Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Card Bases and Our Old Man (Dog)

Behold, another card base, this time for Princes large and small. The nice thing is, you can change the words inside to accommodate anyone. I love that freedom of being able to choose what I say.
And yes, he is dangling that poor Scotty dog in midair. He is supposed to be a sweet lad playing with a toy, and not some masochistic animal maimer.



This one is the base for an anniversary card. Or Valentine's Day, or for anytime you want to tell someone how much you love them. I love the patchiness of it. Just like the layers of a good, solid relationship. :)


This is our dog, Bentley. He will turn 10 in a few weeks. That's 70 in dog years. You can see the wages of time in his graying hairs and failing eyes.

He has taken to sleeping on my treadmill lately. Not exactly what it was designed for, but, hey, it works for him. Problem is, when I want to get on and walk for my fifteen minutes at a snail's pace, he gives me a look that says, "Excuse me?"

I love this dog. He is the dog of my dreams. Really. He came to us quite unexpectedly. My DH and I had taken our children to PetsMart to get fish food , and when we came out there was a woman pushing a cart full of puppies and aiming right for us!! My hubby ran for the car with JA leaving me with Nate, who ran right for the pups.

In the cart were six Golden Retriever-Chow mix puppies, all boys. Balls of fluff and sweetness, every single one of them. But Bentley, the one who came home with us, was the sweetest of all. Lifting himself up on the side of the cart, he pushed his nose against Nate and that was the proverbial all-she-wrote.

The puppies had been born in the woods behind the woman's house, during a heavy thunderstorm. She lived about a quarter of a mile away from our house. The mother dog was a stray who had somehow found a hole in the fence and came in to find a small area that was protected from the storm. Six little puppies were born under horrible circumstances. His coming home with us must have been destiny.

Pleading eyes looked up at me and all I could muster was, "Go ask Dad." I am helpless in a situation like that. I am a total push-over. Mush. And every animal that we have ever had has sensed it immediately.

Coming back from his conversation with his father, Nate informed me that, "Dad said it's okay."

"Really? Wow, that's a surprise." And that is how Bentley came home with us.

Walking towards the car, I saw my husband shaking his head. Opening the door found him muttering in disbelief. Apparently the lines of communication were not very clear and Nate decided to give his own interpretation to the intermittent static. Hmmm. It was too late now.

At the time Bentley came home with us, we had four brand new kittens. Babies were abounding in our little house. For the first six months of his life here, he used a litter box. I believe he still thinks he's part cat.

If dogs can possess human qualities, then Bentley has them all. Friendly, nurturing, compassionate, protective- the list goes on.

I also believe that he came with a built-in signal that attracts the lost and forlorn in the animal kingdom. I believe this because over the years, he has brought home strays, knowing that when they arrived, they would not be turned away. While not all of them have stayed with us, they have found good homes. We were just a spring-board towards future happiness.

"Come with me, my mom will take care of you. I promise. She will resist at first, but she gives in. Every time. Trust me on this. You are going to love it at my house." And yes, I resist and then cave like an ice house in Miami.

This old fellow has been beside us through many adventures. I hate to think of a time when he will not be here, so I don't. But it nags at me every now and then and makes me sad, because I know that there is no other dog like him. Anywhere.

I need to go give him a hug now. And a piece of cheese.


Monday, February 25, 2008

A Little Card I Made


This is the front of a birthday card that I assembled and photographed. The crown came from a nearby antique mall. I bought four of them and am just now finding a use for them. The problem with only having four is that I am loathe to stick them down with glue. Hence the photographing of the card. Now all of the Birthday Princesses can wear one, and I still have them to use at whim.
The other good thing about this card is that I can cut it out, mount it on any color card stock I choose and glitter and embellish at will. Which will make each card a bit more personal for each recipient. I will have to put one together so that you can see it all done up!!
Back to the craft room for me!
Toodles.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Smile. Click!

See this guy right here-

With his sweet smile and the look that says "Hurry up and take the darn picture, Karin!"?
Well, he bought me a new best friend yesterday. Yes!! I have a camera again! It's a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9 and I am in love with it. Now my blog will have the added bonus of pictures. No more boring posts here. Nope. Not a one.
I have been taking pictures and deleting, annoying my family, taking more, uploading them, deleting, taking them inside, outside, annoying my family some more. Yep. I'm back in the photo biz. And I could not be happier. :)

My daughter took this shot of her cat, Merideth, the Evil One. Yes. Yes, she really is.

I took this one this morning, standing on my front porch and zooming in to the tree in our front yard. I love that tree when it is in bloom.

And I love my husband. He's such a dear!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hats, Hats, Hats!


Bristol of Honey Bend Vintage is hosting the above Kentucky Derby Hat Swap. Eeek!! How fun will this be?
My grandmother was a milliner. In fact, she was the original Jane-of-All-Trades. From dressmaking, hatmaking, hairstyling to running her own restaurant, she did it all and did it well.
I hope that some of her talent in the millinery area rubbed off on me because I have joined this swap. Ideas are floating through my head and I am trying to get them all to come together in some cohesive form.
My frame of reference for the Derby is very limited. But Ascot is another story. Picture My Fair Lady, with women in hats that defy gravity and Audrey Hepburn looking sleek and elegant in classic black and white. Ooooh. Aaaaah.
If your interests lie in making things that are fanciful and unique, head on over and sign up for Bristol's fab swap!
I cannot wait to see what these ladies make.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Books On My Bedside Table

Cindy has tagged me to share with you what is on page 123 in the book I am reading currently. Well, I am reading three. So I have to eeny-meeny-miney-moe and give you the passage from one of them, or, I could give you the passage from all three. Hmmm.
I think I will do all three. :)
Here goes:
From Henry James, Washington Square:
"Do you think he is sentimental?"
"He is not sentimental," said Mrs. Penniman; "but, to be perfectly fair to him, I think he has, in his own narrow way, a certain sense of duty."
There passed through Morris Townsend's mind a rapid wonder as to what he might, even under a remote contingency, be indebted to from the action of this principle in Dexter Sloper's breast, and the inquiry exhausted itself in his sense of the ludicrous "Your brother has no duties to me," he said presently, "and I none to him."

From Mirielle Guiliano, French Women Don't Get Fat:
This passage happens to be in the middle of a recipe. It is for soup- Soupe aux L├ęgumes de Maman- Mom's Vegetable Soup. Yum.
Thin the soup with the reserved cooking liquid to the consistence you like (it shouldn't be too watery or too thick).
5. Correct the seasoning and add fresh herbs of your choice.
Bring the soup to a boil.

And lastly, C.S. Lewis, A Year with C.S. Lewis, Daily Readings From His Classic Works:
The problem here is that there are only five sentences on page 123. So I give you the first three from page 124;
The Hint of More (from The Problem of Pain)
Are not all friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it- tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.

There you have it. Excerpts from what I am reading now. So, I must choose three others to share what they are reading.

My choices are:
Jenny

Katie. and

Tina


The rules are as follow...1. The book must be over 123 pages.2. Find page 123 in the book.3. Find the first 5 sentences.4. Post the next 3 sentences.5. Tag other people

I cannot wait to see what you are reading!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This Little Piggy

I've done it now. Last Thursday I taught Sign Language at my house to a group of women from church. We had so much fun! Learning a new language at any time is not easy, but when you have to contort your hands into shapes that they have never done before, well, the result is just a bit on the hilarious side.
As a reward for all of their hard work, I had bought a large Key Lime pie at Costco to satisfy their sweet tooth (teeth?) and make them happy.
The clear problem with my plan was that only half the pie was eaten. And no one in my house eats Key Lime pie. Except for me.
As a result, not wanting to let the $10 I paid for the 12-inch pie go to waste, I ate the remainder over the course of the next few days. This was not a good idea, because in my quest to not create waste, I did just that. I created an expansion in my waist. And now I feel ill.
Why did I do it? I know the consequences of eating things like this, and it is never pretty.
Each morning I get out of bed full of determination and resolve that this day will be the one where I stay on track. Starting with a bowl of oatmeal with honey, Raisin Bran or toast and eggs with a little fruit, I am on my way to a healthful menu. Lunch is usually broiled fish and a salad, or soup and half a sandwich. Perfect. Then comes the afternoon, when for some inconceivable reason, all common sense and good intentions fly out the window and something invades my brain and says, "You've been a good girl, why not just take one piece of Key Lime pie. One slice can't hurt you." And I listen!!! What a pushover! What a wimp! What the heck?
I eat it with the thought that I am not wasting food, and then I am consumed with guilt for eating the food. It is a conundrum of enormous proportions.
In turn, I am becoming a girl of enormous proportions. It does not help that I am still not able to do much because I am wearing the boot for my ankle. Inactivity and eating things like Key Lime pie are a lethal combination.
My hope is that now, after I have confessed my sins to all to the world, I will try harder to remain on the right path. I also hope that you will take pity on me in my time of weakness and send me a little encouragement every now and then. Please?
I'll start tomorrow. This little piggy is taking charge.
The Key Lime pie is gone now anyway.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mobile Melodies

One of the Farmgirls asked a question the other day that got me thinking. What music are you listening to in your car? Or van, or SUV, or truck?
The answers were as varied as the women on the forum. My answer to the question was this- Paul Potts and the sountrack from "Juno". As I wrote- "Talk about polar opposites!"
My musical taste varies as much as the weather. One day I could listen to James Taylor, the next time, Tracy Chapman and the next would find me listening to Vivaldi or Bach.
My children have developed a broad taste in music as well. That is evidenced by the long lists on their iPods. Hours and hours of endless listening pleasure. Well, some of it. They will attest that they like it all. Me, not so much. I am not a big fan of what I call "screaming music." It may start out harmless enough, but then all of a sudden, the inner angst of the musician comes out in what can only be described as a sound of someone being attacked by wild animals. No. It is not pleasant to the ear, or the spirit.
For Christmas, my son gave me a mixed cd of some of his favorites that he thought would appeal to me. He made one for his dad also, and said that one was much easier to put together.
From this cd, interspersed among talents like the Beach Boys, I have been introduced to the likes of Iron and Wine, Coldplay, Elliot Smith, Regina Spektor and my son's own composition
titled after his mom. (Isn't that sweet?)
I have to say that I like what he chose for me. It shows a soft side to the music that he listens to.
Even the song he wrote for me, with its electronic robot sounds that remind me of the sounds computers made in old movies, has its charm.
One song in particular has drawn me into its depths. By Elliot Smith, "Twilight" is soulful and haunting. It is a song about relationships and unrequited love, and there is a line in the chorus that touches my heart- "I'm already somebody's baby." It could mean a myriad of things. A friend, a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a child. I tend to think of it in the latter term. The reason I do is because of his story.
Incredibly talented but riddled with inner struggles, this young man committed suicide in 2003. How can someone with such a connection to life, deeply connected to it, end his own so quickly? Did he know that he would break the hearts of his parents and friends? He was somebody's baby. He was his mother's.
Clearly he forgot that, as he complicated his life with drugs and alcohol, looking for the things that would bring him peace. You can hear the longing in his songs. A search with no end, he opted out, leaving an empty space in his wake.
I think sometimes we forget that artists- musicians, actors, sculptors- are expressing and baring their most intimate selves. That fact seems to be clouded with all of the romance and drama of their lives. It is usually in retrospective that we can see things clearly.
The words to describe such people is as varied as their talents; confident, shy, fragile, sensitive, faithful, open, sweet. Playing to both sides, the public and the private, can prove to be too much for some.
I think that is why my children appreciate such a wide variety of music. They take the time to learn the story behind the words and the musician that sings them. In turn, I have learned from them, and for that I am grateful. I rather like learning things from my children.
That is why I have Paul Potts and "Juno" in my cd player.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Another Voting Request

This time for my friend Dawn!! Here is the link to vote for your favorite artwork using the sweet angel from Charming Sam Studio :
http://charmingsam.blogspot.com/2008/02/valentines-day-art-contest-please-cast.html

Now, hopefully you will find Dawn's art endearing enough to garner your vote. It sure got mine.
Here it is:




So please, while you are still in voting mode, head on over and make your choice!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Garden Goose

My friend, Tina, is having a Valentine's giveaway over at her blog. Please go visit her and sign up to win one of her very sweet pillows. (And whatever else she decides to put in the box. :)
Go on.

Small

Yesterday I went to visit my father at the VA Hospital with my husband and two of my children. My middle son, JA, did not want to come. I am not sure why. it is either because a) he does not really like seeing Grandpa sick, or b) he did not want to shave. Whichever it was, I am sad he did not go with us.
We walked into Dad's room to find him sleeping in the chair by his bed. It did not look like he was sleeping at first. Panic rippled through my body as I walked over to him. He was pale, cold and still. At last I saw his chest lift. Thank goodness.
I tried to awaken him to no avail. Rubbing his hands, his cheeks, his chest, trying to get a response proved fruitless for quite a long time. One at a time an eye would open, then close. His mouth contorted into snarls as though to say, "Leave me alone, Karin."
His doctor came by to let us know what they were planning for him. He also told us that he had altered his pain medication, which may have explained him sleeping like a rock. Literally.
Dad has an infection in his spine. It has settled in between the eighth and ninth vertebrae, where he has a fracture. Somehow they missed the fracture last year when he was in the hospital, along with the two broken ribs he has. But they did find the infection last week in a CT scan, and admitted him immediately.
The doctor told us he is planning on taking a biopsy next Wednesday or Thursday, along with a bone chip, to see what they are actually up against. Waiting is an awful thing, but they cannot proceed until some of his medications are out of his system.
Dad was oblivious to this entire exchange, as he was still sleeping, head tucked down, looking like a child in his chair.
I did get him awake enough to talk and to see that we were all there to see him.
A nurse came in to check his blood sugar level so they would know how much insulin to give him at dinnertime. Dad's blood sugar was 30. No wonder he was so sound asleep. No wonder he wasn't responding. He was slipping away right in front of us. In came his food tray.
I cut up his dinner and he started to eat. And eat, and eat. The more he ate, the more awake he bacame. He loves the food at the VA, thank goodness. He ate all of his dinner. Another nurse came in and gave him an enormous syringe full of dextrose and a cup of applesauce. My husband went and got him a soda, and Dad drank it all.
Slowly he began to be his old self again. The color came back to his cheeks, his hands warmed and his nails were no longer blue.
I sat there feeling very helpless. I had not recognized what was happening, assuming that it was his new medication and not his body causing his sleepiness. I will not make that mistake again.
Dealing with aging parents is a whole new world for me. I think of them as being relatively young still, even though they are in their seventies. This past year has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride with each of them. I do not want to lose them and, even though I know it is inevitable, I try not to think about it.
Unfortunately, things keep happening to bring that fact right to the front of my brain, where it hangs like a dark shadow over me causing me to shrink away. Not only will I lose them, I will lose myself, the child I am. The child I was.
Small. On the outside of me that word no longer applies, but inside, it will always have a place. I will always be humbled back to it by circumstance. Small. Unable. Helpless. Child.