A Lovely Night

10:11 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
We went for a paddle last night for Family Home Evening. 

Getting ready was grueling - go borrow the truck from Mom and Dad, feed the kids FAST, load the canoe, realize that the life jackets are 12 MILES AWAY back at the new house where we just were to borrow the truck, hurry to get the life vests, take two vehicles (because we no longer have an extended cab truck) down to Norwood Pond, keep Maxx from drowning himself or getting run over by other boaters trying to put their bigger boats in or out of the water while we unload the canoe, convince Maxx to put on his life vest and take a pee break BEFORE we get in the boat, haggle over who gets to sit where in the canoe - sheesh.

I was very worried that  it was going to be an entirely unpleasant experience. Last time we took Maxx out in a canoe, he cried the whole time;

"Waaah!  I'm going to get wet!     Waaah!  We're going to tip over!      Waaah!  I don't like that rock/tree/duck/other boat that is half a mile away!  I think we're too far away from the truck, maybe we should go back!      Waah!  I'm scared of everything!"

Not this time.  Look at that grin!

It is wonderful that as Maxx matures and gains more confidence he is less terrified of new things.  It is also nice to know that even though he was terrified of his short first trip on the water last summer (he thrashed all night after that first trip, processing the experience) he was ready and eager to try it again this spring and was NOT afraid.  He's making so much progress!  They are giving him an award at school today for his progress in the Second Step character development program his teacher has been using in her classroom.  I am so happy that the school is starting early to help the kids, especially Maxx, learn how to interact appropriately as that is one of the biggest challenges for FAS kids.

Back to the paddle - It had been a hot day (I mean Really Hot for May - 85 degrees!) but the evening was cooling off and the water was warm and placid. 

The surface was smooth as silk and reflective as mercury.   The light was gorgeous, the sky  a rich blue, the sun was setting and a waxing gibbous moon hovered over everything. 


It was a good way to celebrate the eve of my Sweet Beorn's 41'st birthday. 

Maxx even got a chance to try paddling.

And you know what else was fun?  We got to take pictures of it all (thank you, Molly)  because we finally got our family outing camera!  It's a waterproof Olympus Powershot D10.  So far we are liking it.  No one has actually submerged it yet, but it was nice to have it along and know that if it did get splashed or if some small person's exuberance got out of hand and tipped us all over, it wouldn't get ruined.  I'll post more about the camera later on as we learn more about it.

Right now, I have to go figure out how I'm going to cook a ham for dinner tonight.  Can you believe it - almost 20 years in and I've never cooked a ham.  Ham is for big occasions and Bry's mom always cooks them but that's what the man wants for dinner tonight so - I'm off for an adventure in the kitchen.

Here's a link to our camera on Amazon in case you need a handy waterproof family camera.  I did a lot of research on this decision and this seemed like the best possible choice for under 300 bucks.

New Music and New Shoes

11:16 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
(What did I tell you about that wacky spring weather and my lilacs??? Yes.  Blighted.   Grrr.)  

When that much anticipated Tax Return came in, I knew I would have to go out and buy a new pair of sneakers. 

I hate buying sneakers.

So I bought some music instead. 

I fell in love with Natalie Merchant's voice waaaaay back when In My Tribe was released.

I know - I was a latecomer to 10,00 Maniacs but, come on, we don't get very much good radio here in Upstate NY.  I didn't discover some of my favorite kinds of music until I moved to Tucson and found better Radio - thank goodness for NCPR.  I'd never hear any good music now if it weren't for our local programming and World Cafe.

Anyway, Ms. Merchant recently released a double disc album titled "Leave Your Sleep."  It is a compilation of nursery rhymes and children's poetry set to music composed by Natalie.

Each song is lovely.  Put together, the compilation is brilliant.  Some songs are fun, some are silly, some are nostalgic, some disturbing and all are set to music deeply rooted in American folk traditions.  There's nothing left untouched - klezmer, blues, Apalacian folk, Celtic - you name it - if a musical style has touched down in America and taken root somewhere, you'll hear echoes of it in one of these songs.   I'm just so impressed with what she has created here, with her sensitivity to both the poetic and musical traditions of our richly mixed culture.  You should definitely take a listen. 

There's an interview with Merchant on World Cafe that is worth hearing here.

Or you can click my Amazon link and buy a copy for yourself.  I was tempted to buy the mp3 album and just download it as soon as I could justify the expense but the actual disk is worth going to the store (or waiting for the smiley box) for because it comes in a beautifully constructed package, including a thick booklet with the original poetry and commentary about the process of creating the album and short bios for each poet whose works appear in the set.

Now back to shoes.

I hate buying shoes.

I have a neuroma in my Right foot thanks to a broken toe 22 years ago thanks to a boyfriend who shall remain unnamed.  I also have very small, narrow feet with extremely high arches.  In the past few years, it has become increasingly difficult to find shoes that fit without hurting.  Wide shoes slop around and give me blisters and trip me up.  Narrow shoes pinch and cause shooting pain up my leg and back.  Shoes without adequate arch support make my legs and back ache.  Sexy heels?  Forget it.

The last pair of sneakers I bought lasted about 2 months before the wide toe box began buckling and digging into the tops of my toes.  I have been wearing a battered and thrashed hand me down pair of Nikes for about 5 years now.  (thank you, Sophia!)  I keep buying new sneaks and going back to the old shoes because I can't find anything that fits as well.

Last week, MB and I went shoe shopping.  She got an awesome pair of red pumps for Prom and I got a pair of black Pumas.  When I put them on my foot, they felt like they had been made from a mold of my foot.  The arch was in the perfect place and  high enough.  They lace up snugly without squeezing my neuroma and have a very low profile on my feet - almost like climbing shoes - so that I don't trip over my own feet or the furniture.    My only complaint is that they are actually pretty hard.  Not a lot of cushioning or a lot of give.  I'm trying to break them in.  I've added a layer of soft insoles.  I'm hoping for the best.

But Sophia's old shoes are in a box under my bed just in case.


9:49 PM Edit This 1 Comment »

 My baby girl is at Prom tonight with her friend Ben. 

Surprisingly, I am not an anxious wreck about this.  I think it helps that Ben is sweet and fun and respectful and polite and drives very safely.  And that treats her like a friend and a human being instead of a possession or a conquest. 

I should have gone to prom with someone like that.  (Please ignore that messy baggage that just spilled out all over my feet.)

Here's a Huge thank you to Ben's Mom, Terry, and all the other women out there raising boys who value Young Women like my daughter and treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve. 

More Treasures, Reawakened Angst

11:00 AM Posted In , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
My baby turned 16 yesterday. 

I'm not sure whether she's been kissed yet or not . . . .

She totally looks kissable - which is part of my angst today.  She is of dating age now.  I have to start letting her out from under my wing a bit.  I can set reasonable curfews and I still reserve the right to say "There is no way you will be going there with that boy" if she starts spending time with a real creeper or - worse yet - a charmer.

O.K.  we will speak no more about these things.  My blood pressure is rising and my jaw is clenched and . . just . . . breathe . . . She's going to the prom next week.  Ben is neither a creeper nor a charmer and his mom is at least as much a mama bear as I am.  I know that Bry & I are not alone in the safe driving/ responsible behavior/ morality department - at least with this particular date.

So - my title mentions treasures as well as angst.

Obviously my daughter is the first treasure.  (Bry' side of the family will recognize Aunt Molly's attitude and features in that photo.  We named her well, didn't we?)

The second treasure  is extended family.

My cousin, Michael, came up for a visit this weekend and asked if he could take me out to lunch yesterday.  We haven't been well connected far many, many years (neither side of my family seems to be good at or comfortable with maintaining tight connections) and I was afraid that he had some sort of horrible news or something that he needed to convey.  Instead it was just a very nice fun lunch date.  We talked and laughed and I had a great time.  When we walked back to work, he took a big box and few bags  out of his truck to give to me.   They were full of treasure.

 My dad and his younger brothers

The box and bags contained pictures of my dad's side of the family spanning the years from when my dad and his siblings were young to when my cousins and I were little.  There are some older photos of ancestors that I will need to identify somehow.  I also have a big project before me in scanning and distributing all of these wonders to extended family members who may want copies.

The school pictures are my favorites.

My Dad - the fearless older brother.

(With GREAT hair!  Why couldn't you have given ME that hair, dad?  Why did Adrienne get to have it and not me?)

Uncle Kermit  - can you see the mischief in his eyes?

I totally see my nephew, Derek's, features & expressions in there.  I love how adorableness genes (and attitude genes) keep cropping up in families.

 Uncle Howard - smart and determined. 

And Uncle Lynn - the baby, the overlapping generation, child of the 60's - teen of the 70's.

The pictures do awaken some angst - I wanted a house full of blue-eyed, blonde haired boys, too.  I'm not sure why.   I'm sure I never could have survived it.

Gramma had 4 boys and always wanted a girl - she spoiled me just a bit (in a good way) because I was the first girl baby she really got her hands on.

This boy is pretty cute, though.  He brought the expansion pack for our set of adoreableness genes AND he has enough mischief & energy for four.

I feel pretty rich today.

 . . . .


6:25 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Here's what I have been working at the last few days - when I have been able to get up to my studio:

More little blossoms in lots of colors.

A few large gerbera daisy blossoms

and a groovy blossom.  I wasn't sure about this bead shape so only ordered a couple of colors.  I will have to add them to my wish list for the next time I feel bold enough to spend some cash.

 I'm thinking of writing a tutorial for them.  The process is pretty simple now that I've worked out the kinks.  I know how to get the tension right so they don't flop about too much and I've figured out how to attach the bail in such a way that they will lay flat when hung from a chain or choker.

Other Treasures I Found

9:09 AM Edit This 0 Comments »

Another box besides the bead boxes was waiting for me when I returned from Toronto on Saturday night.  It was a box full of goodies for the family but they didn't open it because they didn't think to look for boxes in the enclosed back porch. 

In the box was an awesome new camera, a CD and some books.  My most favorite of all was Instructions, by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.  Illustrated in Charles Vess' classic Stardust style, it is a very simple set of directions for anyone who finds themselves in the middle of a fairy tale.  It has very quickly become Maxx's favorite book, too.

It's a great book for beginning readers.  The illustrations are beautiful and full of magical things and hidden creatures.  None of the words will be unfamiliar to children who have been fed with a steady diet of Grimm and Perrault.  The language IS richer than that of almost all other current beginning or early reader books and it contains a lot of Maxx's sight words -Perfect for co-reading over and over again. 

There is not much text on any given page and the language is simple and poetic, moving the reader rhythmically deeper into the the protocols of adventure. 

There is no plot here - only visual and literary references to a million ancient plots.  There is no moralizing, no blatant symbolism, no self-aggrandizement or judgments passed - only permission and empowerment for us to go ahead have our own adventures. 

The pages in our book are getting wrinkled and worn already.   That would usually make me crazy but I think I'm O.K. with that this time.

(P.S. - There are no "R" rated illustrations here.  I am lucky enough to own a copy of the original Stardust graphic novel and a few pages of my book have been carefully censored to protect innocent eyes.  This book is totally intended for family reading.  The Amazon link is an Affiliates link.  If you click the link and buy the book, I get something like .0004 cents.)

 . . . . . .


12:36 PM Posted In Edit This 4 Comments »
As promised - pictures of my latest batch of beads. 

But first, let me apologize for problems with posting comments on this blog.  I've been so discouraged about not having ANY comments for months and then a friend clued me in to teh problem last week.  I think I have it fixed now so if you have tried to comment in the past and couldn't, I'm sorry.  You can speak up now, if you want to.  :)

So when I got home from Toronto Saturday night I found a sleepless toddler, a giddy teenager, a lonely husband, an ecstatic pooch and 26 pounds of beads waiting for me. 

It was a wonderful weekend with friends and I'll write about Time Out For Women one of these days soon but it sure was nice to come home to my family and a whole new batch of sparklies. 

Here are the goods:

Lots of new window cuts.  I am dreaming up a line of magic bags - Since I made that incredible velvet scarf for Crystal, I've been obsessed with the possibilities inherent in these window beads as fringe on luxurious fabrics.  I have some deep sapphire and some rich teal velvet to sew AND I have a friend who just happens to be a magician.  His specialty is Mentalism so he doesn't pull rabbits out of hats or anything but he does have lots of contacts in both the performance magic and personal magic practitioner worlds.  He says that my work would appeal to people wanting beautiful bags to put their wands, tarot cards, and other magical items in.  It makes sense - I feel like there is "magic" at work while I create the things that I make.  I usually call it something else but the creative energy is strong when I am making something beautiful.   Expect to see some of these beads paired up with some of my velvet - as scarves, bags and maybe even chokers.

Dagger beads - it was had to get a good shot of ALL the dagger beads.  These will become more gerbera daisies.  I'm so excited!

And more little blossom beads - these colors are fabulous.

Some other shapes I found that look like they have good potential in the flower business.

And some random petal beads.  They weren't in the plan but they just refused to stay out of my cart.

This doesn't cover some rondelles, fancy cut pebbles, bell flower blossoms and several kilos of seed beads.  Now to get out a needle and some thread and start putting these babies to work!

. . . . . .

Before the New Beads

8:58 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
The rational part of my mind says that it is time for an intervention.

My beading brain says I just need a bigger studio.

I cleaned off the top of my table in order to do some sewing last night.  I haven't had all of my bead canisters piled together like this since before Christmas.  They are really getting out of control.

I have been having a lot of thoughts about my business and my beads and what I really want to be spending time on.  I have not been satisfied lately.  Part of that dissatisfaction is associated with needing more space and feeling like I'm living in limbo while we try to get the Beorningstead ready.

Another part of the dissatisfaction is that I'm not really enjoying being a re-seller of beads.  I want to be actually beading.  And sewing.  And dyeing.  And creating in general.  And I want to contribute to the financial health of the family while I'm doing it.

Expect changes at Goblins' Market.  Input is appreciated.

I think I already mentioned that I Hate Waiting

9:33 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
Last week was National Infertility Week.  At my house, it was Burnetts Get Ready For a Walk Through week so I didn't post anything.

But I watched this video.

What IF? A Portrait of Infertility from Keiko Zoll on Vimeo.

Millions of couples wait - and wait - and wait to have children.   Some never do because infertility treatments are too expensive or often don't even work.  Adoption is outrageously expensive and bogged down in a ridiculous amount of paperwork invented by sometimes self serving agencies and state and international laws.    Domestic adoptions usually start around $10,000 - couples spend tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of filling out an endless stream of forms, having their privacy invaded, being subjected to months or even years of uncertain hopes and often heartbreak just for the chance to be Considered as adoptive parents.  All this when there are literally millions if children in the world who need happy, stable families. 

You should watch the video, too.

You should think about what you might be able to do to help make adoption easier to attain financially and legally.  You should take a moment to think about how you would feel if you needed treatments that your insurance was not mandated to pay for. 

Spend a moment in Keiko's shoes.   The video is choppy.  That's what infertility feels like - disjointed, uncertain, full of stops and starts.  I've experienced all of the thoughts and fears that she outlines and even though my infertility is secondary (I was able to achieve pregnancy twice and bear one child) and we have been blessed with the opportunity to adopt, it is still one of my most horrible demons.  

Infertility made me Wait.  I hated that. 

Interstate adoption requirement and incompetent lawyers made us Wait for Maxx's finalization and Temple sealing.   We all hated that.  (I'm STILL waitin' on that Birth Certificate, Albany.  Could we speed it up a bit?)

And don't try to tell me that Waiting made me stronger or any other nonsense like that - infertility and bureaucratic stupidity surrounding adoption laws disrupted our lives in very real and painful ways.   I would LOVE it if the laws surrounding adoption and medical treatments for infertility would change in such a way that other couples and children wouldn't have to Wait.

. . . . .

I Hate Waiting

11:19 AM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
So I waited for the tax return.  And it finally came last Friday - at least part of it - who knows when, or if, NYS will ever issue any money ever again for anything.  So I pushed the button to order our new family camera and a whole buncha lotta beads.

Really.  A LOT of beads.

I think my sweet Beorn Beorning was a bit nonplussed when he discovered just how very many beads I've ordered. 

Really, though. It is May and I have exercised a great deal of restraint in the bead buying area since December and have put a really huge chunk - most months almost 100% -  of my business income from late November on into household expenses.

And really - how exciting are pink and aqua daisies when I could be making pink and aqua and orange and red and purple and blue and yellow and . . .

You get the picture.

So Monday morning, the UPS man plops a package on the porch.

No way!  That was too fast!  Is it beads???

No.  Just a pile of Purple Potatoes.  Which are pretty.  And more nutritious than the normal garden variety.  And they have iridescent skin (for real - when washed they sparkle in a very subdued 1970's metal flake sorta way.)   And Maxx will eat them.  And they make the Awesomest mashed potatoes - all purpley blue through and through.  And they will grow wonderfully in our garden this year.

But they ain't beads and I hate waiting.

(We get our Purple Potatos from the Maine Potato Lady.  She's really cool.  These are Purple Majesty

I'll post photos of beads next week.)
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