Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Excuse me while I happy dance!

After two years of waiting, I'm officially shopping for my concertina!! Feel like a kid on Christmas morning! Excuse me while I do a happy dance!

Six Word Story

"For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never used." Ernest Hemingway once wrote that in response to a challenge from a friend to compose a story in just six words. Hemingway said later that he thought it was the best thing that he had ever written.

Wired magazine recently picked this up and made it into an article by asking contemporary authors to give it a try.

Feel free to write your six word stories in the comments.

Here's some I came up with:

Box said blonde. Liars, it's red!

Turned and ran. Bullet was faster.

Good guy. Bad guy. Pretty girl.

Log splitter stopped. Four fingers now.

He liked boys but dated girls.

War didn't end, was only adjourned.

His eyes closed. My eyes opened.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Art

"Shooting Stars" by Christy Babrick of Michigan
Media: Digital/Photoshop

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Welcome to the world baby boy!

After only a few hours of contractions, an 8 lb. 5 oz. Andrew August joined the world this morning! I'm a great aunt for the second time. My niece and baby are healthy and happy and their first born is now a big sister. Only one thing was missing - Dad. My nieces' husband is somewhere between Kuwait and the U.S. on his way stateside after a 6 month tour in Iraq. He wasn't able to communicate while enroute but said he would call when their plane landed on the east coast to refuel. He's due to arrive at the Army base in Colorado Springs on Tuesday morning and then he’ll be able to rejoin his family. Oh, here I go again - have been breaking into happy tears all day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Inspiration Overload

My friend has a show at her pottery studio every year at this time. It has become an annual event for us to make the tour of sales that run in conjunction with hers. We visited three of them yesterday afternoon.

The first was on a dead end road in this gorgeous hollow. We both commented on how we live in such a beautiful part of the country. Lots of rolling hills and hidden valleys and ridges with views to die for. There was a renovated farmhouse and cute shed that housed the sale. Just walking up the yard was a joy. First thing I saw was a smaller oil can that had been tipped on its side and given a corrugated tin roof was hung from a tree as a bird house. An old metal barn cupola centered in a flower bed which earlier in the year had been surrounded by coneflower blooms. A flickering in a tree ahead proved to be small pieces of mirror glued back to back over a heavy fish line - this was made into a "garland" and hung from tree branches. A closer look revealed there were several of the mirrored garlands adorning the trees. The yard was filled with small touches like this. I immediately started taking mental notes of projects. Inside was a beautifully displayed mixture of old, new, vintage, antique, crafts, fine art, whimsical and classic items. We had to walk through three times before making our purchases - including the glove holding the spider on the left. On the walk back to the car I saw even more wonderful touches to the outdoor space...more mental notetaking.

The next stop was up the road a few miles to a home on the ridge overlooking the river valley. This sale has been an annual event for many years. Again, the sale was held in a specially constructed outbuilding that looked like it had been there for 100 years. Walking up to the building, in the garden before the front porch were some metal sculptures for sale. These were made from found metal items welded together to create the most interesting animals and creatures. My favorite was a big spider about 2 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. The legs were railroad spikes welded together to create 8 legs holding a center plate above the ground. Upon the center plate was a black bowling ball placed to look like the spiders body and two finger holes looked like eerie eyes. Inside was a more sparse mixture of fine art, dried florals, handmade soaps, fiber arts, canned goods and jewelry. She had a new artist there this year who painted the most beautiful images in watercolor. I looked through every piece and was in awe of her talent. I bought hubby a jar of pickled green beans - he was thrilled!

The third and final stop was up the road a bit further. I love going to this place - it is my dream house. Beside the home is an old barn that has been fixed up using old farm relics and a lot of the original windows, wood and doors. They have a couple of pot bellied stoves billowing heat and a large array of crafts and furniture. The furniture at this sale always gets my imagination rolling. Many of the pieces are made of old doors. Much to my husband's dismay, I collect old doors. They get stacked here and there just waiting for me to do something with them. I even have the door to the farmhouse I grew up in. So when I see this furniture I start planning my dining room with a red hutch and black buffet made of old doors with a harvest table surrounded by mismatched old chairs (another collection) and a bench made of old doors. I can envision it in great detail. Kind of a dining room of misfit furniture. Remember the misfit toys in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"? I'm running a home for wayward furniture. I didn't buy anything here but resolved that I need to bring hubby here and see if he'll understand the great value of those doors and get inspired too.

Once I got home I had to take notes and make a new "to do" list. I'll set it right next to the notes I took last year that are gathering dust. One of these days...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Stuck In/On My Head...

Head On, apply directly to the head.
Head On, apply directly to the head.
Head On, apply directly to the head.

There. I've passed it on.
You're welcome.
*insert evil laugh here* >:)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And Your Little Dog Too

My three nieces and my great niece are dressing up as "Wizard of Oz" characters for halloween this year. My great niece is almost 2 and is the perfect size to transform into a flying monkey. My nieces are going to be Dorothy, the wicked witch and Glinda, the good witch. I can't wait to see photos as I am wondering how the wicked witch will look being 8+ months pregnant! That's a vision not even I imagined. <|:)

One of the yearly TV programs I looked forward to with excitement and trepidation was the showing of the movie "The Wizard of Oz" every October. I don't know exactly the first time I saw the movie but I must have been very young. That wicked witch scared the bejesus out of me every time. And I, as Dorothy did, hated Miss Gulch when she carried Toto off on her bicycle. I have one recurring dream I can remember having as a child and it involved a wicked witch flying around on a broom in the hayloft of our barn.

I'm not sure if they still show "The Wizard of Oz" in October. I'll have to watch for it. Would be fun to see it again.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That will be $1.75 please.

I live near a small college town in Wisconsin with the best movie house ever. The original owner owned a film distribution firm and bought this theatre in the 70's. He showed new releases for unheard of low ticket prices. He passed away a few years ago and everyone was wondering if the tradition would continue. It did. His daughter took over the theatre and published a book about her father, the theatre and the many, many movie reviews he wrote. It's a fun stroll down movie history lane. She used the proceeds from the sale of this book to refurbish the theatre and it is alive and well.

It's a weekly phone call I make to see what is playing. If it's something I'm slightly interested in, I'll go see the film. Even the ones that you would normally say "I'll wait until the video comes out." See, the ticket prices are only $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for kids. And for a mere $1.75 you can carry in a medium popcorn and a large soda. Dinner and a movie - who can beat those prices?

A friend and I went to see "Little Miss Sunshine" tonight. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long, long time. It was fun to see the crowd - young, old, men, women and they all enjoyed the movie. Go see it if you get a chance. Or if you can't afford the theatre in your town, wait until the video comes out. ;)

The Waiting Game

In the late 80's, early 90's I used to crochet, cross stitch, embroider, and make wood crafts. The wood crafts were those cute, knick knacky tchotchkes that everyone had in their "country style" decorated homes. Hubby built me a work bench complete with scroll saw and belt sander. Then came the drill press. I'd spend hours cutting, sanding, painting, assembling and even sold some things at craft sales. After about 6 years of that, you could walk into any store and buy those types of things made in China for near to nothing. Why spend the time making the stuff? After an accident with my hand in '94 I gave up the needlework. Not sure why. I'm sure I can do it but haven't picked it up since.

Then came the rubber stamp craze and quickly hopped on that bandwagon. I made cards, cards, cards and more cards and sold these too. From this I moved into the wire people cards. These are little characters formed from of wire, fabric and paper on each hand made card. They looked nice in frames too. These became my passion and the rubber stamps went by the wayside. I made oodles and oodles of these. They were very "artsy" so I sold these at some art fairs. I did OK but spent more time on them than I was getting paid for. About this time I started taking some drawing classes. These went amazingly well and I started drawing and dabbling with water colors, pastels and paints.

Then I started my own business. Since then my creative self has been surpressed. Allbeit as a Graphic Designer creating is my game but I was a designer in the greeting card phase. I miss that creative part of my self. I feel like it's down in my soul somewhere but something is holding it back. Everything is still there just waiting for me. Come out, come out wherever you are! Something will click someday and that door will open up again. I hate the waiting game. Hurry up already!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rico with Squeaky Toy

OK, another video of Rico and his squeaky toy taken today. He had us laughing so hard we were crying and I was having a hard time holding in my crazy laughter. Again with the digital camera so quality not that great. Time to get the "big boy" bed. He's obviously outgrown the first one.

Dove Evolution

I love Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Les triplettes de Belleville

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Crash & Burn

Crash & Burn are the two kittens Rico and I found on a walk down the road in August. Burn is also known as Burnadette since our first visit to the vet.

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& Burn:
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& Burn checking out a friends cat on the computer:
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Robin Redbreast

Winter teasing this morning,
a reminder it's on the way.
Snowflakes blowing and melting,
upon the ground warmed yesterday.

Robins gather on branches,
one flinches and fifteen take flight.
The barn cats snug in their warm bed,
wind howling through trees in the night.

Toasty fire in the wood stove,
an extra blanket on the bed.
Winter coats hanging on hooks,
evidence that summer has fled.

(Ok, Ok, I'll leave the poem writing to the pros...)

Robin Redbreast
by William Allingham

Good-bye, good-bye to Summer!
For Summer's nearly done;
The garden smiling faintly,
Cool breezes in the sun;
Our Thrushes now are silent,
Our Swallows flown away, --
But Robin's here, in coat of brown,
With ruddy breast-knot gay.
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
O Robin dear!
Robin singing sweetly
In the falling of the year.

Bright yellow, red, and orange,
The leaves come down in hosts;
The trees are Indian Princes,
But soon they'll turn to Ghosts;
The scanty pears and apples
Hang russet on the bough,
It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late,
'Twill soon be Winter now.
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
O Robin dear!
And welaway! my Robin,
For pinching times are near.

The fireside for the Cricket,
The wheatstack for the Mouse,
When trembling night-winds whistle
And moan all round the house;
The frosty ways like iron,
The branches plumed with snow, --
Alas! in Winter, dead and dark,
Where can poor Robin go?
Robin, Robin Redbreast,
O Robin dear!
And a crumb of bread for Robin,
His little heart to cheer.

Monday, October 09, 2006


She would've been 22 years old on October 23rd but her body couldn't quite make it that far. She far outlived our expectations. We gave her a good, loving home and she returned the love two fold. It's so damn hard to say goodbye to our old friends. We'll miss you more than you'll know Kitty.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rico in Action

Rico: 4 months

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Rico & Annie's Puppy Play Date

Last weekend I packed Rico and myself into the mini-van and made the 3 hour trek to my sisters house. This was his first "longer than 20 minute" car ride. For the first 10 miles he was entertained by trying to bite the cars as they went by. It was a quiet, slow-motion, air bite thing he was doing. Is hard to imagine what was going through his head. After he got bored with that he settled down and went to sleep.

After an hour on the road, we stopped at my friends house to borrow a dog crate. I was nervous about letting Rico run loose on my sister's farm. Not sure how he would react to the horses and the chickens and was just not willing to let him have free roam yet.

My friend has two older dogs that Rico had not met yet. We decided to take them all on a walk along the trail on leash to introduce them first. Rico barked at first but as we got walking he just wanted to play. Slowly they all got to sniff each other and by the end of the walk we felt comfortable letting them play together in the house. All went fine. Rico seems to know when to be submissive and had a good time playing with Bailey & Bear. We packed up the crate and got on the road again. Rico fell asleep after being on the road a few minutes.

My sister and her family just adopted a 4 month old puppy named Annie. We're not sure what she is but I think she'a Golden Retriever/Shepherd mix. The people she got her from said she was an American Setter and Chocolate Lab cross. We have yet to discover a breed of dog called American Setter. Pedigree aside, she's just plain sweet. This was the whole reason for the trip - Rico & Annie's puppy play date. Don't worry, I know how lame that sounds.

We pulled into my sisters driveway about 10:00 Friday night. My niece was outside with Annie holding her by the collar. I put Rico's leash on and he hopped out of the car behind me, barking at Annie the whole time. We brought them closer together. They wouldn't stop barking so we decided what the heck, let them go. The playing began and didn't stop until 2:30am when my sister and couldn't keep our eyes open any more and I put Rico in the crate.

Next morning I let him out and he got to meet the horses (he'd rather play with Annie) and he saw the chickens (he'd rather play with Annie) and met the other two house dogs, Zeus and Lola (he'd rather play with Annie). They were inseparable. I'm glad my sister felt the same way about the play date thing and enjoyed watching them play as much as I did.

On Saturday we went for a walk on the trail, went to our Mom's house with the dogs, went to our sister's house with the dogs and went to a place called Inspiration Point and walked the trail with the dogs. It was so fun and beautiful as the trees were in their full fall regalia. It was actually nice to have the dogs because they pulled us up the hill. I think we could've made some money at Inspiration Point renting them out at the bottom of the hill as walking aids. And of course, I forgot to bring the camera along.

On Sunday we left for home and stopped at my friends Mothers house for dinner. Rico was the perfect gentleman and didn't beg for food at the dinner table even though he did make a failed attempt for the prime rib roast on the kitchen counter. He was also one tired puppy from all the activity. I practically had to carry him to his pen when we got home Sunday night.

I was worried about Rico on Monday. He was not his usual rambunctious self. Monday night my sister called and asked if Rico was depressed too. Apparently, Annie & Rico had withdrawals from each other! How sweet. He was back to his old self on Tuesday afternoon. Next it's Annie's turn to come visit. (I'm sick, I know. Deal with it.)

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I like this...

in an email forwarded from Mom...

When you were born,
you were crying
and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end,
you're the one who is smiling
and everyone around you is crying.

Every Cloud Has A Warm Blonde Lining

I can remember seeing my first gray hairs when I was 18. A few gray hairs in a blonde head of hair is no big deal. Fast forward to age 30 and the realization that among the siblings, my oldest brother and I had received the "early gray hair" gene. It was then I decided to start dyeing my hair on a regular basis.

I usually have a box of Preference by Loreal (because I'm worth it) on my bathroom cabinet shelf. Usually light ash blonde but occassionally I would stray for a bit of adventure. I once wandered as far as dark ash blonde. The excitement was too much to handle and a few weeks later I went back to my old standby, light ash blonde. (I need to get a life!)

On occassion I will let my hair grow out until it gets to the "I can't stand this hair anymore!" poochy stage or the first 100 degree summer day, whichever comes first. It's then I'll run to Fantastic Sams and get it cut very short. This is usually an opportunity to check in on the "real" hair color. In other words, "how gray is it now?" Fast forward to age 42 and this last hair reality check was rather frightening. I am now 85% gray except for a strange half circle area over my brain stem at the back of my head which is light brown. Maybe it's my brain putting up a valiant last stand in the gray hair war. Or maybe it's my hair yelling "I'm not as old as I look!" within that last patch of color. I've kept it "au-naturale" for the past few months.

I was at Target yesterday and I decided it was time to leave the reality check behind and was time to pick up a box of Preference. I was feeling adventurous. I wondered what the warm blonde would be like. After much deliberation and a few sighs from women trying to get to the same shelf space, the warm blonde found it's way in my basket. (Note to self, don't shop on Saturday afternoons anymore.)

Last night I went into the bathroom and opened up the box. I mixed the color and worked it into my hair. Usually you leave it in 25 minutes but since I am gray, I get an additional 20 minute sentence. With towel wrapped around my shoulders, I went into the living room and sat down next to hubby. He looked at me and asked if I was going red this time. I thought that was a funny comment and told him "no, warm blonde." I wasn't interested in what he was watching so I got up and went into the kitchen and washed some dishes. Looking at the clock, waiting patiently, washing dishes and wishing I was that guy on the new tv show "Heroes" that can speed up time. I was excited! (again, I need to get a life!) Finally, the 45 minutes were up.

When I walked in to the bathroom and looked at my gooey hair in the mirror, I was shocked. The goo had turned a very definite red over the past 45 minutes. I now realized why hubby had asked if I was going red. While washing out the coloring, I convinced myself it was going to be OK and it just looked like that to add the "warm" into the blonde. All rinsed out and conditioned I brought my wet head up to the mirror. I said to myself "It will look less red and get lighter when I dry it." I dried it. There was definitely a "more red than blonde" now adorning my crown. All I could think of was Clay Aitkins...my hair looks like Clay Aitkins new mane. I walked into the living room to show hubby. "I like it!" he said enthusiastically. Good enough for me! He's the one who has to look at it the most and it's rare I get an enthusiastic response to my hair color. After 24 hours it's kind of growing on me. So I'm now a very berry blonde. Until the next reality check anyways.

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David Sedaris on Letterman