to remind us of warmer days to come...
Thursday, January 31, 2008
I sort of feel how Mr. Nelson looks...We did some volunteer work at the Children's museum and stayed a wee bit longer than I thought. Just till 10:30pm but with two little ones, it makes a difference in energy the next day for everyone. Plus, I stayed up till midnight...finally, got some papers sorted for school, organized some art supplies and got a bunch of flyers ready to hand out/show.
At the museum, I stripped down the one wall in the art room (had old butcher paper, cartoon kids of all nations covered with a sheet of plastic and old tape. Once that was gone, I just started painting with a can of yellow paint donated from my sis-in-law. I've actually had the paint for about a year and it was nice to have it be used for something like this. It's Pineapple yellow. Now, if that's not cheerful and warm, I don't know what is! :) It needs another layer but I forgot to bring rollers...I'll pick up some for tonight.
It's funny how a new coat of paint brightens and enlarges a room. It's so nice to see a clear painted wall. I'm going to put some trim in light blue and white at the top; sort of a scallop edge and then nail a few nails along the sides. This is for some wire and to display artwork without having to punch a million holes in the wall and it looks cool. :)
I got the idea from a design magazine...I think it was Domino (love that one and I need to reorder!).
I left a few flyers there at the museum but I need to really start going around town. Tomorrow looks to be an ugly day in regards to weather, so most likely a no go. Saturday I might be busy with some friends...we shall see.
I also changed the music on the player piano that's at the museum...I hope that's all right but I felt sorry for the Muppet score (which has been there for a long time, apparently) as it's getting worse and worse. I put Annie in. The piano is a bit out of tune, but at least it's something different.
Jon did kid watching and maintenance. He was starting to snappy but since he didn't paint, that's what he gets. His excuse was wearing his work clothes...
Today was parent day at my eldest's school. I admit I was nervous but it all worked out...I realize now, Lydia is a tad immature...oh, well. I guess that's how most kindergartners are. Though, Norrie seems a bit less immature at times. Funny how little ones can be so different from the same family.
We had our pictures taken, had lunch and then off I went with Norrie. I ended up at the market and my feet are actually hurting. I think I need new sneakers, actually. Plus, wearing yaktraks all the time start to hurt but it's better than slipping on ice.
I dropped a flyer off at Starbucks, but don't know if they'll show it. I hope so, as it came out pretty cool...I used stamps and my own handmade stamp with edgegal.com on it.
I have to go to Barnes and Nobles, Michaels, some schools and drop off flyers (if permitted). Oh, and here is the class schedules:
Altered Art (collage/Mixed Media) $15 per class 7-8:30 pm Wednesdays
Beginning Watercolor $20 per class7-9pm Thursdays
Children's Art Classes:
Mixed Media Painting $7 per class 3-5pm Tuesdays
Basic Sewing $7 per class 3-5 pm Thursdays
Limit 10 students per class
and contact can be made thru the museum at 944-6830 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyway, lots of good things happening. The classes start next week but it's always based on the weather. Jon is going to be working on a website for them and hopefully, this will be running by next month.
I have to write a few things down as I must say, art projects seem to be coming out of the woodwork, lately. Always a good thing to be busy and if you have to busy, it better be busy with something you love to do. :)
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I felt frozen. Actually, I still feel frozen. There were garbage cans flying around the streets, boxes, trash, etc,etc. Then, last night I was totally achy and sore with the change in temp and winds. I felt like I was just one big arthritic person. Jon recommended fish oil capsules, so, I'll try that. Supposed to help joints.
Here's what I submitted for the mail art gallery:
and on the back:
Nelson came along for the last half and is now pooped. Well, he also ran around the yard in the typical Bichon crazy eights. Very cute. :)
Why does it seem like nearly everyone else can stand the cold better than me? Maybe everyone just doesn't complain as much as me. Of course, I'm the one walking around in 10 degrees and so forth. I was thinking of going to the Museum after I got my gal from school but now I just want to take a nap. I wish I had made some soup this morning. Ah, well...
I've also been working at my paperclay art pieces. So, all in all not to bad a way to get better from a cold and stay warm inside. :)
I also have to stand on my soap box and say a few words on the recent bill passed by Congress to "stimulate" the economy. I find it shameful that we can give a big load of money to "buy" things, as it were. That's what Congress blatantly said, "to buy electronics to stimulate the economy". I just thought that was really embarrassing as I know what most people will do with the money. Buy food or clothing or pay bills. It really disgusts me, to be quite frank.
A sure fire way to stimulate the economy? Raise the minimum wage to a living wage and give universal health care. If they can pass a bill for something like 146 billion, they can surely give every business out there aid to increase wages. Honestly, I'd rather have a good wage then be given a handout one time (or every 5 years or so)...and it's not like it's a handout of 10,000 or something substantial. It's most likely 1,200 per family of 4. The other irony of all this is if a person didn't earn any money in 2007, they will get $0. That makes sense?
If a person is earning $7 an hour, take out taxes/gas...it's about $5. This is working poor. A living wage would be somewhere near 12-15 an hour, after taxes. Want to really have men and women fish for themselves and feel pride in their work? Give them FAIR wages and treat them like valuable people they are. Slave labor isn't just overseas...it's right in our own backyards.
Well, I'm glad I got that off my chest. Sometimes I just feel like we forget that there are people out there that see humans as commodities or waste rather than humans with needs.
Fortunately, there are a lot of people who do realize this (Edwards and many more) and are speaking up for those who have little or no voice in the narrow spectrum of politics. I do feel change is happening. sigh...but how long does it have to take?
Well, I've got a bunch of things to do...I've got to get going and make good things happen in my own part of the woods! :)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
In the meantime, I've been sick as mentioned earlier. Just feeling so tired and lack of energy makes me just want to crash and not do anything. But I did do housework and that when my wrists started to get very sore and I knew I had to stop. I went to be about 9:30-10 but didn't get into deep sleep (congestion) till later. I forgot to take some cold medicine. Oh, well... Today is a bit better but my ear is hurting so I'm wearing a winter hat to keep it warm. It's one of those days as well. 2 hour delay for school and when we did try to get to the car, Norrie fell 3 times and Lydia practically slid down the driveway. I called retreat and we went back into the house. Any salt I threw down bounced off the path. I couldn't believe it and it was raining too! Usually rain breaks up the ice but this stuff froze to the ground! I'm going to get the gals yak treks as well...
We got an invitation to Caroline's (my b-friend in Ohio)sister's baby shower on Sunday. I want to go so badly but I'm afraid we won't if the weather is this yucky. There's supposed to be an ice storm on Friday and the weather just gets snowy after that. So, I have no idea what we have planned. We shall see...
I can't believe it's already Ground Hog's Day, Saturday! We were thinking of driving thru on Saturday but we'd have to leave at 4 am or something! I don't think so. I'd rather spend the night but as finances are very low, this isn't possible.
Well, today has been a slow day other than the falling down and tears. The gals have been coloring happily and making small messes through out the house. Mr. Nelson is have accidents in protest to having to go the bathroom outside (he barks as soon as he gets out there, poor guy). Fortunately, we've got enough food to keep little people content and in good spirits. I even found a huge bag of bird food I had forgotten in the mud room and Odie is a happy bird now.
Art wise, things are looking up. I have a few commissions to rough out and get okayed by a client, and I'm working on several design pieces for a few companies I'm interested in. I'm going to start a few ACEO's and try some new things.
I've got to go to the Museum and do some work on various things (after I get an okay from the director) and then I can get cracking! :) I wish it wasn't icy and I could head over there now...I'll probably go tonight and bring some paint.
Anyway, good things are happening even with weather being a tad fickle. I can't complain, really, thankfully.
Oh, and I'm submitting a piece to this interesting art show for mailed art! I'm nearly done and just have to paint it. Photos on the way! :)
Friday, January 25, 2008
"Chase away the darkness"
I'm learning to have limits and how to say no, that's enough of this thank you. I'm going to make a semi-big change in regards to outside work. More on this later...
I'm excited about some recent changes that are going to be happening. Now that I have some approval to start a few art classes, I'm willing to go the 9 yards. I'm excited and have ideas for flyers, etc. This should be an interesting new chapter. :)
Also, because things are going in such a different direction and giving me a feeling of fresh air, I may start a few (not the 20 or so paintings of old) new ACEO's. I feel like I know exactly why I felt overwhelmed and can move on. This and I got the script printed out (finally) for my graphic novel...50 pages...more than I thought I had written. Now, on to illustrating and fine tuning a few historical facts. It's quite a wonderful feeling to have 50 pages in your hands that you've created, I must say.
Well, this weekend isn't too tight with work. I take it one day at a time and this seems to help me get past the rough spots. This and naps.
Speaking of sleep, I don't know if it's the cold, cold air or what but I've been so tired lately. Sleeping more than usual and if I miss a nap, boy can I tell. Well, on to new projects and listening to one's body. I also started to use the recumbent bike...I feel quite a bit better after doing this for about 20 minutes a day.
Well, hope everyone has a good weekend, be kind to your neighbor and don't forget to smile.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Today is, according to some British Scientists, the most Depressing day of the year and Monday, apparently, was a Blue Monday. So, basically this whole week is depressing...However, I have made it a point to stock a few sparklers in my cupboard and make this day, January 24th, a day when we break the darkness with light.
Dark of Winter
Dark of winter, soft and still, your quiet calm surrounds me
Let my thoughts go where they will; ease my mind profoundly.
And then my soul will sing a song, a blessed song of love eternal.
Gentle darkness soft and still, bring your quiet to me.
Darkness, soothe my weary eyes, that I may see more clearly.
When my heart with sorrow cries, comfort and caress me.
And then my soul may hear a voice, a still, small voice of love eternal.
Darkness, when my fears a-rise, let your peace flow through me.
Meditation by Shelley Jackson Denham
I love this hymn as it gives a sense of acceptance of the dark and our own fears; that we work through them and are not overwhelmed by them. This is one reason why we'll light our sparklers tonight and because it's fun! ;)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Yesterday, was a calm day at the Children's museum. We got there about 2 and started working with some knitters. I'm thinking of having a knitting meeting (or sewing, whatever anyone wants to do) and just hang out at 7pm on Tuesdays or so.
We shall see. It's just a nice place to stay and relax...and I'm meeting some really fun people. I really hate being shy sometimes...but the more I'm around new people, the more relaxed I get. I'm funny that way.
Anyway, I finally found out I didn't get that job I interviewed for. It's a huge relief actually as it would have totally changed everything we do at home. I think this is God's way of saying, I'm supposed to be doing what I'm doing here.
I did apply for several other graphic design jobs but these would be much more relaxed (at least I hope so). The other one I interviewed for was for the Navy...so, who knows what I'd have been doing. I know I would have been able to handle it, however.
It's interesting to see/meet other working mom's. I like that they handle working outside the house and kids in a pretty much balanced way. I know it's also having kids who are older (there's are 10 or older). Apparently, having kids under 6 is the most stressful for parents and for working mom's it's even harder. So, I felt good there is something to look forward to...a sense of calm in it's own way.
Right now, I finished making an armature for a specific piece I have in mind. I haven't shown any of my work lately but I have some coming soon. I've been working nearly every night in the studio (to freezing temps, got to pull out the old heater) and have been making progress. I wish the basement wasn't so cold.
I'm also trying to get an idea of what needs to be done in there...I'm going to clear off some shelves that hold stuff I don't even use at all and either get rid of it or sell it. It's too much and really, I want the space for things I do use.
This will make it much easier to get the space organized as I have boxes of half finished, finished to needs a lot of work pieces. If everything is out and about, how am I going to able to create anything? So, this is on my priority list.
I'm getting tired thinking about it...lol! :) Plus, I really need to have a supplies area for my gals and their art pieces. It seems like everything flows into one big jumble.
Well, now that I've finished cinnamon pancakes for lunch and had my coffee, I feel like doing a bit of work. Wish me luck! :)
Sunday, January 20, 2008
It might get worse in a week but tomorrow is supposed to be 30 or so. I'm glad or else I'd have to live on soup to warm us all up.
Oddly, I had a good day with my elderly client...I guess I'm used to her ways and if I make sure to address certain quirks, they don't build up and she relaxes. Poor thing, she's like a sweet old bear. :) And yes, bears get grumpy too.
I made a huge pot of vegetable soup when I came home...several different cans of beans, corn, hominy, tomato paste and bouillon cubes made it quite good. I added a sprinkle of Lipton onion soup (the kind you add to sour cream for dip...just a sprinkle for onion taste. Jon liked it a lot. Oh, and leftover rice. Very good.
I started to feel grouchy but picked up around the house instead of napping. Finally, after feeling really cranky, I conked out. It's one of those days where a lot of energy is zapped out of you just by trying to keep warm outside. Mr. Nelson was rather smart as he only went out when he knew he could get in really fast. Smart dog.
Yesterdays volunteer work was mostly all right. It seems that the party people (there was a party going on the day we volunteered) seemed to think they could tell parents to go and drop their kids off at the party (and leave them to run wild through the whole house...all 4 levels), tear up the place and not put one thing back. The party people did do most of the cleaning in the party rooms but let me just say, I spent a good 30 minutes sweeping and straightening. Jon did the organizing on the two upper levels and I swept up the basement (which really, really needs a filter as I can't stand the dust). I'm sorry but letting kids go unsupervised for 3 hours is sort of crazy to me...plus, it gives a bad impression to families that are really visiting the museum with the kids.
At one point, as I was watching the lobby, a kid (about 2 or 3) wanted to play with the old piano in there. I had to say no, while his mom tried to explain it had do not touch on it. When he tried to force the lid open (I caught it in my hand not to fall on his fingers, but crushing mine) he became irate and before I knew it was swinging punches at me and kicking! I looked at the mom who was sort of embarrassed looking and she said in the calmest voice, time to go home now. I was like, "oh, my God." I don't think my kids would have ever swung punches/kicked a perfect stranger. I have no idea what this kid is like at home, I know he was most likely tired (and very spoiled to say the least)but I was glad to see them go in the next 5 minutes. I would have been totally ashamed if this were my kid, so I hope the mom isn't too mortified. I hope the kid isn't like this all the time...sometimes you have to punish someone and see who might be bullying that little fellow.
Anyway, I think some of the rooms might be better left closed off if there is a party going on. Mostly the basement as there was sand all over the place...the party room, the bathroom, all over the steps, and lobby. It's like the popcorn that got all over the library when they hosted a games day at my old library. It was rather horrible and just made a crazy time and clean up.
Also, how do you get people to clean up at a place like a kids museum? Do you limit resources for that day? Ask people to help? Kids to put away things? I think so or the load falls on the volunteers and just makes for very trashy visitors who don't care about the space. I guess I'm old fashioned in that sense. If you visit some place, you put away the things you took out and this is a courtesy/respect to your host. I think one way is to have someone rewarded (either verbally or by an actual small reward (sticker) for those who clean up). Since we're dealing with kids, it has to be something like this and since the parents have been allowed to leave (by the party host) and the kids are breaking rules (parent's are supposed to be with the kids at all times), this would be a two part system.
I could see why this would also make it hard to keep volunteers. Just something to address at the meeting, I guess. Oh, I just had a brain blast (as Jimmy Neutron would say). Have ALL guests entering the museum (party or not) sign in and give their number/address. This is good for kids and adults as well. I like this idea...because it also means we have someone to write to should a mighty terror show up or send flyers for upcoming events. :)
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Volunteered at the Children's Museum today with my husband and kids. It wasn't too bad, actually. I'm tired as right now but had a good time nonetheless. I wish we could have stayed after everyone went home and just relaxed and played games. Maybe we'll do that on an off day. Seems like it's starting to really get "known" and people are flocking there or at least are throwing parties there. I know we're planning a party there as well.
There is interesting things a foot as there might even be some expansion to the apartment next door...I hope this comes to pass as it would be exciting and interesting as a business venture. But right now, all I can think about it my sore foot. I must have been on my feet more than I thought.
I put up some paintings I did and have to make for sale signs for them. People have already commented on them and I was pleasantly surprised. Plus, I have to make flyers to start advertising my after-school art lessons. I'm going to aim for a 3-5pm class on Thursdays or a weekend. I'd have to see how the schedule would go. This would be for kids from 5 to 9 years old; something like this. Or else, older kids depending on who signs up. I'm going to put together some projects and some seasonal ideas for lessons. It should be fun! :) And if it goes well, I might increase the days...and teach crocheting/basic sewing, reuse of things normally recycled or thrown out and altered arts. I'd have a teen class, too, I think. This would be a lot of fun as well as keep me fresh as an artist. Stuff to think about.
Well, I'm starting to re-type what I already said which means, I'm tired. So, I shall go rest, perhaps put some dowels on the backs of more mini-quilts (I displayed about 3in the museum) and just zone out. :)
Friday, January 18, 2008
We went to the library for games and such in celebration of this bear. It was a nice time esp. on a school day off. I was late, unfortunately; one of the kids had an accident. Either way, we made it there and had a good time. The turn out was rather low...only about 7 kids with us. I'm still used to Alhambra's library and over 50 kids coming to events like this. Sort of shock at times at how few kids there are or else how few parents have the time to do things like this. I think this is the main problem...too much working because of many things but usually low wages. It does make a difference if both parents have to work full time or even 2 jobs each and pay someone else to watch their kids. Crazy times...No wonder people are stressed.
Anyway, I was lucky to have time and take the gals there. Afterwards, I felt a bit tired but once we got home, better. I guess the "rush" hour traffic was getting to me. This is sort of funny too as rush hour here is would be considered very light compared to bigger cities. I think it was the cold air that was getting to me. I went for a walk yesterday with Norrie and Mr. Nelson. I think the snow/wind was blowing too much and tired me out more than normal. Plus, I got really bad sinus pressure (I think I was aggravated by the snow). So, this made me feel a bit sick last night (had a temperture). I sound like a big baby, I guess. :)
I guess I feel a bit down because I haven't had any art time and tomorrow I volunteer at the Children's museum (for 7 hours and there's a kid's party for 3 of those hours). I hope it goes smoothly and I'm glad Jon's going to be there to help. I'll bring the camera and do some photography as well. Oh, and I just remembered we had a snowball fight last night. Now, I know why my muscles are tired! Good grief.
I really don't like Jon's carpool thing. I know it saves money but it makes it so he has to leave almost an hour earlier and come home an hour later. This is really exhausting as I have do more work, etc.
As you can tell, I've been spending time with the kids...Norrie and I made bugs with play doh and I made her a "cactus" hat as I call it. It looks cute and funny. I felt like doing something different instead of making green pom poms.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Oddly, I took up knitting at time when I didn't wear glasses. I had been going thru a period of time where it was very difficult to see when I would do illustrations. I didn't make the connection that, "hey, I should get my eyes tested" until a year later. In that time frame, I learned crocheting really well and knitting blossomed from there. Once I got my glasses, I was amazed at how much of a difference my life was...I could see! I remember looking at the landscape of Altoona...I think it was early Spring and seeing (for the first time, it felt)the outline of leaves, the pencil thin strokes of branches and the color! No wonder I was depressed the first 3 years in PA. I even wonder, at times, if I needed glasses earlier and most of what I saw in the landscape in CA was based on my sight from a child. I don't know if that makes sense...but it's sort of like familiarity of routine. It's almost like you know a lamp on the table is there even if you don't see it clearly. That sort of feeling.
Anyway, the knitting meeting went well and we have a few more planned. I must say the Children's Museum is really improving. They broke up the bigger rooms in the downstairs and made it more of a game room and a smaller tea room. I like it. It feels homey and comfortable. I would, however, get rid of the bed in the upstairs room...seems a waste of space and is stealing some of the best natural light. This could be an awesome art room with easels, etc.
All in all a fun evening. My gals really enjoyed themselves as they ran about playing and dressing up. And yet, they still managed to have a few fights...isn't that just the way. A whole house of toys and games and still...sigh.
Well, I am really tired. After the gals went to bed, I did some work with paperclay, painting and more experimenting with joints for a doll. I actually finished 5 or 6 pieces but I'm submitting them to a few companies before I "unveil" them. I might display a few at the Children's Museum or list them on eBay. We shall see. All in all a good two days.
One great thing is I got my application for the local art group, Art in Common. I'm going to apply and just get a feel for things. It's exciting all the good things happening. I know there is a lot of unrest for a lot of people in the world but I do think this unrest is also going to wake up the greatness of spirit in a lot of people.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I'm happy to say, I sold my Winter Witch ACEO. I liked that one a lot and am glad it has a good home. I don't know when I'm going to be doing more ACEO's. I guess when the mood hits me as I'm feeling a bit tired of it all at the moment. I guess that happens after awhile and doing them for about 3 years will eventually have it's toll, I suppose. I do love them...so, they are not off my to do list. And I think I've pinpointed why I've been feeling so overwhelmed. It's not just working out of the house but I have quite few goals I want to accomplish this year. I'm going to write a master list and fine tune it so these goals can be accomplished before the year is out. Not that I have only a year to accomplish them but some are timely (seasonal) and I really want them to be done. Two are going to be books and are for Halloween. If I get one finished at the half way mark by, say, June, I can start on a few of the other books I want to create/write. I must say it's a good feeling to have goals/ideas but if one isn't careful, it can become a tangled mess.
So, I think ACEO's have to take a back burner to my other projects. This is a relief on one hand as I really pushed myself last year...I was churning out about 10 ACEO's a week (if not way more). I'm going to put this energy into my book (S) and see what happens.
I just feel like things are starting to progress the way I want them to by understanding myself and what I want to accomplish. So, I'm off to write the master list and get organized.
Also, I've been working in the studio and getting things cleared/organized. I made a big trip to the Salvation army and will probably need to do another one (when the kids aren't looking...giant pink rabbit needs to say good-bye, I think). I'd like to see more shelves and I want to bring in my giant easel (though it needs some attention) from the garage.
Last Saturday, I made my self feel better by experimenting with some clay I got from freecycle. It's funny because the previous owner said the clay might be all hardened out but when I checked it was fine (if a little too moist!). So, I got this recipe off a clay website and boiled some toilet paper, roll and all. I mixed that together by attaching a dough mixer attachment to Jon's drill and it worked like magic. I could not believe how fluid and easy it was to do this. So, now I have paper clay in a rougher form than the name brand. The stuff I made is meant to be baked in either a pit or BBQ. I may hold off on this till it's warmer (supposed to have snow and low 30's for the next week or two). But if curiosity gets the best of me, I might be out there making a lot of smoke/steam! lol! People must think I'm strange around here but I really enjoy this and so what if I make a mess. It's in my yard, after all.
The next thing to do is wedge the clay and I found a book that shows how to wedge on a plaster made board...So, this might be the next project before actually building something out of the clay. I feel so good about all this as I was starting to get a little down about not having time with the family and Jon. Jon and I usually make things together, so I'm looking forward to this project. Also, Jon's ready to build shelves in the garage for me and let me have the whole thing for an outdoor studio (for big messes, etc. I'm fine with that! :)
Lots of plans, like I said and now that I'm going to create a time line/Master plan, I'll feel a lot better about getting things accomplished.
Also, I was dreading going to my parents in law last night as my sis-in-law has been really catty lately. So, when she churned out a few acid laced compliments, I turned it around and said the same thing to her. I've never done that before and it felt sort of good. It seemed to surprise her and I hope she realizes I don't like that stuff and wish she'd just relax. I know some people think it's clever and witty, but I don't put too much stock in such things and really, it can back fire in one's face.
Now, I'm off to grab some art time...I hope. The gals are happily watching Curious George. A show after my own heart! :)
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
I guess I've been down because I have got a mess in the studio. Last night, I just plugged away at sorting/cleaning up and felt a little better. I'm starting to admit I do like having a neat place to work (not perfect or anything). I guess I was surprised to see a photo I took of my youngest in the studio and it looked like she was standing by massive piles of junk. So, I'm trying to figure out what/how to get things together.
I have about 3 tables (1 is a door table) and they are in a row. This makes for a very long table but awkward to get to the sink. So, my goal is to either move stuff around (best idea) and throw out/salvation army the things I don't want which are mostly on the other half of the basement. This year I want to get the coal bin cleaned out (finally) and use that for Holiday decorations. I have a plan in mind and would like to get it done.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
--Martin Luther King Jr.
This year I tried a different recipe that fell flat. I made diabetic gingerbread cookies and the recipe called for the smallest amount of ginger and spice I've ever seen. They were so bland, I'm going to give the rest to the birds. Nobody wanted to eat them...including me. I felt bad as I made them primarily for my dad-in-law. I didn't feel bad that nobody liked them but that the recipe really stinks. Oh, well...
I'm going to go and buy some diabetic recipe books. I think this is better than just getting something off the internet. At least I hope so. Maybe the library will be the first pit stop. :)
Actually, I think most people should go the diabetic route in food choices. One of my New Year's resolution was to limit soda and more water. It's working good so far (plus, I actually started a lot earlier). I saw an experiment on youtube by this science guy and how much sugar is in soda. I was shocked. It looked like thick molasses at the end. Yuck. Anyway, that's my goal this year.
I've been watching the primaries on World PBS. I didn't know we got that station and it has been a life saver. It’s fascinating, mentally stimulating information. So much better than the regular PBS station (the one with kids stuff, etc). I was impressed by the Libertarian fellow, Ron Paul, as I had never heard him before. It was interesting to hear different perspectives and just get excited in the whole process of democracy. I'm really glad with how things are going, election wise, and the person's I like the most are the ones for credit card reform as well as tough on corporations; basically, Obama and Edwards. It feels like there is an air of change about everything.
Last night, I was talking to my husband, Jon, and we got on to the subject of companies and how juice has the same amount of sugar as soda. This amazed me and I'm glad I watered down the few times I bought juice for the kids. Then, Jon told me that some apple juice concentration is actually imported from China. I was totally flabbergasted as I live in Pennsylvania, practically the apple state and why would anyone want such cheap juice in the first place? I know times are tough but good grief, companies do not need to go that low. My other thought was what are they using on their apple trees in China? For all we know, they are sprayed with DDT or some other cancerous bug killers. They do not have laws to reduce pollution or protect their people in China. I just felt sick. This is the number one reason companies go off to places like China...less laws and restrictions. I'm sorry but there is a reason for these laws; to protect people.
I will confess something now. I like to go to dollar stores. I like going to the 99 cent stores and finding deals. But most of the time, I get paranoid as well. I bought some candy canes there, not bothering to check the label, and when I came home found it was from China. I threw them out. I felt scared. I have no idea what is in it. I don't usually buy food from there but if I do, I make sure it's from somewhere in the US. It seems to me that most dollar stores have steadily gotten worse over the years. Jon said it's because there are so many now. It's very true.
My dad-in-law was telling me about some columnist he read and how the person made a comment on what was wrong today. Basically, the problem isn't that products have gone up in cost, that inflation is everywhere. The problem is that wages have froze in growth or have been extremely limited. If most people where paid fair wages, most small businesses would thrive (I'd surely shop there, then at cheaper places) and economically it would be better for everyone. Maybe things will change next year with the advent of change.
In other news, I had to give Mr. Nelson a bath. He was so muddy last night. Actually, so were the gals as they played in the yard and made "mud babies". Apparently, the yard is full of mud people and they are having a blast. Sure it's messy but that's fine with me. I loved doing stuff like that when I was a kid and had my share of mud people. I'm glad I'm raising kids who like to get a little dirty and have lots of imagination in their own yard. I notice a lot of people are prissy about keeping perfect yards. I guess that's fine if you're retired but if you've got a dog or kids or both, let them play. :) My only real regret is not having a big tree for them to climb on. I loved doing that as a kid...Our tree was a big grape fruit tree on the side of the house. You could climb up and sit on the roof and be very safe. I loved doing that. I'd even bring my guinea pig, Strawberry, (pulled her up in a yellow basket on a rope) and sit up there with her. That guinea pig was probably scared out of her life, now that I think about it. lol!
I'm very tempted to get another pet...a guinea pig. But I want to have a really good cage (an indoor and an outdoor cage) that will be protective as well. There are just too many critters around here!
Also, Jon and I are going to be doing some volunteer work at the local Children's Museum. I'm excited about it as it's starting to take shape and really feel like a community project. Now, if we could just get some big donations from a few folks as well as grants, this could be something stable and that will grow.
The weather yesterday was so balmy and even a touch humid; it felt great. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine I was in California near the beach; it was that nice. Of course, now I'm feeling homesick. I really hope this is the year we can try to visit and see my family. Sometimes, I feel like I've been trapped here...just a vague feeling of this. I guess that's what homesickness is.
Jon got thru to our piano tuner and had a slightly funny conversation. We had our piano tuned maybe 3 or 4 years ago. We remembered he had a Bichon, had allergies and was getting allergy shots like me. So, Jon calls and asks if he was the piano tuner (we weren't sure of the name). You had a Bichon. He answers, yes, she was 14 and died a few months ago. Jon was sad and said all that could be said. Then, he said you have allergies and were getting allergy shots...yes, the man answers but not anymore! I'm allergy-free! So, it was kind of funny that everything we remembered had changed. I guess that's how it's supposed to go.
Also, with this warm weather I cleaned out the car. Boy, was it dirty. I'm glad I got it decent again. It probably should have the carpet in there deep cleaned but how do you do that in a car? I just think carpeting in cars is a bit silly. I guess it's for traction or something. Maybe I should look for small carpet pieces. Our driveway isn't the best in the world...broken tar and very muddy. Jon put a bunch of straw down and this helps but it's still cracked, etc. In fact, when it gets muddy it feels like you're walking on a sponge; very squishy.
Well, it's time to start the day. I have a free Tuesday (thought I'd have to rush around and have the girl scouts over for knitting class, but looks like I don't have to; phew!). Also, I get my small payment from my part-time work as well. So, that helps. I'd like to try a few experiments with paper clay that was suggested from my EHAG group and dust off the manuscript and start illustrating my novel. I did a bunch of chores yesterday and now I have time to work on my projects. :)
Sunday, January 06, 2008
This weekend we had family from MA come down for a late Christmas visit. Oddly, they were early for a Russian Christmas as today is Christmas Eve, Jan. 6th. I learned this from one of my clients who is in her 90's. Apparently, her mom, who was from Russia, celebrated this and my client said she was always jealous of the other kids who got to celebrate Christmas on Dec.25th. I thought that was rather cute, actually.
It's a rainy day today and no ice! I'm thankful for that. Yesterday, we visited with the family as well as Friday. On Saturday morning, I did a bunch of paper mache and worked on designs I want to create. I did pretty well, actually. My hands feel a bit rough, but not too bad. I reused a lot of materials from Christmas packaging for most of my projects. I really think this is much better than tossing it or even recycling as it's put to a new use. I'll have to take some pics as I'm sometimes amazed at how things can transform with just a little effort.
I also started my "Valloween" (Halloween + Valentines Day) themed piece for my Ehag group on eBay. I'm excited about this!
I'd like to have a few paintings to put up on eBay soon...but as I've been busy with all other aspects of life, I've got inch out a few time slots for this. Hopefully, soon! :)
I had some sad news of a friends very sweet dog passing away. Her name was Molly and she was a real sweet heart. I'm glad I got to met her and her parting wasn't long in suffering. It's so hard to lose a pet...but it's 1000 times better to have had them in your life, even though we are sad when they part from us.
Right now, I'm taking down the Christmas things... I hate this part as it's tiring (well, I'm tired after having to get up at 6 am for an early client on a Sunday) and dusty. Plus, I have too many trees! I'm going to leave the white tree up as I'll decorate it in hearts for Valentines day. I may make this a tree for all year. I love the white! I'm glad I saved it (it was close to being tossed as it went thru some hard times left in an old garage and I had to scrub the life out of it...however, it's been reborn and is doing well).
Jon took the gals to the local Children's Museum: Quaint Corner or QC as I call it. He's got some ideas and I want to find out about having a book signing there.
In between all of this, I'm organizing my studio...still need a few more lights and another clean out, other wise, it's starting to really shape up. I'm glad of this.
There was a little problem last night. I learned you're definitely not supposed to wash a chenille blanket in the washer and then stuff it in the dryer. My mom-in-law gave it to me and I unfortunately assumed it was like most blankets. Let's just say, there was so much fluff, the dryer started to smell! Scary! I vacuumed it out and Jon cleared out the air vent. All is well, but it was so scary. I thought I broke everything. Now, I have a chenille blanket that is 1/3 the size and just looks like a shaved cat. Not a pretty site. I never seem to do well with blankets made of the delicate stuff like wool...dang.
Oh, and my foot has been giving me extra pains lately...Plantar Fasciitis. It's really annoying and I have to do stretches for this besides wearing foot support or arch support.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I'm in the process of the final coat for the shabby chic beds for my gals. I love the color...antique Bella white. Eventually, I'll either buy or make them quilt covers in similar antique white with roses. Sigh...I love romantic things.
Also, I got the last copy of the new Victoria magazine...maybe they'll be more on the stand tomorrow but I was so happy tonight to get my copy. I thought for sure they wouldn't have it out. It's such a good issue and of course, I love the article about the artist who cuts paper! The forced bulbs sound good too! :)
Well, I've made my tea as it's early in the morning and I can slip in a few hours of sleep if I do. I started to feel sick again after trotting around out in this awful cold. I'm sensitive, apparently. Also, we lit some fire sparklers last night as New Year's morning was so blizzard-ie and cold. I loved the effects...and we got some good pics of this. Afterwards, my fingers were so cold with numb that I could hardly open the door and felt like defrosting in a warm bath. My gals were better equipped with snow boots but even they looked frost bitten.
The sky, however, was amazing. The stars were out with not even a single cloud to hide them. If it wasn't so cold, I'd have liked to lay down and stare at them...but I really didn't want to risk anyone getting frost bite. Maybe if I had a few more layers on...
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I've decided to move almost all of my art stuff to the basement and get that space in order as I go. I feel happy with this, though it gets a bit cold down there. In those cases, a heater will help and I can always bring one project up if I really have to.
On the other front, I'm starting to want to put away the Christmas things and move on to the next holiday, Valentines! I can hardly believe Christmas is over. Well, it's not really over...just the electric lights and stuff. Though, I may leave a few strings up. lol!
I thought Jan.3 was back to school but as it turns out it was today. So, somebody got an extra day of vacation...oh, well. Stuff happens.
We're having visitors (family from MA) coming in and that should be fun. Hopefully, they'll miss the snow storm. Supposed to be a fairly big storm, too.
Jon's working on the sink for the basement. I hope it works and he won't feel depressed that he can't get it done. It's a bit of challenge as he's never done this before but I think he likes challenges, really. I'm excited because if this is accomplished, maybe a small bathroom might happen sometime later this year. :)
While Jon was working he had to turn off the furnace for safety reasons. This was about 20 minutes. Then, he said I could turn it back on. I totally forgot (until now) and my fingers are so numb! Good grief...You just don't realize how you depend on warmth until it's taken away. Some people actually don't even have heat (for various reasons) during the winter...I think that's a shame on our society. Every person should have heat, regardless of paying bills or not. I will say, I was really moving around cleaning while it was this chilly.
One of the things I'd like to get in a few months is a toaster oven. Actually, I'd like two...not because I want to cook up a storm but one would be for food and the other for small clay items. Apparently, you can bake polymer clay in there, like a real oven, but have it outside so you won't have to worry about ventilation. I thought that was an interesting idea. Maybe I'd put it in the garage.
Lately, the temp has dropped a few degrees and it's now a consistent 20 degrees. When we put Nelson outside to go potty, he did his business really fast and then ran like the dickens back inside. I've never seen him move so quickly. I must say it was pretty funny.
I can't believe Jon goes back to work tomorrow. Time just flies...I do feel cheated, slightly, that I was sick half of winter break, but at least I had him here to help me. That was nice.
Oh, we had a bit of an adventure a day or so ago. We decided to go for a drive and Jon drove to Tytoona Caverns. It's a hard to spot cave past some farms. There is a huge sinkhole with beautiful plants growing even in the Winter. You get to this hidden spot and there is a path that leads to steps that go down, down to the bottom of the sinkhole. There is an earthy smell of rotted leaves and horse manure and as you walk further down, a smell of fresh water. It's quite wonderful if you're well and walk slowly. I was a bit nervous as the ground was slippery and Mr. Nelson was pulling his leash rather hard...he likes to run ahead and sniff like most dogs do.
Anyway, we walked down there and my gals are leading the way. I'm like, "Jon, you let the gals go all the way down there?" And he said, "yes, they loved it!" All I could think was there are no rails to block the 10 foot drop into the roaring water going under the cave (with a 2 foot clearing) and how slippery the leaves are. I felt myself panic and clung to a nearby tree. Jon wanted to go closer to the water, but I said no, we'd better go back up. Nelson would have liked to stay but I just felt like we'd all slip into under the sinkhole forever disappearing...The water that was rushing by, usually, is a trickle but not that day. It was a torrent of water. So, my panic spread and the gals and I gingerly walked back up. It was nice to see but my sore ankle, cough and surprise to be so close to the edge of nowhere overwhelmed me with good sense and we went back up.
On our way home, we stopped to look at various animals...sheep, cows, horses. They are close to the road...less than 2.5 feet at times. The sheep were very cute and we saw various cows and horses. We stopped to look at a black cow. Jon starts saying, "Gals, look! A cow!" I look over and at once notice the black horns pointed right at me. I blurt out, "That's not a cow, Jon!" Before I know it, I see a curl of red under the eyes of this bull and it starts to charge right at us. A rickety fence is all that divides it from our little car of glass and metal. I start screaming, "Drive, Jon, drive! Don't stop...just drive!!!" The bull is huffing and puffing and all I can think is, I do not want to be on the news for having a bull attack us or worse. Finally, it seems, Jon drives off. Jon mutters something about the Amish kids we had seen, must have teased it or something. I said, no because they had crossed the street after pass the bull. Believe me, kids are usually smart that way.
So, this way our big adventure. I've seen other bulls and they usually just glance our way and act like we're strange for staring at them. This was not Ferdinand the Bull...believe me, this fellow was quite the opposite.
Of course, I want to go back and photograph everything. That was another annoying part...I didn't have my camera and after all of that, just wanted to get back to city life! :)