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.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not just Reading the Paper

Uh-oh. Looks like Kevin does a lot of sitting and reading the newspaper. So, here's a picture of him doing something else!

The Birthday Boy

Kevin and his big brother, Greg (1955-ish)

Kevin and Greg at Elger Bay Grocery store. We go there for breakfast when Greg's in town.

When Kevin was younger, he and his pal, John Heinecke had a go-cart. It was exactly the same as the one in this photo—only different. 

. . . 

Kevin and his big brother, Greg (2011). Really nice guys just relaxing after a giant breakfast at Elger Bay Café...

Kevin's Birthday Month this Week

Hey! It's Kevin's Birthday Week! He's feeling fine and sassy. (Still not eating popcorn. Just ice cream for a snack. Soft foods.   heh. heh. heh.)

We are seeing the SUN finally and thinking about getting out the kayaks. We paddled across Saratoga Passage a couple of times in the summer, all the way from our Camano Island beach to Whidbey Island. We think we are very adventurous.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Best Friends

I am participating in a photo-a-day creative using Instagram. It's a great project through  Fat Mum Slim. The prompt a couple of days ago was to photograph "someone who makes you happy".   Since Kevin makes me happy and we've been married forever, I took his picture while he was having lunch and feeding Rusty from the table. (OK, that part doesn't make me so happy.)

I like how Rusty is looking my way with his sweet, innocent expression, like 
"What? I'm just sitting here minding my own business. Is it my fault that food flies off his plate? I don't think so."

Kevin is a big popcorn eater. He has popcorn about 5 times a week. And he shares it with the dogs! JoJo and seven would sit next to him as he scooped popcorn out of the big bowl onto the floor for them. (OK, that didn't make me so happy, either.) So then, he started to serve them popcorn on their OWN PLATES! Of course, the dogs were in 7th Heaven. What a deeelicious, buttery, salty snack that's not dog food. People food on our very own plates! 
Every time I took Jo and sevi to the vet, I got the lecture: dogs are fat. And every time I would tell the vet that she was preaching to the choir. The only way the dogs were going to get back into shape was if I filed for divorce and got custody of their meals. I forced him to stop giving popcorn to Rusty when the poor Collie ended up with bloody diarrhea! (UN-happy!) At least that got Kevin's attention. 

Finally! The Popcorn Problem is solved. Yesterday, while eating popcorn and not sharing, Kevin bit down on a very strong kernel and cracked a tooth! Today, the molar was extracted!!!!! HolyOhMuckyEye! That's IT. I am tempted to toss the Turbo-blaster popper off the deck.*  The tooth was cracked all the way down to the roots and was not repairable. 

Kevin is feeling fine. He shared his soft dinner of mashed potatoes with Rusty. Actually just let him lick the plate. Change takes time around here. But, I don't think we'll be hearing the pop-pop-popping of corn for a very very long time. Not too happy that Kevin was injured by a snack item. Very happy that he'll be OK.

*This is a whole other story. We (the boys) throw broken appliances off the deck and bash them with bats & golf clubs...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kevin's Birthday Month

It's Kevin's Birthday Month. He doesn't make a big deal out of his Birthday, but since it's his 60th, allow me to make a big deal out of it.  I'm doing it whether he wants me to or not. Probably not.
Kevin Jon Burham was born in Des Moines, Iowa on April 25th, 1952; the second son to Arlo Durmont Burham and Cecelia Juliette Jacobson Burham. He has an older brother, Gregory Ryan (named after Gregory Peck. Kevin doesn't know what inspired his name.)


 April 1, 2012

Same cheerful disposition, handsome smile and a big dimple in his cleft chin (affectionately called a "butt chin").  Kev's hair is still curly, even if it is cut short and gray these days. 

I've known Kevin pretty much all my life. Our first encounter was the summer of 1966 when he and Jim Carlson, Gary Cordial, Mike Mitchell and Dan Hughes threw eggs at Christine Husby, Linda Kaudy and me on our way to the Dairy Queen.  Chris, Linda and I ran home and gathered a few eggs of our own, but the boys had disappeared. Weenies.

Kevin was the new kid in town and we both were starting high school at Missoula Sentinel in the Fall. He would go on to be one of the jocks. I was a cheerleader. We didn't date or anything in high school, but we certainly participated in the mutual admiration society. He was so cute!  

Happy Birthday Month, Kevvie Babe. Sorry, I have an entire month of stories.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Picture This

Linking up with Eden of Edenland.
Just some pictures. What's going on in your world?
Bowling Balls and Bones - Yard Art

Tsunami Warning

Forever on Driftwood

Makin' Bacon Ornaments

Church for Sale

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Photo a Day March 2nd

Today's prompt is "fruit". I noticed that the fruit is in one of my favorite bowls, a nice clay bowl with black Appaloosas. Yesterday's pic had my vintage Breyer colt in it. So, my own spin on this month's photo challenge will be to include a horse in the photo.
Let 'er buck...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Instagram (chewing gum and taking pictures at the same time)

It's March 1st.  (how did that happen?) I'm going to try to take up a Challenge!
A Photo a Day via  FatMumSlim

Prompt for today is "up"...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Funeral Song

Eden asked "What is your funeral song? Do you think about it? Are you terrified of death too - like, TERRIFIED?"

I am not afraid of death. I am, however, anxious and stunned by the effects of being the ones who remain. The emotional devastation, the panic, the depression and the enormous difficulty in getting on with Life. I worry about my son whose beautiful young wife passed away abruptly during her incredible battle against cancer. Rose fought like a champion and she was winning, too. They did not plan for her passing. They went about their business with not a single thought to getting their house in order or planning a funeral.

In an instant, a massive pulmonary embolism shocked her body and stopped her in her tracks. And everything went dark. Literally. The power went OUT in the entire hospital! For no reason, everything electrical 'died'.  All the oxygen machines, the heart monitors, the lights, the elevator, anything with an electrical pulse—shut down. The auxiliary power kicked in with eerie, loud thuds. It sounded like an deep earthquake hammering into the building. The lights stuttered back on along with all the gears and machines of a hospital. It was only a few seconds without power, but enough time for Rose to make her exit statement. She did not want to go and she raged against this cancer that took her away.

Later in the day, as we sat quietly in their living room, Micah played a song Rose had chosen in case she would ever die.  Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Cruel World"  is short and to the point and so very much like her!
"Goodbye cruel world, I'm leaving you today.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Goodbye all you people, there's nothing you can say to make me change my mind.

RoseyPosey, you rock! We miss you like crazy...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Riding Drama

Yesterday, I helped be the lungeline-holder-horseman for my pal. She's getting back into a vigorous workout with her big gelding after a bit of rehab and some attitude adjustment. The young horse has been totally taking advantage of a sore ankle to act up and be a little bit ornery. My friend has been working on her confidence and overcoming some recent, huge emotional losses. It's a fine line between tenderly caring for an injured animal and falling off the Be the Alpha Mare wagon.

She thanked me for being her helper. If I hadn't been in the arena with them, she probably wouldn't have tried to ride alone. The drama and arguing that sometimes occurs when left to their own devices is something she is trying to overcome. And avoid. 

I am also in the same boat. I'm very touchy these days. Emotions run amuck when I need to be calm and confident. I am trying to overcome the grief of losing our daughter-in-law, Rose, last September. She lost a valiant battle against non-small cell lung cancer. Rose was 37 years old. Our son, Micah, is 32. They had been together, two peas in a pod, for 11 years. And it hurts like a sonofabitch. 

When my 20 year old Appaloosa came up lame about 3 weeks ago, I went straight to the dark side. What do I do if this is permanent? Will I ever ride him again? Should Chance be retired? My internet search (uh-oh. Too much information there.) suggested maybe stifle lock. That can't be good. After a full week of rest and anti-inflammatory meds, Chance started to shake it off. Slowly, we built up to a walk- trot-walk transition with 15 to 20 minutes of groundwork.  Yesterday, the old guy looked damn good. In fact, I was told that his pasture mate, Burley, was chasing him around the pasture in the morning sunshine. Chance had been picking up those hind legs like a prancing circus pony. We had another half hour of groundwork, Chance trotted and cantered very comfortably. Easy breezy. 

Turning the Appaloosas back out into their pasture, Burley casually walked off for the best grass. Chance, on the other hand, shot off like a racehorse to the top of the hill. Ok, there Mister Big FAKER!
I'm back in the saddle next week.  That fine line of tender-hearted care and over-compensating has been crossed and taken advantage of for the last time. (Or at least until the next time.)

Maybe we should use a different term when we are with our horses—replace the word 'drama' with
You know, more positive notes. "If you change the way you look at things, things will change."

Or we could just stock up on booze and Rescue Remedy for the tack lockers. Either way, it's all good. We will get back to our usual positive, confident selves. We won't dwell on past errors and judgements, the things we accuse ourselves of. We'll take things easy, have fun.  And we will live in the moment, dammit. 

We won't try to be confident, strong, faithful, hopeful and peaceful. We will simply BE that confident, strong, faithful, hopeful and peaceful Alpha Mare with our horses and our lives.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Sketchbook Project

Well it's 46° and sunny right now on my Island. I know it's just a big tease! But, we'll enjoy it while we have it. Kevin is in Denver where it's 53°.   That's just wacky.

I finally finished a sketchbook that I have had in  my hands since last June. I took it with me when I sat with Rose during chemo and other doctor appointments, fully intending to draw in it while we visited and she received treatment. Yeah, that didn't happen.
Then, all hell broke loose and our plans changed so very dramatically. 

The Sketchbook Project was a great diversion. Rose gave me some good ideas. She was definitely MY daughter. We had so much in common. (Micah is giving me some of her paints and other art supplies) Part of her is infused in the pages of the book.
Anyway, here is a link to my sketchbook.

Honest to God, I am so blessed by a wonderful Family and fabulous Friends. We are all over the place right now: sad, grieving, hopeful, exhausted, anxious, faithful, frustrated, lonely, comforted, joyful, peaceful, strong, and sometimes just a big puddle. 

One step at a time. We keep working, painting, writing, playing and living. And loving the stuffins out of each other.