my husband. Um, yeah. That was an interesting twist in all our lives. What sucks about it, though, is that I didn't yet have this "I am who I am" knowledge. You wouldn't believe how many times I felt overwhelmed by my imagined importance of someone else's memory of someone who was no longer an intimate part of their lives... sheesh, I can't even reread that sentence without rolling my eyes, let alone understand how I could have let my brain do that to me for so many years! Pfffffft. She was beautiful. What did that really have to do with my life? I thought I caught a glimpse of her in another aisle of a store one day not long ago. I think the "pfffffft... so effing what" and the simultaneous shoulder shrug that I did at that moment says a lot about the change in my level of self-comfort as the years have passed. Good luck and best wishes to her. May she be as comfortable in her own skin as I am becoming. A few years ago, I'll admit that I would have wished to bless her with a few extra wrinkles for good measure, but you know what? Now, I just want every one of us to be happy with ourselves and show one another kindness when we can.

Once you come to this point, you realize it's your duty to try to spread the wisdom, share the knowledge, impart a little loving kindness to those who haven't yet seen the light. Time is key here. No one can rush time, and no one can make experience accumulate more quickly for themselves or anyone else... but if reading about the light sheds a little bit of it upon someone and brings her closer to being able to see it, then I'll write this as often as possible, in as many ways as possible :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Project of the Week: Her Name Is Breaking Free

Her name is Breaking Free, and she is the project of the week. Let's call anything less than fourteen days a "week," okay? Funny, how time flies once school starts! All of a sudden, kiddos have bedtimes and early mornings, homework and football practice, and dress codes and mealtimes. Heehee, the dress codes reference means that laundry becomes a priority because certain clothing favorites "need" to be washed in time to wear to school. Football practices and homework and mealtimes have to work in and around one another. Life is a little less laidback once school starts and Mom goes back to work, ya know?

This school year brought a surprise for my work schedule, though. My work day ends at 12:30, so I have three hours for torching, running errands, etc., before the kids arrive after their school day. So far, as anyone who's ever had the opportunity to be the stay-at-home parent could predict, little errands and crises have claimed lots of those afternoons. Ah, but I have gotten to torch some, too, and it has been wonderful! I finally reorganized my desk and indoor crafts, to boot, and that is starting to make a difference. (By the way, thanks for all the not-so-innocent nudging from my less packrat-y friends... you should be proud.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wow, Three Years Since This Pic

There I was, looking for a pic already loaded on my computer, hoping to do a quick little blog post before we head to the Open House at school tonight... and wowee, how time does fly! James will start fifth grade tomorrow, and Kate will start fourth grade.

They are still cute as they can be, but they've started getting the pre-teen look about them.


The old people were right... time flies, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Keep 'em? or Chuck 'em?

Should I keep 'em? Think I'll run into trouble at school if I'm the teacher aide with smiley faces drawn on the cap of her chucks? I'm thinking about doing that, you know...

I already have another pair of new shoes for work, so do I really need these?

Ha, ha, ha!

Does the world need peace?

Does chocolate taste good with peanut butter?

Does the sun rise in the east and set in the west?

Yes... well, maybe not "need."

Yes... of course.

Yes... oh, man, nothing better!

and Yes... without a doubt.

Chucks, it is.

I'll have to let you know about the smiley faces on the toes, though :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Run Away and Join the Carnival?

No, I don't really want to run away and join the carnival... but I wouldn't mind if the people who made these rides were local and needed an apprentice in the paint shop! Look at the colors! Look at the gorgeously gaudy lights and designs!

By the way, this Sphinx boat ride had the kids squealing with delight because the boat almost stood on end at the top of its swing. Katie told me she could feel herself being lifted off the seat. Our friend Eileen, who stayed on the ground with the rest of us grownups, told me she saw Katie being lifted off her seat. I wouldn't know. I had to stop watching. It was either that, or have a panic attack because Kate was on one end seat and James was on the other end seat. Yep. Swing to the right, and mom alerts are on danger overload. Swing to the left, danger overload again.

You know I've been lazy with cameras for the past year. It's sooooo convenient to simply use the camera on my phone. There is the little problem of the pause between touching the button and the shutter releasing, though. This was the best pic of the dragon rollercoaster on the move. Oh, what a spectacular, splendiferous sight was that dragon and its pagoda!

Finally, here is a midway shot of the Himalaya carnival ride. Take the colors in these images, multiply them exponentially by 47, and you'll have an idea of how lovely the colors were at dusk at the St. Clair County Fair last Friday night.
Ahhhhh... sigh... Wouldn't it be fun to help build and decorate all those rides?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What? Doesn't Everyone...

What? Doesn't everyone have an oxygen tank cap and a brass Ganesh on their work table? If you melt glass, you just might have both of those. It just struck me as funny when I set the Ganesh on the table this morning. Not funny ha-ha funny, more like it struck me as unusual funny at the time.

I imagine all of us have our good luck charms and routines in our lives. Artists, especially, seem inclined to work a little inspiration voodoo dance magic whenever we set out to create, don't we? Creating things is a funny business, you know. We want to say we do it from our hearts, that we create because of the need we feel to do so. That's true, but it's also true that creative muses can be finicky, and the reality of making things is that you have to work. You can't just sit at your table and watch the fairies and good luck charms wave their magic wands to "poof" your art into existence. It's more like the good luck charms and fairies and whatever other muses you can conjure are there for moral support, there to cheer on each step until you build momentum and keep going.

Now, you may scoff at good luck charms, especially if you are a natural skeptic such as I am. It's also possible that you may believe that fairies literally do exist. I'm here to tell you that both perspectives have some weight. My way of including both the mystical and the skeptical in my life is to merge the two. You know what I believe about those fairies and magic elves in the workshop? I believe that thinking and dreaming about them is a way of giving my mind permission to explore ideas that it would otherwise shun. I think imagining the life of the fairies opens doors to other creative worlds. I think delving into the stories of deities and good luck charms opens mental windows and lets inspiration breezes blow across my work.

I think setting Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles, on my work table this morning before I lit the torch opened a closet of confidence and patience... I tried those on for a while, and they fit well while I was torching. Very nice, very nice, indeed.

What about you? Have any good luck charms or rituals you don't mind sharing? I don't know about you, but I love to hear other people's thoughts about these things :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Caught Your Eye Today?

What caught your eye today? Did you pause to admire it, observe it closely, experience it? It's easier said than done, this pausing. There's little time for it when you're grabbing the mail, downing the last sip of coffee, trying to find your keys, and jumping into the car to head to work. When it's still summer, the kids and I don't have to do the early morning rush to school... and I am lucky enough to be able to pause and look more closely when something catches my eye. I hope I can remember to do it occasionally once we're back into the school routine (them to their school, me to mine for work). Despite the rush, despite the anxiety of wondering whether you'll beat the bell if you have to turn around and go back to the house because someone forgot their glasses or you noticed your shoes don't match, despite the stresses of modern living, it does us all good to pause to gaze at the world around us.

It's funny how times have changed since I was a kid. I don't remember my mother ever catching grief from other people because she was a stay at home mom, but I can attest to the guilt and grief that can accompany it nowadays... see how I felt compelled to mention it before I continue with the "pause when you can" message? Anyway, that brings me to another conclusion. People can be in the stressed out phase or in the pause-and-enjoy phase at any given time. It's not just that there are two types of people (with apologies to the Type A and Type B personality theory), it's that each of us has the potential to be in either phase. We don't have to confine ourselves to one mode all the time. The laidback Type B can step it up, and the perpetually stressed Type A can relax... it's all a matter of timing and opportunity and remembering it's possible.

To that end, I figure sharing what you see when you pause is bound to be a good deed. It opens up the view to people in the rushed phase. If only for a few seconds, it reminds them sunlight changes its hue from season to season and apples aren't just crayon red. It captures and pares down a scene into smaller vignettes that can be easily consumed. It's sort of like making life vitamins to supplement busy schedules. So, open up. Here are some vitamins to pop when you have the chance:

  • Summer sunlight floods our front window in the morning hours. This house has a lovely triple window in the dining room. It is uncovered, except for the small light-blocking shade the former owners installed to cover the middle panel when the sun is beaming in the morning. Sometimes, even I pull the shade. Ah, but it is amazing to see the sun bathe whatever is on the table. The pinks and reds and pale yellows in the apple skins were glowing this morning. As I walked by the table, coffee in hand, I couldn't help but stop and look at the shadows and highlights on the plump apples. James thought these Cripps Pink apples looked so delicious that he reached back into the bin at the store and grabbed an extra one to buy.

  • Venturing into the jungle that started the summer as a garden, I found the first gourd among the buttery yellow blooms and light green, fuzzy leaves. Faint light yellow lines run vertically on the deeper yellow body of the pear shaped gourd, and a tiny green hat tops it off.

  • The watermelon vines are wandering all over the garden jungle. There have been many small yellow blooms, but I still haven't spotted a watermelon. While I was contemplating whether it's too late for those watermelons to start growing, I glanced down to find a big fat snake snoozing on the landscaping pebbles. He was about two feet long and an inch or so in diameter. Talk about pausing... I think my almost bare in flipflops feet froze and my heart stopped. (Oh, and now the vicious cycle circles more strongly. The garden is too overgrown with grass and weeds, so I'm scared to get in there and pull stuff out because there might be a snake waiting for me. Since I haven't pulled all that stuff out, now there's really a snake enjoying living in the garden. Ack!)

  • Breakfast: Cooked an egg in a little bit of pepper and butter, covered it with the leftover red peppers and onion and mushroom from last night, and sprinkled it with shredded parmesan cheese. Let it all bubble. Put it on asiago cheese bread toast with mayo and a slice of tomato. Eating it with a fork because it slides hopelessly side to side if you try to pick it up.

That's all from me today. Hope your day is filled with little opportunities to pause :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Woof! Don't Let a Bad Mood Dog Ya!

Woof, baby!

Don't let a bad mood dog ya, not like I did yesterday. Ugh. Did you ever see a puppy dog who lost his Frisbee and had his best chew toy stolen by a smaller dog? Well, I don't know exactly what the Frisbee and the chew toy are, metaphorically speaking, but I am pretty sure my facial expression was similar to a puppy dog's on a day like that. There wasn't much reason for me to be grumpy. In fact, if I start rehashing the gripes, they'll probably grow and take over today, too. So, let's not do that.

Let's move on to a fresh start. Hey, it is a new morning, after all. One good thing that can be said about mornings is that you can almost always convince your mind it has a fresh start. Fresh, new, and filled with opportunity, fresh starts are good:

  • writing your name on the first page of a new notebook

  • lacing the strings on a new pair of shoes

  • pulling open the spout on a new carton of orange juice

  • breaking the vacuum seal and smelling the scent of a new bag of dark roasted coffee beans

  • sticking the key in the ignition of a new car for the first time

  • mowing the grass for the first time in the spring

  • making the first mark on a squeaky clean whiteboard

Well, the list will keep growing as the day progresses, because I'm going to will myself to think in terms of "new" and "fresh." This reminds me, why do little boys like to wear the same pair of socks until they are crunchy? Don't they recognize the good feeling of pulling sweet smelling clean socks onto your feet?

See, look at that. "Fresh" doesn't even have to be brand-spanking "new" to be good. Renewal is often even better than the first-"new"-al. The first time you do something, you can't compare it with anything else. Remember your very first day of school? It was exciting, wasn't it? I remember waiting for the bus on the wrong day, by the way. After about an hour of my mother telling me to quit waving and making weird chopping gestures at passing cars, we figured out it was the teachers' first day! Anyway, the point is that I was so excited and ready for school, but I had no idea how that feeling would compare to other back-to-school days. Each year, there would be friends and fun and challenges awaiting... and I could compare those exciting new things to last year. By the end of any school year, you're ready to move on to the next year, even if it's a little scary. The sense of renewal floods your mind, doesn't it?

  • This year, I will make hundreds on all my spelling tests!

  • This year, I will lay my clothes out the night before and not rush so much in the morning!

  • This year, I know I can finish my projects early!

Hee hee, it's catching, isn't it? The joyous sense of renewal is hard to ignore, once you start thinking about it. You can limit yourself to New Year's Day, and the start of school if you have kids or work in a school system... or you can choose to have that feeling 365 days of the year.

Hmmm. One or 2 versus 365? I think I'm opting for 365! Happy Fresh Start, Everyone!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Took a Cornfield in the Flatlands to Put It into Perspective


Talk about perspective.

Would you look at that? If you wanted to sketch this scene, it would only be a matter of triangles and straight lines... well, not quite that simple, but you get the idea. The thing is, I've looked at perspective lines drawn in a book and never been able to wrap my brain around them. Oh, I understand, but it doesn't come naturally to me. Wonder if there's such a thing as a geometric handicap? If there is, then my brain has it.

Funny, after all these years, it's funny to have the light-bulb moment while driving down a back road, smelling the corn, feeling the wind whip through the windows. You never know when those moments are going to find you :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

As Far As the Cats Are Concerned...

As far as the cats are concerned, school can start any time, the sooner the better. Hey, school in session beats being coerced into playing poker with the 9 year old cat whisperer!

Kate is the cat whisperer at our house. She can tell you that Moochie prefers to be scratched just to the side of her chin, while Momo and Shadow prefer to be scratched directly under the center of their chins. She knows that Moochie and Shadow had a stare-down yesterday but seem to be "talking" to one another more and more. She knows that Shadow rarely lifts his paw in response to Momo's hissing and smacking.

What she can't do is make the cats play poker with her... not that she didn't put in a valiant effort this morning.

Moochie flattened her ears back, waited for her chance, and then ran away. This is the cat who used to let a much smaller, but just as determined, Kate hold her under the armpits and carry her over huge shin-deep puddles in the low areas of the backyard, tail almost skimming the water. Um, yeah. Mooch was not in the mood to play poker.

As you can see from the picture, Shadow wasn't in the mood to try his luck at card games, either.

Momo rolled her head over onto the cards, walked away, and then tolerated a second approach from Kate and the cards. I believe this toleration was actually snoozing in disguise, but we don't have to tell Kate, okay?

That's the excitement in our world today.

Hope your Friday is just as blissfully mundane :)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goddess, Keep Me

Goddess, Keep Me

Goddess, keep me:

Connected to the Universe

Out of trouble



A part of my family, even when we are apart

In harmony with Nature

In the hearts of friends near and far


At peace

Open to the wonders of change

Out of the eye of the storm

Hovering near the edge

Singing along at the top of my lungs


Bound to the reality that we are all one

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Slowly, Guys, Slowly

Working without wrapping the glass around a mandrel (stainless steel rod) does not come naturally to me.

I suck at it, to be blunt.

I'm trying it again.

Any time I try something new, I work so slowly and tentatively that it seems I'll never make progress.

Procrastination and hedging are definitely tied up with lack of confidence and uncertainty of outcome.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rules? There Are Rules?

Wait. You mean to tell me there are rules for creating? Oh, I know, I know. There are rules for creating everything. We also call these "rules" by other names which are less annoying to anarchists-- instructions, guides, timesavers, helpful hints. Despite the title of this post, I do appreciate these rules. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue about using a file to smooth the edges of a piece of copper pipe I've cut apart and flattened between an old sledge hammer and another hammer. Rules are useful guidelines, especially once you realize why someone bothered to write down the rules in the first place.

Ever think about that? Rules for creating get written or passed on by word of mouth because someone experimented and discovered information they wanted to remember and share. Thank you to any person who has ever done this. You are appreciated for your knowledge and generosity.

Yes, rules are invaluable to artists. Rules pinpoint a place to start your process, whether it is melting glass or etching copper or any other artistic endeavor. Life experience, school, books, and online information all give us the base upon which to build our creations. For instance, my newest art adventure involves trying to shape and patina copper to use with my glass sculptures. As usual, I'm a year or so behind trends, and lots of people I "know" from the glass world have already mastered this copper art.

C'est la Angie's vie... like I said, I'm almost always at the back of the curve of new trends. The back of the curve is most likely where I'll stay this time, too. I like to use the internet and occasionally purchase a book to learn some basic information. From that point, I start stumbling in the dark and experimenting on my own. This technique? Fail. Another technique? A tiny bit of success, then another fail. Technique number 3 (or 4, or 57)? Fail, then a success, if I'm lucky. Can I repeat that success once it's been achieved? Ha ha ha! Heck, no, because by that time, I've forgotten I got to that point.

Ah, but there is a good thing about this stumbling. Eventually, I make something I like. Even though it won't be what I pictured in my mind when I started my quest, I will have gained a bunch of experience and will have the fun of putting the piece into a bigger project. That is what will happen with this less-than-perfect, but still appealing, piece of copper pipe in the picture.

P.S. The "rule" I bent with this pendant involves using a pencil to trace over the swirl and stick figure etchings to make them standout more. Then I sprayed it again with the clear acrylic paint.

P.P.S. Here are some of the links I found while experimenting. They may, or may not, be useful for what you want to do. At least, they'll be a starting point if you're interested in dabbling:

Also, try googling Instructables plus copper etching... sorry, can't get link to copy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rain on a Parade... It's All Good :)

Well, yeah, rain on a parade is not always a bad thing, especially when the temperatures and humidity have been hovering at the tops of their ranges. Not sure why I bothered with the umbrella, except to attempt to keep a friend's 3 year old kiddo sort of dry and to try to keep from soaking my phone and tiny purse/phone bag. Needless to say, keeping the 3 year old "sort of dry" ended in failure, much to his delight. As for the phone, I probably should've left it in the van for all the picture-taking good it did. Ever try to hold an umbrella, corral a kid intent on grabbing parade candy and beads, and take pictures with a smart phone? Go ahead, laugh, it was pretty funny :)

My attention span for writing is about to expire this morning, so I may just leave you with that glimpse of yesterday. It was a fun day, despite, or maybe because of, the rain on the parade! So, go on out there into the big wide world! Have fun, no matter what! Give Monday a high five, and slap the Week on the rear! Go, team!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Burning Wishes

"Qualities associated with fire such as purification, strength, and life are also associated with ash. Burning is seen in many cultures as simply changing the physical state of matter, not as the destruction of the more spiritual qualities of that matter." from The ABC of Magic Charms by Elizabeth Pepper

Do you have a burning wish, a wish that blazes in your heart, a wish that shoots flames of inspiration throughout your soul?

Transform it.

Write it on paper.

Burn it.

See it written in ash floating on the wind.

It will land.

It will come back to you transformed... if you are standing where it lands.

But you cannot catch it by standing in the same place you were when you watched it turn into ash. No, you must keep moving, following, finding, if you wish to be there when it lands.

Moral of the story:

You make wishes come true when you grow towards the outcome you seek.