Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice & things...

WHEW...I just got home from work after driving the three most white knuckle miles in years. We are in the midst of one of the worse ice storms. It has been freezing rain for the last 10 hours & every road is like an ice skating rink. Then only thing I've got to say is #1) I'm glad I only live 3 miles from my job, and #2) I'm so glad I have 4WD. It is so bad, that I had to put a towel down on the back steps so the dogs could get out to do their morning bathroom. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will eventually turn to just snow. Our "Road Warriors" are keeping the freeways clear, but there is only so much they can do. Here's how bad it is Ohio State University is closed! I'd say in 30 years they've only closed for bad weather 4 times.

I've been absent for 10 days. Last Wednesday I woke up with Vertigo. I haven't had it in 8 years, and here it was coming back to haunt me. Had to take a cab to the ER as I needed DRUGS to fight the nausea. I'm much better now & I can even drive. Not far...once again, thank god I only live 3 miles from work. I had to cancel the class I was going to teach on Sunday because I just can't manage to handle the bumping around driving down to Bzyantium. Roxanne is rescheduling the class for May. Hey, hopefully there won't be any snow then.

I've been keeping myself busy. I've got a few more Dumpster Dollz finished & just waiting to post more of them later. I'm taking a couple online classes through Doll Street. One is from Janet Clark learning how to use the embellisher or felting machines. I've had it for over a year & just didn't know what to do with it. Janet has really opened my eyes. I'm also doing Enchanted Tree with Michelle Munzone. FABULOUS! As you can see from the picture, my tree is done. Next week we are going to learn leaves & vines. After that it is the two wee fairies that sit in the tree. Well, Sprout, my newest DD, was so jealous that I was taking pictures of that tree that he jumped in the tree & got his picture taken with it. What a HAM!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birthday bash!

Today was a special day. It is my Grandmother's 95th birthday. We wanted to make this a special day for her, so Chris & I decided to drive the 100 miles down to Portsmouth (our home town on the Ohio River) and take my Grandmother out to lunch. I had called Sunday night just to make sure she was going to be home. Yes, she still lives by herself and wouldn't have it any other way. She very independent and has passed this on to me & my siblings. She was all dressed & ready to go when we got to her house. Her neighbor's home health assistant had swept the snow from her steps & given her a birthday card. She had a pile of birthday greetings sitting on the old television cabinet along with the tin of Cheryl's Cookies from my sister Cheryl. But I know that for us to drive down & spend the afternoon with her was special. There aren't very many good restaurants in Portsmouth (that we know of) left since it has lost more than half of its population in the past 20 years. So we decided to take her to Bob Evans. As we were walking in the door a group of 6 people were coming out. The one man held the door open & said "I'll help out this young lady". Grandma laughed as did I. I told the man that it was great that he held the door for her as it was her birthday. Happy birthday greetings from everyone & then the questions she always gets & loves to answer. "How old are you?" "Ninety-five" she answers and nods to me. I tell the group that she is indeed 95. Then she enjoyed telling everyone in the restaurant her age. People were amazed.

We'd take Grandma to Costco right after Christmas & everyone smiled at her. Just think about it. How many times have you been out shopping or to a restaurant and saw someone really old shopping for groceries, eating a good meal, laughing, or just enjoying life. I think it really inspires people to see someone like my Grandmother who is loves to live. I asked her what special gift she wanted for her birthday. She told me every single day that she wakes up & is still alive is a special day. Amen, you've got to agree with that. We all ate a big lunch, and then I had the waitress bring out cake and ice cream just for Grandma. Chris didn't think she could eat it, but she ate everything with such joy. She said that if it didn't get up and walk away, she'd eat it. Gotta love that.

Then we did the tour of Portsmouth. We looked for all the houses that had burnt down or were torn down. Drove by Spartan Stadium where all the football games from PHS were held (I think they still are, but I haven't been down there awhile to know if they are). Drove by the place where our old high school stood until last year. Yes, Grandma went to PHS also. It is sad to see an empty lot where all those hidden memories that are the stimulus of dreams, but today there were bulldozers moving the dirt around. Possibly a new gymnasium is going to stand there where all our pictures from yearbooks were staged? Don't know. We drove by & found out this big old building was once the ice house in Portsmouth, and she told us near it was the old city jail. Yep, still standing with the bars exposed and trees growing out of the middle, but it is still there. We drove downtown Portsmouth where the streets use to be filled with shoppers, but alas the only shopper that I noticed was some rude blond girl who yelled at me because I didn't stop when she jaywalked across the street with a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Grandma saw this girl and shook her head. I don't know if it was because she was ashamed of this girl's rude behavior, or because downtown was such a ghost town. This was once a beautiful river city with a proud heritage and proud people. My family were the founders of this town as were Chris' family. The flood wall has lovely painted pictures of the history of this once thriving town. They are worth while to drive down there to see, but the town itself is a shell of what it once was. I've traveled across country and have seen similar pictures from one end of the US to the other. Small towns are virtually becoming extinct. Here and there are remains of the past greatness, but unfortunately for our families' home town, that is not true. It tries to clothe itself in gaudy lights, but all the life is slowing draining out of it.

Is it fair that I feel this way about my family's home town? I never liked living there. I was 14 when my parents took me there. I wanted to leave from the first moment, and I did leave as soon as possible. I don't think that I can tell a true story of this town. The people who live there should be those that do that. I wish that girl hadn't shown me such contempt when I didn't stop so she could have her way. I wonder if that is why small towns like Portsmouth are in such dire circumstances. Is it because so many of the people are selfish? Can it be that they have lost the pride of such a fierce and noble people that settled the Ohio River valley? Or could it be that they are just ignorant of what it means to be proud of their homes? I don't know. I hope that someday that town will re reborn, and it will once again become a beautiful River Town with strong, courageous, and proud people.

Oh goodness, here I am wanting to share a wonderful day that I had with my Grandmother, and I've written about my disappointment in the town that my family came from. I wish that the dreams that my family had when they came to that point on the Ohio and the Scioto River to make a home for their children and grandchildren would still come true. It may. I hope it does. I hope that like my Grandmother saying that every day when she wakes up is a special day can be true for our home town. I just hope that the people of Portsmouth will wake up to see that every day is special and to embrace the past and live as true and as proud as our forefathers. Everyday is special. Every single day.

Grandma wants to be 100. I told her that when she is 100 & I'm 60, we will go up in an airplane. Originally we talked about parachuting out of the plane, but I think I'd be the chicken. I KNOW she'd do it. She has the spark and the fortitude of a once extremely proud and stubborn people. I have a feeling that she might be the one making me jump out of an airplane just because it will be one more special thing done on another special day. I love her.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another robot doll

Here is more of Chris' work. He's too shy to do a blog of his own. I'm actually thinking of setting up one for him as I do think he has a flare for art & needs to showcase his work away from mine. This is a neon tube he found in a box of junk he bought at an auction. He knew it needed to "become" something when he plugged it in & saw the orangish glow from the bulb. Then he got into his pile of extra stuffed he'd bought several years ago when a Radio Shack went out of business. He worked on a wire armature & used clay for the bug's body. I helped him out with the legs & feet. Then he painted it all over. I added the extra twinkle of the glitter paint. He's pretty cute, but in the dark with those glowing orange eyes & antenna....ADORABLE!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January BJP & resolutions

Okay, I'm finally back here & ready to show my January piece for the BJP. It is a degutted and restuffed toy from a fast food children's meal prize. It think originally these were called "Build a Bear". They all had clothes on them, but I didn't like them. OH...FLASH! I just got confirmation that Doll Crafter & Costuming is going to be publishing my article on recycled stuffed toys. I wanted to do something with the tons of little stuffed toys that I saw sitting on shelf after shelf at the thrift store. This one is Sparkle Bear. I used crystals as buttons & made this bear look like he has on a winter wintry coat. I've taken him to Byzantium with the others that I've been making & they want me to do a class. Perfect as it will be about when the magazine article comes out. I'm very happy.

Last January, I made a resolution with myself that I would work to get published. Let me tell you that it is not an easy job as you could tell by my previous entries. You have to promote yourself all the time and constantly try to come up with original and unique ideas. I've had many rejections this past year, but also success. I'm pleased that I did manage to make this resolution come true. Now my resolution for 2009 is to actually get my work published in a BEAD magazine! LOL! This is going to be really really hard to do as there is so much competition. I'm just a fish swimming in the big sea. So I've got to come up with something really "wow" to grab the attention of a bead magazine editor. I'm sure this is going to be a tough resolution to see come true. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Less stress.....

Whewwwww....I'm so relieved that I have a reprieve from the article I'm writing for Doll Crafter. I got the advance preview & my article wasn't listed. Thank dog! I've got the pieces done, but just started writing the copy. AND...I just gave the graphics to Chris. Now, he's fast, and so am I, but I have to rewrite the article at least 4 times before I'm happy enough with it. Don't you think I'd learn to start earlier? Well, I should & maybe that should be another resolution for me. LOL! I make that every year & break it every single year.

Last night I got an e-mail from my friend Sharon H. saying that she made it to Tucson safely. The LUCKY DUCK! She gets to be in Tuscon for the Winter instead of gloomy gray Ohio. PLUS, she'll be there for the big Tucson Bead show. I'm going to be so green this Winter & when I see her in April/May she's going to think I've eaten something horrible...yes, jealousy. I grew up in LA until my parents dragged me back to Ohio in '67. How I miss the warmer weather, but really at the time it didn't seem warmer. I remember that if the temperatures got down to the low 50s we were freezing with big wool coats and gloves. The only difference was that I didn't have to wear those ugly wool knee socks. I think that was the most shocking thing about moving to Ohio...I had to cover my legs! My Mother let me & my sisters wear fish nets while in LA & little cute anklets. I rebelled the first cold day in Ohio & wore my fish nets to school. The next day...still AS COLD...I broke down & wore the ugly black socks, and went out that weekend & bought ugly black thigh high socks. I WAS COLD! The only time I ever saw snow was when I'd look up at the Mountains on a rare clear day & see a white topped peak. Sometimes my Dad would drive up to Mt. Baldy so we could play in the snow. But I never saw any snow fall until the year before the BIG BLIZZARD of '77 here in Columbus. I though my parents were lying about snow in Ohio. Now, I wish they were lying! I miss living in a temperate climate. Would be nice to not have to drive through stinking ice which is what is out on the ground right now.

Speaking of less stress & ice. I'm lucky here again too. I use to have to drive downtown every single night to make it to work. It was 17 miles, and with ice covered or snow, it was a white knuckled drive. Two years ago I transferred to the suburban hospital only 2.98 miles from my house. Best part, because it is in the suburbs all the roads are salted & plowed. I'm kicking my self that I dealt with the "deadly driving" for 23 years. Oh well.

But enough. I'm just feeling so much more relief. I still have to get everything done soon, but I can at least not feel rushed. Yea!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Today is my birthday. As my youngest sister so gently said to me..."oh you are a double nickel". Yes, I am 55 today. Can't believe it. I don't feel that old. I'm lucky to not look that old either. I went over to Cyndy's house yesterday where we started to work on PR for the Guilded Lilies. We were talking about getting older as Cyndy is my age...not now...I'm older than her! HA! But we were. She asked me my secret. I told her moisturizer since I was 20. I could have pounded my head when I was driving back home and came up with something entirely different...the Evil Grace pouring out of my skin! How about that. LOL! No not really. Just genes. My Mother is 76, and she hasn't one wrinkle. One thing is that I never smoked. That puts years on a face faster than anything. Also when I was 25, we lived in a duplex which had an Olympic size pool in the back yard. Our neighbor & owner was so tanned. I'm talking about leather tanned. I too loved the Sun at that point in my life and bathed in the Sunshine whenever I had the chance. Anyway, this neighbor woman's skin was so wrinkled and leatherly looking that I cringed...especially when I found out she was only 50, but looked 70. Yikes. So I stopped my adoration of the Sun. I get a little tan from working in the yard, but I never sit in the Sun for hours on end. So genes, no smoking, and limited Sun...oh & moisturizers too!

The weather was kinda icky this morning when I woke up. Fiona actually let me sleep another two hours. She's use to me coming home from work at 6:30 am & she's wakes up & waits on the top of the stairs. I guess she noticed I was home as she came into the bedroom & barked at me. I turned over told her "no" and she let me sleep more.

Pretty good day. I got to work on a project for 2 hours before Chris finally got up. He made breakfast & then we went out shopping at Easton which is a humongous out door Mall. I got a new jacket at Macy's for 70% off! YEAH! Chris got some things. Then we went to Cheesecake Factory & I got their orange chicken which is going to be my new favorite dish. We both got a piece of cheesecake...I got pistachio which was yummers. Came home & took a wee nap & now I'm awake. We finally got to Blockbuster to get a copy of "Burn after Reading". Can't wait to see that. Oh...and eat leftover cheesecake with coffee. DELICIOUS!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Chris' robot guy

I just woke up. Okay, I work the midnight shift & my going to bed time is 7am. So there! But, when I got up, Chris showed me that he finished his Robot. I LOVE IT! He is going to have to name this creation something. I think both of us have problems naming stuff, probably why our dogs have names from books we like. But he is made from old radio tubes, and metallic pieces from a clock he took apart. The main body is polyclay with the wire armature exposed for the legs & arms. One hand has a wrench and the other has a flower. Not sure about the soul search image he got from that duo, but I'll have to let him start his own blog (wont happen) to explain that. Now, I'm all excited to get back to mixed media myself. Hope you enjoy Chris work.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thank you ALL!

I want to thank every single one of you who has written to me or left messages in the comment box. I feel so blessed to know you all and to realize that what I felt wasn't a flaw in me. One of my newest friends, Pam sent me this quote which I adore:

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Theodore Geisel, "Dr. Seuss"

LOVE IT! I guess some of my problems is that my family has always not understood ART. Oh they all understand negative things happening to a person and sometimes I believe they thrive on bad news. Good news is pushed to the side to wallow in ill times. I know that there are times when I've told a family member about this good achievement or thing that has happen to me, and this could be a career thing instead of ART. They'll actually say one of two things..."how much money did you get for that?" or "That's nice. Did I tell you about...?" So I guess I've actually gotten in the habit of not telling my family of anything good happening to me. They seem to enjoy talking about failures or bad happenings, but never want to celebrate the good. Well, I can't say all of them. My youngest brother is the exception, but he is so busy raising his young family.

Now, I AM very blessed to have a husband who also has the soul of an ARTIST, and he is starting to rediscover that part of his being. I've actually signed him up for upcoming classes with Cody at AFIC , and he is working on a new mixed media project which I'm dying to share with everyone once he gets it done. He is forced retired, and spends his time doing computer graphics, fixing everything I break around the house, AND he loves repairing vintage radios and televisons. Right now he has a surplus of old radio tubes. Remember those? I sure do. One of my memories is of Daddy taking all our tubes to Richard's News to the testing machine, and buying replacements. Well, Chris has a work station with all the old vintage testing equipment. He does testing for his friend Leo, who sells parts on eBay. So, if they are duds, we get them for ART. Yeah for us. One thing I told Chris for 2009 is that I want him to teach me to solder. I actually don't know how to do that. Imagine all the wickedness I can get into!

Once again, thank you all for your kind words. You really have made my day.