Friday, September 26, 2008

Progress and glass

I had a blast at the glass foundry today. I got quite a bit done on the painting, and I got the grand tour. The son of the manager took me all around even showed me the reject room. I told him I knew where to come to find a vase when I needed one. I admired a little glass figure of a bear, and he said to take it home. Didn't have to tell me twice. He showed me the giant disk grinder and smoothed the bottom for me before I put the little guy in my purse. What a fun time I had. I only painted for about an hour and a half. As big as the panels are that is about all I can manage. My shoulder starts screaming after a short while. But I got the ocean blocked in on two of the panels and feel good about the progress.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A really long day, but Nick was so thrilled!!!!

Well, I took my cousin Nick to Salem yesterday. Nothing like spending the entire day watching someone else have fun!!! He has gone without so many things for so many years it was so delightful just watching him. Our first stop was to pick up our friend Pam, who lives in Salem. Her husband John (who passed away a year and half ago) didn't get to see how his hard work turned out. He was responsible for Nick even realizing he was eligible for VA medical care. (Of course he was eligible, he served in the army for 12 years, and served in Vietnam.) Up until we had made arrangements to meet John and Pam in Portland at the VA about three years ago, Nick had no idea how to do or who to see to get his medical care paid for. He is diabetic, has many health issues, and had no medical care after a job ended. John walked him through all the tangles of red tape and helped him get familiar with what was expected and what to expect at the VA. Nick said it was only fair to bring Pam along for the fun, and pay a bit of tribute to John in that way.

Our next stop was to go get Nick's new Military ID card. It shows him as “active” military retired, 100% disabled, but with all the rights and privileges of active military, like PX access, etc. It was funny to figure out where we were going to get it. I asked Nick what the instructions said. He told me the cross streets, and I knew exactly the corner they told him it was on. He said it was an Oregon State building, which confused me since it was a military ID. He said it was called the Anderson Readiness Center. So we went to the corner it was supposed to be on. I said, I'll bet it is part of the big buildings surrounded by the chain link fence. He said, I think it is a State office. I asked him why he thought the state would be responsible for issuing a federal government ID card. He said he had no idea but that was what they told him. NOT. It was the place behind the chain link fence. The Oregon National Guard, Donald N. Anderson Readiness Center. (The part I was looking for was the Readiness Center, of course it was in small print at the bottom of the sign.) We drove up to a gate guarded by a really handsome young military man who checked out ID and told us where to drive, park and what office it was in. We passed along a narrow road past all sorts of military vehicles, and parked right outside the door to a huge brick building with an array of antennas on the top the likes of which could get reception from the moon. It was probably about an hour before he was done there. His local Vet rep had neglected to tell him he would need a copy of his discharge papers, so they had to have the Vet rep's office fax a copy of his DD214. They had also neglected to tell him he needed two forms of ID, fortunately he had them. Pam and I waited in the car and sat outside for a bit just watching all the cute young hunks parade past. There were a few closer to our age, too. Nice wait. We had a chance to chat and catch up a bit.

The next place we headed was a great restaurant called Sybil's. They have about a million types of omelets, tons of different sandwiches, hotcakes, everything breakfast and lunch you can imagine, and we go there for one thing: biscuits and gravy. Their biscuits are about the size of a “Whopper” and you get two with a soup bowl full of sausage gravy for $5.50. What a fantastic deal!!! Nick and Pam and I each saved one biscuit for later consumption. We were stuffed.

So on we went to our next destination: Walmart. Nick said there were a couple of specific things he was looking for and if he found anything else he wanted it was coming along, too. He bought new undies, some pretty new towels, new curtains for his bathroom, new T-Fal non-stick pans (his brother Marty cooks breakfast and always complains because the frying pan was not non-stick), new pillows, velcro, and a nice pancake turner.

Then we headed out to try to find a DirecTV store. I don't think there is such a thing in Salem, or if there is the stupid (and I really mean STUPID) call center employees you get at any DirecTV number you dial don't know where it is and have no information that does not relate to selling you their services. We gave up after I yelled at the lady on the phone after she had given Nick the runaround for at least five minutes and still not answered anything he asked her.

Our next stop was Lancaster Mall and the Burlington Coat Factory. Nick said he wanted a new winter coat and a new robe. We were wandering around looking at the robes, but just like at Walmart there were only one-size-fits-most robes, which only fit people under 200 lbs. He found a great coat in a “suede” finish it is kind of light colored, but very different, and it looks great on him. Then we sat in the mall and drank diet sodas and chatted for a while. Traipsed back into the store to find a restroom, and headed off in search of a place that would actually have a robe to fit. We found the Casual Male XL store a couple of blocks away and they had an entire rack of really great robes in a wide variety of colors. We helped him choose a beautiful dark blue plush robe in the tall sizes so it is a bit longer and has an inside tie to keep the robe closed so he can walk the dog in his undies if he wants to.

The next store we visited was a video store that used to be called Music Millenium. I have no idea what it is now, but they had buy three used DVDs get one free, and Nick is a DVD addict of the first order. He bought the sets he needed to finish out his Stargate: SG1 series, most of the That 70's Show series, and a variety of other movies. How fun is that!! They even gave him one of the series sets as his basic DVDs free one. Nice shop.

We then headed to Big Lots in search of shampoo, deodorant, and a few basics. We were probably there about ½ hour and knew dinner was our next destination.

We got to Hometown Buffet about 8 pm, and enjoyed a relaxing dinner, getting Pam back home around 9:30. The drive home went quickly and I spent about ½ hour with him before heading home. I pulled in my driveway at 11:35. Wow, long day. But you know what? It was sooooo worth it. Just the look of delight on his face was worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Face Swap

I got myself involved in a beaded face exchange recently, and my piece needs to be sent out by tomorrow!!! Well, I beaded off and on all day and here is what I ended up with: The first one shows the first part of the beading completed. The second shows the face with the beading completed. With flash: The third shot shows it completed without flash. The color is actually a little different than shown in any of the photos. The face has little sparkling flecks of pink in the purple poly clay.


I was nominated for the Brillante Weblog award by my good friend Barrie of Barrie's Jewelry World. Barrie is an amazing jewelry artist. She is both a metalsmith and a flameworker making her own lampwork beads. I can only aspire to be a 10th the artist she is someday. In return I have to write a fabulous acceptance speech, so here goes:

I thank my dad, who gives me the freedom to do whatever my heart desires, just as long as it includes keeping him fed and entertained. I thank all my email pals for the entertainment part of that equation. I thank my pals on Wet Canvas for encouraging me and helping me keep my sanity while those around me are failing to keep theirs. I thank my son for teaching me exactly what it means to love someone and hate their behaviour at the same time. I thank my daughter for being there for me no matter what the insanity of the week happens to be. I thank her for supporting me in all I do, even financially some weeks. I thank my cousin Nick for being my big brother even though I am an only child. I thank my grandgirls for being the light and loves of my life. Without all of the above mentioned this blog would be neither successful, nor necessary.

Now, in return, here is my list of nominees for this award:

1. Luke-a-do
2. Elaine Magliacane Journal
3. Deronda Designs
4. Lavender Cottage
5. Sunrise Sunset
6. Blue Lagoon Blog
7. Andee’s Jewelry Blog

Here are the rules if you’re nominated:
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you’ve nominated.
6. Write an acceptance speech in the style of the Academy Awards, thanking every body’s mother, father, sister, brother, aunties and uncles and the kitchen staff at your favorite restaurant!

Check out my award winning nominees. They just have to follow the instructions to receive their award.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Faces and Butts

My friend Deronda posted a link to a hue test. It was really interesting. I may take it again one of these days when my head is not throbbing. I scored 14. The lower your number the better. Here it is: Hue Test

Life has once again been chaotic. But on the news front. My cousin Nick finally received word on his disability claim with the VA. He is classified as 100% disabled, and 100% service connected. This means all those trips we have made to the VA in both Portland and Vancouver, WA is finally paying off. He is getting a pension which will begin soon, and all his medical expenses are going to be paid 100% as well. Yippee!!! For a while there it felt like we were beating our heads on a wall, with little hope of anything actually changing. Sigh. Celebration to begin once he gets his first check.

Off to take Tess back to the dentist in the morning. Then I am starting on beading some little faces for a "Face Swap." I have to get them sent out by Wednesday. Yikes, I better get busy. I made poly clay faces with a great little mold. I have never done beaded cabachons before, but I think it will be fun. And I will get the art of others in return. I love swaps. I have also made a few ATCs. Artist Trading Cards and am going to exchange some with other artists. I'll keep you posted on how that goes, too.

More soon!!! Dad is about the same. Butt is sore, still loves sweets and baseball. Also funny TV. Oh, and western novels. At 88 that isn't such a bad way to be, is it?!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mural finally started!!!!!

It seems like years ago I got the commission for a mural. It is something like 50 inches high be 13 feet long. I have never painted larger than 30x40 inches. So it is quite an undertaking. I started the sketch today on the actual boards I will be painting on. I had done multiple sketches, but wasn't sure where I was headed exactly. I had been given free reign on what I paint, as long as it has beachy or water themes. I had sketched abstract fish, mermaids, sea lions, the beach, the bayfront, so many different things, but the mermaid and treasure chest idea just kept coming back to me. Here are the first rough sketches actually on the boards. I want it to convey the glassy feeling one of my fish paintings has. It is going to be hung on the outside of the Jennifer Sears Glass Foundry in Lincoln City, Oregon. And I am painting inside the foundry in their "gallery" area.

I spent quite a while talking with one of the hot shop guys about glass, design, my work, his work, and art in general. We finally worked our way around to torches and lampworking. He invited me to bring my torch over to the hot shop and set it up any time I would like to. I told him I had yet to fire it up, he said just do it. Then bring it over when I have time and I can try different gasses and see what I like best. We talked about the different glasses, color reactions, striking colors, etc. What a great time I had. So cool that is where I will be painting!!!

Here are the work in progress shots. There is another panel that goes on the right side with sea weed, etc. just leading off into the distance.

I took the photos for food for my head, and WIP shots to share. I told the glass guy I was just trying to get something blocked in, but not totally direct it, since I like to see how things unfold as I paint. I like to let the fun stuff come out on its own. I try not to paint things in a realistic fashion, even though I can, I just like the fun whimsical stuff better. He said, cool. Some abstraction is always a good thing.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, I survived another weekend, and am having a busy day off. Duh, what's new. Today was take Tess to the bank and the dentist day. After dropping her at the dentist I stopped at my office and worked for about 1/2 hour finishing up a couple of things that came in late yesterday. Then ran and picked up MY paycheck, and by the time I was pulling away I had a text message telling me Tess was done and ready to be picked up. It took them less than an hour and they remembered (after her work was done) that they had given her an anti-anxiety drug before her last appointment. So she now has a prescription to use for her next one. They wondered why she was so upset. Duh!!! She is just about as excited at going to the dentist as I am.

Tess is home from the dental wars, they only pulled three teeth, excessive blood loss prevented the fourth being pulled, and they will go at it again in three weeks. She was very entertaining, if hard to understand to take to the pharmacy.

Then we stopped to pick up Chinese food on the way home. She said if she was only going to eat one thing in the next couple of days she wanted it to be egg foo yung. She said she probably wouldn't be able to eat after the numb wore off. Her eye to her jaw was numb on one side, and she looked like she had suffered a stroke. Very lopsided. She said she felt that way, too, since she couldn't feel her eye, nose or swallow. She is home tucked into bed now. Whew!!! Glad that is over for the next couple of weeks.

Hoping for a restful afternoon, and productive evening. I have so many projects lined up that need my attention I could stay busy 24/7 for the next year or two.

I have awesome news, I have sold my old mobile home. I had lived there for over 16 years when I had to move in with my dad last year. I really hated leaving it. It was the longest I had ever lived in one place in my entire life. It wasn't the home I hated leaving so much, it was the idea of being in one place. Of not having to pack and move, again. I am hoping I will get to stay here for a long, long time. Maybe some day Tess, Eric and the kids and I will be able to buy a big piece of property with room for all of us. I don't want to share their home, but it would be nice to be nearby like we are here. I love seeing my grandgirls so often, and being able to babysit, and hang out with Tess so often. It enhances both of our lives. And it makes it easier to care for dad, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another week gone too fast

Here it is Wednesday night already. This has been an oddly busy week. Monday was a day of hanging with family. We get together for lunch every Monday. My cousins come here for lunch. They bring their own, and we fix ours, but the time spent together is what we need most. It is especially good for my dad. This week it was Tess, Cassie, my cousins and my dad and I, so the living room was full. Tess made the best French Dip sandwiches I have ever eaten. Yum!!!

I finished a "Robin Atkins" type treasure bracelet. I used the instructions from a WC friend who has her own technique for that type bracelet. It took me about six hours to finish. Here it is, click on the photo to see it larger:

I have tons more beads ready to be made into bracelets, just need the time to actually do it.

Today we took Cassie to the eye doctor, who didn't actually treat children. the receptionist thought she did, so we have to go back to Portland or Salem or somewhere else. Dang it all!!! So as a treat we took her out for lunch. They gave her two paper hats to color. She colored one for me and I colored one for her. Here she is in her "Princess" hat.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Be back with more tomorrow

Just popping in to post a link to a place with free Blinkies:

Free Blinkies

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cassie's First Day of School

After the long summer, Cassie had pretty much forgotten about school. That is until Tess asked her what she would like to wear, and if she wanted to come to my house to see her new school clothes. She wanted to "walk" to my house in her wheelchair, and she has gotten so independent it took them over an hour to walk the equivalent of about a block. Of course half of it is gravel, and Cassie refused to let Tess touch her chair, or help her at all. She also wanted to talk about every rock, flower and bush they passed. I couldn't help but laugh.

Cassie was delighted with her new clothes, and even let me cut her bangs. She got all dolled up and asked if the bus was coming. Tess said, "Not today, we are driving you to school." Cassie said, "Grandma riding in my Jeep?" Tess told her yes, and away we went. When we got to school, Cassie had to wheel herself around the classroom and get her coat put away. Then she wheeled herself to the circle where they start class, and found her special spot. That is when we left, with Cassie's lip quivering. She had a wonderful time, though and got to spend 2 and 1/2 hours there unlike her 1-1/2 last year. She will be going three days a week, and her best friend from last year is in her class. Yea!!! If will be a good year!!

As a celebration when Cassie got out of school we picked her up and took her to the coffee shop for her special. She asked for coffee, so we got her a steamer with strawberry and white chocolate flavoring. She called it her pink coffee and was feeling very grown up when JB and Ben gave her a real cup and saucer. She was very disappointed to discover she couldn't take the cup home.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Once again, too long without updating my blog. But then life has been a bit on the busy side. Again.

Last Friday I went in search of some school clothes for Cassie. Even though she only goes to early intervention classes, she still needs to have nice things to wear. here was my basic morning:

Athena and Tess and I went out to breakfast, then took Tess to work. We noticed there was a Trunk Sale at the bead store across from where Tess works, so Athena and I went to check it out. There were a couple of guys from India (at least that is what it sounded like) with tables filled with semi-precious stone bead strands ranging in price from $6 to $450 a strand. I let Athena choose a single strand and I got two. She got round Tourmaline and I got some lovely round opalescent grey stones I can't think of the name of right now (I think Labradorite). Of course while we were there we had to look over what she had added to the bead store, so I bought 10 more mermaids to use in earrings, and Athena had to have a lampwork elephant pendant (I am sure it is from China), but it was cheap enough. She also gave Athena a strand of beads from her $3 bowl since she is now an Etsy seller.

Then I took Athena grocery shopping, picked Eric up a special coffee, fed dad again, and headed out to go school shopping for Cassie.

I went to the outlet mall and ended up having to go to three stores to find what I went for. I think I bought her about 8 tops, a dress, two pairs of OshKosh overalls, one in a pink stripe, a pair of “yoga” pants, a zipped hoodie and a pair of shoes. No one had bought Cassie anything to wear for school, and I think she was feeling left out. So of course I had to give her a little lift and shop for her, too. I got everything color coordinated except for a cute peach color top I got at Old Navy. Everything else was in varied shades of pink to magenta. Now I can't wait to show her what I found.

Today, Tess and I had to go find a black sparkly headband for Athena. She is wearing her new blouse (like momma would wear) which I altered earlier, with sparkly black pants and the new headband. She is all excited and can't wait to parade around in her new clothes. Gotta love the first day of school. Of course Tess's co-worker was in an accident so she has to work tomorrow. I can't believe she has to work. At least she can take Athena to school before work, meet the teacher, get the lay of the land, and go see Cassie's teacher. I still haven't gotten to show Cassie her new clothes, but I did get to show them to Tess. Cassie and Athena have been at their dad's since Friday night.

Dad is doing fine, well, the usual. Not walking much, but moving around well. Sleeping well, eating well, and enjoying watching baseball on TV. I guess there are worse ways to spend your time at 88 years old.

I will be back sooner next time, and try to post some photos.