Saturday, July 30, 2011

Took a Cornfield in the Flatlands to Put It into Perspective



WOW.

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 :)


Moochie



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goddess, Keep Me

Goddess, Keep Me


Goddess, keep me:


Connected to the Universe

Out of trouble

Loved

Loving

A part of my family, even when we are apart

In harmony with Nature

In the hearts of friends near and far

Safe

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

Free

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.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nature's Bag o' Tricks

It's a cicada of some sort, right? I can't begin to tell you which one, since they belong to the Order Hemiptera which includes about 82,000 species in the world. What kid hasn't ever found the empty shells of these critters and been fascinated by the creepy, almost clear, exoskeleton clinging to a tree? I remember collecting as many as I could one summer day, and that is most likely an amalgam of a bunch of similar summer expeditions rolled into one memory.

This particular one was stranded on the patio this morning, so top heavy that it couldn't hold itself right side even when I flipped it over onto its legs. One morning this week, I gave up on the flipping and finally tossed one of his relatives into the air. Its wings began beating on the downfall, and it flew away. This one didn't fly when it was tossed, so it posed for a picture.


Actually, the posing for the picture lasted a few seconds, but the posing for admiration of its markings lasted a bit longer. Aren't those colors and designs terrifically terrifying in their insect way? Decidedly beautiful in their boldness, don't you think? But, then, it is true that my eyes have rarely lighted on any object done up in blues and greens and not been delighted!

Wouldn't this make a wonderful mask? Wouldn't those wide, wide, wide set eyes
exude a strangely mesmerizing power?


You know what I like to do? I like to look at a creature like this, take mental notes about its details, and try to figure out on my own the "why" behind those details. Nature has a big bag of tricks for all, and it's fun to speculate. For instance, take these extremely wide set eyes and bulky body. If you couldn't judge the size of its wings while it was in flight, if you could only see those eyes, wouldn't you think it is much bigger all over than it is in reality? What about that design on his back? Are those blunted cone shapes a camouflage trick, or are they a signal of some sort? Is there even such a thing as a visual Morse code for insects? Why transparent for the wings in this one, instead of tiny panes of color? Hmmmm.


There ya go, Nature's Bag o' Tricks, with the drawstring loosened... go ahead, open it up more, and peek inside :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nalar

Na + lar = Nalar

Ancient + Shine= Nalar


Nalar, am I.

Oh, the ancient part is not literally true, mind you. Though, I must admit there might be a smidgeon of truth to the idea that there is something "ancient" about me. If you could only hear me now, you'd know I am chuckling at that. La-la-ha-haha-la! Of course, this chuckling throws people off the Elvin trail, don't you know. Elves are supposed to have such light, clear, singsong-y laughter, something on the order of windchimes and tiny bells. My laughter is more of the bongo drumming variety, I've been told.

Ah, but back to this talk of ancient ones. They do live within me, same as yours find their way through the blood and into your deepest thoughts. It's all a matter of listening for them, don't you think?

Maybe, and I'm only saying maybe, our task in life is to learn to listen for their voices, to learn to see with their sight. For bumblebees' sake, don't you start running around with a club and trying to catch a dinosaur! La-la-ha-haha-la! What I meant is to listen for the hum of life, to look for the messages of time written on nature's walls. I can help you, if you like.

Go ahead, pick me up from where I'm planted. Lift me to your own sweet eye. Look out at the world through me. Yes, my dear, look at the world through me.

Masks have a power, have you heard? Shhhhh, I'll tell you the secret. Masks give you permission to be inside a different part of your soul, don't you know. All those places the world has told you aren't real or practical or necessary are exactly the places you will see when you let yourself be me. La-la-ha-haha-la!

Ah, and when you do it, when you let yourself see, then you will know the "shine" part of my name, don't you know. You will understand, and the light will shine even brighter from within your own eyes.

Laughter and sparkles until we meet,

Nalar
*****************



P.S. You can generate your very own Elvin name here.
P.P.S. Sorry for the blurry pic. Just wanted to show you Miss Nalar's size. She's basically a giant glass headpin, since I made her directly on the stainless steel mandrel (instead of using bead release so she could be removed from the mandrel).



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ha ha ha ha... But Not in My Yard

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I was indeed a yard snob who looked down upon such cutesy concrete culture.

I'm not anymore, not really... except to say that Marilyn/MissPiggy/BLWiT-escapee is too much, even for me.





But... but... isn't she great??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

everythingBUTtheKITCHENsink-cakes!



Well, maybe, these pancakes didn't have that much stuff in them. After all, I look at the counters in the kitchen and still see things on them, so the search for ingredients wasn't a complete clean sweep :)


Actually, I've been trying to get back into the habit of eating more good food than junky food, but pancakes were calling my name. Loudly. They were calling my fruit/veggie/meat-eating name, and my tummy was echoing their cry!


Good food was starting to establish itself as king of the cupboard for a bit there, but cakey sweets were sabotaging the regime. Once again, the phrase "moderation is the key" crops up in my life. Cold turkey is fine... on toast... with mayo and pickles... but it's not the best way to change the eating habits of a person like me. Soooo, time to balance the not-so-great aspects of pancakes with lots of good-for-you ingredients. Today's tasty try: pancakes with fresh blueberries, walnut chips, and enough cinnamon to turn them brown.


What about you? Like pancakes? Favorite recipes? Throw it all in here :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meow-me-mowwww, Meow, and MEOW*

* Shadow, here. Please, allow me to translate those meows in the title. It won't take long, as the message is fairly short:




"Meow-me-mowwww" means "I snub you and your silly grasshopper/chairhopper chairs you posted about in this silly bloggiethingie, Human."




"Meow" means "*I* am the cat, and *you* shall adore me."




"MEOW" means "I read what you said, and I haven't seen those sardines yet, so what are you waiting for??"

*******************************************************************************




Ang, here. That silly Shadow cat... I could almost see the wheels turning in his brain when I was taking this picture. Happy Saturday (aka Caturday) to each of you! We've had a wonderful start to our weekend. Our niece Heather spent yesterday and part of today with us, and now the kids each have a friend over to play for a while. The cats are snoozing on the patio. Shadow seems to relish the spot on top of the wooden spool table I put on the patio the other day, by the way :) I'm getting ready to read and/or maybe set up that copper etching dealio I saw online. Life is good, huh?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Invasion of the ChairHoppers

By day, they're ordinary (and extraordinarily comfortable) lounge chairs. By night, they become... CHAIRHOPPERS.


By the way, no, I do not do drugs. I'm naturally weirdly imaginative and fear the things I might see if I were to dabble in mind altering substances. There. I knew someone would be wondering.


Back to the chairhoppers on the patio, let me just say upfront that I do love our cats very much. What I don't love so much is their propensity to knead and scratch without first seeking approval of which things to scratch. So, I decided to fold up the chairs at night, which is when the people-plus-cats patio turns into the cats-rule-people-drool-io. Well, no big deal for the felines, they simply plopped themselves on top of the folded chairs. So, I tried again. I folded the chairs partially shut, thinking nary a purrfactory would bother trying to get comfy in one of those. Think again, catmama. Sooooooooooooo, one more time I tried, and with that, I give you the chairhoppers with their backs too slanted for sleeping and their folds too narrow for nesting.


I'm sure I'll pay for this.

I saw them eyeing me.


Ummmm, okay, that's enough blogging for me today since I have to get busy with the to-do list. You know the list, the one that begins with "purchase several cans of sardines, serve said cans to cats, keep fingers crossed that peace has been made."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Head North? Go Swimming? Bend a Bow & Arrow?

Weren't we just talking about clouds the other day?

Look, here's another message in the sky.

What does it say?

Your guess is as good as mine.


God, Spirit, Eternal Flow of the Universe... this force is constantly sending us messages in one form or another. What we have to learn to do is recognize and translate the daily messages so that we can use them.


You see, your guess is as good as mine about each message because we each have to do our own translating. You might figure that's an arrow in the sky in the picture above, giving you a sign to continue progressing forward. I might think it also looks like a swimmer, contently stroking through the water on their back. Someone else might see an arm pulling back a bow, reminding them to keep their eye on the target.


May you be blessed with open eyes and compassion for yourself and others as you make your way through today and its messages.




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Evens or Odds?

Which do you like? Evens, or odds?


If we're talking composition and creating, then it's odds for me. Odd numbers please my eyes, and I assumed this was true for Nature, too. Odd numbers give you one for the middle and two for sides. Yeah, even numbers give you balance, but odd number arrangements have a weighted center plus the balance. So, what up, Nature? What made you put four petals on this gourd bloom?


All of you who actually possess "green thumbs" are most likely rolling your eyes at me right now. I deserve it, too. Really. Why have I not paid attention to how many petals are in different blooms? I think the answer is just what I said above-- I assumed Nature made blooms with odd number arrangements.

Quick. Draw a flower on your paper.

How many petals does your flower have?
(Hey, leave me a comment with the answer. I'm seriously wondering about this!)

So, I can only guess what you all drew, but I can tell you what happens when I doodle a flower. Unless I am trying to make a mandala of sorts, the flower I draw will have five petals. Ahhh, shoot. Now, I just realized I do use even numbers when I draw flowers with more than one ring of petals. That's where the "mandala of sorts" comes into play. I start with four petals, one for each of the cardinal directions, and finish with more to fill in the spaces, just like a compass rose. Holy cow. I just blew my own theory about odd numbers right out of the water. Compass rose?? That name for the symbol on maps has been around for ages... and why would someone compare it to a flower if it didn't have some basic characteristics of a flower.


Alright. That's it. Thought myself into circles trying to write this one... think I best go get Tuesday rolling :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Introspection, Direction, and Cloud Collection

If you lie back on the patio and point your camera straight up into the sky, this is what you see here today. The railing in the corner of the picture is on the upper deck, the place our kids aptly named "the sky deck" when we moved here. Considering all the photos I snap of sunrises, sunsets, and clouds, you might expect the sky deck to be my favorite spot, but it isn't.

My favorite spot is the concrete patio beneath the sky deck. Our funky tri-level is on a hill, so the lower level opens onto a broad concrete patio, part of which is covered by the sky deck. It's a flexible place, too. Want shade or protection from lightning? Sit under the sky deck. Want some sun or wind or rain on your face? Scoot out to the edges. Want to step into the grass with your bare feet? There it is, waiting for your touch.


So, that's my place for introspection. Thinking never gets crossed off my to-do list, even though actual application and follow-thru of those thoughts can linger indefinitely on the list before being checked off as done. This summer seems to be especially high on the introspection list... and that leads right into the "direction" part of my title. Direction. I don't seem to have it artistically. Practicing patience may have been my goal while waiting for my studio setup, but in fact, it may have been more of an excuse than anything. Oh, sure, the torch table wasn't put together for a very long time, but would I have used it much anyway? Not too sure. Since Ricky put it together sans fan and light, I've started torching sporadically when the temperature is warm enough to open the doors for air flow (and still be able to keep the glass warm). Twenty-five pounds of glass arrived last week (awesome 30% discount for ordering in bulk at Mountain Glass!). The box is open, and a few rods have been melted. Eh. Two pleasing figures came out of the flame, but I'm not rushing to try to sell them.

Laziness? Ha. I'm sure that's been said about me regarding plenty of things, but I think that's merely a camouflage, a ruse to disguise my lack of direction. I kept telling myself that being patient about the studio was good because it was giving my brain time to incubate new ideas. Nah. Soon as the propane and oxy were lit, I made goddesses and faces... same old, same old. Except, it's not just SOSO when I'm sitting there watching them form in the flame.


Hmmph.

Goddesses, figures, "nekid wimmen," whatever you choose to call the sculptures I like to make, is making them just a rut, or is it a creative groove that needs to be followed? They are about self acceptance, body confidence, growing with gracefulness. They intimidate some people, and they make other people crack jokes. That's okay, they also touch some people, lend them positive energy, re-ignite confidence, instill a little more courage for a few moments. Knowing that feeling even one time is a great treasure for a creative person, ya know? It's a good groove, it is. Now, I just need to gradually carve it out a little wider along the edges as I follow it. I need to make sure it's growing as it moves forward, not becoming simply a rut.

Anyway, I've rambled a lot today, and I didn't even make it to the "cloud collection" part of the title! You can bet I'll hit that one another day. After all, collecting clouds may be a fairly ephemeral sort of hobby, but daily observation and introspection of what you see can't hurt, now can it?


Toodles! Have a terrific start to your week!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ant Awning

Can't even call this delicate swatch of nature a toad's umbrella. A toad would only be able to shade a foot and part of a leg under this teensy umbrella. Maybe we could agree to call it an ant awning? You know, a nice shady gathering place for an ant and a few dozen of his closest friends.


What would an ant see from below this awning, besides a human who needs to get out her nice Nikon and quit lazily relying on her phone camera? I think an ant would look up into a grand display of silky, creamy color floating against a brilliant blue sky. Some ants would only look briefly, and they'd grunt grudging approval. Other ants would sigh with delight at the wonders of all those slender lines gracefully curving and falling into fringe at the edges. There might be a few ants who wish they could sit on top and slide down the perfect slope, grabbing onto one of those fringes and dangling until someone could catch them.


Nature's tiniest creations make me see opportunities for my imagination to fly. Untether your imagination from what we're taught to see as reality, and suddenly, the potential for magic explodes upon the scene:


Persephone the Parasol Faerie skipped along the paths running between the blades of grass in the lawn forest, golden scissors in hand. Parasol Faeries can do that, run with scissors because they are so graceful and careful with their steps. They don't "move" as much as they flow with the energy surrounding them. Flowing with the surroundings is what lets them speak Spider, too, by the way. It's important to speak Spider, else you'd never be able to arrange for the silken web fabrics you need for parasol making. Spiders can be a gruff bunch if they think you expect them to do your will. You have to chat them up, flatter them a wee bit, let them decide today would be the perfect day to spin some extra web and donate it to the cause.


Yep, untether that imagination and float your thoughts on the breeze whenever you have the chance... it's good for the soul.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gitchyer Boots! We're Weeding the Pond!

Those are my little brother's big yellow overboots he uses for work. What you're supposed to do is wear them over your workboots, so they are roomy. That's my size 8 women's flipflop lined up against the sole. Yeah, I borrowed those boots to wade in the pond and pull out weeds last Sunday morning. I didn't wear any shoes with them. I don't think it would've made much difference. What with the pond mud suction on the outside of them, as well as the suction that got going on the inside and twisted them around my ankles, it was pretty interesting... especially for my brother, working from the pond bank (since I had the boots), pointing out to me (once I was in deep enough to have water threatening to slosh over the top of the boots) that Mother had seen a snake right about where I was standing. My thought was that I might survive seeing the snake. But if it happened to wash into one of the boots when the water sloshed into them, then Bubby might as well go ahead and call 911!


Here's a peek at the pond.


Here's a peek at the pretty yellow bloom you see on those pond weeds.


Here's a peek at one of those piles of pond weeds (some sort of bladderwort, I think).


There will be no peek at me, boots up to my knees, jeans wet and muddy up to my butt because somebody steered me toward the steeper bank with talk of the pond not really being very deep on that side. Can you say "gullible," and can you sing "Slip Sliding Away"?







Friday, July 8, 2011

Giant, Rose-Colored Flashlight... Shine It!

Blogger wouldn't let me load the pictures of mine and Bubby's pond raking adventure, so I browsed and found this photo of the sunset from a few weeks ago. At the time, I had trouble finding the right words to describe the sky's message that evening. Guess what? I still don't know exactly how to put it into words, but when did that ever stop me from trying?


Do I believe the sky literally sends us messages? Wellllllll, yes and no. Yes, because the message of hail or tornadoes or lightning is a fairly clear one warning us to take cover from actual physical harm. Yes, because a sunlit, cloudless sky is another fairly clear message about what we can do in the world at that time. No, because I've never heard a cloud or raindrops speak actual words (so you can rest assured, for now, that I've not gone completely over the deep end yet).


But if you think about it, then you are likely to agree that messages don't have to be in the form of actual words, voices, signs, etc. Messages can be brought to us from things that catch our mind's eye and set the wheels of thought and intuition in motion. I can believe in those messages, and I love to look for them in the sky. It's an endless fascination.


So, what about this rose-colored flashlight in the sky? It practically begs you to imagine your God or Mother Nature or Spirit holding it and shining it around the world, doesn't it? It almost has to be a beckoning call for optimists, doesn't it? It must need to be a reminder that we are able to choose to shine a rose-colored light on situations at will, wouldn't you think?


With that in mind, I hope you shine your light today... the world can use as many rose-colored flashlights revealing as much goodness as possible!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Am. Hear Me.

I am.

Hear me.


Don't stop at "woman." Don't stop at "roar."

Hear me, all of me, all of the person that I am.


I am short, tall, average.

I am blond, brunette, red, gray, silvery white.

I am slender, full figured, bountiful, athletic, strong.

There are no boundaries defining what I have to be.

It doesn't matter so much where I fall on the physical continuum at the moment.

It matters where I allow myself to be on the ever sliding scale of self acceptance.

Your respect, your love, your confidence in me, these don't create my self acceptance but soundly reinforce it.

For that, you have my gratitude.


I am challenges, tears, struggles, fears.

I am laughter, giggles, unexpected surprises, hugs that last for three days.

I am shy, outgoing, friendly, kind, compassionate, crabby.

There are no limits to what I have to be.

It doesn't matter so much which of these I am being at the moment.

It matters that I throw myself open to all experiences, recognize the good and not so good before gracefully letting them go.

Your support, your ears, your kindness, these don't determine my reactions, but they help me in the daily dance that is life.

For that, I thank you.


I am adventure, contentment, enlightenment, confusion.

I am happiness, doubt, encouragement, deliverance.

I am a perfect storm of possibility.

It doesn't matter so much what the forecast is at the moment.

It matters that I am willing to ride the wave.

Your courage, your confidence, your passion, these don't control the storm, but they sure make it fun to stand with our faces uplifted to the rain and sun.

For that, you get a knowing smile and a bond so strong it can't be broken.





Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sisters and Brothers... We Grow Up Eventually

Yes, that's me with my brother and sister and our mom.

No, I'm not going to outright tell you that's me with the ears poking out the side of the blue bandana.

By the way, Mother used to wear a bandana like that to hold back her hair, and it *did* look cool when she did it.


Sisters and brothers are on my mind this morning because I just spent a wonderful holiday weekend with my sister, my brother, and plenty of other sisters and brothers who make life interesting and fun. Those other sisters and brothers would be cousins from both sides of the family, my son and daughter, my cousin's son and daughter, and even my "sisters" and "brothers" from grade school and high school. Eventually, we all grow up in more ways than just the physical, and eventually, we all realize how much we love and cherish one another.


I love and cherish (and love to pester the snot out of, as well as cherish each opportunity to aggravate) my sister Soupie and my brother Bubby. Those are their real names. Seriously. I checked their birth certificates, and that baloney about Annette Susan and William Lee is a hoax, a sad, sad hoax pulled over their unsuspecting eyes. Poor Soupie and Bubby. Maybe, just maybe, I should write something nice about them so they'll feel better about that whole name mixup. Susie, I love you, and your heart of gold that is bigger than the stash at Knox. Thank you so much for being you. Your thoughtfulness shows itself a bazillion times a day, and while I'm sure everyone already knows that, it doesn't hurt to repeat it. William Lee, I love you, and your protectiveness and belief in doing the right thing are wonderful... except when you decide to protect your stash of rubberbands/waterguns/weaponoftheday and believe that the right thing to do is help your cousins or niece or nephew win a battle against me.


Of course, thinking about my sister and brother naturally leads to thinking about our mom, dad, and their brothers and sisters-in-law. Watching them over the years, it's easy to see their love for having fun together and their love for one another (despite, and maybe because of, all their differences of outlooks on life). It's good to see them together. I could write so much more, but I wouldn't know where to stop, ya know? There's always another story to add to the pile. I think I'll just go with It's good to see them together.


Brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers, watching them together is a joy. It's also a necessity at a family gathering, otherwise, you might be the next unsuspecting target of a prank orchestrated by cousins! Jeffrey and Patrick, your brotherly kindness, um, make that brotherly shenanigans, runneth over the edge of the cup of family goodness. Yeah, thanks for including my husband in the sneak attack attempt to steal back the Nerf bullets from me :) Doris, Rose, and Junie, just seeing your faces and hearing your voices takes me back to Grandma and Granddaddy's front porch, giggles and all.


Sisters and brothers, brothers and sisters... watching James and Kate with Elizabeth and Matthew is so much fun. It's as if the clock has been running since the last time they saw one another because they all grow so much. Yet time seems to have simply paused between visits because they pick up their friendship right where it left off the last time we said "bye! can't wait to see you again!"


Like I mentioned at the beginning, there comes a time in your life when people you've known since childhood automatically become more than just friends. They become your brothers and sisters in this game of life. It doesn't matter when it happens. Sometimes it can fade away for years before we reconnect, but if you are blessed in life, it does happen. For most of my life, I've seen it with my mom and her friends from school. You can see it in the way they are always "right at home" with each other, in the way they know and still love one another right to the bone.


Loyd (and Jacinta by proxy, even though you're younger than us old peeps), Bonnie, Paula and Ronnie, Joyce, Robinn, Marta, Lisa, Lisa, and Scottie, this brings me to all of you. Seeing you in person made my heart happy. Ever hear the saying "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold."? You are gold... you don't have to call yourselves "old" friends, but do remember that you are like gold. Loved seeing each of you!


*sigh* That's not even all the stuff spinning in my noggin' this morning... but I figure you can use a break after reading this much ;-)


Happy, happy day!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Refreshing

Refreshing, that's what my weekend with family and friends will be. Hope yours is the same!

See ya on Tuesday!

Peace and Sweetness Where You Can Find It,

Ang

Friday, July 1, 2011

Knee High by the Fourth of July?

Not very long ago, I looked out the kitchen window and thought how "punny" it was that Mother Nature appeared to have done her hair in cornrows. The neighbor's corn was just coming up, and the long, straight rows made an interesting visual texture on the landscape. Well, I never did snap that picture, but I have been watching and marveling at the way the corn has been growing.

"Knee high by the Fourth of July" popped into my brain with a burst of giggles yesterday morning. Ha! This morning I stood by the corn to take this picture, and those long leaves were tickling the top of my head... when they bent in the slight breeze. New goal for corn farmers: 5'3" high by the Fourth of July.

Wonder how long the "knee high" reference has been in our language? "Since you were knee high to a grasshopper" is my personal favorite, I think. Hmmm, be right back. I'm off to google the origin of this expression.

Cool. "Origin of knee high to a grasshopper" led me to this little blurb. Heehee, it is an Americanism that started out as "knee high to a toad," way back in 1814. Makes you wonder exactly what was said in the conversation on that front porch, huh?

Oops, distractions, distractions. Imagine how long it might have taken to uncover that little bit of history without using the internet! Not only that, but imagine how having the world at our fingertips, instead of having a brain-load of memorized information, has changed the way our minds operate. When I was a sophomore in college, Statistics was the dreaded course for pyschology majors. After all, if we'd wanted to do math, we would have majored in something besides a social science, right? Anyway, the professor was a hoot, as psychology professors tend to be, but his one piece of serious advice struck a chord with me-- you don't have to memorize every single formula in real life, but you do have to know and remember how to look it up when you need it. Egads, Joel Royal, you must have been a seer, too, to have known that in 1985 before we were all surfing the world wide web at will!

Well, the corn is getting taller while I sit here trying to find an interesting link about the origin of "knee high by the Fourth of July." You might find this Phrasefinder Search entertaining and/or useful, but that's all I've got for now. Suffice it to say, we can figure that the phrase is an Americanism and can't be more than 235 years old.

One more thought before I go. Remember how I said I've been watching that corn since it came up? It didn't get this tall in one day, two days, or even two weeks... but with steady growth each day, it got this tall in what now seems like the blink of an eye. Think about that. "Rome wasn't built in a day" and similar sayings spring to mind, don't they? Keep growing, even when you feel as if the growth is so little that it is imperceptible. The best way to keep on track with your goals is to put down the tape measure and simply focus on doing what you can in this moment.

Now, to learn to actually apply these thoughts to real life...

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