Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Memories

Growing up in rural Arkansas made for some unique family traditions, especially when it came to Christmas. Christmas was my favorite time of year - brightly colored lights draped around a fresh cut cedar tree, homemade decorations (with a few glass ornaments handed down from Grandma), lots of tensile, and Frosty. The mood was festive and not once can I remember feeling poor, although I suppose we were as poor as church mice. I knew there would not be many presents come Christmas morn, but I also knew I would not be forgotten.

We would cut down our own cedar tree and drag it back to the house (about 2 weeks before Christmas), trim the branches, and set it in a 5 gallon bucket filled with rocks to keep it standing stable and upright. Even as a child I wished that there was some other way to stand the tree. That 5 galloon bucket was just ugly and large and because the tree needed a gallon of water every day, keeping the bucket covered and clean was a challenge.

Once the tree had found its Christmas home in the corner of our living room, decorations were hung. First came the string of lights. They were the old fashioned kind that got hot enough to melt the tensile. Next, each of us kids (For me that meant a little sister and an older brother. We were the last of the kids still at home.) would hang our favorite ornaments with each trying to make sure theirs were prominently displayed at the front for better visibility. (Over the next couple of weeks we would make and add new decorations, replacing those that had not survived the year of storage.) Then Mom would hang the tensile, most of which was saved from the years before. Not in globs. Oh no. Strand by strand the tensile was hung in curtains off the outer branches. Finally came the star - and not just any ole star. Our star was handmade. It was a 3 dimensional, 5-point star made out of thin cardboard, and covered in aluminum foil. There was a toilet paper tube glued to the back so that it could be slid over the top most branch. The tree was always a thing of beauty for me. I could gaze at it for hours. Ever so often I would blow a puff of air toward the tree so that the tensile would gently rustle sending sparks of light into the room.

Our presents to each other were creative and practical. I thought I was so rich when I was given $5 to shop with. “Shop” I type with a smile. I mean it was really something special at the time because we (the kids) just did not get to go shopping during the year. Mom would gently guide me in my shopping spree – like a brightly colored umbrella for my sister and a pair of gloves for my brother. I would march to the store counter, plop down my money, and pay for these special gifts myself. I felt soooo important. The bag was tied tightly so that no one could see the contents. Now keep in mind, mom did the same thing with my siblings, at the same store and at the same time, and that we traveled home together - each clutching our prizes tightly to our chests. Gifts to our school friends were boxes filled with homemade cookies or divinity. Other gifts, like the ones given to my eldest sister that lived just a block away with her family, were more on the creative side. One year she was given a handful of gift certificates. Some of the certificates included were “redeem for one batch of homemade bread” and “redeem for one pumpkin pie”. (Girls in my family learned to cook/bake early. Making a pie and sharing our accomplishments were common practice for us.) Our presents were brightly wrapped with ribbon and bows, usually in paper and ribbon saved from previous years, and proudly added under the tree.

Once the first present made its way to the base of the tree, it was time for Frosty – usually 3 of them: one for home, and one each for my sister and I to take to school. Our Frosty was made of popcorn. The rocker-bottom skillet (a heavy aluminum skillet that had been well used, overheated one to many times so that the bottom was no longer flat, and around long before my first memory) was filled time and time again with kernels of white popcorn to pop and as each batch was finished, it was added to a large metal dishpan. Once the corn was ready syrup was made out of Kayro white corn syrup and sugar. You knew the syrup was ready when you dropped a bit into cold water and could hear the “crack”. As one of us drizzled the syrup over the corn, another would stir the corn as quickly and thoroughly as possible. We would bathe our hands in butter - so that the molten syrup wouldn't stick to our hands - then one would make the head, one the middle section, one the bottom, and whoever finished first would make the arms –which had wooden homemade dowel rods in the center. The bottom section was given to the youngest to make because the same gallon Tuperware bowl was always used as the mold and the molding was easy compared to the tossing, shaping, and compacting needed to make the other sections. Why the tossing? Well if you held the popcorn ball in your hands too long, you ended up with 2nd degree burns. The sections were “glued” together with more syrup. Then before the leftover syrup could harden in the pan, it was used to glue store-bought hard candy, chosen with care and sometimes arguments, to the snowman for eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons. Mom usually did that part. She was better at not getting burnt.

Frosty in many respects was the central figure of our Christmas traditions. He played such an important role in keeping the magic of Christmas alive. He was placed on a dinner plate then wrapped in clear Saran wrap (to keep him fresh and clean). Then he was placed so that he had a good view of the tree and the presents beneath. I don’t know about the average Frosty but ours was a tattle tale. If one of us would dare to peek at a present, not only would Frosty tell Mom but he would also tell Santa which could result in dire consequences. I don’t know what the consequences were. I just knew they were “dire”. I can never remember peeking; the same can not be said for my little sister or brother. On Christmas Eve, each of us kids would stand before Frosty and tell him what we wanted for Christmas so that he could tell Santa – with helpful suggestions being offered by Mom. The last year Dad was with us (that would make me almost 9 years old) I can remember asking Frosty to tell Santa to bring me an instrument to make music with. I didn’t care what it was, just so long as I could learn to play it. Santa, in his infinite wisdom, brought me a record player and two vinyl 45rpm records. For those of you too young to know what a record player is just think “CD player” only larger. The first record had Sesame Street’s Ernie singing “Rubber Ducky” and the second one was by the Irish Rovers with the song “The Unicorn” - which is still my favorite song of all times.

Christmas morning after the presents were all carefully opened and admired, Frosty became no more. His duty was done and being the practical family that we were, we would eat him - always starting at the back so as to preserve his looks as long as possible. Then Dad would share with all of us a small slice of the homemade chocolate fudge that Mom always managed to secretly make for him.

Our Christmas dinner was the same every year: Dad would buy a 5 lb tube of bologna and a couple of loaves of store-bought bread. It was the only time during the year we had store-bought bread. The rest of the year, either Mom or one of us girls would make our bread. Christmas was the one day a year my mom didn’t have to cook.

As I look back on these memories I wish with all my heart that my children would remember their own childhood Christmases as they begin to raise their own children. I kept many of the same traditions I grew up with and shared them with my children: handmade ornaments and presents, the event it was to decorate the tree, Frosty, the spirit of family unity, the magic of Christmas, and - even though the word was never spoken aloud to me as a child - love. I did however change our Christmas meal to a “feast”. We had always had leftovers for a week after. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The last 5 months of Mom's life...

Through a series of incompetence decisions, negligence, ignorance, and lack of caring my mother went from a vibrant, independent, happy little old lady to one that needed round the clock care... Care that I might add she did not receive.

All of her children (including me) left her care in the hands of her aged husband and her doctor. Her husband loves her deeply but he was ignorant about how to make sure she was receiving proper care. He knew something wasn't right but was afraid to make waves so he kept his mouth shut and said not a word to anyone. Perhaps he thought that if he said anything the situation would have gotten worse.

Her doctor didn't do the proper tests to find out why she was loosing the use of her legs. Judging purely from his actions I can only assume he just thought her age was catching up to her. First he gave her steroid shots. That helped for a while. But then about 5 months ago Mom fell 3 times within a couple of days and the doctor placed her in a nursing home for rehab. When physical therapy didn't work... He just discontinued the therapy and left her stuck in the nursing home as she steadily lost all use of her legs. He never discovered the ever enlarging tumor that had surrounded her spinal cord. How long did my mother seek treatment for legs that hurt and didn't work properly? ... over 2 years.

The nursing home... There has got to be some special kind of hell waiting for the people that work there. My mother was stripped of her dignity, made to feel shame, and suffered needlessly at their hands. She was at the mercy of a medical staff that didn't care enough about their patient to even provide the most basic of services.

My mother, who could not stand on her own, was placed in a wheelchair in the morning and left there until bedtime. No one came to make sure she was escorted to the bathroom leaving my mother no option other than to soil herself. At bedtime my mother was put in a sling and "hosed off to remove the manure" (my mothers own words as told to me Wedsnesday morning) then placed back in bed. None of the staff noticed the gaping, oozing, rotting bedsore the size of a tennis ball on her backside.

Well I suppose someone did finally notice that the stench of rotting flesh surrounding my mother wasn't the stench of soiled panties because she was finally transferred to the hospital for treatment. While trying to determine the extinct of the bedsore (which went all the way to the bone!), hospital personnel discovered the tumor. A tumor according to them that would have been operable if discovered sooner. How much sooner I don't know...yet.

My sister and I made the 8 hour trek up to see Mom Tuesday night/Wednesday morning to find out why she had bedsores and why the tumor went so long without being discovered only to find that she had been rushed back to the hospital. Just a mere week after receiving the blow that she would never walk again and never go back to her home, her gall badder acted up. I'm going to assume that when the doctor told her she was too old for surgery on Wednesday morning that he really meant that she was too weak. I'm also going to assume that as the doctor delayed readily available treatment (at another hospital) for someone as old and supposedly weak as my mother had become, that he was hoping the meds he administered would ease her problem. He was wrong. Her gall bladder erupted late Thursday night. I sit here now waiting for the word that the poisons leaching into her body has finally, painfully claimed her life.

I'm writing this not only because I'm so very angry but also to urge all those children with aging parents to take an active part in their health care and to ask questions...whether wanted or not. I cannot say whether or not me poking my nose into Mom's care would have prolonged her life. Nor can I say that it would have helped save the use of her legs. I would have probably trusted the doctor too thinking he knew more than I did. Alright I wouldn't have trusted the doc. I never trust docs to know best but I would have probably kept my mouth shut as I did research if I had been up to date on Mom's condition.

I can however state for a fact that her quality of life would have been better while at that nursing home. I assumed that because she had a loving husband by her side that the staff wouldn't dare to neglect their duties. I didn't question her care. I should have.

I accept the fact the my mother is old and that she could not live forever. I do NOT accept that the care she was given was anywhere near what she should have recieved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

string ornaments (with step by step photos)

My Christmas tree holds a treasure trove of memories. Memories of time past spent crafting with my children, of laughter, creativity, and love. Each year we would tried to find a new kind of handcrafted ornament to add.

These string ornaments were the ones we chose to do about 10 years ago.

To make these ornaments you need: cotton thread (like for crocheting), a water balloon, Aleene's original Tacky Glue, water, bowl, spoon, a washable (or disposable) work surface, damp rag, and a hook or hang ornament from.

Place about 1 tb. of glue into bowl, then add about 1 tb. of water. Mix well. Mixture should be "pourable". It's always nice to have help with these kinds of projects. ;)

Inflate the water balloon until it is rounded in shape and then tie it.

Spool off a good length of thread (about a yard) and dunk it in the glue mixture. Don't cut the thread!

Now start wrapping the thread around the balloon. As you wrap, try to remove the excess glue mixture. Add more thread to the glue mixture as needed. Doing this in small increments will lesson the likelihood of tangles/knots forming in the thread.

Once you've wrapped all the thread you want on the balloon, cut the thread. Insert the hook in the nozzle of the balloon.

Use the damp rag to remove any excess glue then hang the ornament to dry overnight. If the glue mixture you used is too thick, it will still make a lovely ornament. However, if you don't remove the excess before it dries, you will end up with "windows" of glue between the string. Some of these windows will look beautiful, but most of them will be torn and ragged.

Once your ornament is dry, pop the water balloon. I always pop it form the bottom so that the balloon will retract to the nozzle and come out in once piece.

You can call the ornament finished now and hang it from a hook or decorate it.

We used bell caps hot glued to the top of the ornaments to finish off the original ornaments.

Have fun!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bread Dough Gingerbread Men ornaments (step by steps)

My grandson was here today and we kept ourselves busy making old fashioned bread dough ornaments. For once I remembered I had a camera in time so step by step pics were taken. When my children were little we made them too. I still have them 15 years later.

To make 3-4 three inch gingerbread men you will need:
2 slices of white bread (old bread is fine as long as it's still pliable with no hard spots)
2 tablespoons Aleene's Original Tacky Glue (rule of thumb - 1 tb glue for each slice of bread)
1 teaspoon brown acrylic paint
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice)
bowl to mix, spoon, rolling pin, cookie cutter, flat surface to work on, butter knife, paint to decorate. (small beads, fabric paint, glitter, and ribbon can also be used to decorate the ornaments)

Start by removing all of the crust on both slices of bread - either discard crust or eat it like my grandson did :)

Tear the bread into small pieces and toss into your bowl.

Add the glue.

Now add the paint and cinnamon. (leave the cinnamon out when you make ornaments that are not brown) The cinnamon scent lasts for a long time. I remember the second year my children and I hung the ornaments on the tree, there was still a faint cinnamon smell.

Use the spoon to do the initial mixing... unless of course you don't mind paint and glue under your fingernails. ;)

Then kneed the dough in your hands until it is smooth, evenly colored, and no longer sticky. It will feel almost like Pay Doh. (For ease of clean up, wash the bowl now.)

Roll the dough out flat until it's about 1/8" think but no thicker than 1/4" thick. You can tell the dough has been kneaded enough if it does not stick to your work surface.

Use cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread man.

Peel away excess dough.

Then use your butter knife to lift the gingerbread man off the work surface.

Place the gingerbread man onto a plate or lid and begin decorating. I have found that it is easier to mark the places you want the eyes and buttons with the end of the paintbrush first. Then when a child goes to paint the ornament all they have to do is "fill in the dots".

Place the hole in the ornament now so that you can hang it later. My grandson is still a bit too little to handle painting so he rolled out the dough and cut more men as I painted. Note to self: Move to a different work area to paint otherwise rolling motion from grandson makes it hard to paint. :)

Together we made 3 gingerbread men. I was ready to do more but that's about all his attention span could handle (1 hour, start to finish). This photo was taken after they had dried for about 3 hours. That's not nearly enough dry time but it's enough time so that you can handle them without leaving fingerprints and even hang them on your tree if you are careful. When I did this with my children years ago, we put them in the food dehydrator for a couple of hours to speed things up. When the ornaments are fully dry, they are quite hard and durable.

These are the ornaments my children and I made 15 years ago. Every year after Christmas, I place them in a zip lock bag, then store them in a popcorn tin.

The gingerbread men were decorated with fabric paint and glitter.

The teddy bear on the left has cinnamon in the dough. The one on the right doesn't.

This train was made using silver paint in the dough. Except for a hint of sparkle here and there, regular ole gray paint would have worked just as well.

My children and I made many of these ornaments that year. The children gave them as teacher gifts and gifts to their friends and grandma gifts.

One last hint: Even though 'plain' dough is white, it's not a pretty white all on it's own. If you want a pretty white dough, then white paint is needed in the mix.

I hope you have fun making your own ornaments! Add Image

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Moving the Dresser

This weekend my son, with the help of a friend and my 3.5 year old grandson, came over to pick up a huge dresser and a nightstand from my home to take to my son's home... Now before I tell you what I witnessed, I need to point out that while I get to see my grandson and son quite a bit, I don't get to see them "together" that often...

So anyway... My son and his friend start the arduous process of moving the huge dresser out and I hear my son say, "Son, why don't you stand over there so I don't step on you?" I thought to myself what a nice way of phrasing "get out of the way" so I start to pay attention to what else is being said between the two of them.

"OK, Daddy", my grandson says. "I'll get the door for you Daddy."

"Thanks Son. I appreciate it," my son grunts as he hefts his end of the dresser.

"Boy! You are doing a good job Daddy! I'm so proud of you!"

"Thanks Son."

"Daddy, watch your step. I don't want to see you fall."

"OK, Son. I'll try."

The dresser is now loaded and my son comes back for the nightstand. He picks it up without taking the drawer out and sure enough, the drawer falls to the floor. My grandson rushes to pick it up.

"I'll carry this for you Daddy 'cause I'm a good helper."

You can hear the smile in my son's voice as he replies, "Yes you are Son." My grandson beams with pride as he marches behind my son carrying a drawer almost as large as he is.

The nightstand loaded, my son turns to take the drawer from my grandson, "Thanks for the help Son." After the drawer is placed back into the nightstand my son picks up my grandson, gives him a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek - which my grandson laughingly wiped away. They grin at each other.

After the goodbye hugs and kisses and the obligatory "drive safely", I came back inside and couldn't help but think about what I had witnessed; about how proud I was of my own son and the way in which he dealt with my grandson.

As I sit here writing this, I'm wondering if my son is parroting what he heard at my knee all those years ago just as his son was parroting what has been said to him. The years have dimmed my memory and all that remains are the highlights, the special occasions, the glimmer of times past when mother and son worked side by side on all sorts of projects. The everyday sort of conversations are long since forgotten but maybe, just maybe, what I overheard this weekend is the echo of them. I certainly hope so.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

If I needed an ego boost...

... this weekend sure would have done it. :) I made the 4 hour trek up the mountain (No, not on foot! I drove.) to the place of my birth to help celebrate the 100 year anniversary of The Ozark Cafe' (managed by my nephew). I took with me this 5+ foot T-Rex (added the chef after I arriving.)

I had planned on arriving the day before my Saturday shift around 3:30pm and work on some decor balloons to help "set the stage", but I slept right through my alarm. Then I had one delay after another (including being stuck behind every friggin' driver out there wanting to travel at 45mph in 55mph speed zones!) so didn't arrive until a little after 5pm - right before the Friday night dinner rush.

By that time I was a little stressed from the drive (I really dislike that winding mountain highway!) so I sat down to eat at the cafe' and relax. While waiting for my food to arrive I pulled out my balloons to make the dino's food. It took me nearly an hour to make the little chef guy for the T-Rex to eat because I kept putting it down to twist for others instead. By the way, the Mushroom Swiss Burger I ordered arrived steaming hot but by the time I was able to eat it, it was cold, cold, cold. Even cold it was extremely delicious! And yes I know, if I really wanted hot food, I shouldn't have pulled out the balloons until after I ate. :)

It was these two little cuties that put the idea of doing some decor work out of my mind Friday night. I loved seeing their mom in the Spidey hat (yes it's a chumpy Spidey, but it works). Their dad played guitar and sang on stage almost that entire evening and he was both an excellent picker and a marvelous country singer.

After giving up on twisting decor pieces that night and vowing to do them in the morning before my scheduled shift started, I left the restaurant and went in search of the guest suite the cafe' owner had reserved for me. On the way I stopped in to visit my niece - just in time to watch her put the finishing touches on this huge cake to be served the next day to all the customers at the restaurant. I believe she said it was equivalent in size to 15 cake mixes and I know it was all 2 grown men could do to move it. It was designed to look like the cafe' itself. The only things missing were the rocking chairs out front:

By 6am I was back at the restaurant to have my morning coffee and a bite to eat - a full 2 hours before I was to start working. 30 minutes later, with caffeine finally running amuck in my blood stream, I make the first and only decor piece - a Don C. octopus. (I know, simple but impressive!) Even though there were no children in sight, all it took was one teen asking for a balloon to start the ball rolling.

The owner provided 5 cent donuts, 5 cent coffee (free refills), 25 cent bowls of chili (none of which I had time to sample), and give-a-ways every 15 minutes (everything from a free breakfast to free soup and salad every day for year). Our state senator made an appearance and presented the owner with some sort of certificate in honor of the occasion. There was also live music, most of which was the owner and his 'band'. The guy can sing! And he sang songs I knew! I had to be careful and not allow myself to sing along while twisting...well not to sing along with all of the songs. lol

Most of the day is a blur of twisting, laughter, and balloon hats. These were some of the most fun people I have ever twisted for! They loved my balloons; they "got" my humor; they waited patiently while I twisted my nicer designs instead of getting grumpy and forcing me to make faster, less impressive stuff; they were understanding when I said I needed a break; they totally understood why I pulled up a chair at their table instead of standing with the excessive weight of my over-packed apron dragging on my neck; and even though they wanted balloons almost all of them were happy to let me "surprise" them with my own selections.

Except for 4 breaks, one of them lasting as long as 10 whole minutes!, it was non-stop twisting until 9:30 that night. So much for the 12 hour shift I was scheduled for; a shift that was to include as many breaks as I needed and all the food I could eat. :) I knew I wouldn't take time to eat (because then I would have to also take time to brush my teeth) but for some reason I thought that there might be a lull in between breakfast and lunch and dinner shifts. I was soooo wrong. lol

At the end of the last music set, or what was supposed to be the end, the owner thanked everyone for making the 100 anniversary celebration so special. Then he called for me (I was in another room twisting away) and when I made my way into the room with the music, I was greeted with a rousing round of applause. He then stood up there on stage and thanked me and said some of the most flattering comments about my balloon designs anyone ever has, including that my balloons "made the event".

What happened next sorta floored me. I was not paid for the 12 hours I was contracted for. I was paid for the 14 hours (I fibbed a bit and said it was 14 hours instead of 15) AND the 3 hours I twisted the night before. I tried explaining that I was only "playing" the night before and hadn't really "worked" and also that I hadn't even asked if I could play with my balloons then, but it didn't matter, I was paid for those hours anyway.

I made my way back to my suite where I wolfed down a large portion of some to the best pizza ever (made just for me at the cafe'). I managed to pull off my shoes, even thought about getting ready for bed, but then I just sorta passed out right there on the couch. lol I didn't rouse again 'till morning.

Tonight my hands are swollen, very sore, stiff, have tender spots (almost blisters) and a couple of torn (bleeding) cuticles. My neck and back are almost as bad - but my ego has never been fed so well. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My own brand of entertaining...

Being painfully shy (in person) has always hindered the part of me that is an entertainer. Most of the time I doubt that entertainer part even exists in me. I can't remember jokes so I share parts of my life in the form of amusing real life stories and remarks laced with dry humor and gentle sarcasm in order to be entertaining.

I suppose because I don't really think of myself as "an entertainer" but more along the lines of "an entertaining twister" that I am now sitting here contemplating what sort of impact my balloons and I are having on my own little corner of the world and if what I say and do has any impact later on for those I twist for.

I know the power of balloons. I have seen how a little chit chat and a balloon can, at least for a little while, turn tears of grief into laughter. I have seen how a balloon hat can turn someone too shy to mingle at a party into the life of the party. I have seen how balloons can turn a quite restaurant filled with customers, mostly strangers to one another, into a rowdy place filled with laughter and chatter amongst the tables.

I know I can get a child to eat their broccoli just by telling them that if they don't eat their dinner/lunch they won't get a balloon (which by the way my sister says is an abuse of power. lol) I've had children come back the following week and tell be they even ate their broccoli ate home too. OK, so I know I have to power to get children eat broccoli... just like Popeye and his spinach. :)

But then there are the comments I routinely make that I really wonder about:

Said to small boys, "Do you help at home too? You do! Too cool! Do you do all the man things like dishes, laundry, and vacuuming?"

Said to teenaged girls, "You have a boyfriend? Wow! I'm so impressed! I didn't realize you had already finished college. 'Cause everyone knows you aren't supposed to date until you finish college."

Said to children while making them a balloon hat, "Holy smoke you have a big head! You must be super smart! I can always tell who is smart and who isn't just my looking at their head and I'm never wrong. Well except for teenaged boys. Their head shrinks so fast from lack of use it's hard to judge accurately."

Said to women, "I almost never pick on ladies. I feel that anyone who has to wash someone elses dirty underware has been picked on enough."

Said to... Well you get the idea. So, will comments like these have any impact at all? Probably not. But I can hope. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quotes to live by


  1. A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby
  2. Have enough sense to know, ahead of time, when your skills will not extend to wallpapering. Marilyn vos Savant
  3. I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me. Stephen Fry
  4. I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me. Fred Allen
  5. All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. Charles M. Schulz

  1. By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. Confucius
  2. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. Thomas Jefferson
  3. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Socrates
  4. Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. Tom Wilson
  5. Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. David Starr Jordan

  1. Action is the foundational key to all success. Pablo Picasso
  2. Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. David Frost
  3. If you want to achieve things in life, you've just got to do them, and if you're talented and smart, you'll succeed. Juliana Hatfield
  4. Success has a simple formula: do your best, and people may like it. Sam Ewing
  5. The man who has done his level best... is a success, even though the world may write him down a failure. B.C. Forbes

  1. All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. Walt Disney
  2. Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you. Marsha Norman
  3. It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. Erma Bombeck
  4. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt
  5. We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort. Jesse Owens

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Teaching the next generation

I have heard that a child does most of his learning and that a good portion of his personality is formed all within the first six years of his life. I'm not so sure I believe that, but... It's a good excuse to expose my grandson to all sorts of things. :) So, just like I did with my own children, my 3 year old grandson and I are having fun learning.

We are learning how to share.

We are learning how to play nice with doggies and not to ever bite the doggie's ear again.

We are learning how to paint and that's it's OK to get a little messy... as long as you don't have on a brand new outfit. (Grama doesn't care about paint on clothes, but Mommy does!)

We are learning that even when you get "sand" in Grama's "water" that Grama will turn it into "shallows" and laugh about it.

We are learning that balloons make the best kind of hats and to never, ever put one in your mouth or Grama will take them all away.

We are learning about animals and the sounds they make. And we are learning about rocks and carvings. We have also learned that if you step on a fluorite turtle the head snaps off so we have to take better care of our rocks and not leave them on the floor or Grama won't get you any more.

We are learning that Grama's sister won't share her ruby rings or her beads but she will buy you fossilized dinosaur poop (coprolite).

We are learning that if you give Grama a kiss on the cheek and a hug she will turn her display piece into a hat so you can play with it.

And that if you add an "I wuv ju Drama" she will even let you put the hat on her head...for a minute or two.

Learning can be so much fun! I wonder what we are going to learn next?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Inner Peace

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and
boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every
day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved
ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment ,

If you can conquer tension
without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs...

Then you are probably the family dog!
(author unknown, at least to me)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wire wrapping and a beaded dragonfly pendant

I sat down late last night in front of my work table and started on a wire wrapped amazonite necklace. I've had these beads for months, have loved them, even petted them from time to time, but just couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with them. When I discovered the other night that I really enjoyed wire wrapping, they came to mind. I'm pretty pleased with the results and have another wire wrapped project all lined up. Click on the title if you want to see the listing and more pics.

I couldn't help myself. I just had to see this new treasure up close and personal. lol I've been hanging out in DorriesBeadStuffs studio again. Her bead work just amazes me. So precise, so neat, so beautiful and this dragonfly button pendant is no exception. I really wish I had a camera that could do this pendant justice. Heck, I really wish I had a camera that could still zoom in. :)

My eldest sister was here the day the dragonfly pendant arrived and while she was here I showed her this blog (she doesn't have internet access). She says I'm enjoying this blog way too much and that I'm using it to pick on her. (reference to my steam roller comment and others in "Parting with a new treasure" July 21st. hehe) Now I don't agree that telling the truth should be considered "picking on her" but I will admit to having fun with the blog.

After reading the blog it was suggest that she would feel much better about it if the pendant went to live with her. You know to ease her injured pride. (what an actress she is!) I told her, "In the interest of family harmony (and to keep you from just taking it!) the dragonfly pendant can go live with you." What she doesn't know is that I planned on giving her the pendant all along. Her thinking she conned me out of it is just too funny. lol