Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rain Dreams

Raindrops meeting at the ditch.  Raindrops falling onto the neighbors' fields gathered and rolled down the hill into the ditch.  Other raindrops fell gently through the treetops that line our portion of the ditch.  Don't you love the little circles of celebration dances they stir up when they meet?  Sounds like a fun adventure with friends, right?  Falling onto corn leaves, trampolining to the ground underneath them.  Grabbing the hands of your friends, and racing downhill.  A few of you decide to soak in the atmosphere and stay, but that's okay because there are so many of you and everyone is having a great time!  Your parachuting friends who passed up the field in seach of tall tree leaves float gently towards the ditch, waiting for you.  When you meet, you high five each other and do a little celebration dance.  Great times, great times!
Now, raindrops in waiting, raise your hands if you would like to make my backyard your travel destination :)  Pretty please?? Heck, if you have spelunking fans among you, they could even dive straight down into those big cracks in our yard. 
Come on over, guys!  Can't wait to see/hear/feel you falling from the sky!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Patience, Practice, Patience, Practice...

Bwahahaha... notice I didn't write "practice" first, as in "practice patience"?  Of course, I need to practice patience, but I couldn't bring myself to write it so blatantly!
Patience, patience.
Practice, practice.
They do go hand in hand, don't they?

Ponder that for a pretty minute.

Actually, I have been practicing patience for a few years now, and some progress has been made.  I can sit in traffic without losing my mind, although if I happen to need to pee, all bets are off!  I can wait for that honkin' huge John Deere to turn off the road, instead of zooming around it and praying nothing is coming from the other direction.  I can use an electric stove, in spite of my love of gas stove flame control.  I can repeat "we don't play in the bathroom sink, we just wash our hands" every single day of the pre-K school year.  I can wait in line while the ice cream is melting and a coupon fanatic searches for the last 49 coupons she intended to use this trip, although I will admit to sometimes choosing to leave my cart and walk out if the wait becomes overly long and groceries aren't involved.  I can cook pancakes and bacon, and *that* is saying a lot about patience for me.  I can play an entire game of Yahtzee, even if I'm not winning and have to cross out a square on the score card.
All of that should count for something, but it barely touches the tip of the iceberg when it comes to patience. Practice, practice, practice, that's what I have to keep doing!  For instance, I can deal with strangers, but put my children into the mix and my impatience meter can be pegged in about 3 seconds.  By the way, Mother and Pop, thank you for all you have ever done for me!  Practice, practice, practice, that's what I need to teach them by example, instead of putting down the pencil and grumbling when I can't draw what I want.  Oh, wait, I was talking about practicing patience, and then I veered into plain old "practice makes perfect" territory.  They really do go hand in hand, though, don't they? 
It probably ought to be changed from "practice makes perfect" to "practice makes the idea of attainable perfection in this lifetime slightly more probable, instead of impossible," though, don't you think?  Perfection is overrated in my book, but striving toward it can never be overrated, if that makes sense. 
Back to patience.  Let's talk about practicing until I can exhibit it in the most tedious and/or infuriating situations. Once again, practice doesn't necessarily beget perfection, but it's a good goal :)  So, here's a short list for me.  Feel free to add your patience goals to the list!

* One of these days, I will play an entire game of Monopoly.
*Okay, now that we have the impossible out of the way, let's talk reality.  One of these days, I will be able to drive from the house to any destination without being aggravated that I have to say, "Please, keep your hands to yourselves, and stop screaming so loudly."  Heh. Heh. Heheeee...wheeee, I crack myself up sometimes!
*Seriously, I am a quiet person, and my daughter is not. I am working on not stifling her when I'm in a quiet mood and she is not.   I'm often a grouch, and it's fair to not be such a grouch all the time. I'm working on it. Reminding myself here is just that, another reminder.
* One of these days, I will complete an entire art project before I drag out the materials for the next project. I can finish a project, but I need to keep practicing so I can lower that ratio of unfinished projects to finished projects on my table.
*Speaking of my children, one of these days when my son loses his baseball (or sunglasses, or incredibly small lego piece, or his homework, or whatever the crisis of the moment is), I will not help him look for it. Yep, I will calmly wait until the "emergency" has passed.
*One of these days, I will be able to listen to my husband's opinionated opinions (which you can surmise are often different from my own; "opinionated" is the dead giveaway there) without feeling the need to argue the other side of the story. Okay, so maybe that one is a stretch, but it would surely be good for both of us if one of us could do it at least 50% of the time!
*One of these days, I will inspire someone else to be patient in a patience-testing moment, no matter how small and insignificant it might be in the big scheme of things.
*One of these days, one of these days... one of these days, I'll spend a greater portion of my day living in the "now" and soaking up the good that patience allows us to see :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mmmmm! You Know Your Mom Loves You When...

Mm, mmm, mmmmmm!  You know your mom loves you when she sends you home with the first big almost perfectly ripe Australian tomato.  A few days on the counter, and it was a beaut.  Yummmm, yum, yuuuuum!  Did I mention it was delicious when I used the first slices this morning to tweak my egg/red pepper/parmesan/mayo sandwich to perfection?

Thank you, Mother :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Purples and Pinks, Pinks and Purples

Is this weird, or is it just me being my usual strange self? If your name is William (my little brother) or Susan (my little sister), then you should not feel obliged to answer that question.  They already know the answer :)

So, what possessed me to make paint samples and photograph them with Pepsi and a Dr. Pepper cans, you ask? It's that are-we-talking-about-the-same-color perception problem.  What's that, you ask?  It's what happens when someone requests a painting from me and I want to make sure they are going to like the colors I use.  Oh, I figure if they request a painting, then they probably like my ideas.  What worries me is that I'll make a grape-y purple painting that totally clashes with their more indigo-ish purple wall. Same thing happens with other colors, of course. What if my turquoise is decidedly more blue toned than the more green toned turquoise vase that my painting will hang behind?  Silly, isn't it?  Yes, and no... not silly to think about such things, but silliness can definitely be involved in the attempt to calibrate colors from a distance.  Being the techno-not that I am, calibrating monitors and phone screens is beyond my ability, not to mention that I still believe each one will look different no matter what you do.  Quirky solution number 1 is to pick a household paint brand and collect all the free samples of red or purple or pink at the paint counter of the local Wal-Mart.  Then, if needed, the person requesting the painting can do the same where they live, and we can "talk" about the same color numbers or names.  From that point, I could find the best matches in art acrylics.  That seems okay on my end, but it seems a little much for me to give "homework" to a customer. I'm not much of a shopper myself, so adding yet another errand to daily life seems a bit rude on my part...although I know customers appreciate me checking this before painting.

What else can you do besides compare same brand paint samples?  Hee hee, start keeping soda cans handy for photographs!  Dr. Pepper had to stand in for a bright red Coke can since my family likes Pepsi better (may I take this opportunity to say YUCK, PEPSI!).  I'm guessing someone could always make a John Deere green/yellow request, but I'm not sure how the neighbor down the road would feel about me walking up to his tractors on display and comparing green paint bottles. For orange, I suppose there's always the Tropicana or Kraft Mac 'n Cheese options, right?  Any other ideas? What would you use to make sure you're on the same page colorwise?

That's it for me today. Hope you have a colorful day!

P.S. My patience for writing ran out before I could begin talking much about pinks and purples!  Thanks to Elaine for giving me a tip about paint colors... afterwards, I ran into an explanation of why mixing paints can result in a muddier color than you expect.  Interesting and useful stuff!  Short story is that fewer pigments to make a color equals clearer/truer color...and that leads to a beginning of understanding why those more expensive paints look prettier on the canvas.  Wow!  Lots and lots of iceberg left under this tiny tip!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice Sunlight

Summer solstice sunlight, through a scented oil bottle (and quite possibly, through a little bit of dust on that bottle, oops!), radiating light and warmth.

Dear Sol,
You must feel neglected lately, as you have not felt my admiring gaze at sunrise since I was on vacation at the ocean.  Then, it was easy for me to awake with the first hint of light, even after staying up late to cram in as much ocean time as possible.  Now, we come home from the kids' ballgames, and there is supper to be fixed.  Before I know it, it's ten o'clock, and I haven't been outside again to enjoy the evening breeze and gaze at the stars.  Well, you know that can't be done in only a few minutes!  So, ahem...after I wake up in the lawn chair, there are still baths and bedtimes and stray supper dishes... and you know me, not too functional on 5 1/2 hours of sleep, so I end up missing your early morning arrival.  Today is a good time to start over, don't you think?  I look forward to watching your eastward travels until winter solstice, Soleil.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh, Honey, That Week Sucked at Times...But There's Always Honeysuckle in the Fencerow

Oh, honey, last week had its sucky moments, let me tell ya.  It wasn't all sucky, just in case you think this post about honeysuckle vine will sound more like honeysuckle whine, which leads me to another rhyme- "blackberry wine."  You know I like to listen when I'm in a crowd, just to hear what other people are thinking.  A woman in the bleachers at Kate's softball game was talking about making blackberry wine, and this part struck me as hilarious coming from a mild-mannered looking senior citizen, "I've been making blackberry wine, using all these steps. Then I met this man who had been making whiskey at home, and I asked him about all the steps to do that. Turns out, I've been doing the same things with wine. I'm not making wine.  I'm making blackberry whiskey!"

That softball game was on Thursday. It was a good day. James turned eleven, and most importantly, he said it was a great birthday!  He loved the hockey jerseys we got him. The catcher's mitt he wanted so badly, and bought with Grandma & Granddaddy's birthday money gift, had already arrived. He had fun at Kate's game. The Daddy found him a St. Louis Cardinal's giant cookie for his birthday cake.  Katie pitched for the first time in one of her softball games, and she did alright.  She struck out one batter and only allowed one run in her inning, which at her level pretty much balances out the fact she hit three batters with pitches (they weren't hurt, no tears).  She also slugged the ball far into the outfield.  Most importantly, she looked like an athlete, carried herself proud and strong.

Seeing family two weekends in a row was a good thing about last week, too!  Phone calls are fine, but hugging Mother and Pop is a gazillion times better! Same thing for pestering Soupie and Bubby. It can be done via telephone, but it's much more fun in person :) 

Now, the bad things whine. You knew from the title I'd have to do it, right?  Well, the first thing is something I've discovered (and rediscovered, and rediscovered again) through experience- any time I start to feel as if I'm understanding the essence of life and/or beginning to make headway into becoming a truly kind and good person, I might as well sit down somewhere and do nothing but breathe verrrrrrry quietly until the smugness passes over me.  Otherwise, and this appears to be guaranteed to happen, I am bound to do something stupendously stupid or unkind in about three seconds.  Let's call that Lesson #1, instead of Bad Thing #1.

As a matter of fact, let's call the second thing Lesson #2.  It definitely had Bad Thing written all over it, but since it happened and can't be undone, might as well acknowledge and use it.  Last week, my cousin died much too young and at her own hand. She spent a portion of her adult life depressed and drunk, or drunkenly depressed (which is what this weight must have felt like from her perspective), or depressingly drunk (which is what it felt like to me whenever I would hear from family that, once again, she'd been drinking last time they saw her). Why am I even mentioning this part? Well, along with the fun and loving and kind person she was came the shadow of the tormented part of her.  Most of us knew about it to some degree, and it was mentioned as some sort of disclaimer ahead of all the good things people would describe at the two memorial services.  I did the very same thing when I wrote "I'm sorry you couldn't find peace in this lifetime."  But do you know what other word was also included in almost every memory spoken?  KIND, she was KIND.  It wasn't just people trying to find something good to say, it was heartfelt because she had shown them kindness that won't be forgotten. I keep picturing one of her coworkers telling how much she was appreciated... you could almost tell for certain this woman has had rough times in her life, but she was sincere in her gratitude for my cousin having been in her life. 

Lesson #2:  None of us is perfect. Don't let that ever stop you from sharing your best self with someone else whenever you can. It will make a difference, and it will be remembered.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Go, 'Cats! Go, Blues! Go, James!

Happy 11th Birthday to James! 

Love my not-so-little, but still not grown, little boy :) 

Dude.  You are turning into a fine young man, and you make me proud.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

For Rose Marie

The screen door squeaking as we tried to sneak quietly in and out while Grandma and Granddaddy were napping in the afternoon.
All the words to "Delta Dawn" and "Let Me Be There."
A stack of True Story magazines.
Easter eggs hidden three or four times.
A gullible cousin to hang on your every word and whispered secret (that's me, listening to you).
Fixing plates and sitting on the stairway at Thanksgiving.
Maybe a slide or two down those same worn stairs.

I'm sorry the best memories are from so long ago. 
I'm sorry you couldn't find your peace in this lifetime.
I can hear your voice and see your face, and I hope you are in a happy place.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Funkadelic Bridge to Home

Shhhhhhh. I won't tell, if you won't tell. This is what happens when you try to take a picture and cross the bridge at the same time. Isn't that cool??

I wanted a picture of the Rockport bridge on 231 because of the patterns of all the (usually, and in real life) straight lines running through the view as you drive under the two parts of the bridge. I love that the first center, or whatever you call the part where the cables attach, frames the second one.  It's like driving under a gigantic piece of string art!  Remember that stuff?  I don't remember ever successfully completing a string art picture, but I do remember seeing some made by my cousins and thinking I wanted to do that.  Barbara Ann and Leianne, maybe my mind is playing tricks on my memory, but I can picture a piece of string art propped up on the mantel at Grandma's house. 
I especially liked wire string art. Remember the stuff with all the tiny nails and the copper or brass colored wires running between them to form a shape?

This funkadelic bridge to home is what we cross into Kentucky nowadays.  There are a few different ways to travel between our Illinois home and my parents' Kentucky home, but this one has become my favorite.  Interstates are fine for taking you quickly across a state (ahem, I might be talking about Indiana, but only because it creates extra distance between me and mine, not because it isn't interesting). However, the most fun to be had behind the wheel happens on four laners cutting through the middle of nowhere, weaving two laners crossing real valleys and artificial ones cut through hills, and even tinier two laners that seem like so much asphalt thread sewing together little pompon towns.  Yes, I love a Kentucky backroad!  After we leave US 60, taking that turn onto KY86, I really start to feel one with the road...and, heck, if you're going to drive that road, you'd better do a little Yoda-like use of the Force to guide you safely!  Oh, the sights on that road, too.   Kentucky isn't all rolling horse pastures and lovely homes, and I gotta tell you that all jokes notwithstanding, I have to adore the real country sights.  I might laugh a little at the chicken coop/pop-up camper in that one backyard, but it's kind of a laugh of recognition and a laugh of marvel at ingenuity and truly recycling/reusing.   One of these days, I'll have to find a safe spot to stop along the road and snap a picture of that one.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"...and don't facebook that, Mom!"

Okay, son, I won't facebook it.  I'll just blog about it.

As if I didn't already know how to split hairs like that, you and your sister are always attempting to school me on the intracies of the English language, so you'll be proud to know I've paid attention.  For my child who doesn't like to read unless forced, "splitting hairs" is an expression describing the action of escaping blame because the accusation is technically inaccurate.  For instance, this exchange:

Me: You need to read a few pages in your book.
You: Why?
Me: Because your grade depends on it. Because you have 180 pages left to read by Friday.
You: Why do I have to do it now. It's only Wednesday.
Me: Because I said so.
You:  *stomp, stomp* *slam* Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
Me: It's only been 10 minutes. Why aren't you still reading?
You: I finished.
Me: Whaaaat?
You (in a smug voice): You said to "read a few pages," so I did.
Me: Um, how many did you read?
You: 2...hey, you said a few, and two is a few.

That, my child, was a classic example of splitting hairs.  Your sibling is the one who is always insisting that I not "facebook" the things you guys do, not you, but trust me, I can think of plenty of times he's pulling the splitting hairs deal.   It's really for him that I'm sneaking this post into my blog instead of on facebook, but I never miss an opportunity to educate both of you at one time.  Yes, that does count for bonus points on my Meanest Mom in the World certificate, thank you very much.

Bwahahahahahahaha... MMintheW strikes again ;-)

So, back to the picture to answer the question in hubby's mind when I emailed him the picture at work on the first day back from vacation.  "What's that picture about?? What were they doing?"  Well, they were experiencing a brief detente in the waterfight they started with each other when I kicked them outdoors to play.  Armed with the giant squirt guns, suited up in sandals and crazy swim goggles, they were chasing each other around the backyard.  From the shed-io-that's-almost-a-studio, I could hear the action:  water faucet squeaking on, hose overspray hitting the enemy "accidentally," feet racing across the patio, feet running up the slide on the outgrown swingset, "hey! that's not fair" and "gotcha!" echoing off the walls of the shed and big shed as they circled, and then a tentative tiptoe into the shedio...followed by my "oh, no, ya don't, takethatbackoutside."  You know, looking back at that particular moment, I am surprised she didn't take the opportunity to squirt me, instead of merely trying to hide from her brother...hmmmmmm.

Why, if this is really a blog post about splitting hairs, am I suddenly calling to mind the acts of the devilish 10 year old, not the devious 10 year old, you ask?  Good question.  Maybe because the devilish just-turned 10 year old is so darn funny?  Maybe because the devious I'll-be-eleven-next-week year old doesn't spit out crazy one liners as often?  Whatever.  It's going to be a loooooong summer, I can tell... so, I might as well tell all about it, right?

Exhibit A
Last official day of school, aka report card pickup half hour, is over and kids are home. I head across the backyard to the shedio for a bit after instructing them to ditch SpongeBob, or else.  I hear them come outside and play basketball.  I smile because they actually did as told, and I go back to painting. I paint. I tweak. I take a picture or two. I paint. I suddenly realize I've been hearing nothing. Hmmmph. I call the house phone with my cell phone, mostly because a ringing phone gets a ten year old girl's attention like no other sound (except the ding of a text from her friends):
Me: Why aren't you two outside?
Me:  You know it's your mother. Get back outside.
Her:  Are you suuuuuuuure you called the right number?

Lawdhelpmegeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezus, it could be a long summer! If that didn't convince you, then how about this little gem:

Exhibit 2
I'm using the phone in the kitchen where it is relatively quiet. I hear some squabbling downstairs, but it's of the mild type with no bloodcurdling screams, so I ignore it. I focus attention on the phone again. I look up to find just-turned 10 year old planting herself two feet from my face and saying, "I did nothing, just in case you think I did it." This gem is followed by an abrupt about-face and escape outdoors.  The almost-eleven-next-week year old does NOT come running to snitch on his sister. I wait.  I wait some more. Nothing.  I finally realize the devilish one most likely decided to say that just for the fun of it, to see what reaction she'd achieve. 

I'm telling you, the child can be entertaining, as long as I can grit my teeth quietly so as not to drown out the noise coming from outside my ears:

Oh, nooooo! I dropped my cupcake in the bathtub!

Long summer. Just sayin'  :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

She Whispered It to Me: "Create What Fills Your Soul and Reflects the Glow from Within"

She whispered it to me, this Goddess of the Moon.  She said, "Create what fills your soul and reflects the glow from within." 

Um, it could have just been the moonlight playing tricks on me, and the painting didn't really speak... but she did speak in a way, a figurative way, and it was an important message for all of us who recognize and attempt to feed our creative sparks.  Yesterday, I ran across an online post by a wonderfully gifted artist who shys away from showing her own work.  She's been burned by flip comments from non-artist friends, and it makes her wary of revealing her soul to others.  Yes, I said "revealing her soul," because that's what her creations are. They are pieces of her soul that she has woven into physical evidence of her eye for beauty and meaning. 

I've been thinking about her, and this emotional struggle, most of my waking minutes since I read her comments. She and I even had a similar online conversation years ago.  It hurts me that she was wounded by offhand comments that a friend made, partly because I know how supportive and encouraging this artist has been of me and other artists. Mostly, though, it hurts me because here is a person who digs deep, works hard to produce her vision, and then has to wonder about the reaction of people around her when she chooses to reveal what she has made.  By the way, her art is amazing. It combines a huge array of skills in all different media, and it will "speak" to you because of the combination of realistic details and heartfelt emotion captured in them.   

I have to say her friend is missing out on an incredible opportunity to inspire and be inspired. When it comes to art, my conclusion at this point in life is that there are two very different kinds of people.  There are people who "get" art, and there are people who don't.  It's not like Dr. Seuss's Sneetches wanting to have, or not have, stars on their bellies because other Sneetches have them, either.  It seems to me that most people are satisfied with their choice to "get" or "not get" art.  The friction is created when life brings a "get" and a "not get" together.  You can be friends on so many different levels, but if art happens to become the subject of conversation in this sort of mixed friendship, there will be friction created by their opinions rubbing against each other.  Count on it.  They simply do not see the same things when they look at the world with a creative eye. Sort of like that funny cartoon that occasionally makes the rounds, the one with the color scale as seen by women versus what men see, a "get" and a "not get" literally see and describe the world differently.  From what I can tell, there comes a point where you finally realize it is simply a difference that will not change...and you take care to treat each other's view with respect.  You open your eyes a little wider, you stretch your heart a little bigger, and you think about how the words you say will affect the other person.  You do it out of respect for your friendship, and you do it for your own sanity.  If you are a "not get" and a "get" friend shows you a piece of artwork, you can acknowledge the time and effort she put into making it. If you are a "get" artist, when your "not-get" friend makes an off-the-cuff remark that seems insensitive to you, then you are going to be hurt (no doubt about it, been there, experienced that)... she's not even going to realize she said anything hurtful. What can you do?  I don't know. I really have trouble with it myself. I'm starting to think that the only thing to do is attempt to filter her comment through a sort of mental translater and take all of the good from the translation that you can. There will be times when art is once again the subject, and it may be that you don't understand how she can't "see" something. Then it will be your turn to think and carefully choose words.  Let's just hope that the balance in your friendship can keep those little moments from capsizing the relationship boat.  Happy Sailing, and may your day be a good one without too many unfixable/unsolvable/regrettable moments!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Faery Walking

Faery's what you do when you step out the front door, kneel or stoop to about cat eye level, and look for signs of faery business.  I've always been on the fence about faeries.  You don't have to tell them that, since I'm pretty sure they already know I'm about half skeptic but truly want to believe. They tend to let me slide with that, though, because I am a believer in the wonders of Mother Nature.  I guess you could say the faery folk probably roll their tiny eyes when I start poking around in their business, sigh with exasperation, and then giggle and start thinking of ways to prank me.  That's okay with me.  I'll play the part of big dumb giant stumbling through their world with only a sliver of a clue...because their world is where you can find some of the most amazing details of nature. 
Take a peek at the blooms on the hostas by my front door, for instance.  At human eye level, they're simply pretty purple blooms dangling from ungainly stalks.  Lean over a bit, and you'll spy more details than you imagined!  Isn't that a lovely mandala of petal and leaf Mother Nature created in the unfolding blooms?  Isn't that gorgeous, the way the color concentrates in the small petals that haven't joined together to form those paler bell-like blooms? It's as if the creator decided to experiment with applying intense color and letting it stretch and grow into what it would.  Isn't that reassuring, the way those tiny beginning petals are each nestled inside a sepal? I imagine I've seen plenty of hosta blooms in my life, but I never noticed that amazing little detail until now.  Little moments of wonder-- they have to be scattered throughout our lives, or they'd overwhelm us and turn us into stupefied statues, don't you think? 
Oh, did you also notice the faery dancing shape of the stalk of blooms itself?  The unopened head bloom balances lithely atop the stalk, with opened blooms cascading to each side like outstretched arms in handkerchief hem sleeves.  Lovely little faery flowers dancing atop of sea of broad green hosta leaves, that's what they are. 
So, thank you, Faeries.  Thank you for prying my eyelids open a smidge more than they were.  Thank you for not spitting in the eye of this skeptic while it was so close, too :) 
Now, I'm off to make polymer clay dresses for the faeries to be that you see in the other photo.  One of them wants to be a butterfly, and the other longs to grow dragonfly wings.  Their humble servant I shall be.  May your own day be filled with a fine mix of wondrous moments and giggles and creativity!

Monday, June 4, 2012

That's a Lot of Onions!

See that 18-wheeler in front of me on the road? It was loaded that high with sweet onions. That's a LOT of onions!  Can you imagine how many skillets of fried potatoes and onions could be made from that? What about soups, soups of all kinds that just taste better with some cooked onion in the pot? Let's not forget chicken, pork roasts, meatloaf, and possum!
Okay, okay, you got me there. I don't eat possum, but I know people who talk about it. I stared down a possum one night in my mom's garden spot. It was winter, and I followed him with the flashlight-alien-tractor-beam.  I'm not a hunter, and I used to be afraid of the dark. I'm not sure which of us was more concerned about this situation, but I am pretty sure the possum was drooling more than I was.  For all I know, that possum was drooling because it was looking at me and imagining uses for a truckload of onions!
What would you do with an unlimited supply of onions? Weird question...hope it generates some weird but funny answers!
Have a terrific Monday, guys!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kids Used to Play 'em, Parents Used to Step on 'em

If you're old enough, or if your parents have tried to instill a sense of "how we grew up" into you, then you know these are jacks and that when combined with a little red bouncy ball, they can provide hours of fun. 
Ricky told Kate that "those were kind of like Mommy's DSi."  She asked him what he played with, and he told her he played with little green Army men and other toys.  Doesn't matter whether it was girl stuff or boy stuff, our toys came without electronic chips or screens or flashing lights... and we were lucky to have them because our parents before us didn't have fancy things like jacks or plastic army men, ya know. 
These days, more than ever, it would seem every new generation watches the world change more quickly and more intricately than the ones who came before them.  It will probably always be the way of parents to tell stories about how we lived our childhood and proclaim our children "lucky because you have all this stuff we never had."  It can't be helped, no matter how insistent you are that you will never do things the same way your parents did them. Eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later, you realize your parents were doing their best to turn you into civilized human beings who could carry on the line of humanity and produce or help raise another generation.
So, please, don't ever stop telling your kids stories about the way you spent your childhood.  Don't ever stop explaining how to play jacks or spread cards for solitaire or line up dominoes to make a chain reaction once you've tired of playing the actual game.  Maybe you are younger than I am. Maybe your stories will include waiting to replace batteries in a handheld game like Simon. Maybe your stories will be about finding the wall charger so you can charge your DS before you play another game.  Maybe your stories will be about waiting for the iPod to charge so you can text your friends while you're at home where the wi-fi is free.  It doesn't matter so much about the details, for those have been changing with every generation since time began. What matters is keeping bits of history alive and real in the minds of future generations, teaching life skills, and creating strong family bonds...and all of than can easily sneak into a lesson about how to play jacks.
Speaking of learning how to play jacks, I did spend hours playing that game some summers.  I can't remember if my sister played, but I think she did.  I can't remember if both my cousins Doris and Rose played, either. I do remember the feel of my hand skimming the cool concrete floor of Granny's front porch on a hot summer day, trying to snag jacks before the ball bounced too many times. I tried to show Katie how to play again last night, and that's what started the whole conversation.  What's funny is that a grown up can't help being a grown up, though, and as soon as she almost lost a jack skittering across the kitchen floor, well you can probably guess what happened. Yep. I uttered those words I'd heard myself at least once in childhood, "If you lose that and I find it by stepping on it, there's going to be trouble. No more jacks in the kitchen for now."  Aw, c'mon, you didn't really think I had enough patience and wisdom to avoid uttering those words, did ya?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pimping Paintings

 Universal Spark

She dipped her hand into the primordial darkness, let the velvety blackness slip through her fingers, and caught the sun and moon.
She held them high, gazed upon their beauty, then She released them into the sky... A universal spark to bring light to the dark.

She's on a 16"x12" gallery wrapped canvas, and the white parts have glow-in-the-dark glitter. Bits of a black/purple/blue glitter mix accent her in a bare, "look, something's forming out of the darkness" way, and a light dusting of yellow and pink glitters accent the sun's flames. She's very subtle in a way...and yet, she stands out in a way. $50 + shipping

Whew, boy, this poor blog has been neglected during the school year, and here I come back, just pimpin' some painting!  Yeah, I love the school year, and I love my job as a teacher aide in a pre-school classroom. When you add in James' and Kate's homework time (which seems to be a trial for one or the other of them at least every other day, ya know), school activities (which really aren't that many yet, but still), and the normal household routine, my blogging time gets cut from the schedule.  Not that it actually should take much time to write a short entry, simply that it takes me too much time because I like to write and want the blog to be entertaining...and that does take a little time on most days!
So, like I said, here I am, and here's a painting I'm pimping. Heck, gotta recoup some of that $$ I spent at Michael's before I go to Michael's again. Can't let those 40%-off-one-item coupons go to waste, ya know ;-)
The great news is that my spectacular studio is on its way to being finished inside! Okay, so it's not the most spectacular studio ever, but it is pretty damn fancy for me.  Hubby didn't want to give up any floor space in the big sheds, so he finally bought me a wonderful 14'x28' shed of my own. Four feet of that belong to the porch, and another 8 feet inside have been partitioned off to make the kids and cats a hangout. The rest is mine, mine, mine.  Call me selfish, call me spoiled, call me content to enjoy every last inch of it!  Funny thing about finally knowing where my glass torching space would be is that my muse decided it would be okay to explore something besides glass and like it! I am loving painting, baby! It's an exploration of space. It's a discovery of shapes and forms and graceful lines. It's a great way to distract me so I can happily wait for the shed work to be done on the hubby's time schedule.
Hooray! Life is good! And I promise not to pimp sh** every single day on the blog, so stay tuned :)