Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Goin' to Jail

Tutoring day i.e.

I get out!! after 2 hours. Today, however, will be a new experience as I will be testing prisoners on their reading ability to see where they need to start. Many need the absolute basics...book one which goes over the letters and their sounds. Amazing, isn't it... I suspect they were never like these boys.

I wouldn't often comment here about a question but since it was dear BigCat who asked I thought I might just re post my answer to her re the Weekend Creative described earlier in case others had the same questions. Cat asked if YOU play along with me. No, not really tho you CAN play alongside. ;-)

Cathy...each participant documents his/her own life. While the instructions seem long, the basis is YOU document the ordinary of your own life - photos, words/journaling, receipts, life ephemera. Since I don't scrap, tho blogging certainly is an electronic scrap imho, I plan to make a little 4x6 book...just cardstock and gesso'd cardboard with perhaps two rings.

What I like best about Ali is she sees the value of simple, and real. No rules, no musts, just do it your own way...the doing is what matters. My philosophy to a T.

Gotta run...and document my life as it happens too. Tomorrow I have a new 12 part series starting. My almost favorite holiday is coming up!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm doin' this

Weekend Creative (<----This is clickable and tells all about it.)

shadow of me

A Week in the Life Of is the theme. I'm still thinking about HOW I'll assemble it.

I needed something to get me back to noticing and taking pictures. Noticing and writing. A girl can only do so many ATCs, you know.

Crafty Bastards

I went yesterday!

I am so much of a 'want to be there but don't like the work of going' kinda person. I have to push myself at times to do this, especially to take a day by myself and Just Do It and with a name like theirs how could one resist?

However, the gd#*#%% humidity nearly killed me on the walk from Columbia Heights metro down to Adams Morgan. It's only a mile walk but my backpack was filled with umbrella, raincoat and various craft supplies for the swap etc etc. AND I don't like humid + hot. At all.
Pretty in pink
The day was full of intermittent downpours and I wanted to get that supply of swappies out of that bag and onto the swap table ASAP. I don't think my back dried out all day with that backpack next to it!

Mostly I wanted to meet the human folk of a blog I've enjoyed since I took keyboard in hand -SomethingsHidingInHere . They are located in Philadelphia, the wonderful place in which I entered the world. When I saw their wacky mustache on a stick, I loved it and always look to see what's new for them. Mr. Something is behind their hand made stall unfortunately.
Something's Hiding in Here

I took a lot of pictures, bought very few items, having lightened the backpack I was not about to fill it up!, and had a good but exhausting day.

There was Make Magazine
Make Magazine
Tofu for Obama
Tofu for Obama
Dogs for Adoption
I want you!
and the occasional WTF?!?!?! (click to enlarge and catch this little boy a bit ahead of his years - I hadn't seen that action coming as I clicked)
The ill effects of face paint
bands to enjoy
and money to spend or figure out where it went.(A friend bailed her out!)
A dollar or two short

I was just about to get some Thai food from a vendor when the rain hit. No chance of a place to sit anywhere at that point, so I hit the road north and checked out the offerings in a new Harris Teeter grocery store . Roast beef wrap, side of orzo salad, some flavored water AND a chair and counter to sit and eat. Heaven...plus air/conditioning. God knows this part of town needed grocers; shame it had to taken some gentrification to get them.

By the time I got home, dh had also turned on the kitchen a/c as the humidity was one of the awful readings. We even went to bed with a/c on. So much for packing away the summer clothes. Why do I always let MamaNature fool me like this?!??! Year in, year out, I want to believe I can safely shift from shortsleeved t-shirts to long...with sweaters coming out of cedar. Naaaaw..it's the time of the boxes all over the bedroom...and clothes coming from this one or that, depending on MamaNature's mood.

Today clear and dry. Tomorrow..well I'll wait to see.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is ...show off time.

This week's theme comes from May the cloth be with you and it certainly is a different idea. Good one I think. Too many people (read women) are loathe to boast about themselves. True humility says this is what I'm good at and this is what I'm not. We need to recognize both sides of our own coin's makeup.

I will say that I'm really good at cooking, and more so...something that surprised me about 20 yrs ago...was that I can quickly plan a meal/party for a group and not get flustered.

I only say I was surprised when a woman I knew, my own age, mentioned it was a talent 'these young people' had for entertaining a big group. Huh? I had no idea it was not a natural talent for all of us, well mostly all of us females. (Sexist yes, but ...) Anyhow, I recognized that it was a skill I had.

The other boast about is that I finally, finally finished up my degree at age 56. But literally on my first wedding anniversary! So the timing was meant to be.

I love this saved one...because to me it IS proof. ;-)

I'm sure I could make my list considerably longer because I have never been a shy, little violet. However, it does sometimes take me time to recognize that what comes easily to me might not come so easily to you. So...click that button that says This is...and see what great accomplishments others might be proud of.

(And yes, I have three children but really it was just a few minutes of sex that produced them...and that's not so hard, is it?!?!?)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Baby word

Baby word
Originally uploaded by Veronica TM

I'm not usually overly taken by baby things..btdt...but this caught my eye as something I would have enjoyed having for the short time a beebee inhabits a small crib.

Pretty in pink!

I'm a little chopstick....long and slim

Well not as long as I used to be and no way as slim as I used to be but who's quibbling.

You Are Chopsticks

People see you as exotic, unusual, and even a bit intimidating.

You are a difficult person to figure out.

In truth, you try to live a very simple life.

But most people are too frenzied to recognize the beauty of your simplicity.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Love Friday

Yep, lovin it today. A quiet day, overcast and gray but the kind of day to swing from getting things done to puttering. Perfect.
French Toast Sandwich

While this lunch wasn't today, it was yesterday. Frenchtoasted ham and cheese.

Today included gettting some atcs off in the mail, along with a package to the grandchicks in Arizona and a return from an etsy buy. Somehow I got a duplicate item! No charge but...still not good karma to keep.

Bought some art supplies, got dh some cheese and meat at the Amish Market and ordered some postcards of my photos from WalMart. I'm anxious to see how these turn out as it will save me a bit of fiddling later on with both printing the photo and the backing cardstock. We'll see.

Dinner? Beef and broccoli with oyster sauce. I added a small pinch of home grown red pepper just to please dh. Not hot but with a bit of an after taste. Nice.
Beef and Broccolli w/Oyster Sauce
Tonight? Maybe a film from our cable days...Down in the Valley with Edward Norton. I luv that man! or perhaps just some reading. Whatever, just calm and quiet.

And your Friday? busy? home? away? Whatever it is, I hope it's been a good day for you too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

36 Million Women

Now that's a number to be reckoned with isn't it? Do you know what that # refers to???

36 million women who blog and read blogs worldwide

If you're reading this, you are one of those women according to the BBC story about Blogher. The bulk of the story discusses paid ads on your site but that stat just astounded me. Astounded me and inspired me...with hope for us who inhabit Mother Earth.

Made me think of Jean Shinoda Bolen's book The Millionth Circle. Come on tipping point, come on soon.

Think of your own blogroll as your own circle, and look at how many of our circles intersect, and lap over each others'. "When a critical number of people change how they think and behave, the culture will also, and a new era begins." Blog on!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Refugee Crafter: Tu-tu Giveaway!

Refugee Crafter: Tu-tu Giveaway!

Now you want this too, don't you?
September 27
I won!!!! I won!!! There's gonna be a little girl in AZ who is just tickled...pink!

On My Desk...September 24

A chilly a.m. and all in all I was grateful for a cat who felt I needed to get up before 06:30. He just wandered into the bedroom, howled, and walked out. DH was already out and on the road to the govt office he has been given, so it was a morning alone ahead for me. Pure quiet. All the windows were shut, including the window the cat's perch is in front of, which told me it was Brisk! out. Brrr...too cold to walk with just a t-shirt. So I retired to the computer after journaling.

With tea of course.

Hmmm...walk is still on that list from yesterday.

Yesterday was a full day of playing with ATCs which went pretty well. Since our trip to the beach didn't work out, I thought I would sign up for an art pencil/stamping class, but sigh.. it was already filled. I'd had a chance to sign up before but we were going away then so I didn't. I'm going to have to..no I WANT to find...a fun activity for tomorrow. Perhaps a day in the big second hand furniture stores of Baltimore. An artist-date a week is a goal, and Thursday seems to work best for me.

Do you get to take your artist out for a date?? Where do you go? what have you found recently that made your heart laugh?

Well, I had better go eat my breakfast and put those shoes and warmer clothes on and yes...walk. Have a great day! and check out the other players at Kirsty's blog by hitting that On My Desk button.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moon over Manhattan

more than a thumbnail
Originally uploaded by mudpig

Wow...I've gotta get back to NYC. Cooler air, more energy to walk walk walk. Methinks I'd better start walking in my own area to get in practice to really hustle thru a day in Gotham.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Autumn

fall reading
Originally uploaded by redazadi

or spring as the case may be.

We were to go to the beach for a week yesterday but life intervened and here we are home. But no shortage of reading material, is there? Any good books round your place to recommend? not that I need more but...well, do we ever have enough books???

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This is ..my dream job

Originally uploaded by R. Plowman

Growing up I wanted to be

* a French teacher for little children
(languages were not taught till high school when I was young)
* a diplomat (I did not know that US foreign service women had to resign when they married then)
* a wife (this was kind of a given in the 50s and early 60s)
* a mother of 6 children (I was an only child)

Life happens and I flunk out of college, marry and live all over the world, and have three children who learn various less than common languages. So I sort of had all 4. We wisely stopped having children after 2 (anyone recall zero population growth?) and #3 was adopted.

So fast forward to my 40s, divorced and working in government. xh used to always say angrily "You should have been a lawyer!!" Yes, I should have. But over the next 20 years, I was able to work in the immigration law area and eventually work on state legislation and finish my degree.

So did I get my dream jobs? Yes, in a roundabout way I did. Oh, with marriage to current dh, I now have a total of 6 children (all adults...phew!). So never presume a dream is lost. You may have to work for it later in life, you may find it's a dream job that has turned into a nightmare, or perhaps just an idea you have outgrown.

Being retired, today I play with paper and scissors and glue and teach reading to adult male prisoners. Sounds dreamy to me!! Thanks to Randel Plowman for inspiring me with his A Collage of the Day. That's his crafty table not mine. (But if you want a quick and decisive answer OR a diplomatic answer, feel free to ask me!)

Click ThreeButton's list over on the right to see who else answered this week's ? which came from Cindy at bugandpop. Great one Cindy!

Cynthia Collage

Cynthia Collage
Originally uploaded by ¡Viva la Cynthia!

How cool is this?? Now I wish I had a shorter name...

If you try this, please let me know. I'd love to see your efforts.

Baltimore Birds..no, not THOSE birds

Not the Baltimore Orioles (the baseball team) but a phenomenon of chimney swifts who fly into these industrial sized chimneys for a period during the early fall. They sleep in the chimneys at night having flown in as a tremendous group at dusk. The Baltimore Bird Club (aka the BBC !) watches and counts these birds each year.

Thanks for filming this and sharing it Roberta!

CHIMNEY SWIFTS AT DUSK, DRUID HILL PARK CONSERVATORY (GREENHOUSE) Join the BBC SwiftWatch Team for "Swift Night Out" as Chimney Swifts pour into the Conservatory chimney. Swifts are counted and results, nationwide, are listed at Chimneyswifts . Baltimore has some of the highest counts in the nation. Come at 7:15 if the weather is cloudy or gray. (the date for this was Sept 14 but as of Sept 18 they were still flying in. No frost yet.)

In addition to the conservatory, you can try these locations - Mill Center at 3000 Chestnut Street and/or the Freestate Bookbindery at 3110 Elm Avenue, Baltimore.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CleverGirlGoesBlog says...

Having cats is kind of like having babies mixed with teenagers. They puke, you have to clean it. They poo, you have to clean it. You give orders, they ignore them. You set boundaries, they ignore them. You try to hid things from them (i.e. ribbon & plastic bags), they find them, eat them, and puke. You clean it. CleverGirl said it all.

Lookin' at me?
What's your point??

On my Desk....September 17

Today the desk is actually cleaner than last night's photo shows. The Halloween ATCs are mailed, the surplus ones are filed, and lots of bits are put away. However, you should have seen that desk Tuesday a.m. It was a disaster zone, or more aptly put, a desk in the middle of creativity.

If that were all the desk held...creative projects...it might be ok but it is the 'stuff' that goes in this room and has to be put away somewhere, and I am still learning where that somewhere should be. Where DOES one put all the bits that are already cut up and/or how do these get sorted?? Obviously (well so it seems to me), not in individual drawers as I don't have the time nor space to have that many one inch deep drawers. I DO have a ream of large mailing envelopes that I got thru freecycle so if I could ever 'get round to it" I guess I could use those envelopes to sort cut up bits...

Other paper artists...what do you do??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off on a tangent...what a good tangent

In the most recent "This is..." describing what one can do in 10 minutes, a lot of us confessed to doing bloglines/rss feeds etc. Today I went on one of those merry tangents that are so very serendipitous. I clicked on not Martha and looked at her link to The Boss of You's article on fonts. Well I liked The Boss of You so I looked more of their September posts.

That is where I saw this interesting post about Lunapads. I do admit when I heard about washable sanitary products, I shook my head...Oh no. (It's a moot point with me at my age but thinking of the women I know, I didn't think most of them would go there.) However I'd never thought of the ecological consequences, nor of the need in the developing world. Mind changed. Imagine that!

This section on the Lunapad blog truly touched me - Shanti-Uganda. Most of us are so used to the variety of choice we have for 'that time of month' including medication to block or even eliminate it, we ( I ) don't often think of those females who have to resort to rags, leaves, or newspaper. Shame and humiliation are the price a young girl often pays for becoming a women. Many end up dropping out of school rather than be embarrassed. (What would YOU have done...)

Check out Lunapads special offer where you can buy a kit of reusable sanitary products for a girl in Uganda (including panties which many of them do not have) for $40. Think about making a difference in a young girl's future.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pay it Forward

I have been the lucky recipient of a 'pay it forward' from the dear Anastasia of AnastasiaC.

Believe it or not, I'm the more patient one in our household, and when I came home Thursday after my long day out, I saw the package...from Australia!! and knew what it was, or rather why it was. My dh didn't say anything when I didn't open it tho I know he was antsy.

I actually opened it late Friday when I had time to look at it all AND photograph it. Saturday my Artist Way group was in the house for one of our periodic studio days,and there was a lot of oooohhhing and ahhhing. We were still stumped with one item.

I actually had a lot of dresses like the one on the tag on the wrapping and I too had looong blond hair till I was 12 or so. (I still have my ponytail that my mother saved wrapped in tissue....oh to have hair of that color and quality now!)

But what did she send???? Ohhhh...lots of goodies.

An apron, a peg bag, some funny Cadburys with Australian animal papers, some of her own tags, some stickers to mark magazines (I do this a LOT), a crocheted brooch, a little biscuit cookbook - and I'm bilingual in biscuit/cookie! -, a packet of gift bags, a little bear (must be a koala, I'm sure...)mold, and my absolute favorite...a set of kangaroo cutters!!! I'm thinking I will cut some toasts for the next Boys Night In soup dinner. Grown men are boys at heart, right?

But now my question...the peg bag (the brown and pink item at top on the 3rd pic). It has snaps but we 10 or so Americans were clueless as to what you snap it to or how you use it. Help!

And now it's my turn...so if you leave a comment on this post, the wonder cat Sebastian will pick a name out of a frying pan and you will be able to jump into the fire of a pay it forward. I pick one and then you have to pay it forward to someone else in 365 days. (You knew all this didn't you but I wanted to include this song...)

This is...what I do with 10 spare minutes

I have a lot of these now that I'm retired but ...

Mostly my spare moments come while I am in the house. I am fortunate that I don't have to do much or go many places where I have to wait. If there is that possibility, I usually have a bag with a magazine to read - something to look at in short bursts.

I also have followed Flylady's concept of ...you can do anything for 15 minutes...so sometimes those 10 min gaps are spent clearing off a 'hotspot', meaning a pile of anything in whatever room I'm in. I can also wipe down a kitchen counter or a bathroom in 10 minutes. I can also clean up yet another spot I've noticed where the cat has thrown up. Sigh.

photo from cheryl
Mostly I use the time at home to get another glass of water, or get rid of another glass of water previously taken in. Water in, water out! Hydration is good but... ;-)

Oh yeah, and in the car at traffic lights I file my nails. I keep emery boards around everywhere. Nothing exciting in those spare minutes but maybe if you click the "This Is" button on the right you'll find someone who has a great activity for those 10 precious moments! Thanks to hoppobumpo for this week's topic.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Love Friday and Flashback Friday

Ok two birds with one stone.

I'm loving Friday because I had a good day yesterday with my bi-weekly tutoring in the a.m. These prisoners try so hard that the two hours goes really fast. I had worried about that but despite their status, they pay attention and work so hard, you are rooting for them.

Afterward, I went up to the edge of Baltimore, the area of dumps and all sorts of toxic waste landfills to take some pictures. You know you don't want to go down the road marked Quarantine Road. There is an area of the city called Fairfield and I suppose in a far far distant past (Civil War era?) it might have been a fair field with a view of the growing city to the north. But in the days I first saw it, it was a nearly abandoned group of houses literally in the shadow of BP gas storage tanks. People still lived there.

Located in the southeastern portion of the city, Fairfield is a heavy industrial area housing petroleum firms, chemical plants, trucking depots, asphalt manufacturing facilities and a number of other industrial and service companies. Within the boundaries of Fairfield are two small communities--Old Fairfield and Wagners Point; and located just outside are two other neighborhoods--Brooklyn and Curtis Bay. EPA records 1996

Apparently this area was bustling in the 1940s with both a shipyard and a steelworks.

Many of the workers had been recruited from the mining regions of the south, and their descendents still lived in the area in the 80s though the jobs were long gone.

I would love to know more about this area and see pictures as I first saw it. Today? Only the two churches remain and the place has the feel of the ghosts who lived, worked and died there.

So loving Friday that only ghosts remain in this toxic area and a flashback to the days when we just didn't know what the price was for so many of those 'good' jobs.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tea for 2 and 2 for Tea

A couple of years ago, my dear husband bought me some tea cozies from this company dev-o-tea. I love them! You know...there isn't any roar when the clock strikes four, Everything stops for tea...

Now as an American, I wasn't used to this idea till I went to England tho I grew up as a tea drinker. In cold damp Yorkshire, a cozie was a necessity, and I loved the idea of the last cup still being good and hot. I've had quite a few cozies over the years, and in so many moves, most of them have gone ...wherever things go when you move. (???)

Well I just got an email from this company mentioning that business has been tough in the current US economy, so I thought I'd share what I think as one of dh's best finds. Not only does the cozie really work (it has an insulation) but the gift boxes and wraps were so well chosen, you knew these people had their hearts into their work. In addition to cozies, they have all the teas and tea paraphernalia you might ever need. Take a look and see what strikes your fancy.

Happy teatime to you! (and yes, the cozie shown is one I'm going to buy for myself. Hot tea and a book? Does life get much better than that??) So listen to Jack Buchanan 1935 and have a cuppa.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He couldn't Wait

I said I'd go with him to buy it tomorrow afternoon, but somebody had the shopping bug. They talk about women!

I'm not sure my brain is ready for the learning curve but I AM grateful for my new phone. I suspect the ATC factory is shutting down for the night.

On My Desk...September 10

Still in the am, and not much really happening yet. I have other stuff to get done before I get down to some hopefully fun ATC making and creating this afternoon! Retired, and still 'other' stuff to do...how does that keep happening?!?!?

This was Saturday, a gift from Dick's boss who was unable to make it to my birthday get together. It was pouring with the dregs of Hurricane Hanna when they arrived. So very nice of Steve and Yumi to send these. I did share..a bit.

I am doing some Halloween ATCs and one of my swap partners is interested in the 1940s. I googled "Halloween 1940" and this is one of the images that came up. I have a very hard time imagining a child dressed as Hitler in 1940...but then who knows what the politics of this Canadian family might have been... Very very strange and creepy to me.

Other desks are listed on Kirsty's blog which you can go to if you click that On My Desk button on the right...go ahead. You'll have fun.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Love NY? So does Art Cumings

I often wonder how we really did live our lives before the net, and like a couple of jokers, I wish Al Gore had invented it sooner!

One of my first big wingspreadings was on flickr. Now my children still think I'm a little...odd...since I have posted so many food pictures, but when I was seriously involved in the Garden Web Cooking Forum, that is what we did. That was where I learned how beautiful some food photography could be. I also learned how gorgeous northern light is (or southern light for those of you below the equator). I learned I had a lot to learn and a long way to go.

But back in flickr, I made my first contact - the husband of my former workmate- and then slowly have added a few more. I don't have lot since I know I won't be able to give their photographs justice. But one man has stood out for me because of his unique eye for the Big Apple. I was going to save this post for that upcoming anniversary, but decided no. Give the man his own due. I asked Art if if could use the photos shown, and he agreed.
Photo by Art Cumings

Photo by Art Cumings.

Aren't these perfect for a creative writing class? One photo and so many possible scenarios.

I'm so glad to share ArtCumings with you. Look thru Art's pictures and you'll see the warmth of that swirling mass of humanity we call New York City. Thank you Art! and keep on clicking.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This is...my all time favorite band

Curlypops came up with this week's theme and you have to look at hers. Talk about a dedicated fan!!!

I am a one-man-band fan, tho I adored the Beatles in high school. From the moment I landed in the UK in the 60s, this was my man. Still is. (NO! that's not me with him...I was only in my 20s back then !)

I've only seen him a couple of times live, and they have been in Washington DC. Since I don't have a concert buddy (Mr. CML is an opera fan...) I manage with the DVDs of concerts he buys me.

Despite the heroin, the booze, the women , it was true then, and is true now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Time to click and party!

This girl is is having a birthday party and you're all invited! As I've said before, it you are feeling low and lonely and (fill in the blank), you can find a world of friends to listen and perhaps give you some cheer thru blogging.

I haven't met her ...yet...but she is one of my swap partners for some ATCs. I love it when a partner has a blog and isn't THAT far away from me! So, click that link and ...join the party! (she even has giveaways, and I know for a fact that the REAL day is the 16th)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Love Friday?

Not so much love around today... bah humbug.

We had a "boys night in" dinner last night which went quite well. It was during the day that I saw more and more and more of poor old Sebastian's cat hair. I have washed the floor three times this week and short of washing all the walls and pretty much EVERYthing in the house, I feel as if I am on a losing streak. Plus it is getting into spider time, and of course the webs that spring up over night catch even more of the hair.

Most of hair and web backlog comes from the many trips we have taken, along with the disappearance of the cleaning lady. She was quite good - when she came - but a friend and I felt she may have had a 'chemical' issue. I wish her well wherever she is, but I had delayed finding someone else. You know there is that one day that you suddenly look ...or see...and say "How Did all THIS happen?!?!?"

Well, I was tired this am, and happily slept till 07:30. I was just settled in with a cuppa tea and ready to read emails when dear man...and I must remember that 95% of the time he IS a dear man...the dear man burst in telling me I had better go and move the bags of topsoil NOW before it got too hot!!!

"Excuse me!" "I haven't even been up for an hour, I am still in my jammies, and your urgency is NOT mine!" I know we are expecting the bits of Hurricane Hanna today but damn...

I put shorts on, moved the topsoil, and spent the rest of the morning cleaning up bits of the garden...three trashcans full. I'm spent, and I still need a haircut.

So I remember these....

No, not from the dear man, but from one of our dinner guests last night. I think a good mood will come back if I add another episode of "MI-5."

A new white background here helped too. I think.

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