Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Do You Have the Time?

We have a clock that sings every hour. The time is indicated by twelve lovely illustrations of different birds. The bird o’clock bird of the hour sings or chirps or pecks to sound the hour.  For example, high noon is the owl. At 12:00AM and again at 12:00PM, the owl hootie-hoot-hoots. It’s the same principle as a cuckoo clock, but our clock has a dozen bird songs instead of the one little cuckoo that can chirp up to twelve times. 
Friends have asked why there isn’t a crow or a seagull in the mix. Perhaps their songs could be  interpreted as annoying. Or obnoxious.  I don't think I would go for the crow— there's a reason a flock of them is called a murder of crows. 
I have seen clocks like ours with dogs barking the time or cats meowing, even Harley Davidson motorcycle sounds. And trains.  Not my cup of tea. 

I ride a nice Appaloosa with friends and their horses. We each have plenty of tack and accessories, but there’s always room in our homes or closets for something equine related. OOOOOOOOOOh! We should invent a horse clock! Nickers at noon! Clippity-clops at 3. Horsey farts at 5!    OK.    Maybe not.
In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy the odd little birdsongs on our clock on the wall. It sits near the telephone so when the bird o’clock chirps, peeps or warbles during a conversation, the caller often thinks we are either outside in the woods or at a pet store next to the canaries. We actually had two parakeets that would compete with the bird of the hour, seeing who could chirp the loudest.  
Oh dear. It’s nearly half past Black-capped Chickadee. 
                                                               “chicka-deee-dee-deee, chicka-deee-dee-deee"
I’d better get some work done around here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hello. Who are You?

"Who are you?" Eden asked. 
Like she says; simple question - hard to answer.

I have always felt like I didn't fit in. Something different here. In fact, I reveled in being as different and un-normal as possible. In high school, I was the first to wear green and purple together in the same outfit! I even combined stripes with floral patterns.  Whoa, baby!

I colored outside of the lines. Mostly because I was very impatient to get the blank spaces filled in with color right this minute. I was frustrated that the finished page wasn't very neat and perfect. I always felt I could have done better, but I never stopped coloring.

I have always been an artist. I play the piano and I am learning the guitar. I paint, draw, sculpt and have been a crafter my entire life. From macramé to paint-by-number to building models to sewing dresses. I have all the supplies to prove it.

"Cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what does it mean, to a daydream believer and a homecoming Queen?" (by the Monkees) They wrote the song for ME.

I worry and fret. The weather affects my mood. I'm in sync with the full moon. (Cheer up!)

I am a night owl. My husband describes my morning rising as painful to watch. (Sleepy Jean)

I think and overthink. I analyze every little thing. I have difficulty making decisions.  It's overwhelming. (Oh, what does it mean?)

I have a very vivid imagination. I've been accused of living in denial when in fact, it's my own little dream world. Real life is hard. What's the big deal if I step out of it for a little while? I get to relax in a world where we all ride fast horses through lush meadows and into forests full of wild, friendly animals. I once dreamt of living on a small island in the northwest, near the water, with sandy beaches in a lovely house with room for an art studio. Guess where we live now? Camano Island, that's where! Visualize it—Believe it.   (Daydream believer)

I'm funny, smart, sensitive, compassionate, tender and complex. I love with my whole heart.  Family is everything.  I am eager to please and have always been kinda popular. Ooh. That's weird to say.  I am a perfectionist and I worry that people will discover that I am, in fact, not perfect.  (Homecoming Queen)

Imagine my dismay when my friend, Ruth, suggested I might have adult ADD (attention deficit disorder). Oh no, I don't think so! I resisted with all my might. After a conversation with her, denial in full force, I went to the greatest wisdom I could think of: the internet. There was an online quiz to determine if one might have AD/HD (h is for hyperactivity). I scored a 77 which basically meant that I should get professional help right this very minute, do not wait, do not pass 'go',  get help NOW. Bullshit. It must be a marketing ploy. So I had Ruth take the test. She scored a 2 or 21 or something ridiculous indicating not a hint of ADD.  Dammit!
(Ha! I win! Did I mention competitive?)

Well, I guess it does make sense why I've always felt that nobody gets me. I am battling anxiety and feeling overwhelmed quite a bit lately. And then there's all those piles of papers, files and clutter in every corner of the house. But, there is nothing WRONG with me!

So, thanks Eden, for asking THE question. I'm just beginning to figure out the answer. Self-diagnosis aside, I am getting professional help. There's a shit-ton of stuff going on in my life. I want to be locked and loaded with all the tools to be able to handle it. 

I am going on a new journey for the next third of my life. (60 in October) I want to clear the clutter, control my impulses, take care of myself and thrive. It is rather amazing figuring out what makes me tick. I feel like this ADD business has opened up a whole new world full of discovery and creativity. I am eager to paint again and brave new frontiers. I am not just a left or right brain thinker; I use the whole darn brain. Instead of looking at this AD/HD stuff as a disability, I look at it as a gift. It's power that I get to harness it in my own, unique way.

I'm eager to learn more about this diverse, creative, wonderful brain of mine. I know who I am at the very center of my being. Finally, I get to celebrate my differences in broad daylight.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Monday, May 28, 2012

Makin' Bacon Ornaments

A while ago I posted a picture of these funny Bacon Ornaments. 
Apparently, people thought they were pretty darn clever. So, here are the instructions on how to make them. 
First, fry up some bacon. Make it nice and crispy, but not burnt. Caution: the sight of a pan full of bacon sizzling on the stove will tempt onlookers who might just think the bacon is for them. (What an amazing wife—to cook a skillet FULL of bacon strips just for them. Awesome.)

Shoo the drooling gawker out of the kitchen with promises of  bacon-onion-cheeseburgers "later" then lay out the cooked bacon on paper towels to get out excess fat. Or at least dab off the surface. 

When the bacon is cool, attach it to a cord or string of some kind. This will be for hanging the ornament and for drying it when we get the high gloss finish applied. Caution: you don't want to have the bacon fall off while drying and your dog eats it with sticky high gloss finish on it. I found cute tiny clothespins at the craft store. Perfect. Just like hanging tiny laundry.

Now, we are ready for the pour-on high gloss finish. Caution: the product I use preserves and beautifies, one thick coat equals 50 coats of varnish, heat and alcohol resistant. waterproof, no polishing required AND very very HARMFUL if misused. DANGER and CAUTION are printed all over the containers of epoxy resin and polyamine hardener. 
"May produce allergic reaction by ingestion or skin contact." 
"May cause permanent eye damage." 
"May be harmful by skin contact or breathing vapors/mists." 
Needless to say, protective gloves and goggles are recommended along with exhaust fans for super-duper ventilation.

bacon ornaments hanging to dry

If you are still ready to give it a go, then get some EnviroTex Lite, put on your haz-mat suit and get stirring. I mixed enough in a large cup so the bacon strips could be dipped into the epoxy and completely encase the bacon. We want these babies to last!

When completely dry, you are good to go with shiny new Bacon Ornaments. Hang them on the Christmas tree. Decorate a room. Add a pin and wear on your jacket. I have mine hanging from the rear view mirror in the Jeep. Rusty, the Good Collie won't touch it. He probably read the label that said "harmful if ingested". 

My sister, Sandy and I used to make jewelry out of paper. We hand painted the designs and then coated the pins and earrings with EnviroTex. If they weren't drying quickly enough, we'd pop them in a warm oven. Hmm? I wonder if that has something to do with Sandy's unexplained allergic reaction to cold.  

What were we thinking????? It's amazing that we and our children lived to tell the story. We risk it all for our art (and crafts). 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let Him Eat Cake!

Happy Birthday Today, to Kevin!

Kevin is on the road doing his job so I am left home alone to my own devices.
Since he's not here to enjoy some birthday cake, I thought I'd show you a little bit of my
Beefcake Boyfriend.

1975-ish on the glacier at Logan Pass, Glacier Park, Montana. We hiked to the top and then skied down to the lodge. How cool and groovy is that???

Can I just say, hubba hubba. Sorry, that's a bit cheesey. 
Oooooooh! Cheesecake!

Forester's Ball, Missoula, Montana
We are the cute couple in the middle.

Leslie, Greg, Kevin & Me hiking in Montana

This was our Christmas card one year. (1984?) 

Kevin likes pigs - ever since he saw Arnold the Pig on the TV show Green Acres. One of our first dates was to the Missoula County Fair. Kevin specifically sought out the livestock barn to see his favorite pigs. He was in hog heaven.  and yes, I really did say that.

Kevin is a Taurus, the bull. He is honest, trustworthy, true-blue, sweet, stubborn, tender-hearted, kind, generous and today's Birthday Boy. He also plays a mean bucket-drum.

Flathead Lake (working on the famous Burham Burn)

. . . 

Happy Birthday, Kevvie. 
Love you.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Kevin was devastated when JoJo died.  Seven had passed away in June 2008. Jo stayed to make sure we would be OK. Then, she slipped away in February 2009. The house was so darn quiet. Sometimes, I would see seven out of the corner of my eye or feel Joey at the foot of the bed. Kevin didn't walk as much as he had before with his doggy companions. We were depressed. Kevin shaved off his mustache after having it for most of his adult life. Time for a change.

Shano called to tell us that one of her Collies needed a good home. He had been returned to her because the family couldn't bond with him. The poor dog seemed to have issues with men and was very shy.
We stopped by to meet this Collie. I suspected we wouldn't be going home empty-handed. Shannon brought the Collie out and he practically leapt into Kevin's lap. Done. Case closed.

They are both big Montana Grizzly fans.

It's just like the old days around here. When the boyz were little, there was tons of fighting, farting and wrestling going on. Loud. Obnoxious. Funny. Same thing.

hide 'n' seek


The past couple of years have been good for shirt retailers...

Creature's Comfort

We had a box turtle in the family for a while. Micah found Fast Freddy in a pet shop in Kalispell, Montana when he was about 5 years old. Freddy lived comfortably with us for about 17 years. He wandered in the backyard and hibernated in the kitchen in his terrarium under leaves. We fed him delicious Washington slugs. Once, Freddy disappeared and was found by Mr. Finn's dog next door in the bushes. When Fred was in the yard, I stuck a ball of clay on his back with a straw holding a small paper flag so I could see where he was. No sneaking under the fence, Mr Fred!  Micah insisted I take it off because it was so humiliating for Freddy.

Then Spud came along...

Sweet Potato (aka Spud) was an African Spurred Tortoise. He was about the size of a saucer when I brought him home. Another pet that Kevin needed to warm up to.
Spuddie loved to be outside grazing on clover, new, tender grass and dandelions. He took care of the weeding for us.
Spud was an escape artist like his cousin, Freddy. He didn't go under fences—he walked right through them.

Thank you, Kevin for rescuing our Tortoise.

Spud could move chairs, along with the people sitting in them. He would wander all over the house looking for a warm corner or a spot of sunshine to nap in. Needless to say, he sometimes had to really hunt for sunshine in wet, gray Washington State. He liked the wood stove. He also enjoyed the bathroom where we kept a baseboard heater going for him. 

Kevin shaving. Spud 'helping'.

Finally, Spud outgrew the house. He had gotten as big around as a dinner plate/platter. Plus, it just wasn't tortoise weather here. He packed his bags and moved to Arizona. He has his own yard now where he naps in the hot, dry sun and torments the family's little dogs. We are glad he's doing so well, but we really miss him. 

All Creatures Great and Small

It took me a while to convince Kevin that we NEEDED a dog. I began my search by window shopping at the local shelter. Bad idea. I could have rescued about a dozen sweet dogs, but Kevin was the voice of logic. Finally, my fever caught up to him.

While seeing customers, Kevin went to the shelter in Tacoma to see a little dog described in an ad as a young Golden Retriever mix. He walked down the aisles, past several anxious dogs and maybe a goat...
and there she was. This skinny, blond, energetic pup with big brown eyes and a smile. It's ME she said! He was smitten on the spot. But the shelter wouldn't let him just scoop her up and take her home. He needed to bring me in for approval. Kev drove the 60-some miles back to the house, picked me up and off we went to the shelter.

We filled out the forms and as the doors were closing for the day, JoJo Starbuck* dragged us to the car and we were headed home with our new dog. (*named after the Olympic figure skater, JoJo Starbuck, not the coffee company)

Then, we brought seven home. He was the Cutest Puppy in the Whole World!

These dogs! They were cherished members of our family. Kevin took them for several walks a day. Joey was the boys' dog. Seven was mine (he thought I was his real Mom).

One of Kevin's favorite things to do was to go for a run every Sunday morning. Joey was his jogging partner. After his run, Kevin would go to the local donut shop and pick up a dozen fresh "donies". The shop was owned and operated by a nice Chinese family. Kevin is the sweetest guy and always greeted them with a smile.  Nine times out of ten, the dozen donuts amounted to about 15. 
For a while, Kev didn't wear his wedding ring. A rash or something.  On those Sunday mornings, Grandmother at the shop made sure that Granddaughter waited on Kevin. I think one time he came home with at least 18 donuts!!! He denies this because he is totally oblivious. The boys were thrilled and insisted he go to the same shop every Sunday.

Kevin with pals, Enzo & Zeta Trimarco-Strazzanti

The Grandkids, Eddie & Moose

The new guy, Rusty (Russell Joe Burham) 

Yep. He's gonna like it here.