Thursday, May 31, 2007

along the well beaden path

Top of the mornin' to ya! Tea? I drink lots of it, being married to the Irishman. I used to drink coffee only, and sometimes still steal a cup here and there, including Lattes from Starbucks. But mostly I've fallen in love with tea. One tea in particular, Barry's Irish Tea. Nope, you can't buy it over here unless you find it in an Irish imports shop. We get it shipped to us from the family in Sligo. But my nieces, who are now hooked on it too thanks to their meddlesome auntie Lora, just buy it on line. How very clever. A hearty black tea. VERY wholesome and comforting tea and with just a little milk its sort of like something from heaven in the morning. Ohhh, sorry to change the subject, but ... the cat (you know of whom I speak) is staring at her food again... persnickety thing!

So, can you believe it? Here we are in the great northwest and we've got 90 degrees in May! That was yesterday and being a true northwesterner and, yes, something of a wimp when it comes to heat (I admit it!) ...let me tell you, it was just AWFUL. I'm not sure we broke any records, but the news said the last time we were this high was in 1956. Ahhh ... nooooo ... I beg to differ .... I think it was about 1966, mr. newsman! But ... that's another story that others will have to tell. In truth, I was only 7. If you are good with numbers, which as you are already aware, I am absolutely not, you now know how old I am! Frightening, isn't it?

I lived in the kooky town of Reno for several years (yes, people actually LIVE there ... there are grocery stores and libraries and parks, schools and homes, too, really) and ... talk about high temps? Now, I did not like those summers at all. So I do know the difference between a mild summer and a scorcher. I will take the mild ones, thank you very much. Whoever would like the scorchers may keep them, as well, I don't mind at all. So, to me, which is what I was getting at here after the usual double helping of babble, yesterday seemed like a scorcher.

Its sort of sticky here when it gets too hot. Your jeans sort of glom on to your legs. Bras do weird things in the heat, don't they? And hair is absolutely unmanageable. (le chat, Elcifer is looking over at me now, squinting, shoot!) Mine went flat at 9am and by around 4pm, no one recognized me. (Excuse me.... No that's all the food you get! Don't you know there are starving cats in Greece!) Sorry ... Not that I care about being recognized, because most people don't remember me from one day to the next, actually. Sometimes my own family... that's why I love dogs so very much. I've never not been recognized by my dogs. Now, the cat's looked at me askew a time or two...

oh newsflash... the teenager is moaning on the couch right now because he stretched a tendon skateboarding and isn't sure he can stand up and "go to school" ... of course, he was just fine last night. Must have been some battle with his sheet that dislocated his foot. Poor dear. He says I'm unsympathetic. Really?

He DID sleep on the couch in a sort of "bent up" position, I'll give him that, because living in an old house as we do, not too well insulated either, the upstairs is likened to a sweltering furnace after a hot day and he was afraid to go into his own room for fear of being roasted alive. Smart thinking. I slept up on top of my quilt myself, with a huge fan on a chair next to the bed and pointed right at me. Also smart thinking.

When I woke up, the fan was blowing on one cat and one dog (and only because the other dog can't jump up on the bed anymore due to her elderly condition (she just likes to shed clumps of hair), the parrots sleep in their cage and the rooster has an outdoor coop, thank heavens) ... I, on the other hand, was sweating profusely from the two little beloved one's body heat while they soaked in the pleasure of cool winds off the fan! Smart thinking on their part. Holy moly.

My sister visited my blog yesterday to see what dastardly things I was up to and was displeased with my brooding picture. I suppose it looks a little brooding. I thought it looked sort of thoughtful, actually, like I was thinking... hmmm ... yes, let's talk about that exciting event... or how about this one ... anyway, she thinks I should change my picture so now I'm burdened with the daunting task of finding a photograph that does me justice and makes me look like the happy go lucky girl I really am. I hate photographs. I used to like being photographed when I was ... ahemmm... younger... and cute. Yes, cuteness was actually in my past, somewhere ... waaaaay back. But then I got older and unpleasant looking. Well, sometimes I can look pleasantly thoughtful.

All in all, I'm hoping today will be a cooler day, that's it really, not much to ask. I did find a fan in the basement, by the way, so didn't have to buy one, thank heavens, there with the vases and extra pairs of shoes that might come back in style some day. Did I mention ALL the rails are up on the stairs? ... tonight the railing goes up on the platform. I can hardly wait! We'll chat later....


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

carnelian butterflies, among other things...

Thanks to the addition of my newest and might I add, quite lovely model, Lilly, pictured here wearing the latest "vintage" piece with the carnelian butterflies I fell in love with... I am now able to see face on what my collection actually looks like (on someone other than a teenage man-child who isn't too thrilled about being a necklace model). Promise me you'll keep this little tidbit secret as he'd probably be a little bothered to know I spoke of it. You'll also notice Lilly's new attire ... a tight turtleneck and patterned t-shirt showing off her very hip librarian look. She carries it off, well. Don't you think? The white turtleneck t-shirt underneath really hides her (and this I must whisper for your ears only) "flawed" neck ... poor dear. That basket on the floor behind Lilly was another lucky $2 find at the thrift shop ... I do so need a litter basket ... having a concrete floor makes it so easy to just toss the throw-backs on the floor ... in throw backs I mean, bits of wire, cracked beads, bad wire wraps, mistakes, crud ... whatever happens to meet my critical eye and fall short. I'm constantly feeling little beadies go crunch beneath my size 9's. Sometimes those little ladies were not meant to be throwbacks at all! Not good. Really. Well, it all adds up, I suppose. I really should keep a better count of things. A bit of tourmaline here, some amethyst there... I'm not very good at numbers so I try not to think about it too much. Less worries, less wrinkles you know. And so, another day closes. Thanks for listening.

i so badly needed more beads

I just couldn't pass up these coral chunks and the Bali tubes are really handsome. By the way, I did tell the woman at the bead shop about my find (regarding Lilly) and she was sooooo terribly jealous. I had to pat her on the back and comfort the poor dear ... good heavens, had I only known it would cause such a stir I would've kept the whole thing to myself. She said her husband has been trying to find one for her for just ages and didn't want to have to purchase a new one ... quite pricey they are ... as I've considered the alternative myself. Who knew? It's not like I'm a seamstress ... I just need someone to model jewelry. (Thank you, Lilly. )Later ... I went shopping to find something nice for Lilly to wear. It was so fun...having no girls to buy for over the last 17 years, I couldn't belive my luck! It's like having a daughter. And one who doesn't talk back, no less. Unfortunately, I needed a tight turtle neck to cover my new model's quite unattractive neck. Do you know how hard it is to find a turtleneck in 80 degree weather? Nearly impossible is what it is. Thank you Ross Dress for Less ... found one there! She looks very responsible now, if not a tad conservative. Sort of like a librarian... a hip librarian.

~ttfn, lora

a new model and an end to a good shopping day

I just couldn't stand the waiting anymore and once I'd finished tidying up the house, I went back to find Millicent and she was still there so ... obviously meant to be! Isn't she sweet? As I drug her about through the store I noticed many's the straying eye ... coveting my find, no doubt. Oh there's plenty of old girls like Lilly out there (she goes by that) so I have no worries that all of you will have no trouble finding your own model. I have no idea what size she is (I didn't want to ask ... that would just be rude) ... but her top says size B and she has movable parts. She can grow larger busts and broader hips and then wean them right down again ... just like me? Well, perhaps I haven't been so lucky in the "weaning down" part ... ahemmmm..... She fits in quite nicely, though don't you think? The muttly in the lower right of the photo is my little fluffy fellow Mr. E ...wondering what all the fuss is about the new model and why we aren't eating cookies or something like that...

Afterwards I decided to go find those beads I was drooling over and so on less than a quarter of a tank of gas, drove all the way to Poulsbo. I just hate stopping for gas. It's so ... time consuming and it's very smelly. All those ... fumes and such. By the time I reached Poulsbo I was actually running on fumes alone and rolled into the local gas station just in the nick of time. By the time I got to the bead shop someone just pulled away from the curb and my perfect parking spot awaited me ... oh, things just couldn't get any better, could they? My beads were waiting too, just as I suspected. No one had gotten there before me and absconded with my precious loot ...and I also got some very cool hunks of chunky coral I couldn't pass up ... oh for the love of GOD! I'm hopeless. Don't say it! I just know if you were in my shoes you would do exactly the same thing and you would not feel a bit guilty about it either. So, neither am I. Pictures will be posted soon!

the very cool find I can't forget... and its not beads

got the teenager to school and the car didn't die and its a good thing, as Martha would say. I'm still in the pink PJ's... but my mind is somewhere else altogether. I happened to visit a thrift store yesterday ... a very murky sort of place called ... what the heck is it called? Well .... Just know its a little dark and smelly and filled with peoples' toss offs and I am sometimes known to ... partake ... So there was nothing there this time, or nothing I personally wanted. Other people seemed to be having a really nice time picking up old salvaged bits and stuffing them in their carts, smelly and all. BUT then I saw her... it ... we shall call her Millicent ... A DRESS FORM! a really old and muckish sort of thing, she'd certainly need some ... work ... as they say ... but ... dare I? I went home without her because I always think, well, if she's gone when I get back it wasn't really meant for me. But ... maybe it was meant for me and I'm just delaying the inevitable? It's not that I sew, mind you, although I do have an absolutely gorgeous brand new sewing machine I just had to have three Christmas's ago and made three pillows and then stored in the basement with the vases. But ... the book's somewhere upstairs in one of my drawers. I used to make things in highschool. I made some pants once and put the zipper in backwards ... but ... no worries...

I was thinking (always dangerous) I could cover her in some nice linen or muslin ... she has a very nice chest ... nice and shapely, and my thought is to use her for really getting a good idea of how a necklace will hang. It's very hard to really get a good idea using myself ... I like to face my work! Mirrors put everything backwards and cattywompus anyway. Don't they? I can't even button my shirt in the mirror!

The problem with working at home is you're always thinking, before I go to work, I'd best clean up the house a bit, then before you know it it's 3pm and you're still scrubbing the bathroom and your hair's a wreck and then the teenager and his entourage walk in and the man gets home and THEN if you even mention disappearing to the shop, they sort of look at you ... you're leaving us? Now? we just got here.... faces all bleary and turned down. one thing I realize too is that ... I don't get anything more done, and in fact, I think I get less done! And of course, there's that night work that no one knows about! They're all sleeping and snoring while I'm pricing and measuring and cutting and doing inventory. But of course I love every minute of it ... but the trick is not to let them know just how much you love it ... mustn't be too happy about working ...disappearing to your shop, fiddly diddling all day with a bunch of stones. Really.

must run, lora

be still my beading heart...

Yesterday afternoon, while the sun boiled beyond these walls ... for me anything above 70 is boiling... I went to my rickity shop for inspiration ... remind me to purchase a cheap but adequate fan. So ... anyway... I'd found a wonderful peach colored porcelain bead awhile ago, it was very simple but looked delicate and it was the only one @ the shop where I got it ... so I bought it ... just a little crackled and dimpled on the surface like fine china. Some thoughful handiwork. So it inspired me yesterday ... I made it into a pendant with a tassle of blue lace agate, quartz crystal, peach freshwater pearls and a couple of Czech glass crystals for the "glitzy factor" which is often a necessary embellishment (sort of like the crunch factor in dog food) ... three strands of pearls and a very funky S clasp later ... it's so cute...don't you think?

Then ... being so inspired and seeing beads bobbing around in a billowing cloud above my head crying "me! me! me! pick me next!" I moved on ... oh .... the sweet little carnelian butterflies! .... and faceted smokey quartz and silver dragonflies! what to do next... I attached them, among other things 26 inches of silver chain like a swath of charms and finished it off with the neatest heart clasp I found at Shipwreck ... it's like this intertwining heart thingy. I held the finished product up in the air and admired it ... silver reflecting like a mirror and ... I couldn't take it anymore ... I ran for the tea kettle and a chunk of liver of sulpher ... and unceremoniously plunked the whole thing into the greenish-yellowy brown gruel and pulled out a perfectly black chain. The Irishman winced when he saw it (he always shows up at the most appropriate time to comment). Do people really like that stuff? Oh shut up. I like it. If I like it... someone else out there likes it ... go away now, I told him. I'm busy. When did you become the expert anyway! You're supposed to be building the deck.

That's why I like working with animals. They think every thing I do is just dandy and never EVER question me! Men!

The poor man, speaking of decks, shhhhhh ... he doesn't know I'm speaking of it ....he spent the whole evening putting on the spindles ... whatever the heck they are called ... the slats between the rails? And had to take them down again because one was 3 inches instead of 4 ... perfectionism is a curse. Poor devil was so disheartened. Nevermind, I said. Who needs slats or spindles, or whatever they're called. He slowly moved his eyes in my direction and the c orner of his lip curled just slightly. Okay ... ummm ... we'll start all over tomorrow night I said backing away slowly, and ... not to worry. Tea?

I sat out on the platform last night until a mosquito scout found me and called her entourage to join her and partake in the human flesh feast ... did you know only the females drink blood ... I learned that on Discovery I think. But WHO THE HELL CARES! Do you think I care that she drinks blood to feed her brood of wrigglers birthing in some soilent, stale waterhole? I have pretty much come to believe that there is nothing on the earth that shouldn't be here ... but then I try to justify mosquitos and I really can't for the life of me come up with a reason for their existence. If you can, please ... please tell me.

ooh ... time to run the wee lad to school. He's only 6 feet and wears a size 12 shoe! Later .... ~ lora

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

there goes the neighborhood

I just drove my son to school, wearing my pajamas and dark glasses lest someone recognize me, for his sake ... I mean, I'm wearing pajamas and dark glasses, not my son! I'm wearing them because I hate to change clothes to run him to school, and wearing the dark glasses because I look ghastly otherwise. I haven't had a chance to put on my face. Who would recognize me? His friends? Who cares. My neighbors, maybe. Certainly no one else. But I wear them just the same because I like feeling incognito.
Anyway, he finally consented to cutting his long, ringletty, Howard Stern style locks... even donated them to Locks of Love. Be still my heart! He's growing up. I just realized I should clarify something; (I meant Howard Stern the controversial radio fellow, not Anna Nicole's lawyer, boyfriend ... whatever.) My son looks nothing like Howard Stern, thankfully. And now, he looks more jockish than rockish. Not sure what he was going for. Maybe just to see the road, or his guitar neck, or his feet when he skateboards, very possibly the page of a book so he'll be a better student.... nahhhhhh. But he can't seem to stop looking in the mirror so either he can't believe he has eyebrows or is wondering what those two things on the side of his head are ... ears? So, today no one will know him at school and although he didn't say, I'm sure he was a bit nervous, being shy at heart. But ... so I took him to school. The car didn't break down so no one had to see me hiking up the hill in my pink, poodle dog PJs, and I'm sure my teenager was deeply relieved.

On the way home, I swing around the corner at the end of my road where they are building these new houses. They are selling for a mild $350K . No yards to speak of. And windows that look in on each other since the backyards consist of nothing but a 3x5 patch of dirt. The front of the house is so close to the road you can see inside the cars that pass. And I'm thinking... people will buy these little boxes and become slaves to the bank for the next 30 years because we all want the American Dream.
But who really wins here ... the banks! Wait a minute, let me hike up my skirt and get up on my soap box ... then, I realized, housing costs have gone up some 200% and yet salaries remain the same. As a corporate recruiter for 17 years I usually offered pretty good salaries. But working for a staffing agency more recently, I had the wonderful & ever satisfying job of offering heads of households jobs that paid a measly $10 an hour! Now I ask you, How in the heck can anyone other than a teenager with no expenses survive on $10 an hour! I know what you're thinking ... obviously she hasn't lived with a teenager lately. I know, that was off the cuff. No teenager could survive on that. But, as I was saying ....It's rediculous! Oops ...Was I screaming?

What if ... I had this idea you see ... what if all the people got together and decided they would not buy a house for a whole year. Who really NEEDS to buy a house anyway, there are plenty of living options... camping is always nice. Apartments. Mobile homes. Your car. I knew a guy who lived in his car and he did quite nicely. His father was a doctor and he wasn't even embarrassed to admit it. He had a much better car than me AND he ate out quite often... he smelled nice, too. And he recycled ... don't you think they would be forced to lower the cost of housing so my friend (and everyone else) could move out of his car? What do you think? Yeah ... not a bad one.

I bought my house back in 1986 for $40,000! Can you imagine! It's an old timer from 1928 ... I call her Girty. When there's a big storm and the trees start swaying (lovely 100 foot cedars out back!) she gets a little nervous. Now Girty, I say, don't get your knickers in a twist! They were here longer than you. She's persnickity. Very northwestern shaped ... pointy 12-pitch roof, 3 floors, daylight basement, coved ceilings, arched entries, fir floors, steeeeeeeeeeep stairs, one bathroom .... Okay, so she's not perfect nor did I mean to imply she was (shhhhh , she thinks she is), but she sure has character and did I mention acreage. Ahhhh ... the A word in real estate lingo. Thankfully, I've been able to garden my heart out over the years and not be too much of a pain to my husband because of it. Whoever buys the houses down the road will get about 3 weeks of gardening room. Now that's just ... disheartening! So ... in 20 years ... housing has gone up, let's see ... $360 divided by 40 ... mmmm .... where's that calculator? You see what I mean? I think.... oh ... for heaven's sake ... the tea kettle is singing. We will have to have this discussion later, dear friends ... join me in a cup of tea?.... lora

ps. I meant to tell you... the shop was closed so I didn't get the beads. And I'm still drooling. Think I'll go climb up on the deck and drink my tea. Oh ... one more thing ... tum da da dum... the stairs are done! Now we just need a door! Oh, and some railing. Bye. Gotta catch the sun.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hitting the deck ... so to speak

It's Memorial Day! Gracious thank you's to all of those who fought in the name of freedom. Many dear souls paid the ultimate price. I hate disagreements of anykind. But when they're on a global level, things can get ugly. One of my brother's served in the Air Force as an interpreter, but the rest of my family were cursed with flat feet, bad eyes, poor posture, hemroids or some other unthinkable ailment that denied them entry or actually got them ousted them from the ranks altogether. Oh ... there was Uncle Clarence. He was stationed in the Pacific, as I recall, in the big one. He was never a very friendly fellow. Perhaps he had his reasons. And there was Chandler ... an uncle on my father's side ... he flew with the Blue Angels. Does that count? My mother's father died in the first world war. He was in the cavalry division. I never knew him, as he died when she was only 9. War destroys families.

My father lived during the depression and was a terrible hoarder ... which I assume was passed on to me, as I've been known to hoard just a bit. But I hoard different kinds of things than he. For instance, I'd never keep 50 jars of string beans and 20 cans of coffee in the basement, just in case. I might keep several pairs of shoes, in case the style comes back. I saved vases for awhile, but they began to take over, so I moved them to the basement.

But I digress... or am about to anyway. We're building a deck. It should be finished by summer solstice the Irishman says (that would be the man of the house). For those not up on things of that nature, it's June 21st. The longest day of the year. That means, there will be stairs and a door by then. Right now, we have a platform that's really fun to climb up onto and sit warming in the sun. Except you must use a ladder. Well, all good things in time. Right? I'm shocked at all he's done, actually, to date, considering he has done it without a helper except for myself the odd time holding a plank or the ladder or cheering him on at the very least. So, where is the number one and absolute only teenager of the house, you might ask? Skateboarding, playing guitar with "the band" ... something ALWAYS other than assisting with the much awaited deck. Unless the mention of money happens to garnish the conversation... oh then he can muster up a bit of time to unload the van or shoulder a heavy beam. But it's much more fun to mow the neighbor's sprawling lawns I should think. He pays better.

I've taken the day off today while the deck is in progress. My husband is off work ... but still working despite the holiday. I have a load of lovely beads to separate and price and put into ziplock baggies ... it's as good an inventory system as any, I should think. Well, it works. But I've been thinking about these lovely Bali silver tubes I drooled over in some retail shop in Poulsbo. Expensive? Scandalous, actually! I've looked everywhere on line but can't seem to find the exact same thing. And these were especially neat. I have ideas about them that won't seem to leave me. Don't you hate that? The brain latches on and keeps reworking and creating until you're absolutely frazzled and you haven't actually done a damn thing?

The clouds keep darkening the sky so I suppose we won't be having that cookout. I wonder if that little shop in Poulsbo is open today? I'll let you know...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

technologically challenged...maybe...

But not dispirited! Oh...heck and good grief! I'm reasonably confident that I have issues with technology that are beyond the norm and simply untreatable. Well ... I AM an arteest, not a computer engineer ... as Bones might say .... I'm a doctor for chrissakes!! Remember that? No! I'm not a doctor! He is ... was ... on TV. Oh, nevermind. So what IS my problem. Here it is ... try as I might, I am unable to upload a certain photograph. Yeah. Pretty dumb isn't it? I mean, I can upload it, sure, I can do THAT much... but it's like ... HUGE, IMMENSE, GIGANTIC, TAKES UP WHOLE PAGE! And looks stupid. And I don't know how to make it small and un-stupid ... I've reached the edge of frustration, if there is an apex, I'd hate to think there is a higher plane of mixed-up-ness... as I've already pulled lumps of hair from my skull, teared up, laughed hysterically, cursed... cursed more... bit nails, fingernails that is, my own of c ourse, and now I give up which is probably what I should've done long ago... silly thing. I probably need to go to sleep now anyway. Is it that time? Doesn't that sound nice? Since the moon is hanging about causing trouble over my shoulder, having the audacity to be bright and cheery, oh, and have hope! Tommorrow is another day, as my mother used to say. And maybe by then something wonderful will have happened. Maybe I'll have sprouted a new kind of brain cell to help me with just these sort of conundrums. I just hate for this to be my first blog. I think it's time for icecream. Sigh....