Monday, April 28, 2008

A wee bit behind my list of to-dos...

But that's not going to stop me. I was supposed to do a blog the other night for my Altoona Art blog but the power being out stopped this. So, I'm thinking of something to put up on it. Jon has a great idea and I just need to photograph this one picture. It'll be slightly more personal entry. But once I get that one up, I can move on to some more interviews of various artists I've got.

I wanted to take a trip downtown and do some writing on the art down there. There are still a few mini-galleries and some murals that are interesting. So, I may have to do this today...but it's RAINING. It's supposed to rain for nearly 2 weeks but I doubt that. I hope it's not true! The other reason I couldn’t make it to downtown, I’ve just been so busy! I can finally say, however, I have finished writing the grant (my first and certainly not the last), and it’s nearly ready to send. Wish me luck folks! This would enable a lot of art updating for the museum and most likely have free art classes for a few months! I’m excited!!! This would be very unique to the area as well on a variety of levels.

Every spare minute I try to work in the garden and plant seeds. We put some flower seeds by the edge of the fence and I hope they take. I didn't even bother watering them as I felt it was going to rain. The rain is coming down quite nicely (not stormy) and it makes everything look like the green has been touched by the paint brushes of artistic elves. The lilac is blooming, blooming, blooming. They look so wonderful. I wonder if I can dry some of it and save it for potpourri? I'll look into that.

I’m waiting to buy more top soil (composted materials) and then put in my vegetable garden. I want to grow a lot of things this year. I did some starter potatoes as well (Jon requested this) and I want to grow cabbages too. I think I may have to learn how to make sauerkraut. I wonder if I could get some Amish woman to give me lessons for this. I already have someone going to teach canning in the fall too.

I also started a starter for Sour dough bread. I have been wanting to do this for ages and finally got the gumption to look up a recipe and give it a try. So far, it's just a matter of 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour mixed together with a wood spoon (no metal), and let to rest for 24 hours or so. Then, pour out half and add another cup of flour and water. Here's the recipe.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Power out.

Finally, the lights are back on. We had 8 hours of power out from about 4:30 pm to 12:30 am. It's almost 1 am right now and I'm going back to bed in a few minutes. The number one thing I realized from this power outage is A. we have very few candles and flashlights B. Our house looks really messy when looking around for candles and such.

I was too tired to do anything with the little candle light we did have and we ended up going to sleep. This outage was most definitely from thunder strikes as I saw a few transformers hit by lightening. It was pretty scary. The gals and I were under blankets most of the time being on the 2nd floor and listening to the cracks and so forth above us. The gals still remember when I used to tell them stories about cloud kittens bowling on the clouds above and that's what makes the lightening/thunder. They've incorporated flying pigs for some reason (I guess from that saying "When pigs fly"). Pretty funny. But I was concerned as this was the most lightening in awhile for this area. Just glad there wasn't any homes hit.

This was a long day...we got up early and went hiking before going to the museum. We did this for about an hour and were so muddy, we dropped Jon off and he did museum stuff for a bit. The gals were a bit tired from the hike and finally I got them going about noon. Then, they started to have a melt down and I took them home about 4 pm. We were so hot, we drove over to the dollar store and got new water sprayers. The clouds above us were huge, dark and seemed right on top of us. We had about 10 minutes of spraying each other and suddenly, it was pouring down rain. Beautiful, filled with power and a bit frightening.

We went back to pick up Jon, lightening and rain falling and about 5 minutes after this, it stopped. The sun came out, the sky showed blue and white. We drove over to get a spaghetti dinner from the Masonic club (my in-laws are on the Hollidaysburg Chorus and they are fund raising). Drove back, stuffed ourselves and fell asleep for a bit. I dozed off staring at the blue sky from my window and loving the shapes the clouds were taking on. Nice relaxing (if but for the power being out) afternoon. Now, back to bed for some more sleep.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs...

One of the things I love about Pennsylvania is the traditions. There are some traditions that originated over 300 years ago upon the arrrival of German settlers escaping to religious freedom who were welcomed by William Penn. This tradition was the hex sign. The hex sign is meant to bring good luck and to protect or ward of negative/evil things. I had seen a few of these signs when I visited my friend in Ohio (we went to an Amish Cheese factory) and on a few homes where I live now. It's rare to find a hex sign painted on the side of a garage let alone farm buildings as they used to be(this was very important to early farmers, I'd imagine, as the farm would have been one of the most valued parts of life back then). Still, I was curious about the hex signs and have always wondered what they meant.

Well, recently, while I was looking through some storage boxes at the Children's Museum where I work, I found, much to my delight, a Hex sign. I instantly felt happy seeing this and placed it on the mantel in the office/greeting area. The one in the office looks a little like the one below.

This is what it means:

Oak Leaf

The Oak Leaf or Mighty Oak is made up of four oak leaves in bold colors radiating from the center. The Oak symbolizes strength in body, mind and character. The four colors of the leaves symbolize the seasons of life and the wavy border in the outer ring symbolizes smooth sailing in life.

I love this Hex sign as it is perfect for the Children's Museum. I may have to make one for myself!

, originally uploaded by emily999.

, originally uploaded by emily999.

Magnolia petals

Magnolia petals, originally uploaded by emily999.

Spring is here!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It is the growing season...

Things are growing and buds are blooming everywhere. We walked under a magnolia tree (I'm pretty sure that's what it was) and another pink blossomed tree (maybe cherry?) by my daughter's school. I forgot the camera again. I’ve really got to stop doing that...I'm going to go back there and get a few more shots. It's one of those gorgeous days where the sun is shining and it's after a storm has passed by cooling the air while leaving a clean crisp feel. Yesterday was a bit humid and we ended up staying inside for a bit after school.

The gals and I made a little sketch of pet shops and then enlarged it to make a pattern and cut them out of felt. Lydia took hers to school and might give her little duck quilt to her teacher. I didn't get a chance to photograph it yet, so I was a little disappointed. But that's all right, we’ll be doing more of this. I still have Norrie's (mind you, I helped her a lot).

Anyway, yesterday was a busy with me doing some clean up at the museum as some of the volunteers like to visit and just leave a mess (of course, it's one of the guys). Still, this is not an excuse. I really hate it when women (and I do this too) say, oh, it's a guy thing.'s a learned from a very early age thing. Believe me, guys can clean up just as well as gals if they have been shown how.

So, I spent about an hour doing this. Then, I got home and plunged into a grant I'm working on. I've got 90% of it written out and just need a few other bits and it will be done. This will really help the museum especially giving older kids a chance to feel included as well as grown-ups in the community.

I have a lot to do for my art show at the local library but I think I'll be all right. I just feel a bit tired and lazy right now. :) Norrie wants to go on a bug hunt and I really don't want to but I will anyway. It must be the cooler weather today that's making me sluggish.

I think I'll dig around the compost heap (needs to be turned anyway) and look for bugs, get some soil for the garden plot and feed two nuts to one squirrel. ;) Looks like the coffee is starting to kick in too. lol!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Just one of those days...Tuesdays are getting easier but it's still hectic as the gals have to go from point A (school) to point B (museum) within a small time frame. It was my fault as I timed it to be too close in terms of driving. I always think I have wings instead of wheels. Next time, I plan for events in this matter, I'll make sure to do it at 3:30 pm to ease into a more relaxed schedule.

As it is, Tuesday is over and I can focus on a little clean-up on Wednesday for the museum. I'm starting to get some volunteers, which is really wonderful. I even have a whole girls scout troop coming hopefully soon and we can really give the museum a scrubbing. I guess that's what I feel right now, an intense Spring Cleaning needs to be done there.

I must say it's a great feeling to be teaching art classes again. What's more, I've got a few moms who are interested as well. I love this. If I can inspire people to try new things and reach for new goals, this is what it's all about in teaching people. It's a good feeling to say the least.

Other good things, slowly but surely, the world is turning that beautiful yellow green of fresh sprouts and new leaves. It always amazes me when this happens. I know a little about the science behind it and the reasons why but it still feels like a miracle to me, every time.

Spring anew
Life renewed and gentle is the breeze flowing,
flowing touched by the calling trills of birds
I know not what but still, so familiar so reassuring.

Life and light and newness growing.
Here a bud and there a leaf and slowly,
slowly they do reach towards that beautiful buoyant blooming.

Gentle is the rain that falls, warm and cool and nourishing all.
The leaves they bend to this musical call and I and we,
we wait, listening to the pat, pat pat upon our carriage wall.

E. Gottshall

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New beginnings...

After a few bumps and confusion in protocol, things are going well with the museum. We had a conversation with the owners of the Quaint Corner building and were able to establsih some new aspects of the contract. It helps set a standard for the board to maintain to (hopefully) and gives clear understanding of what is expected.

My only concern is there seems to be quite a few members on the board that haven't been at the museum to help. At least when I'm there. I find this frustrating as I would like to meet them in person, talk to them and even sit down, eat, and brainstorm. Fortunately, there are a few new possible additions and this is going to be one heck of board group that will give more punch as well as strength to our cause. I'm very excited!

The next board meeting is in May. I'm going to request we have a meeting once a month from then on to keep track of everything, help the organization grow and really establish itself and so much more.

In other news, the weather was so fickle yesterday...humid, hot, and I started to feel achy and stuffy again. We ended up putting an air conditioner in one window as I couldn't breath comfortably. This was annoying. The air helped, so that took away the stuffy feeling.

Jon's folks are still in Boston helping my sis-in-law out. Apparently, she got a cold and needed some help with the kids. Her husband works two jobs, right now. It's a tough time, really. I wish they'd just move over here and they'd have a lot more help and so on. But I guess that's impossible because of housing prices.

Anyway, the weather is now rainy and damp outside. I threw some old tortillas under the bird feeder the other day and when I looked out, there were 3 rabbits nibbling on them! It looked so idealic with rabbits and little sparrows eating away under the bird feeder with a balcony of fresh lilac leaves above them. So very sweet and charming.

I can see why poets were so enamored of Spring. It was not just new life emerging but having gone through a long winter and experencing that ache of cold in your very bones. I've started to read "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder...I guess that why I'm thinking about this. This also makes the humidity much more appreciated than the cold!

My gals had a Spring concert and here are some of their pics:

black bird

black bird, originally uploaded by emily999.

A new day begins...this photo was taken about 5 days ago. I enhanced it a bit. Oddly, within that time frame, this tree has tons of leaf buds! Amazing.

Friday, April 18, 2008

On grooming a dog...

I decided to give Mr. Nelson a trim. I finally got one of those dog grooming shaver things and pulled it out today. I thought I'd work on his hair for about 15 minutes (I have a small setup in the basement (just the dryer and a table). So, I plopped him up there and after reading the directions, started. Before I knew it, I was covered in dog hair was floating all over the laundry area and half and hour had passed. I had to stop and run down to pick up the kids. This was the 1st half hour of grooming. He sort of looked a little like a lion/poodle face...and very tube like.

The second round, I went down there and worked on the "mane" around his neck and evening out the puff of his body. I noticed he's very, very sensitive to his hind end. He flinches and squirms...I'm almost certain he was treated poorly at the groomers (even if an animal has mattes, they shouldn't make the critter have psychological problems). I did a lot of positive reinforcement, cooing and just all around doggie petting. He seemed to feel a bit better.

I still have to do the underside and I'm seriously thinking of sedating him as he is very upset if I even go in that general area. I'm very surprised by this...he actually growls and leaps up like I'm going to pinch him or something. Until I get something from the vet, I'll just ease him in with gentle talking and comforting. He really is skittish about this. Otherwise, he's looking groomed and not so puffball like (though I do like him like that. It was just getting to warm for the little fellow).

7 Stress Reducers...

Just what I needed and when! Stress reduce.I especially liked the 10 deep breaths...this really helped.

Had a break with a popsicle outside on the front porch...a nice relaxing moment. After that, I finished all the dishes. Now, on to the laundry!

Sunny days...

Things are a bit quietly chaotic (at least for the most part). I cannot believe all the things that happened yesterday, good, bad and ugly. Had a strange phone conversation with a person who basically blew up in my face (or ear, actually). I kept thinking of that old phrase by William Shakespeare...people killing the messenger. I just felt rotten after this. The scary thing is I had never met this individual in person and they just went bonkers. I ended up going to see her in person and she was still a bit off (her hand was visible shaking). I, of course, decided to take the high road and pacify the situation. Honestly, if someone feels that intensely stressed about their job, maybe they shouldn't be doing it. I still feel a bit sick from their reaction...

Once this was over, I was still a bit frustrated but at least the initial meeting was over and I could move on. I had to do some banking and decided to go inside. We were crossing the parking area when these college kids served right in front of us (nearly hitting my youngest daughter) and scooted into a parking spot. I was so shocked (and I confess, still upset about the before mentioned situation) that I went up to those two boys and shouted at them they should be ashamed, etc,etc. I don't think I've ever been so verbally loud in my life...and I've been known to have a bit of a temper when pushed too far. I guess this was as far as I was going that day. Anyway, they both seemed a bit ashamed but the passenger actually said, I should look where I'm going! They are so lucky I had my hands holding both my gals...and that I didn't have a brick! I'm still angry about this, obviously. I know it's Spring and warm but good God, drive safely.

So, after this, my hands shaking I got the bank stuff done and then as I was leaving, they left too...I memorized their license plate number, wrote it down and reported it once I got home. So, I feel a bit better about that. :) Again, people should be grateful I'm not a cop...I'd be one hell of a tough one, I tell yeah.

Both gals are at school and are taking a walking trip to the park. I went over and brought them hats/sun block...the only mom to do this, I guess. I should just donate a big bottle of sun block for all the kids, really. This might be a good practice to have as there is some nasty stuff with skin cancer (and it runs in our family).

Well, I had a great time at the museum with some kids and their mom. They are really sweet and the eldest is in my art class. I really love getting to know people...and esp. ones you can relate to.

Last night was the Spring concert for the school and both gals were in the show. I had a cute overload with my gals and really with all the kids. They just made me so happy. The songs were so great...esp. the Don't Smoke one. There was a bit of an uncomfortable moment, I think, as smoking is so prevalent around here. When the laws finally change, I think a lot of people will be happy and healthier for this.

Things are being done at the museum...I'm trying to get a few things worked out in the agreement part but otherwise, it's going well. I hope it's finished finally and we can focus attention on grants, spiffing up the place and reaching out to donors.

In other news, I'm doing more ACEO's. I'd like to eventually have more up by this weekend but will have to see as I've got a few other works on my list.

All in all, things are Rollin along. I was feeling stressed out but as Jon said, let it go and it will all work out. I did and feel 100 times better. It also helped that I did some walking and physically let go. My, oh my are there beautiful trees right now...blossoms and the baby leaves! Wonderful!

Hopefully, everyone is all right allergy wise. I'm ready for lunch and Nelson wants to be let in. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mythical Turtle

I just read this story about a turtle that was thought to be extinct and was discovered in a lake in Vietnam. There are 3 in captivity but it was incredible to see this one in the wild. Apparently, the legend in the area is to see this turtle one is blessed. I liked this so much...I hope it applies to photos too! :)

We love turtles over at my place. I've told my gals about our adopted tortoises I had as a kid growing up. Both were named Mr. T (partly for the A-team show and Mr. Turtle (by my youngest brother). I'd eventually like to have one again, but for now, I'm content seeing them swim by in a creek... I am starting to feel like having a guinea pig (or 3 as they are herd animals. So cute!). :)

I dropped by the museum and got everything ready for the yoga class...I probably should be there right now, but I'm tired. I'm still getting my allergies under control and being up so early, means, I need a nap! The best thing about the museum is both my gals love it. They are happy and so is Jon. I hope people feel this vibe and want to be a part of it as well.

Calming a bit...

Finally, things are starting to calm down a bit and even though there is lots to do, I don't feel too overwhelmed with things. Actually, I feel really, really blessed with the amount of support and team work we've been getting at the museum. I sometimes am amazed by the huge amount of kindness out there.

Recently, one of my assistant directors, Joliene, helped clean up the museum. This was when poor Jon got sick. She did such a fantastic job on the basement, I couldn't believe it could look like that! Also, she did a very clever thing with the sandbox. She raked all the toys to the side and then smoothed out the top. Oddly, this is very reminiscent of a Zen Garden. This seems such a nice concept I'm thinking of adding more elements in this line (still keeping with the playful dinosaurs, so no need to fret). But it might get the parents to want to do a little soulful raking as well.

I just found this poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and it just seems to be so fitting for this time of year and how I feel. Perhaps because Earth Day is approaching and I've been working in the garden more, whatever the reason, the words fit so well for this moment.

"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire
with God:
but only he who sees takes off his shoes."
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tonight is the Spring concert for my gals. It will be fun and interesting to see. I love this sort of thing...I remember lots of piano recitals as a kid. My mom would go all out and have a big feast prepared, the house would be spiffed up and we'd invite as many people as we knew. It was a lot of fun and even though I'd always make mistakes while playing, I enjoyed sharing what I learned.

On Thursday I got to met a fellow blogger and artist, Kim Hambric (hi, Kim!). She's going to exhibit some of her beautiful quilts at the museum! I'm very excited as this will give the room more atmosphere as well as be a place for local artists to show and sell their work. I also was lucky enough to have another local artist, Sam Dietz, show his landscapes and galaxy work at the museum. Again, I feel like these works not only are good matches for displaying in the museum but will give the local area some variety and scope to the artistry as well.

I got up a bit early today...5:45 am. I was able to get a few sunrise shots and will post them a bit later on. There is a yoga class this morning and I still have to break down the still life display I had up for my students on Tuesday. I had a migraine yesterday and needed to take a nap. I'm feeling much better. Decongestants help a lot and so does gentle nasal flushing. Controlling dust and allergens is a good thing as well. I'm annoyed with my one allergy medication, Zyrtec. They have gone over the counter, increasing their price and over packaging this to ridiculous levels (I have to use scissors to open each pill!). Anyway, I have an appointment with my allergist and hopefully we can find something that will not be so costly on all levels. What a time for this to happen...pollen/dust/grass everywhere.

Anyway, I've got to start the day. The sun is streaming into the kitchen windows and a part of me just wants to rejoice with this. I noticed more and more people sort of running outside in a crazy, delirious way...I understand but watch out for the kids and be safe.

Monday, April 14, 2008

black bird

black bird, originally uploaded by emily999.

Might not be the flu bug...

I just read about the recall of Malt-O-Meal and apparently, this includes the private label they are under "Giant" brand cereals. They have included ALL of their puff cereal except the coco puffs. We ate the coco puffs and we have all come down with "flu-like" symptoms. Jon is still in the throws of, I have to worry it was salmonella poisoning!

I called the doctor, state agriculture department, local news reporter and news station. I contacted Malt-O-meal and the local market "Martins" (where we bought this from). I'm furious as this could be the answer to why we all got sick (and continue to be sick) as well as the various families/people in our area that have been getting sick! This is horrible and would explain a huge amount of what was happening to all of us. I saved the remainder of the cereal, just in case. I'm going to contact the FDA next...this is ridiculous and could be life threatening for elderly, children and those with weak immune systems.

I would like everyone to share this and get the word out. We need to be proactive and know what's happening. Here's the recall info. And here is the list of private company names Malt-O-Meal fall under as well:

Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops and Weis Quality.

Food Recall...

If you've eaten any puffed cereal from Malt-O-meal, you may be getting flu-like symptoms. This could be salmonella poisoning. Here is the recall info from Malt-O-Meal. I've contacted my doctor and am now telling everyone about it. My family ate the Coco Magic puffs (which isn't on the list of recalls, yet).

Sunday, April 13, 2008


This weekend was to find out some info on various people's pov's as well as meet Tony Barr (a local politician who is running against Shuster). They rented party space for their child's birthday. It was really neat to have them and I hope more local officials come and see the museum. I should have taken some pictures but was helping set up an art display for an artist I'm working with, Sam Dietz. His work really adds atmosphere and looks wonderful. He does landscapes with an impressionistic feel.

I love that the museum is getting the attention it deserves and is truly becoming a community meeting place. I'm excited about the possibilities but aware that we have a lot to do. However, I'm up to a challenge and I know with a strong base of team players we'll do well.

My art classes are going well. I've been enjoying working with primarily kids who are home schooled and I'm glad to be around these groups. It's funny how regardless of where you are, there is always some sort of something to be worked out and balanced. I'm thinking of how we have had Lydia going to private school...I wonder what everything would have been like if we had stuck with homeschooling or had done public schools? I guess it doesn't really matter to second guess these things but to keep going on and learn what works best for us. If I had another one of me, I'd totally do homeschooling but as it is, this doesn't seem to be (at the moment). I can't believe Lydia will be graduating K in May.

I have an art show coming up in May, speaking of which, but I don't know if I'll be able to make the deadline. I had to put ProCare (I promised to bring more pieces to show in the actually gym) to the side as A. my car seems to be headed for that great car dump in the sky (wah!!) B. the smaller car I'm borrowing is REALLY smaller and I don't know if I can carry half of the work up there. C. I'm adjusting to the work at the museum. I hope I can put a few pieces together tomorrow. If I can do 5, I know I'll be able to get more up by the end of April. Plus, there is another show to enter...oi! What a lot of things but again, all very good art related things.

Plus, I got sick half way in-between, then the gals got sick and now, Jon is sick. Thankfully, we had a volunteer come and watch the museum for us as I was going to have it closed because I had to watch the kids and Jon. Fortunately, he seems to be better...though, still not 100%. It will pass. This has got to be the worst flu bug in awhile and it seems like everyone has got it.

My mom and dad-in-law are heading out of town to help my sis-in-law as she's down (has a cold or something) and needs help with the kids. Hopefully, it's nothing serious.

Tuesday seems to be my most compact day...I've got several art classes going, a homeschool group coming and a quilt artist, as well, to look at the space and maybe provide some examples.

Oh, and the weather has dropped into the late 30's early 40's and I feel achy all over again. Fortunately, there was a bit of warmth and in those days buds started to pop and various plants got greener. This helps me mentally to see all that green coming. I still haven't planted my garden as I want to get more topsoil and this is a bit discouraging. But it will happen soon enough.

I don't know how anyone with more than 2 kids does it. I know some people with 3 and some even with 8 and I'm thinking, how, how do they do it? The good thing is there are lulls and quiet moments; that makes all the difference. Plus, the occasional nap is a good thing.

I'm so excited about Summer and just being with my gals while working at the museum. I feel like so many good things are happening and I'm very glad there is this opportunity to do work like this.

Oh and mom, if you read this, we got the package of goodies for Lydia and Norrie. They love their dolls and new outfits for the red haired dolls too! The mini-wooden bowling set was a great idea and perfect for table play.

Well, good night everyone.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672) US poet



Quaint Corner Children's Museum Altoona, PA

Quaint Corner Children's Museum Altoona, PA

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Spring, originally uploaded by emily999.

Friday, April 11, 2008

happy sissy

happy sissy, originally uploaded by emily999.

birthday girl

birthday girl, originally uploaded by emily999.

happy gals

happy gals, originally uploaded by emily999.

Lydia's birthday...

Feels like Spring/Summer...

Today was a warm day, at last! It's humid as well and thankfully I'm borrowing my dad-in-laws car which has air conditioning or who knows how I'd feel! We did quite a bit today...opened up the museum for a play date day, did yoga (Lydia joined in!) and then had lunch. We went over to the park and the girls burned off so much energy we all took naps when we got home. I think it was mostly from the weather being so different. It's rained off and on. I'm a bit achy but not too bad.

I'm thinking of extending the hours on Friday for the museum as I think it would be something nice to do in the early afternoon. I also have some ideas for advertising and so on.

I finally got some artwork up on ebay. Lots of Guinea pigs, rabbits and cats! I've been meaning to share these but haven't had the time. But they're up at last.

Oh, and the plants are starting to bloom! Forthisia, tulips, daffodils, blossoms, and leaves are all coming back on these skeletal trees. Spring is here and soon I'll most likely start complaining about allergies but what a visual treat to see life emerge after this long winter. I see why the birds sing in delight, the rabbits frolic in joy and why the mud stained animals at farms still feel joyful with the turn of seasons.

The Mom Song Sung to William Tell Overture with Lyrics

Yup, this is very true...boy, is it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A bit about relationships...

I was reading about various personalities and actually ended up learning more about my self! Isn't that the way of life? I'll think someone else has a problem and it's so________________ (fill in the blank). But once I start to step back emotionally, I can see how I'm just as to blame with my personality flaws.

Here's an article I found on various "dragons" of personality. It's a good check list just in terms of managing my own limitations and understanding others as well.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A storm rolls in...

I feel the weather changing and the pressure makes my fingers and joints really ache. I'll take something to ease that feeling as it feels painful right now. Thank goodness I went to yoga class and got some nice calming stretches for the wrists as well as the face. I feel a bit badly as I completely forgot time and Jon was late for a meeting. I need to get a watch with an alarm set in it...oh, my.

Today was a bit of a strange day...had to borrow my dad-in-laws car because my car is acting up, again. His gas tank is locked with a key and guess what I didn't have on my key ring. So, I had to drive back (gingerly, as I really, really didn't want to run out of gas on a hill) and get that from him. Then, I was off doing a bunch of errands, had another meeting/discussion for future plans of the museum and so on. In the mean time, I dropped off my gal to her second day of pre-k and it went wonderfully.

After all of that was said and down, the weather was so beautiful (before the storm clouds rolled in) I did some Spring cleaning and raking. I was a bit shocked at how much trash was on my neighbors side...and disgusted. But I raked it all up and it looks good. I could go into a nice little rant about what my neighbors threw into our side of the yard, but the thought of it's not in the best taste. My other neighbor is sort of acting a bit strange as well and keeps chopping up the poor rose bush that is on the dividing line. It bothers me to a certain extent because he never talks to me about it and just does whatever he pleases. This is just rude in my just don't do whatever you like because you feel like it needs to be done. Strange and very obsessive behavior on his part. I don't know maybe he thinks he's doing me a favor? I don't know. These are the same people that spray poison on dandelions (and I know he sneaks sprays on my yard as well...which I don't like). The strange thing is I talked to his wife and she acted like she knew nothing about this. Very odd, if you ask me. I sometimes get the feeling people are a bit jealous of the space we have (it's very open up and I plan to add more gardens, actually). Their yard is small and used for their at-home business (daycare). This seems to always happen, every Spring. I guess some people are bit psycho about being out in good weather. I just hope they aren't trying to widen their driveway onto my yard...we'll put up some posts and fencing if this is what their trying to do because this is our yard, after all. They have one of those awful gravel drives and that stuff sprays all over the lawn and is a nuisance.

Sometimes I forget how nice and quiet it is during winter...your neighbors have to close their windows when they're practicing their "music" and the other side is blinded by snow, so nobody really cares where the line of property is. My dad-in-law would let most of this slide (supposedly. He's the one complaining about the cat feeding neighbor). I guess it's officially Spring when your neighbors are being annoying again!

Anyway, the kids are down, Jon's at his meeting, Kiwi (our cat) is warming my wrists as I type) and Nelson got in the garbage earlier and made a mess. I yelled at him and even though he acted ashamed, he seemed a little too pleased. I punished him by having him wear his leash and be tethered in the kitchen. Haven't done that in ages. I got some good tips from my friend on how to take out matt’s and I'm anxious to try this...I got all of the matt’s out of his fringe but have to work on his legs next. Oh, Nelson is so stinky but I don't even want to try washing him till I got some small scissors to cut out the matt’s.

All the cats are shedding and this is hair ball season. Otherwise, they're doing well. I have a long haired cat, Autumn, and she loves being brushed. So, I'll probably do that tonight. Thankfully, Jon remembered to bring Odie (our cockatiel) in. I brought him outside for the first time since November 2007! It was humid and warm enough for him.

It's a short week at school...and Friday is hoagie pick up, open the museum and maybe some yoga, again. I hope my eldest will want to try yoga. She confuses hoagie and yoga, which is just so funny! We'll see...

I'm so happy my youngest likes pre-k! This was a blessing to me. She cried a little today when we dropped off Lydia but I told her drop off time wasn't until later and she felt better. Then, just before lunch she was like "I want to go to school, now!" I love it! :)

Lydia seems to feel happy she's the big sister and can show Norrie the ropes. She's doing much better in school...all it took was a little more time and making learning fun. I still think there is too much pressure on kids these days when this pressure should be applied to our leaders in government for change that is immediate for basic things like healthcare, a living wage and so on. Believe me, if these things were taken care of, we'd not only have better schools and happier families but we'd have schools that we're really about education, rather than test scores and forcing kids to hurry up and learn this list of things by the time you're 6. The German word Kindergarten literally means "Children's Garden". It was meant to be "a form of education for young children which serves as a transition from home to the commencement of more formal schooling. Children are taught to develop basic skills through creative play and social interaction." Nothing about test scores here...It's a pity because why is it so important to learn to read by the time you're 5? Honestly, it just makes a child feel poorly about themselves if they can't master this when they're really not supposed to at this time, anyway. Who are we comparing the kids to? And shouldn't this be about progressing at our own pace, rather than the pace of some made up standard?

We bloom in our own time and our own ways. We grow when we're not pushed and watched like pieces of dough on a cookie sheet. People aren't switched on by pushing a button. I know my daughter and I know she will do very well with the right setting and patience. Change doesn't happen over night. Don't teachers and school boards read the books they recommend? Things like Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus is a perfect example of this...

Well, enough of my rants... It's late and I want to get a bowl of cereal and zone out for a bit. I recently got a copy of a Martha Stewart magazine and it was so pretty with various plant arrangements. I love being inspired by nature and Martha does such a nice job. Good night or should you read this in the morning, Good morning!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Surviving the weekend...

What a weekend! Not only did I start my new position as director and curator of the Children's museum in Altoona but we also had my eldest daughters birthday. It was actually exciting once I had all the running around done (why do I always forget something and have to drive back to a store/home and get that something?). Anyway, I was a bit nervous meeting all the parents from my daughters class but otherwise had a good time. I guess I wasn't the only one who was quiet but it's such a comfortable place to sit and relax, I didn't feel the pressure to talk too much. I just hope everyone felt like they had a good time. I was really interested in finding out how some of the parents have memories from their childhood of the museum. This was so exciting to me and I wanted to write it down...I love hearing how people remember how certain rooms are, what appealed to them and the excitement of it all. Also, I found out there is a 4th level to the museum...sweetly called "Grandmother's Attic". Apparently, this is in the turret of the Queen Anne style building. I'm going to have to go up there one of these days (though, I'm a little's dusty and needs cleaning).

This weekend would have been just right however, Lydia got really, really sick. Basically, she got the little kid version of what I got a few weeks ago (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, aches, etc). Poor kid! Norrie isn't too hot but not throwing up, thankfully. So, I ended up staying home all day, cleaning, washing, laundry, etc,etc. Jon manned the museum and did a good job. Plus, he set up the office! I got a chance to get away when he came home and it looks pretty spiffy. I still am amazed at how much everything is changing.

Also, I've been looking through the various papers, stories written about the museum and so on. It just seems like there was a lot of thought and effort by various people to make something out of very little. I find it amazing, in some ways, how so much can change in about 100 plus years. Union Ave used to be a high-end of town in it's day and now, it's very rough around the edges. I'd say it just needs a good scoop of economic distribution. I have a lot of plans on how to change things and make this become not only a place for families to experience a bit of art/discovery, etc but a place that can be self supporting as well.

In other news, I have one small semi-realistic work being displayed at BCAF in downtown Altoona. I need to drop by and see how everything looks there. I also need to go by Procare and bring in some more work for the gym area as I promised to do this. With all that has been happening, I'm surprised I can even finish this blog! ha-ha! Believe me, it's all good because it's related to things I want to happen in regards to art. This is my passion and I must say the higher forces of life seem to be guiding me lately in the right directions. :) Now, if only I could get my car to stop acting up (probs with the transmission! Yikes!). I hope the car only needs some oil but I'm nervous about it all.

I have no idea how we'll get the gals down as Lydia took some naps from being sick and Norrie is just a highly wired kid. I have to admit they are so wonderful...I guess most kids are like that once they hit about 6 or so. I feel very blessed by them, even when I'm cleaning up vomit...well, most of the time.

I just hope I can find the source of what is causing everyone to get sick. Is it something in the house we forgot to clean? Maybe the car?? The museum? I don't know. So, I'm going to have to go and get a bottle of alcohol and sprits everything. This is the best way to kill most (if not all) germs. I'll do the house again, the car and then the museum. I have a suspicion it's the museum. I guess I'll find out tomorrow (if anyone was sick over the weekend from my daughter's class...I'll feel badly about this but at least I'll know part of the answer).

Anyway, I'm tired but pleased I got so much done and that Jon helped so much. I have some more work to do...I found some really cool black and white photographs of the museum and want to put them up on the web. There's only three but the feel of the photos have so much character.

I've got to start writing my ideas down about the museum as well as my art projects. I must say, having ideas really does give a person joy in life. Well, gotta go...the kids are a calling'.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Rainy days and Fridays don't get me down...

Well, we made it to the end of the week. Tomorrow is Saturday, a birthday for one of my special gals and then I can relax (somewhat). We just got back after going to the Museum twice (cleaned the floors, put out supplies, etc. The second time, I brought party stuff and we decorated. Jon's folks dropped by and helped with that and then we got it all organized...I must say, it looks good).

My feet are killing me but I know we did a good job. I also did yoga twice this week and it was a blast. I like our instructor and it's very relaxing at the same time, working those muscles that need attention. After yoga today, I had to run over to Hollidaysburg and get a part for the SUV and then pick up the rest of my art from St. Drogo's. Norrie and I dropped by Wendy's for lunch. Then we went to Ollie’s for a B-day present for Lydia and new sheets for the gals beds. All in all, a good day even if I am beat.

It's funny, I had a completely different post ready to go but ended up chucking most of it. I feel better now that I got a little help for getting everything organized and I'm not left in the lurch getting things done. Phew!

This is a photo of the same farm scene I took back in the winter. It was so desolate and cold there is a bit of hope! Yes, Spring has returned!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pretty yellow stars

Pretty yellow stars, originally uploaded by emily999.

Also, I really like this story about sneakers...Guess what I almost always wear?

"Mindset Media, a media company that examines personality traits of different consumers, found that people who buy more than three pairs of sneakers a year are 61 percent more likely to have the qualities of a modern leader."
Here's the story

Set up for the art class

Set up for the art class, originally uploaded by emily999.

My first art class went off very well...the kids are a bit older and more mature (thankfully). They seemed really excited and this in itself makes me thrilled. I love seeing the enjoyment of learning new things in people's faces. Just makes me feel good.

I set up early and got all the art supplies out and ready to go. I used masonite boards as clip boards. If I had bought 1 from the art store it would have cost $14 each and a smaller surface! I buy masonite sheets at a hardware, they cut it up for me and the whole thing is about $8-9 and I get 6 pieces with bigger surface area to work on!

I may have the kids help clean up as it took me an extra hour to get done (but this was partially due to all the chairs from the previous party as well as cleaning up the floor. I LOVE teaching art classes. It is so much fun. :)

Mr. Nelson protector of the Children's Museum

Happy kid

Happy kid, originally uploaded by emily999.

Late Easter pic...but she's still cute!

"Stuff" in Duncansville

"Stuff" in Duncansville, originally uploaded by emily999.

Hey, Mom don't you want to go over here and browse? Is this not a cute set up or what?? This whole shop is very shabby chic and priced pretty well too. The shop attendant was a bit bored and seemed a bit tired or something, but it was otherwise a nice place. We got a pink wicker hamper for $10!

a little paper mache time...

april2008_13, originally uploaded by emily999.

This is an inside dog house the girls and daddy made... we're paper maching it and then we will paint it.


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