Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Long Weekend...

Yes, it's Memorial Day Weekend here and I think everyone is glad for it... adults because it's basically the start of summer and most likely no more winter blasts will pop up (and although spring and summer weather can be a bit challenging) ... and kids because obviously they are almost out of school till August ("no more studies,no more books...").

Memorial Day is also a day to hang our flags and thank those who gave their life and service so that we could continue to live in this 'land of the free'.  The US may not have all the answers, and certainly has it's own problems to deal with, but I'm very proud to be an American and am also proud of this country and what it stands for. I'm not a political person, but I believe in democracy and the will of the people. If you have a complaint, then vote for change. I know it's not that simple, but it does bother me when people talk badly about our country or our leaders. We voted them in... now stand by them until it's time to vote them out. I guess it's the ol' *united we stand, divided we fall..* attitude (just my humble opinion).

Now... on to recent activities:

DH and I visited Ham's Peach Orchard this past week.

These photos were taken with my iPhone inside their store.  And although a variety of fruits and veggies were available, it was a bit early in the season for their regular peaches. Ham's opens every year on May 15th no matter what in Terrill, TX (about 45 mins outside Dallas).  So they did have a new variety peach ready for sale, but they didn't have them in the store and ready to  go for the first 30 minutes we were there.We did get to taste them before buying and they were very sweet.

Tomatoes and cucumbers on the top, plums on the right and various jars of freshly canned products on the bottom. We were told that their peach salsa was very good. And although we try to buy a new item each time for trying, we haven't made much of a dent in the available products.

We did buy peaches, peach cobbler, a buttermilk pie (their fudge chocolate pie is wonderful, but we went for one we hadn't tasted yet), peach preserves, blackberry preserves, and of course home-made peach ice-cream (which is what brings us there).

DH enjoying his peach ice-cream on the rocker out back by their black berry fields.

And now for a few outside critter pics:

brave squirrel eating from cat's dish

fat mama raccoon enjoying a sit-in

Life in the backyard is getting busier. This mama raccoon has already had her babies, but hasn't started bringing them into the yard yet. She will eventually bring them to eat and lounge out by the kitty pool. One of our young black feral females (Shiney - I mentioned her having her babies accidentally locked in our garage in a past post) has 4 kittens on the side of the house. We will wait and watch and eventually take the kittens to the Adoption Center. And if we can catch her, she will be spayed.

That's the news for now. Have a wonderful weekend!
(We haven't gotten the results from the bone scan yet... but the leg is actually doing a bit better.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Am I glowing...?

Hi!  I'm writing this at home after being injected with some radio-active substance that has to have time to work its way though my body before they can do the bone scan this afternoon.  DH always tells me I'm *glowing*... and yes, I've had this before... (bone scan) but it's probably been quite a few years back. It isn't a difficult test since there's really no fasting, and once you're injected, you can eat or drink anything... just need to return in 3 hours to the hospital for the scan (which is supposed to take 45 - 60 mins.)

The reason for this is because of the before mentioned trouble with my right leg (previous blog post). Well, just to let you know, it doesn't hurt *at all* today. Isn't that always the way? Hurts for weeks, finally give in and call the doctor, set up a test.... and then it's gone (WTF? - excuse my bad text word, but it fits). And the test probably needed to be done eventually anyway.

I had a nice talk with the technician who administered the *glow juice*.  She apparently has a lot of cancer in her family also. We shared the philosophy that we all have to die eventually, but we've both been pretty lucky so far.

Now on another note, I follow several blogs online (well, I follow more than several, but I only keep up with a precious few). Anyway, DJan mentioned in her last post about a relative sending her a book which was made up of blog posts from her late brother-in-law who had past away not too long ago. Such a good way for someone to be remembered! I appreciate her sharing this idea with us.

But this news affected me in a different way. It reminded me of what I had lost through my own anger and frustration. I have written online for about 14 years... maybe longer, although I know I lost a few websites in the beginning... they just disappeared into cyberspace. But I wrote on Homestead since 2000 or 2001 and then various free blog spots before It was Homestead that had some problems last Fall... can't remember what the exact problem was... but I couldn't get on my site and after a few days without getting much help from them, I got frustrated and cancelled my membership. I figured that it didn't matter if I couldn't get on it anyway. But over the past year I have deeply regretted losing my almost daily posts for over 10 years. So much of my life was captured there... granted not of any interest but to me... but still.

Chase and Jack

However, after reading DJan's post, I decided to get in touch with Homestead and find out if all my writings were lost.  They weren't!  I'm now back in possession of them and reading about funny incidents that happened when my now almost 16 year old grandson was 4 and living with us, incidents (both funny and sad) that happened when mom was still with us, etc.  I'm so very happy to have recovered these... and I thank you DJan for making it happen (in a round about way).

My mom and our very dear friend (both now gone from my life)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

finished clay projects...

clay dinnerware project for spring 2014
Well, I was absent from class the last week of this semester. Had a combination of the stomach flu and then some problems with my right leg... (that part is still going on).  But since I wasn't there when presentations were made, I went last Friday to empty my locker and shelf. My instructor was there and she told me to "set up my display in the studio" and she would put it in the gallery later.  So this is it.

The project was to create a dinnerware set using a semi-famous person (I was assigned Frances Glessner Lee) as a guest. She was a millionaire heiress who lived in the 1800's and while an avid reader of Sherlock Holmes, she was very interested in forensic medicine. She and a good friend, a Dr. Magrath, were known to play a big part in replacing coroners with medical examiners. She also created dioramas of crime scenes which were so well done and explicit that the police dept used them to help their investigators learn how to collect evidence. These were called "The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death". She was also known to be the inspiration for Jessica Fletcher in the series "Murder She Wrote".

My theme was Death, Crime, and Medicine. It's difficult to see here, but the colors are black, grey, and red.  The plates, bowls, and cups were thrown, underglazed with black and grey, and then fired with a clear glaze.The book sculpture was made with slabs, underglazed, and then washed with a Blackbird stain to get the antiqued look... and then fired. My original plan was to use dinnerware that was black and grey but had a red gunsight on it with a human target in the center. However, when fired, the colors were not to my liking, so I went with the Sherlock Holmes profile. I had also found a website that sold crime scene fabric and had picked out some that had blood splatter and crime scene tape (to use as a tablecloth)... but had to cancel the order when I found out they could not deliver on time...

close up of the book sculpture

Unfortunately I was not there to see the finished projects of my classmates. However, I do hope they will remain in the art gallery long enough so that I will be able to return during the summer session and take some pictures.  If so, I will post them on my website.  Some of them I think were extremely well done.

Now... on a more somber note: Have any of you had a problem with your leg that involved intermittent pain that runs from the thigh down to the knee? My right leg has bothered me for several weeks, but it has gotten increasingly more debilitating. Some nights I could barely sleep for the throbbing. I also found it difficult to raise it... and found myself using my hands to move my leg from the accelerator to the brake while driving. I have tried sleeping on the sofa with my legs under pillows, then sleeping in a lounge chair. Neither worked very well. My first thought was sciatica.... which I've had before.... but the pain was not intermittent like this. One minute it's gone, and the next it's back. My next thought is perhaps I've done something to a vertebrae and that's affecting my leg. Actually when I started to feel the same pain in my left leg this past Monday, I called my Oncologist and asked his nurse what she thought I should do. She's got me scheduled for a full body bone scan this coming Wednesday.  I guess that will tell us something. But if anyone has any ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them.

And now for some GOOD NEWS:  Our box turtles are out again! They usually start showing up in May, but it's always fun to see them out. This one has shown up several times now... usually going after the dry catfood.

And Sam was also in the yard when I was taking pics of the box turtle.  He's one of our *regulars*... semi-feral, intact male that probably roams the entire residential neighborhood, gets in fights from the looks of his wounds, but always returns and in general doesn't cause any problems in our yard. He has really pretty blue eyes.


Monday, May 12, 2014

very early morning ramblings...

DH and I rented the movie, "The Butler" this week. I'm not sure what I expected, but I liked it. Seemed to convey a message that each of us finds our own way in the world... and that despite all our problems and prejudices, we're at least heading in the right direction... albeit slowly.

I grew up in the South in the 50's and 60's and remember the segregated buses and water fountains, etc. The sad thing is that I don't remember thinking derogatorily (is that a word?) of anyone, just that things were separate... that's just the way it was. As a child, you don't question why (or I didn't), you accept how things are as you don't know anything else. My parents never spoke bad of anyone (that I was aware of), and when things got ugly during integration, I didn't understand why people were so upset. Why were people acting so badly? What difference did it make where people sat on a bus? Of course there was much more involved than that and as I got older, I began to understand. Reading and watching stories like "The Butler", "The Help"  and "Twelve Years a slave" (although I haven't seen this yet) open our eyes. Things needed to change.

It also stirs up a strange dilemma in my mind... which may not be totally relevant here, but while we all struggle for equality under the law and in the eyes of God, isn't it advantageous to be not only accepting, but proud and appreciative of our differences? With the advance of technology, the world is getting smaller... (there's a McDonald's everywhere!). While this is convenient, it's also kind of a bummer... if you know what I mean. Eventually the world will merge into one giant conglomerate... with no diversity or individual character.

I seem to be digressing here... not sure where I'm going with this. But my mind tends to go off on tangents (especially so early in the morning - woke up at 4am). The truth is that we'll probably not survive long enough to get to that point. At the rate we're going, we'll all walk into traffic while our looking at our cell phones.

good one!

At this very moment, Julie is hiding on my messy desk... thinking I don't see her (ha!).

Oh, BTW, we have kittens! One of our feral females (Shiney) was crying around the side of the house yesterday. I looked out the office window and saw her little face looking in. Thinking she probably has just had kittens out there, I went back to what I was doing. Later DH mentioned that she was crying out by the back garage too. We didn't think much of it. She's young and probably was a bit overwhelmed. Well, lo and behold... when DH went outside this morning and *opened* the garage, Shiney came flying in... ran straight to a corner where you could hear kittens screaming. Apparently she had had kittens in the garage early yesterday and wasn't with them when DH closed the garage later that day. Poor Mama! She was separated from her babies and was distraught! But all are well now.

I did finally plant my hanging baskets with chives, thyme, and basil.  The dill wasn't looking too well, so I held off planting it to see if it recovers. And I want to find some curly parsley, but haven't seen any around for some reason.  We looked at another nursery today. They have flat parsley, but I prefer the curly kind.

Saw this online and had to share...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"summertime... and the living is easy"

Son and grand daughter came by this afternoon.  She is 18 months old and loves running around the house investigating everything (and terrorizing the cats!).  In these pics (where she was *still* long enough for me to take a few shots), she was checking out one of the cat toys (a mouse on an elastic cord that hangs from our pantry door).

Last Sunday we took the boys to Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie. It was supposed to get to 96 that afternoon (and I believe it did) so I was a little concerned about the heat... but it turned out fine. There was lots of shade and a pretty good breeze. We used to take our kids (when they were young) to this event every Spring. It was like a giant picnic with jousting and archery and food, etc. It has gotten much bigger; more booths, more events, more food... and more people dressed up in period costumes. Some were really neat... and some were (to say the least - weird). But my older grandson loved it. He even had 'elf ears' put on (and they actually looked pretty real!).

Younger grandson enjoyed the rides more... and the fried ice-cream!

As the summer is approaching, I'm finding myself looking forward to a few months of unscheduled events. Don't get me wrong, I love taking my pottery classes and the camaraderie of the group as we share our ideas and projects, but I'm finding that slowing the week down a bit is becoming more and more attractive. Waking up in the morning and sitting outside with a cup of coffee - and just *being*  rather than getting up to dress and run out the door sounds really good at this moment in time.

Grand daughter usually comes up to spend some time with us in the summer and my friend mentioned wanting to take a road trip to Crystal Bridges in Arkansas. Besides this, DH and I may possibly take a short trip to Branson to visit family or even a long weekend to either San Antonio or New Orleans. So... the summer will come and go before we know it.

I picked up some more herbs... basil this time... and hope to get these planted tomorrow. I still need a few more, but have enough to get most of my hanging planters started. Well, here's wishing all of you mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day! Rest and enjoy!

waiting patiently...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

a little of this and a little of that...

Glacier in Alaska

I was reading a book on Ayurveda recently and came across these words:

"According to Sankhya, behind creation there is a state of pure existence or awareness, which is beyond time and space, has no beginning or end, and no qualities. Within pure existence there arises a desire to experience itself, which results in disequilibrium and causes the manifestation of primordial physical energy.

This energy is the creative force of action, a source of form that has qualities. Matter and energy are closely related: when energy takes form, we tend to think of it in terms of matter rather than energy. The primordial physical energy is imponderable and cannot be described in words.  The most subtle of all energies, it is modified until ultimately our familiar mental and physical world manifests itself.

Pure existence and primordial energy unite for the dance of creation to happen.  Pure existence is simply "observing" the dance. Primordial energy and all that flows from it cannot exist except in pure existence or awareness.

The energy of the dance of creation arises out of pure awareness or existence, the unlimited energy of the universe; this energy is love."

Since I tend to be 'science minded' and seem to understand things better when they are explained as such, I liked this. But I will also say that in my own mind, I have no trouble correlating science and religion. To me this is just another explanation of God/Nature/ The Force, etc.

Grandfather clock is back!

And at this very moment our Grandfather Clock is being 'refitted'... I guess that's the term.  We had it's insides taken away to be worked on about 6 months ago and today it is back with us... or will be in a few minutes. I can hear the chimes as our Horologist is adjusting them. We have so missed that sound...

And before I take off to run errands today, let me say that I'm sorry that I haven't posted much lately and  haven't read or commented too much either. It's the end of the semester and we have to have our projects finished... so time has been short. Plus we had a clay club sale at the school yesterday and it took up most of the day.  We usually have a sale around November (before Christmas) that lasts a few days, but this was our first spring (or Mother's Day) sale and it was only for the one day. But classes will be over soon and I hope to catch up on my blog reading and posting then.

(this is my perception of a truth)