Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Here is a closeup...
The boob bowls didn't get made - my idea and the artist's idea weren't exactly the same so she worked on her special project and I made two new ones for gifts. Next time, I will make the boob bowl I had in mind....sort of a frosted glass, white or clear frosted, with a blob in the bottom for the nipple. I promise I'll show you!!
My two projects last night were a rectangular plate with a black and white striped edge and two fanciful chickens on a translucent green background. The second project was an experiment. I constructed it the same way I did the vanilla art bowl above but used translucent glass strips and bits. It's very tricky - you don't just lay scraps down, but rather must be carefully put together like a puzzle. Every bit of glass must be touching another bit and you can go three layers high. You want the holes to accent, not take over and that's tricky too. Then the whole piece is kiln-melted flat and then put in the kiln again to be slumped over a bowl mold. The vanilla one was sandblasted to give it a matte finish but I don't think I'm going to do that with the new one - I'll have to wait until it comes out of the kiln to see. It's always a surprise and so exciting!
I am so busy today and all I want to do is play with glass! I'm also sewing a dolly for Kiley for her birthday. I made her six little summer dresses (pics will come tomorrow) and matching headbands. I had some fabric left over so I'm making dolly dresses - really simple little shifts. This is her first doll! And I can't wait to give it to her.
Why o why does work always have to get in the way of fun? I had a veggie conference this a.m., a festival meeting this evening and then a night meeting with the federal EPA regarding a SuperFund site.....I'd much rather cut glass and sew dolly dresses!
Monday, March 30, 2009
1. crabmeat dip
3. boobs and boob related stuff
Remember the bra project I invited you to a while back?
And remember the glass classes I'm taking?
Well, artist extraordinaire Alyssa and I will be making BOOB BOWLS!
They will be frosted glass with a small dark blob in the bottom...
We will sell them on the silent auction table at the bra project auction....
I CAN'T WAIT! and I promise to take pictures all evening and entertain you with them tomorrow!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
But it really got me thinking this morning. We all know about energy efficient light bulbs. We all know about water reducing shower heads. But I question whether I am doing enough...I want to leave the smallest footprint possible on this glorious Earth. I wonder if I am even doing my share.
I admit that I run the dishwasher probably too often. I certainly could wash by hand each day (It's just me, after all!) And I keep lots of stuff plugged in when it's not is use: televisions, cell phone chargers, coffee makers...I'm going to try to remember to pull the plugs all the time.
How about trip consolidation to save gas? Now that the weather is better, I can walk to the post office, library and office from my home. I need to be more disciplined with that. I think I do a good job of running errands on the fly: if I'm driving by the hardware store, that is when I'll stop; I combine many stops into one trip. I think I'll give myself an A for that.
How about consumerism and the packaging of what I buy? I get an A here too. I really am aware of plastic containers and always try to buy glass (it can be recycled easier and at a greater return for our town) I reuse jars and plastic bags (fruit and veggie ones) I use cloth bags when I shop. And I won't buy a product that has plastic, wrapped in plastic, wrapped in plastic over cardboard. So wasteful.
I am an avid recycler. I am really REALLY careful and I am so lucky to live in a town that not only allows recycling of ALL kinds of plastic, glass, all cardboards, newspaper, office paper, used oil, metals, wood, and tin cans. I also toss out some of my waste to the birds in the park: lettuce scraps, veggie peels, etc.
The one area that I can't seem to get away from is paper. I seem to get a lot of mail - press releases, etc. - that can be done through email. I get probably 15 to 20 individual pieces of paper mail each day (just for the office) and two newspapers or more. I am going to make an effort to contact each of these organizations and suggest email and may cancel my subscription to some of the marginal papers and read them online.
Any other ideas out there?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Okay, I am being dragged - kicking and screaming - back to the diet.
Here is what I ate yesterday:
one cup of coffee with milk and sugar
a bagel with veg. cream cheese (and then ate another spoonful of cream cheese)
two handsful of pretzels (I have SUCH a thing for pretzels)
a small bowl of popcorn
five glasses of caffeine-free Coke with ice
two chicken sandwiches on rye with lettuce, mayo and cranberry sauce
1/4 bag crunchy cheetos
WTH was I thinking? of course, I WASN'T thinking. I was eating, reacting.
My diet has self-destructed.
I'm going to take the weekend to reflect, clean out my frig of all IMPROPER foods, and refocus. I just don't understand why I sabotage myself at every turn. My motivation was pure; my determination was strong; I was doing well. And then - like a switch was turned on (or off?) I just started eating whatever I wanted. Emotional eating, of course. I am better than this.
I haven't weighed myself so I don't know how much damage I did.
I'm going to think of this as a rest stop: you know, you are cruising along the interstate, doing about 72. The music is good on the radio, you are comfortable in your seat.
And then you make a rest stop.
On the way out of the car, you step in gum.
Once inside, the sound is really echo-ey and unpleasant.
The bathroom is messy and there is no paper. There are no towels to dry your hands so you end up using the butt of your jeans.
No one will look you in the eye. The coffee is too hot and too strong and cost $4 and you can't wait to get out of there.
That's it - this mess is a pit stop and I'm getting back on the road. Grab the wheel, Sharon, after all - YOU are in control of this ride.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This is my grandson James, sporting a brand new permanent tooth that looks so HUGE in his little face. James is in second grade, loves skateboarding, dancing like Michael Jackson and sometimes goes by the name of Tootie. He has a hysterical sense of humor. He also wore the sweater.
This is my first grandson, Joseph, trying on his serious, deep-thinker look. Joey is a gifted skateboarder, a great student in school, plays guitar, and is wildly popular at school. He is the thinker - a bit more quiet and reserved than James, but can also be hysterically funny. He also wore the sweater.
So did Terry, Robin, Sarah, Jessica, David, Tobin, Amelia, Danny, Faye, and Russell.
Thirteen babies in 43 years - a heritage sweater. I can't wait to see who the little person is that will wear it next.
Thanks for all your support yesterday. It meant a great deal and I felt your well-wishes and even that hug, Libby. I think it did me a world of good to sort of spew out my feelings - writing things down always puts them in perspective and makes them much less scary.
It also helps that today is beautiful - I'm headed out now for a walk with Miss Emma.
I'm much, much better today - more focused and purposeful. Wrote a couple stories for myself and helped a fellow reporter with some background for one of her's.
Tonight is movie night (watching The Savages - it should be funny and warm) and it will be good to have friends in the house...
oh, and don't forget how good the popcorn and wine will be!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Miss Emma found a sunny patch in the bedroom and dreamed of dog bones, digging holes and chasing her tail! Seems like she's been cold all winter. Now - it's just after four as I write this - she is laying on the dining room floor on my painting cloth, again enjoying a warm patch of sun.
And the cheese! This is an artisanal cheese created at Diversity Farm in Troy, Maine. I interviewed Farmer Bob today and visited his farm - an Old MacDonald kind of place with horses, cows, rabbits, chickens and cats dancing in the hay. He makes 7 different kinds of cheese, including this delicious cheddar, and ages them in a cave below his cheeseroom. They develop a breathtaking mold - one looked like silver feathers! - and the rind is delicious as well. He doesn't live too far away and I can see that I will likely be a regular customer!
Oh the sun today! In just the last hour, as I sat here at the computer writing my cheese cave story, I have seen so many signs of spring:
*the dog walkers are out in the park in full force - the dogs are leaping and jumping and so happy to be off leash.
*three young men walked by dribbling a basketball, headed for the courts in the park.
*two of those young men were wearing short sleeves!
*enough snow has melted in the front yard that the realtor's sign that disppeared sometime last December has just reappeared.
*children on bicycles are EVERYWHERE!
*the entire girls' softball team from the local high school just went jogging by.
Also, between here and the farm in Troy, I saw THREE clotheslines filled with flapping laundry...ahhh that smell...
And the good news? Tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer. Finally. I needed this weather and the sun today.
I'm still having trouble processing my son's stabbing.
I can't get past that someone tried to kill my child. That someone slid a knife into his belly button as if he wasn't a friend, a son, a father, a brother - a person that MATTERED to other people. As if he was a chicken sandwich or a chocolate cake or something that didn't cry or laugh or tickle. If this had been an accident, like a car crash or he fell off a ladder, well, somehow that would be so much easier to deal with. But to think that his life, his pain mattered so little to someone. That whoever did this had no thought that this was a human being, a living breathing person he was stabbing....it's hard to get my head around that.
My thoughts are a bit fractured. I'm making mistakes (I upset my BFF Trudy yesterday because I wasn't paying attention) and I can't seem to focus on anything. Yesterday I couldn't manage to write a single story, when usually I'm good for three or four.
I'm flitting around like spit on a griddle and last night was the first night EVER that I can remember I was afraid of being alone and so after supper, I went out to my son's and visited for a while...
This odd, shaky feeling is better today than yesterday but I still catch myself sort of stopped in mid-work or mid-thought, sort of comatose - just staring vacantly and trying to jump start myself again.
Tonight I'll try sewing for little Kiley's birthday next month and hope that will get me smiling again. If that doesn't work, I'm drinking the other half of Monday's bottle of wine!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Apparently, we discovered Saturday night, it takes eight.
There is little Kiley, having a tubby because she had ziti and meatballs and sauce from head to toe.
And there is the peanut gallery: my sister Robin, my neices Jessie and Sarah, my brother's sweetheart Margie, my daughter-in-law Amanda, the baby's mother Faye, and myself. All crammed in one tiny bathroom, sitting on the john, the countertop, the floor and piled in the doorway.
It was wonderful! And I knew my mom was right there with us, laughing and joking. There were only three men at the get together for supper and they didn't get it: didn't get why we were all in the bathroom. Didn't get what was so darn funny. Didn't get that this gathering together was a hug. A group hug. We don't get to see each other often enough and giving Kiley a bath was just the excuse we needed to get as close as possible. To smile and laugh and be a family.
Although going to Connecticut was painful, there were some real bright spots:
Getting to see the dress my baby sister has selected to wear to her son's wedding this June.
Visiting in my niece's new home and having bagels and coffee with them.
Catching up with my brother and his sweetie (and mine) Margie.
Sharing a homemade dinner with my son and daughter-in-law.
Having all five little cousins at the same dinner table, smeared in spaghetti sauce, fighting over the garlic bread and hugging each other at every turn.
Spending some very special time with my two grandsons, Joey and James.
It was also educational. My grandson James (who is in second grade) imparted wisdom willy nilly all weekend. Did you know that the first names of the Wright Brothers of the First Flight fame, were DeJuan and Tootie? He swears it's true.
Oh yes, it was just like a hug.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Please forgive me for disappearing - my son Mark, 35, who lives in Connecticut, was stabbed last Thursday. He was in the passenger seat of the car, which was being driven by his girlfriend, Chris. They stopped at a light (in a not so nice neighborhood) and a man pulled open Chris's door and tried to drag her out of the car by her hair. It was a carjacking! My son ran around the car to stop him and he stabbed Mark right next to his navel.
The wound was very small - but the knife was long and was twisted when it entered. His bowel was cut.
You know that meant emergency surgery - at 10 p.m.
There was no way I could get there at that hour so I waited until the morning and hit the road. Six hours later, my daughter, her baby Kiley and I arrived at the hospital (after getting lost three separate times during rush hour traffic!)
He is doing well.
The surgery went fine, the infection is under control and he is even farting (which is a very good sign) and yesterday they finally allowed him to drink broth and eat Jello.
Today my daughter and I and the baby drove back to Maine.
I am exhausted - physically and emotionally - but I also have some fun stories to tell. I"ll be back tomorrow after a 1/2 bottle of wine and at least 12 hours of sleep.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Once I saw the amazing beauty and FUN of this project, I could not stop thinking about it, I could not forget it, I had to act. So...I'm inviting any one of you that think you might want to join the fun to read on...If your interested is piqued, check out the website that inspired me: http://www.quiltersofsc.org/artfullbras/artfullbras.htm
and then give me a call. After all, as I said in the release, we all have boobs. This is OUR disease.
CENTRAL MAINE MORNING SENTINEL SATURDAY, MARCH 14
PITTSFIELD -- Brassieres as art?
That's the idea behind a fundraiser to support breast-cancer research under way in central Maine and the organizers are looking for some creative, artistic entries.
Each entrant is asked to decorate a bra -- one of their own, a thrift store find or possibly one from a breast cancer survivor, in any outrageous manner, said event organizer Sharon Mack of Pittsfield.
And the more creative and unique, the better.
"Beads, quilting, feathers, papier-mache or other any medium is acceptable," Mack said in a release. "There are only two rules: Each entry must look like a bra, and each entry must be created by hand."
Inspiration can be found at any number of Web sites that feature art bras, Mack said.
"Every one of us has been touched by breast cancer -- a sister, mother, friend, daughter, or possibly ourselves, and I can't think of a better cause," Mack said. "We know there are a lot of talented women out there that could create some amazing works of art -- bra art."
Mack said she was prompted to spearhead the project, which is called "Bra Babes," after seeing photographs of a similar project conducted in South Carolina.
"The bras were unbelievable," she said. "They were such works of whimsy and imagination. Each made a statement of its own."
Nearly two dozen women have signed up for the project, Mack said. They come from Florida, Connecticut and from all over central Maine.
"Some are breast cancer survivors, others are creating bras so their daughters will never know the fear of breast cancer," she said. "Let's face it, we all have boobs. This cause affects all of us."
The deadline for submissions is July 1 and the goal is to have 40 participants. The bras will be displayed at various locations in central Maine and will ultimately be auctioned off at a special event with all of the proceeds going for breast cancer research.
For more information or to sign up to participate, contact Mack at MaineBraBabes@ hotmail.com.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Here's the ridiculous: Kiley sucking up a beefaroni - what a mess! and what fun! She has been here since Sunday and goes back home tomorrow....boo hoo
While she is here, she is learning how to climb stairs. Her own house is all on one floor and she's got the going up part down pat...it's the coming back down part that needs work!
The last two pictures are a treat: they were some of the food at Saturday's Full Moon Party III. Hazel, the British Marine, made chocolate chip meringues with orange zest and carmelized orange wedges with red pepper....oh so good!
And BFF Trudy made puff pastry squares topped with carmelized onions, fig puree and goat cheese. Amazing!
So, with baby here and son home you may not see too many posts over the next couple of days...but think of me exalting in all this ! I am a happy, happy woman today!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Since Mr. Barkless is barkless, which likely means he cannot speak either, I'll tell his story:
I was asked to create a "treasure box" for the Bangor Children's Discovery Museum fundraiser a few years ago. The museum provided wooden boxes (quite large, actually, about 12'' high, 18'' long, 12'' deep) to a group of artists and we were left to our imaginations.
I thought I would make it like a doghouse, with dozens of dogs all over it. The treasure box full of "guard dogs" would protect and watch over any child that became its owner.
So I went on eBay and Craig's List and through every bric-a-brac shop within 100 miles and bought every porcelian, china or stone doggie I could find. I have about 100: big ones, little ones, a small dog sitting in a pee pot, two dachshunds with heads that bobble, dogs playing musical instruments and Mr. Barkless...I have dog pins. Dog brooches. Dog medallions. I literally went to the dogs.
Now, I wasn't going to put Mr. Barkless on the treasure box (which would have been covered with broken china and glass tiles in a reckless kind of doggie pattern....upon reflection, what the heck is a doggie pattern?) but I couldn't resist his little face, which as you have already noticed I'm sure, because you have nothing better to do than listen to me prattle on about every detail of my life, his face looks just like my little EMMA! (see my Nov. 12, 2008 post for confirmation of this amazing look-alike coincidence which has nothing to do with the fact that ALL Boston Terriers have the same face.)
And then I changed my mind.
And I did a tea party. A tiny china tea set was on top and it was all done in pink and white and green. It really did come out well and was the second highest cash getter at the fundraiser auction. I did meself proud.
And now I am left with a gazillion homeless dogs. Big dogs. Little dogs. Oh, I already told you that. So, what to do? What to do? I must come up with an art project for a gazillion dogs. And I'm still leaning towards making a whole series of small treasure boxes, each with four or five "guard" dogs - there seems to be a lack of stuff for boys out there. Another idea I had was a sort of mobile, where the dogs sat on flat pieces of glass or wood. It could be for an entry way, again the guarding theme.
Any doggie project ideas out there or am I barking up the wrong tree?
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Today my "walk 100 steps and make a photograph" challenge led me through the kitchen to the big bay window overlooking the park and there was my felted bag full of yarn.
Not just any yarn, mind you, but yarn planned for a spring top for Kiley. I think the universe was kicking my ass into gear on this - I haven't even started it and I'm pretty sure it was planned for a Vernal Equinox celebration.
That's only 16 days away.
Please notice my steps did NOT lead me to a Boston Creme Pie.
NOR did they lead me to a big hunky, tanned lifeguard named Sven.
They also DID NOT pass any one-way tickets to Hawaii, with a side trip to Australia.
They did NOT stop at the cookie jar, which is my kitchen is filled with pretzel sticks.
NOOOOOooooooo, those carefree little steps took me to the unfinished, unSTARTED, making-me-feel-inadequate and like an bad Queenie (grandma), yarn project.
It's an omen. Or maybe a curse. It certainly was a kick, at the very least, and I got the hint. I have pledged to give it a full hour tonight. It's the orange yarn I'm using and every six or eight inches there is a bobble of yarn so that when you work it up, it almost makes little three-dimensional flowers appear! We'll see how I do....remember, it's movie night.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Now look at this piece of art:
It is the plate/bowl I made Sunday at the fused glass class. I am so excited - it came out exactly as I had envisioned. I'm already drawing patterns and writing down ideas for more....I think everyone on my list will be getting one of these for Christmas!!
Isn't it exciting to try something new, something absolutely foreign and find a bit of success in it? It's scary and challenging to take the first step, feeling that little prickly feeling of unease about being in uncharted waters. But, my mother Betty Lou always said, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Making something, creating something - these are easier to begin or try.
Relationships: now that is really scary. It somehow seems easier and oh so much more comfortable to stay with the old, cluster with the known friends, than wander outside the fence into unknown territory. That's why cliques form in junior high. The devil you know....
This week I tried both: a new skill and a new friend. And I'm feeling pretty good about both.
I'm building on the success earlier this winter of inviting a new friend, Hazel - who I only previously knew through work and a library book club - to join our movie night. She is fantastic and fabulous and hilariously funny and I never would have known that if I didn't take the chance.
This week I've invited another new person to movie night and the Full Moon party. I hope she's all she appears to be.
Because, with every new friend, with every new skill learned, with every new experience, my life gets deeper and richer. And you know that ain't all bad!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I cheated a little bit this morning with my "take 100 steps and shoot" photography challenge. I only walked 91 steps. I was brought to the front foyer of The Mansion where my little light shines all day and all night. In case you are new here, the light is for my son of my heart, Eric, who is a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. It is the third time I've had the light in the window; he served two tours in Iraq also.
I took the picture, had a little cry and then headed for the computer to download it. There I found this incoming email:
"Hi everyone. I just wanted to let you know that I will be home sometime in the next two weeks for R&R. I will be in TN for a few days and then off to Maine to see the family. I know it's short notice. It was for me too. I will hopefully see you all soon.
It's very easy today to believe in miracles.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Last night, apparently in a typing phrenzy, the eph key phell oph my keyboard. I cannot believe phor a minute that I was overusing it. I only say the eph word three or phor times a day. well...maybe more iph it is snowing non-stop, just like it is today. Since we are in the midst of a blizzard, I have to wait until the end oph the week to get the laptop's phace phixed. So, my dear phreinds, you are stuck with this phreaking gibberish...
glass class was spectacular! it was kind oph like working on a puzzle. phirst you think oph a design and then you begin CAREPHULLY cutting the glass and placing the pieces on your glass base. I chose a luscious lime green and placed squares oph black and white glass on top oph that. Then I put smaller black and white squares on top oph those.
I then put small slivers of deep red across the top squares. I then put just one tiny dot oph lime green on the very top oph one corner square. I cannot wait to see the phinised bowl! It won't be a deep bowl - just sort oph slightly turned up like you would put in on the cophee table or phoyer table, iph I had a phoyer table. The mansion DOES have a phoyer. But it's empty.
There were about seven people in the class: moms, grandmoms, two teenagers and one pre-teen. It was so much phun to see what colors each chose - such a wide spectrum. I am hooked and I already prepaid phor another class next Sunday. I think everyone in my phamily will be getting glass bowls phor Christmas this year!
(GODDESS, this eph is so annoying. Aphter all, the eph is where the left index phinger rests and now my phinger is sitting on a little rubber stub. This nippley thing is all that is lepht oph the key. The little phlat top is now taped to the top oph my laptop. yeeeeesh.)
Today, as I said, it is a whiteout out there. It started snowing in the night, the wind is howling and they predict it will continue all day and into tonight again. I hate, hate, hate it and cannot wait phor spring! The only good to come oph this storm is that I get to stay in all day and semi-relax since I worked like a dog all weekend. Seven stories and short takes on Saturday (a 12-hour day) and phour on Sunday. It was worth it - I got page one again....I seem to be on a roll.
OOOOO do you hear that? It's my canvas calling me. I woke up this morning with a painting in my head and I'm dying to begin working. I'll share when it is done.
Hope you are all snuggly warm and toasty on this white winter wonderland oph a day.