Monday, January 26, 2009


For any of you other parents out there who have school age sons in Boy Scouts, you are likely familiarwith what has been going on the last month or so, culminating in what is, in this house, a very big day. THE PINEWOOD DERBY. Now, for those who are not aware of what this is, every year, the scouts are given a block of wood, some strict guidelines, and a race date. They are to turn that block of wood into a sleek racing machine capable of winning not only a race, but any of a number of additional "token" Most Humorous, Best Paint, etc etc etc.
Well, in this house, it is my husband who gets carried away with the race...I the EXTREME. This year, we had 3 cars entered. THREE. You see, besides the race that the Boy Scout himself enters, there is often a family race. So, we had to have a car for my daughter AND my husband to each race. The problem is, my husband becomes so ultra absorbed in this whole process, and so focused on winning, that I actually think he has lost track of what the whole process is ideally about, and has removed a good deal of the fun of it all for my son. Sure, he will profess his allegiance to doing all this hard work for my son, and complain about all the time he has to (has to??) spend on the car(s) (3 plus weeks....others we know spent 3 days max) but when he starts talking about HIS cars and HIS race (I am sure it was just a slip of the tongue), and he has pretty much put down any of my sons ideas for the cars construction, well, I have my own opinion who he was doing all the hard work for. And when it gets to the point of yelling and screaming and swearing.....well that is just getting out of hand.

Anyway...I am not really sure where I was going with this. My son ended up taking first place, and has to go on to the next level. He got a big shiny trophy, and was the envy of all the other scouts and their dads. My daughter took first place, and my husband second, in the family race. So my family pretty much monopolized the day. My son was thrilled he won the big trophy, and my husband was beside himself with pride in his work. In HIS work. And me? I told them I did not feel we should do any more Pine Wood derby races, because I think the whole point of it was missed, at least by my husband. And to me, that makes it not worth it. Not worth it because I think that if father and son had worked together on the car(s), side by side, with my son taking the lead, as it should be...well....he would still have a smile on his face, even if they had lost. And the smile would last a lot longer. And he also would have gained a lot more than just a big shiny trophy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Well, here we are. January 20th of 2009. The day many people have been waiting for. And, for some of you who may have been hiding in a cave and do not know what the day is, I will tell you. It is.... (drum roll plays in the background)

NATIONAL CHEESE DAY is finally here. And it is a bonafide, actual day of celebration on the calendar. (Bet you all thought I was going to say something else, now, didn't you??? ha ha)
I happen to LOVE my cheese. Most types, anyway. Especially mozzarella cheese. Must be the Italian in me. And I decided today that I am finally going to try out the recipe I have for home made mozzarella. It certainly seems simple enough. And if it works out, I might even post it here.
So, in honor of National Cheese Day, I am going to go to the grocery store (I need to buy some milk and half nhalf anyway), and buy some cheese. Maybe, just maybe, I might buy 2 different types of cheese. I mean, after IS a special day, isn't it?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


So, here I am...on my second career, or in the next chapter of my life (oh, that sounds So cliche!) My first career was as a Social Worker. I worked all my life, up until 2004, with people with mental and physical limitations. I worked with them in their homes, in their jobs, in their day programs, and as the state worker who helped them get the funding needed, and sometimes provided guardianship services. I helped cut thru the red tape (bull----, actually, but I will use the word "tape"). Creatively, I have painted for as long as I can remember, first in oils, then in acrylics. I always had worked with clays, and always, ALWAYS had lots of drawing utensils around. Markers were my favorite.

That was then. This is now. Now, I am no longer a social worker, though my firm beliefs about advocating for the best quality of life for the folks I used to work for remains as strong as ever. Some of the smartest, most amazing people I ever met were "clients", people just like you and me, whose shortcomings (just like we all have) were just a bit more challenging for them, and sometimes a bit more obvious to everyone else. Big deal. The people I worked with taught me more about life and strength and courage than any classroom ever did.

But...I am getting off track. This is about me (how self centered am I!) Now, I am home everyday. Doing my "new work".... I still paint...with acrylics.I do paintings, and paint birdhouses, welcome signs, rocks, or just about anything else you can paint on. I paint somewhat, or am trying to paint, with watercolors. I ALWAYS wanted to learn to paint with watercolors; I am amazed by the effects the colors make. I also do some work with encaustics. Very cool.

I still work with clay, but now it is polymer clay instead of ceramic. And instead of a kiln, I now use my oven. Polymer clay is SO amazingly versatile...

I still do a lot of drawing, but now my markers are many and varied, and EXPENSIVE. I also use expensive colored pencils, chalks, sprays, etc etc etc on my paper. My drawing are also now usually turned into greeting cards, or some type of wall art.

Years ago, when I was around 12, everyone was making necklaces and ankle bracelets with "Love Beads". Today, I still have some of those same beads, but I also have thousands of others...millifiore, glass, clay, aztec, and any other bead that catches my eye. And I use them on wire, string, nylon. I use them for jewelry, or in my clay, mosaics, or paper work. I especially love making wire and bead concoctions.

I love mosaics, and making stepping stones. I want to learn how to do stained glass. I am fascinated by fused glass, especially dichroics. I work with resin, melt art, and wood.

I even make soap.

Well, there it is. Where I am today. I have my fingers in so many things, I am not even sure if I listed them all. And I am nowhere near finished exploring new things! There are just too many things that catch my interest. And you know what...I am actually pretty good at most of them.

But, I had to limit what I work on to sell in my shop, at least for now.

I have learned so many tips and techniques about all the different areas, and am hoping to share some with you all in future blogs. I hope some of you who read this and see some similarities to yourselves will leave a comment and let me know. Maybe we can share some secrets of the trade..

That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by and reading. Please come back. Who knows what I might be able to learn to do on the computer!!!!!!



Thursday, January 8, 2009


So many of us, especially women, seem to work our full time jobs, constantly wishing we could be home. Maybe not all of us, but I don't know how many times I heard almost all of my female coworkers, over the course of my working life, stating their wish to stay home, or work just part time like so many of our moms did. I was guilty of the same wish. And I have just one thing to say to that now....

!!!!!!!!!BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!!!!!!!

It just might come true.

As I think I mentioned somewhere on my blog page, I had to leave my job in 2004 because I become chronically ill. I had not planned on retiring, did not want to retire, and had NO IDEA what retiring was going to mean for me. Sure...the first couple of weeks was great! Like a vacation! Had the house to myself, could do what I wanted.... All the friends I had made through my job had made great plans with me about how we were going to stay in touch....all the lunches, shopping trips, movie excursions. It was going to be fun! And you know what?? None of it happened. Suddenly, I had the time, but no one else did...EVER. They were always too busy. My calls were always sent to voicemail, seldom returned . Some people seemed to just shy away from me because I was now "ill" with something they were not familiar with....maybe they thought they would "catch" it?? Most of these people were work associates who needed to stay on my good side (in their minds), because of my job position. They had to return calls immediately, and many even spent considerable time "kissing up" and whatever, because being on the good side of the state agency was considered very important and conducive to their employers keeping in good standing. And I knew and accepted all this....but still knew that I had some long standing friendships, I thought. But once you retire, that all changes.

So, I had pretty much lost all my friendships and personal connections. But I was also realizing I lost a lot more than that. I no longer knew who I was. I never realized how much my position had become who I was. My job was what I did . It was what I was good at. It was something I had spent years building an excellent reputation on. Now it was gone. And like I mentioned in an earlier post, even my family started treating me a bit differently, especially my husband. I was no longer bringing in the paycheck, so I no longer had a say in things. I felt like I was being treated as though I had no education at other I was just some blubbering idiot. And that was just not going to cut it for me. I needed to do something, if nothing else, than to just fill up all the time I had on my hands.

I dug through all the stuff in the attic, and found my old easel and paints. I decided to make some birdhouses for the yard. They turned out really well! When I had enough for our yard, (and since no job meant no money to Christmas shop) I made one each for my mother and sister. BOY were they a hit. Next thing I knew, my mothers friends and sisters friends both wanted some. My sister suggested I consider selling my birdhouses as a small business.. Altho I considered it for a bit, I also was not sure I would be satisfied painting birdhouses day after day. So.....back to the attic. I dug out all the rest of my old art supplies, and started playing. Then on a trip to the craft store (for the first time in a decade or more), I discovered some new interests. Pretty soon, I was making some other things, mostly out of clay and paper. My sister asked if I would try making some wine glass charms........she has since bought several sets, and so have different people she knows. The gourds were something I just discovered 2 years ago, but found that, for the most part, I am quite good at carving and painting those, if I do say so myself!.

What was that I said....?"good at"?????????

Suddenly, I was GOOD at something again. People were complimenting me, and I was getting a whole different "reputation" ART was becoming my new identity. Something that distinquishes me from others, something I can be proud of myself for. Once I decided I was comfortable enough with what and how I was doing, I made a goal for open up that shop and make a business, just like my sister had suggested 4 years earlier. So, in November, 2008, I opened up my Etsy shop. I had been selling by word of mouth for a couple of years, but a "Shop" seems like more of an accomplishment, more......well, just MORE. I had a LOT of obstacles to get here (my husband being the largest, and ongoing), and it is definitely slow going, but I did it. And now, I might even be starting to feel a little bit good about myself. There are things I am good at, things I might even do better than other people I know!

As for the issue of "friends", well, I am still working on that. I may not have a lot of people around where I live that I can get together with anymore, but here, on my computer, in my "artist" groups, I have made friends. Good friends. Friends who now call ME on the phone sometimes to chat, who email back and forth with me, and accept me just as me, not because of the position I held or whatever. People who also realize the value of friendships, and know the importance of taking the time to spend time together, even if it is just on the phone.

So...I know this was a long post. But it was important for me to get it all down in writing. This was a major life change for me. It might happen to you someday. The change when you retire is MASSIVE. When it happens under the circumstances it did for me, it is even more difficult. But my art saved me. I think it saved me from going into a deep depression, maybe even from getting more ill more quickly.


It soothes the soul, and gives you wings to fly....sometimes when you are most in need of something to help ground you!

Keep creating-