Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blog Break

I'll be back, soon.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Update on My Granddaughter

I thank everyone who has expressed concern for my granddaughter.  She was released from the hospital this evening; not fully recovered, but much better than when she was admitted.  A small pharmacy accompanied her trip home. Her parents are hoping that they can keep her out of the emergency room/hospital for the foreseeable future. 

Some specialized 'nuclear medicine' tests were performed on her today, but the results will not be available until Monday.  Her physicians now suspect that a problem with her gallbladder, which was not clearly indicated at first, may be the culprit.  One does not think of a seventeen year old as a prime candidate for that sort of thing, but all things are possible. It will be a relief to all concerned to have a final diagnosis, and to learn what the next steps are to getting her completely well.

She's always been a slim slip of a thing and now, having lost eighteen pounds since the onset of her symptoms, she can only be described as "gaunt." It will be a long while, I think, before she regains the lost weight.

Unless something unexpected occurs, I do not have Sweetie-duty this weekend, so will be back to my normal (whatever that is) routine.  

Thank you, again, for your concern and well-wishes.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Response

In the comments section of my "Full Plate" post, a regular visitor (thank you, rhymeswithplague) wrote as follows:

"Just what all did y'all have at the picnic? I see what look like tomatoes (unless they are strawberries), but I'm having trouble identifying the other foods. English peas? Chick peas? Apple pie? Potatoes? Corn fritters? Inquiring minds want to know."

I started to reply in the comments section, but when my response began to reach 'post' length -- well, here you are:

Dear Rhymeswithplague,

That was not my picnic, not my photo. In other words, I have no idea.   The photo is as close as I could find on the Internet of a plate that's running over -- the way I felt when I got home last evening.  These days, I don't handle very well any interruptions to my normal routine.  Can I say "set in my ways?" Or, worse: "Lazy?" 

In the past ten years of retirement, I have become a creature of habit and voluntary solitude, which I choose to call 'Peace and Quiet'; not necessarily a good thing.  I would be perfectly content to follow the same (slothful?) routine day after day after day, doing only what suits me -- when it suits me.  I never (or hardly ever) protest anyone's request for my time and efforts,  if asked; I just don't handle it very well after the fact.  

Granddaughter is still sick, still hospitalized, without a conclusive diagnosis. The physicians will not release her until she is able to retain some nourishment, preferably some solid food,  which she has been unable to tolerate (read: keep down) for almost three weeks. Her mother, Gardening Daughter, is almost at wits-end.  I know that you're a praying person; please add Jessica M. to your prayer list, and add her almost frantic parents, too. 

In the absence from home of Gardening Daughter and son-in-law, who are taking turns at the hospital so as to have one of them with her 24 hours a day, I am pulling more than the usually-sporadic Sweetie-duty.  While I love my granddaughter dearly, it's been a long time since I've had to spend more than a couple of hours at a time in full charge of a six year old who has enough energy to wear the horns off a brass billy goat.  "Please sit down and be still for a while" is not on her agenda, as it should not be on mine.  Ah, well. What doesn't kill me will make me stronger, or so I've heard.  

If I feel like my plate is currently too full, I also remember that "my cup runneth over,"  but that's another thing entirely,  for which I'm very thankful,  and which  makes my perceived overly-full plate a pauper's portion in comparison.

Tomorrow is also a day.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Full Plate

Posted by PicasaWikimedia Commons - Photo by Itai - Public Domain

Life can sometimes be like an full picnic plate.  The only way to get through it is one bite at a time.  

Thank goodness picnics are not an everyday occurrence; I'm chewing as fast as I can.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is Here & Nesting Eagles

Posted by Picasa
Spring Beauty
Claytonia virginica

My front and back yards are covered with these pretty small flowers. Until I read the information at the the link, I didn't know that most of this plant is edible.  

Spring-like temperatures have been around for a few days, although it was cloudy today. I spent nearly all the day indoors since I had Sweetie (granddaughter) duty today from nine to five.  We had a good time together, as always.  

The reason for my all day duty was that Sweetie's older sister, age seventeen, has been suffering from gastric distress of an unknown origin for over a week.  It's been severe enough to warrant several trips to the emergency room and yesterday afternoon's visit resulted in her being admitted as an in-patient. She will have several procedures done over the next couple of days to try to ascertain the cause.  Mom and Dad are with her, in shifts, 24/7, so Sweetie and I will be spending more time together until sister gets to come home.

Since Sweetie is home-schooled (as were all her siblings), there are various educational activities to be done each day.  She practiced her printing today to write a short note to big brother who is in the Coast Guard.   All this is new to me, so I probably will learn as much (if different things) as she does.

LIVE VIDEO - NESTING EAGLES -  I know this site is making the blogger-rounds right now so you may already have seen it.  I've sent to the link to all my family members and close friends.  If you haven't seen it and would like to, I invite you to visit  The eagle pair is nesting at a fish hatchery outside Decorah, Iowa, a few miles south of the Minnesota border.  I've found it fascinating.  Don't be off-put by the introductory advertising; it lasts only 30 seconds or so, and it's worth the wait to see the eagles.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mostly From The Archives

The pews in our church, like those in many churches, have racks on the back of the pew in front. These are used to hold hymnals and other materials used in the worship service.  Each of our pew racks contains a Bible (RSV), a hymnal, and a Book of Common Prayer.

The rack for the pew in which I normally sit contains a Book of Common Prayer that often had been used by one of my dear friends, C.J., now deceased.  This particular prayer book has many 'sticky arrows' that C.J. used to mark the most often used services and prayers.  Although they are easily removed, leaving no residue, we have chosen to leave them there; they are so "C.J."-ish.

Using this prayer book always makes me think of her and, consequently, of a story she told me, which I recounted here in my early blogging days.  Since today has been a rather 'fractious' day,  I'm going to rerun that story.  If you've already read it, move on, and thank you for visiting; if not, I hope you enjoy it --  here.  The photo below will give you a clue as to what the story is about.

Bourbon Whiskey Bottle from Gettysburg - Wikipedia

Tomorrow is also a day.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lace Cap Hydrangea - Today's Flowers #136

Lace Cap Hydrangea (with visitors)
photographed in July, 2010, Fremont, Nebraska

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and currently hosted by Luiz Santilli, Jr., Denise in Virginia, Laerte Pupo and Sandy Carlson.  I invite you to visit Today's Flowers to see lovely flowers from all around the world. If you have a flower photo of your own that you'd like to share, information about how to participate may be found on the  'Procedure' page.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Fine Evening Out

Photo - Shogun Japanese Steakhouse

My son, who lives nearby, called me yesterday to invite me to a birthday dinner for his youngest daughter. One of her favorite places to eat is the Shogun Japanese Steakhouse in Little Rock --  and that's where we dined earlier this evening.  Amidst flashing knives and spatulas, flaming oil and much showmanship, we were served delicious food, and plenty of it.  I have a take-home box that will provide a generous lunch tomorrow.

My granddaughter married a fine young man from northern Arkansas, and she moved there a couple of years ago. They live in a small, rural community not too many miles from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Campus where she is studying.   It's a moderate commute, but she seems not to mind at all.  It was wonderful to see her and her family (her husband has a lovely young daughter who came down here with them.)

I drove to the home of  my son and daughter-in-law about 30 minutes before we needed to leave for Little Rock for the express purpose of meeting their two newly acquired dogs; five year old greyhounds which they adopted. They are beautiful male brindle greyhounds named Heart and Luke.  Huge dogs, but quite social. I was greeted politely, then mostly ignored. 

These are not the first greyhounds in their home. They had an adored female named Hope who lived with them for a long time before she died a couple of years ago. She, too, was adopted.  They have been looking for another greyhound for some time, and originally thought they would take only one, but fell in love with both dogs and couldn't leave one behind.

I had an extremely pleasant evening, made even more so by viewing the beautiful super perigee moon on our way home.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Heucheras, Hostas and More, Oh, My!

I was out in the yard again today. All the leaves that had been piled under the maple tree, on the west side of the yard, made their way to the curb, where they will be picked up by the city.  When I moved to the east side of my lot, I became distracted by the Mop-head Hydrangea bush, which still bore last year's blossoms, now skeletonized and dried to a pale tan. Those had to go, so I worked for some time getting the 46 year old shrub trimmed back into a semblance of order; lots of new growth there. That task 'shot my wad' and I had to retreat inside without raking the east half of the yard (but see end of this post.*)

I wrote yesterday that  some of my plants are up/newly leafed, etc., among them my Hostas and Heuchera, or Coral Bells. The photo above shows one of the Heuchera with Hosta shoots behind and to the left. The next photo is a closer look at the Southern Comfort Heuchera. The copper-colored leaves are beautiful, I think.

All photos should enlarge with a click, if you're interested.

I actually stopped to count the Hosta clumps today; I think I said yesterday that there were ten of them, but I counted only seven while I was mulching around the plants with pine needles (generously contributed by my across the street neighbor whose back yard is full of pine trees.) Right now, all that can be seen of the Hostas are these spiky shoots, but there will soon be leaves.
 Before I came back into the house after taking the above photos, I thought I might get some close-ups of the blooms on my Japanese Maple tree. Although quite small, I think they are pretty.  In the process of taking the photos, I made a discovery about my camera. Why this particular effect occurred, I do not know; someone with more photographic experience than I can probably furnish a simple explanation. Both the photo to the left and the one below were taken within seconds of each other. There was still light in the sky, as is evident at left.

My camera was in Macro mode (I was not using my Macro lens, just the camera setting). I activated the flash to take a photo of the same group of blossoms, and .... huh?  It looks like it was taken in the dead of night. (Photo below.) I love the effect, but I don't understand why it happened.

I tried it again on another cluster. Photo to the left - no flash. Photo below - flash.

Inquiring minds want to know -- and they really would like to know without having to read a photography manual (can you say "lazy?")  Anyone out there who would care to explain? Preferably in words of no more than two syllables?

* The east side of the yard: When I returned from a Friday evening church service (we have more services than usual during Lent), I found that the east side of my yard had been raked clean. ??  Some good fairy had been busy.  Making a guess at the person to whom I should be thankful, I phoned Gardening Daughter. Yes, it was she that I had to thank for finishing this tiresome chore. Now I can concentrate on the back yard.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I awoke early, after starting late and then staying up until after midnight pulling together the scriptures, Psalms and prayers for the service of Morning Prayer for today.  Morning Prayer is one of several Episcopal Church services at which trained lay persons may officiate.  At 10 a.m., I led the service at the church, with three retired women and myself in attendance; the small number of attendees is not unexpected for a weekday morning when almost everyone else is at work. I've taken on the joyful obligation of leading Morning Prayer every Thursday morning during our church season of Lent.

After the service, I took care of some other church business, then came home for lunch, leftovers from last night's Soup and Salad supper at church. I had made a big pot of chicken-rice soup for the occasion and brought the uneaten portion home with me - enough for three generous servings. I can make a meal out of soup and a few crackers.

About two o'clock, that pesky Wan'tu, about whom I wrote a few weeks ago, sprang into action again and forced Can'du out into the yard to work at getting the leaves out of the front flower beds.  It was quite warm, 77 degrees F, with bright sunshine, and Can'du got hot and quit working after just over an hour. She may have received a light sunburn on her face, even with that relatively short exposure.

While watching Can'du sweating away, I observed that the Hostas planted on the north side of the house have pushed up thick, spiky new growth, leaves still tightly furled, and the three Heucheras and a Black-eyed Susan planted in front of them are growing like crazy. All it takes is a few warm days to get things up-and-at-'em. I didn't think to take any photos of my own emerging plants, but perhaps I will do so tomorrow.  Just to keep things interesting, I'm sharing photos of Hosta and Heuchera from the Internet.

Hosta, at least two varieties

Heuchera Southern Comfort
the leaves on my plants are not this large yet
but my plants are the Southern Comfort variety and
I love this color!

After a period of rest and re-hydration, I busied myself paying bills, a dreaded but necessary chore. Most of my bill-paying is done online, so it's not as onerous a task as it could be, but it still takes time.

I'm ready to wash up and turn in.  Tomorrow is also a day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Highly Recommended Reading

The news from  Japan following the natural, and man-made, disasters has and will continue to dominate the headlines for some time to come, as it should.  The Japanese people, and those who have come from all over the world to try to help them, many risking their own lives, remain in my thoughts and prayers.

I have a potter friend in New Zealand, Peter, who, in his most recent post, supplied a link to the blog of another potter, Euan Craig, an Australian who now lives and works in Japan.  Mr. Craig and his family live just north of Tokyo.  I have spent some time this evening reading the posts which he published in the hours following the earthquake.  I highly recommend them to you.

If you choose to read these, remember that, as terrible as things are for them, Mr. Craig and his family are among the fortunate ones.

I close with this thought:  "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."  -- John Wooden

Tomorrow is also a day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Was That -- Up in the Sky?

It was not two birds; it was not two planes; it was not two Supermen!  It was a beautiful sight and I didn't have my camera! Tsk, tsk!

This evening, just after sunset, I was driving west toward my stamping buddy's home and noticed two bright objects in the twilight sky.  At first I thought it might be airplanes with their landing lights on, but the objects appeared to be much closer together than airplanes usually are allowed to get -- and they didn't move.  My traveling companion and I decided that they must be planets, or stars, but we didn't know which ones.

Upon arriving at my friend's home, I commandeered her laptop computer and Googled "What stars or planets were in the western sky on March 15" and Lo! --  Good ol' Google!  It was  Jupiter and Mercury. (left and right photos, respectively - Images Wikipedia) Of course, what we saw didn't look like the photos above, since those were taken from space probes and huge telescopes;  they were much more beautiful, shining in the light cast on them from the already invisible sun.

These two planets will appear in close proximity for the next few days then (Jupiter, at least) will be gone from sight for quite some time.  I found the information at very interesting.  If the skies are still clear tomorrow night, I may get out my binoculars and have a closer look.

This day started out with heavy overcast and very chilly.  The Spring-like temperatures of last week have gone with the wind... literally.  However, though it's still very cool, the sun came out in full force some time after noon, and the skies cleared completely.  It turned into a beautiful, if brisk, day.

Since I didn't start composing this post until long after my bedtime, I'm ready to call it a night.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More 1999 Books

(Dover clip art)

The books I read in March, 1999:

Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Strange Brew - Kathy Hogan Trocheck
The Cobra Event - Richard Preston
The Eleventh Plague - John Marr, John Baldwin
Name Withheld - J.A. Jance
Pest Control -  Bill Fitzhugh (funny, funny, funny - my opinion)
Curses - Aaron Elkins
Murder at the Feast of Rejoicing - Lynda S. Robinson
Stone Angel - Carol O'Connell

Murder, mayhem, comedy, psychological drama, ancient Egypt, medical thriller/mysteries, and the intriguing life of a geisha.  What a mix!

I don't know why I didn't think to provide links to the books I listed in my previous posts, here and here, but you might be curious enough to check them out.  The links are to, but your local library should have, or be able to obtain, a copy of any book in which you might have an interest. 

Tomorrow is also a day.*

* A short, closing sentence I picked up from reading about Luis Mendoza, Detective Lieutenant, Central Homicide, Los Angeles Police Department, a fictional character in the (now sometimes politically-incorrect) police procedural novels by Dell Shannon (Elizabeth Linington.)  There are, I believe, 37 books in the series, published from 1960 - 1986; I've read them all.  Lt. Mendoza didn't have a lab full of  CSI-type folks analyzing minute traces of DNA in things left at the crime scene; forensic investigation was limited to fingerprints, ballistics, and blood-type analysis. Lt. Mendoza, like Agatha Christie's  Hercule Poirot, used his "little gray cells" to bring criminals to justice.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Today's Flowers - March 13

Common Milkweed
Asclepias Syriaca

A plant with a 'common' name has uncommonly beautiful, and fragrant, flowers. I took this photo in July, 2010, at the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, located about 20 miles southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and currently hosted by Luiz Santilli, Jr., Denise in Virginia, Laerte Pupo and Sandy Carlson. I invite you to visit Today's Flowers to see lovely flowers from all around the world. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, information about how to participate in the weekly meme may be found on the 'Procedure' page.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happiness Is...

Images copyright Stampin' Up!
card created by Pat -Arkansas
Posted by Picasa

I'm happy tonight because:

(1) The Diocesan Convention in Little Rock is over. Our church was in charge of 'hospitality', meaning coffee, tea, fruit, veggies, cookies and snacks of all sorts.  We didn't have to provide the noon meal; it was a catered box lunch.  I served behind the scenes washing dishes for over five hours. Let me hasten to say that I actually like to wash dishes. The convention had 300 attendees, and I washed about 1,200 glass coffee cups, and sink after sink full of water glasses, silverware, serving utensils, serving trays, bowls, etc. 

(2) Stamp Camp has come and gone.  My stamping partner got the show underway since I was still at the convention, but I arrived in time to do a bit of visiting with the attendees and to help take it down and pack it up.

(3) Gardening Daughter's husband called right after noon and invited me to have supper with the family since he knew I was working at the convention and Stamp Camp most of the day and probably wouldn't feel like preparing a meal. I gratefully accepted. Good supper!

(4) Gardening Daughter rubbed my feet before I came home.

(5) I have already set all my clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time (which I abhor!) and have set my alarm clock for a reasonable hour.  

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do I Need to Mow?

Posted by Picasa

A brief excursion to the back yard this afternoon reminded me that I need to do some yard work!   At least in this section. The area under the bird feeder has been visited again by whatever critters are finding it so attractive.  I raked up another batch of grass clumps, fifteen or more, while I was out. Methinks I need to stay up one night and peer out the window to see if I can spy the culprit(s).  

Sunshine today and through Saturday, then more rain.  Ah, well. It's coming on Spring!  

Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Too Pooped to Pop

Internet Image

Or to post.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quiet Day

Today was spent quietly. I assisted with two Ash Wednesday services at my church, one at noon, the other at 6:30.  Before, and in between services, I worked on cutting paper and assembling card parts for the Stamp Camp that's coming up on Saturday.

I had the pleasure of my granddaughter Sweetie's company for a couple of hours in mid-afternoon while her mother was on an errand.  Sweetie was a bit under the weather, "I have allergies, or something, Grandma," and was mostly quiet. We watched a bit of the older Disney movie The Lion King, but it didn't hold her interest (she's probably seen it a dozen or more times) so we moved on to other things.

While working in my craft room, which has windows from which I can see into the back yard, I thought I spied a new visitor to my bird feeder. It was colored exactly like a male Northern Cardinal, but I couldn't see a crest on its head. I watched it for some minutes -- rounded-top head, no crest. I came to the computer to see if I could find any reference to such a thing. No.  When I went back to the windows, I saw it again at one of the feeders. It grabbed a seed and flew into a nearby bush and POP!  Up went the crest!  I didn't know that Cardinals could relax their crest feathers that way.

That's about it. I lead such an exciting life!

Tomorrow is also a day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Slow News Day

Item: Whatever tore up my yard night before last must be something other than armadillos. I blocked the entrance yesterday, but there was still more turf dug up this morning. Since it was pouring rain, I didn't go out to investigate more closely.  Perhaps, as Abe Lincoln suggested in the comments following that post, it might be raccoons doing the digging.

Item: It has rained -- all day. I've worked on making cards -- most of the day.

Item: I attended the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at church tonight. We had a really great turnout; the cooks were kept busy dishing up pancakes, sausage patties and scrambled eggs.  A good time was had by all. Earlier this evening, I read an interesting post about Shrove Tuesday, by Elizabeth of Yorkshire, UK. 

Item: Made a brief trip after the supper to my stamping friend's home to finalize the plans for this Saturday's Stamp Camp.  It was still raining, but not heavily, and the driveway to her home had about two dozen huge worms crawling on it; some long and skinny, some long and as big around as my little finger.  Rain and warm weather must have brought them out. She told me that her dogs will probably eat the worms tomorrow, but only if they are dead. (I warned you that it was a slow news day.)

Tomorrow is also a day --  Ash Wednesday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blown-Up Yard

Posted by Picasa
When I glanced out my kitchen window this morning,  I discovered that the grass under one of my bird feeders had been disturbed -- to put it mildly.  It actually looked like it had been blown up by tiny bombs.  There were shallow holes where grass had once been, surrounded by mounds of grass with the roots still attached, as though they had been exploded from the earth. These holes covered an area about four feet by six feet,  shown in the photo as dark mounds from just to the left of the shepherd's crook holding the bird feeder to the right edge.

I suspect the dirty work was done by Armadillos in search of worms and grubs.  I've had them in the yard once before, early last fall. Gardening Daughter and I found a large burrow/hole beside a dead tree stump through which we believed they had entered the yard.  At that time, we filled it with clay-based cat litter, small to moderate sized fallen tree limbs, and yard dirt, and I didn't see any more evidence of them until today.  

This afternoon, I looked beside the old tree stump and, sure enough, there's a hole that must go all the way to China.  I've stuffed the hole almost to the top, again, and placed a large clay pot in the remaining opening. I'll at least be able to tell if the pot has been moved. 

I don't mind the Armadillos looking for food, but I do mind their tearing up the green weeds grass around the feeder. 

It's just one exciting thing after another.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Today's Flowers - March 6

I am truly sorry that I do not know the name of this magnificent Bearded Iris.  It's one of several gorgeous flowers of that species that grow in my Gardening Daughter's yard, and one of the most striking blooms of its type that I have seen.  I'm growing very fond of Iris although I have only two or three varieties in my garden.  I hope to be able to add to my collection when my daughter divides her clumps.

Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and currently hosted by Luiz Santilli, Jr., Denise in Virginia, Laerte Pupo and Sandy Carlson.  I invite you to visit Today's Flowers to see lovely flower photos from all around the world. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, information about joining the group may be found on the 'Procedure' page.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Posted by Picasa

Have you ever felt chinchilla fur? Maybe -- maybe not.  I'm not questioning that you may have touched a chinchilla, or a chinchilla pelt but, if you have, take a minute to think about the experience. Can you honestly say that you felt the fur?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Years ago, one of my coworkers at the bank was a fellow who raised chinchillas for their fur. He had a lovely wife for whom he had some chincilla pelts made into a cape. The day he picked it up from the furrier, he brought it to my office for me to see... and to touch.  I thought that I had a fully active and sensitive set of fingertips, but while I could see that my hand was touching the fur, I experienced no tactile sensation at all; the fur was so soft I could not feel it.  It must be quite like touching a cloud.

While I was on Sweetie Duty a few days ago, I started working on another Prayer Shawl, a ministry of our church.  I had noticed last Sunday that there was only one shawl left in our cabinet. It's amazing how many shawls are made by a relatively small group of participants, and also amazing how many have gone out the door to folks who have a need for them (anyone from the church may take a shawl to give away; they do not have to participate in their creation.)

In my stash were six skeins of an extremely soft yarn of variegated pastel colors, pictured above.  I can feel it with my fingers, so it's not as soft as chinchilla fur -- which is what got me started on my earlier train of thought -- but it is very, very soft, and a real pleasure to work with.  I cannot knit properly, so I crochet to create my shawls. Crochet is, to me, much easier than knitting, and it's much easier to correct any mistakes I might make and, being a relative novice, I make mistakes.

I've used about a skein and a half of yarn, so far.  I've discovered, through making other shawls, that it takes six skeins of this size to make a shawl of ample proportions (if it will wrap around my frame, it is ample.)  Since we don't know the size of the persons to whom the shawls will go, it's much better to err on the ample side than to have a skimpy shawl.

For me, working on a shawl is generally an evening activity, though I have been known to pick up one in progress when I just need a break during the day and don't care to read or watch TV.  Using my hands calms my mind.

If you knit or crochet, or create fabric in other ways (a few of our shawls were light-weight quilts of shawl dimensions), you might want to investigate the Shawl Ministry.  It's a good thing.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Whiny Cats & Other Things

I may have made a big mistake yesterday, letting the cats out into the yard.  They have whined and cried since I got up this morning.  They were up in the craft-room windows that overlook the yard multiple times, having cat-fits when they saw a bird or a squirrel.  I spent much of the morning and early afternoon working in the room making cards; their almost constant caterwauling was distracting.

           Missy                                                                                                               Sweetie Pie

I really don't have any objections to their going outside again, except that: (1) I always go out with them to keep watch and I have work to do which must be done inside; (2) there is no sunshine today (thunderstorms expected tonight and tomorrow); and (3) it's too cool for me to leave the door open to the back yard so that they can have unrestricted access to their 'safe house,' should they become frightened -- which they sometimes do, especially when my good neighbor's dog comes to the fence.  Bear, a good-sized German Shepherd, doesn't much care for cats, seeing them only as objects to be chased. I hate to think what he could do with his massive jaws if he ever caught one.

I failed to mention in yesterday's post that Good Neighbor is feeding me, again.  Last week, she brought some delicious tea cakes to the front door. Yesterday afternoon, while I was working in the yard, she came to the fence with a loaf of freshly baked banana-nut bread and a jar of raspberry jelly.  I've eaten several slices of the banana bread, but haven't opened the jelly yet.  I'm not quite sure how raspberry and banana would taste if eaten together; it might be delicious.

Lest you think I am "a taker" only, the food offerings are not all one-sided.  She has a hot-tooth, like I do, and I when I make chili, an enchilada casserole, or some other spicy dish, some of it usually finds a way to her table. She can outdo me, hands down, when it comes to desserts, so except for a few Christmas cookies, I usually don't carry sweet stuff to her door.  Her banana pudding is soooo good that I've offered to buy all the ingredients any time she gets the urge to make one. 

Hmmmmm.  The house is quiet.  The cats must be exhausted from all their unfruitful activity and are sound asleep, no doubt storing up energy for pleading for liberty again in the morning.  We shall see what we shall see.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bits & Pieces: Mostly Cats

Tropicanna Canna Lily
It won't be long until I see this, again!

It has been a beautiful day here, today. The sun is shining, the air is balmy, and if there is movement in the air, it's very gentle; no blustery winds this third day of March.

It is 71 degrees (F) as I write this. Earlier this afternoon, I worked for a few minutes clearing dead leaves and newly-grown weeds from the flower bed that contains my Tropicanna Canna Lilies. The lilies appear to have multiplied like rabbits over the winter; new shoots are springing up all over the bed. The corms must divide themselves by running underground, for there is new growth where I know, absolutely, I did not plant. It appears that I need to be thinking seriously about an expansion bed. I'll consult Gardening Daughter about the most proper place.

It was such a lovely afternoon that I let my cats come out into the yard with me while I raked up the debris generated from cleaning the flower bed. Squeak, Missy and Sweetie Pie are, for 99.9% of their time, strictly indoor cats. I live on a residential street that is not "a busy thoroughfare," but much of the traffic does not obey the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. I too often see the corpses of squirrels and birds who were not fast enough to get out of the way. It saddens me to see them; I don't think I could stand for the victim of a careless driver to be one of my cats. They are allowed outside only when I can keep a close eye on them.

Sweetie Pie appears to have designated herself my ‘yard guard.’ She accidently, I think, discovered the neighbor's cat, Maggie, hiding under the storage shed. Much hissing and yowling (from Sweetie Pie) ensued, and with her tail bushed out to ten times its normal size, she chased Maggie until she (Maggie) jumped the fence, then waited, hissing, until she disappeared around the corner of her own house. Quite satisfied with herself, Sweetie Pie made a quick dash up a large tree that stands on my side of the fence line. She rested in a large crook about 8 or 9 feet above ground, the Queen of All She Surveyed. I kept a close eye on her, for she easily could have gone from her perch into the neighbor's yard, which is not fenced, and might have led me on a merry chase to recapture her.

Eventually, I herded the other two cats back into the house, but had to entice Sweetie to within range of my grasp; she was not cooperative.

The three of them are now resting from all the excitement. I'm resting by composing my blog post.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Things Past, Things to Come

Reminders of Last Year's Blooms -  Autumn Clematis, Carolina Jessamine, Sedum

 New Growth - Magnolia, Daffodil, Lilac, "Oklahoma" Rose, "Knockout" Rose, Carolina Jessamine

The air was balmy and the sun shining brightly when I took my "lunch break" today, so outside to my back yard with the camera I did go.  A close look revealed evidence of last year's flowers and the promise of flowers to come.

My Carolina Jessamine vine, which covers about 20 feet of the fenceline on the east side of the yard had some dried seed pods on it.  These are pictured bottom-left on the first photo. I don't recall ever before seeing these; I think they're interesting.

The obstreperous squirrels have broken several of the stalks on my King Alfred daffodils as well as a still-supple limb on the Magnolia tree.  The latter, which had several buds on it, was connected to the tree only by a minute bit of bark and a gentle tug on my part severed its connection.  The squirrels can now munch on the emerging blossoms to their hearts' content without having to climb the tree.

I enjoyed another round of "Sweetie-Duty" this morning while Gardening Daughter worked a few hours at the florist.  Sweetie is very fond of using Google to look up things in which she has an interest. I'm teaching her to use the keyboard to enter her own searches. That activity helps teach her to spell, also. Today's searches included "One-Eyed Willie" the pirate, weasels, ferrets and prairie dogs.  She was aghast to learn that ferrets love to dine upon prairie dogs.

Lunch break is over.  Tomorrow is also a day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Den of In-Ink-quity ...

... is otherwise known as my craft room. When I first occupied this house in 1990, the room, which is located just off the kitchen and contains the doors to my back yard and to the carport, was set up as my den. The furnishings included a sleeper sofa, a comfortable recliner, a side-chair for extra visitors, bookshelves that actually held books, and a television set.

In 1999, I discovered the world of rubber stamping, and my cozy den soon became a thing of the past. When I first started stamping, most of my supplies would fit into my office closet. It didn't take long for me to outgrow that space, so I soon converted the den into my stamping room. Over a period of several years, I've managed to fill it almost to capacity.

Four eight-foot shelves that hang on the wall, plus several free-standing units, hold boxes of stamps and stamp sets, which after 12 years of acquisition are too many to count. Multi-drawer units, about a dozen of them, hold papers, ribbons, embossing powders, and other accessories. Three six-foot tall bookcases line the back wall. Tools of the trade occupy the shelves of one of them. Boxes of envelopes, reams of specialty cardstock and other 'have-to-have' items almost fill the other two.

Gardening Daughter helped me convert an old library table into my stamping surface. The sturdy table, which made the journey from New Mexico to Arkansas in 1950, has been raised another 6" on wooden blocks to allow me to stand to stamp, which is sometimes preferable, or to sit on a bar-stool and have the surface at the proper height. The top is fitted with a 3' x 5' piece of three-quarter inch plywood, upon which I stamp, and where I keep my most often used supplies (inks, pens, colored pencils, glue, tape, scissors, bone folders, a small paper cutter, etc.). Several drawers of  the legal size file cabinet next to the table hold yet more card stock, the colors I use most often.

Between the stamping table and the back wall is a revolving, four-sided cabinet with shallow shelves on which I store additional ink pads and other items. (A few of the shelves, and a few of my ink pads, are shown in the photo above. Someone, not a stamper, once asked me why I had so many ink pads, to which I replied, "They are all different colors!)

When I walk into this room, I am completely surrounded by my obsession hobby.

What brought all this on, you may ask? I’m in the midst of preparing for another Stamp Camp. I will be up to my eyeballs in paper, ink, and stamps for the next couple of weeks.

I’m not abandoning my blogging, however, since it will be a relief to write about something other than stamping. Aren’t you glad (that my posts will not be about stamping)?

Tomorrow is also a day.