Friday, January 23, 2015

New Etsy Items!

Today I put another coat on my smoochy owls, which is only three coats away from posting.  I also started my next embroidery project which may be about a gnome, but is still top secret!

And I posted a few more pieces on Etsy, including this landscape collage which is made out of found papers including the cardboard from a six pack of Australian root beer (which crackled a bit when fussed with - yes!), a couple placemats, shopping bags and color chips from paint stores.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fanny and Blue

Of the many reasons I love working at a library, finding notes is near the top.  This book, which is about two dogs, Fanny and Blue, came back with this note taped to the front.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monica & David

There is so much love packed into this short film! And it is dispersed unabashedly. I give nothing but applause and praise to the parents of both Monica and David for raising two gentle, loving souls and offering their love to the world through this film.

While it is very special to watch two people with Down Syndrome get married and share the first year of their lives together, it is even more thrilling to watch not only Monica and David, but also their parents, share a kind of loud and physical love that overwhelms our culture and isn’t normally displayed.

I am also delighted by the honesty that Monica and David share with each other. They have their tiffs – the right way to put clothes into the dryer and how the bed should be made – but the tiffs are honest, mild and almost always end with David pulling Monica in close and covering her in affection while briefly touching upon a resolution or forgetting the tiff altogether. Even Monica’s mom, Maria Elena, is quite frank, at one moment breaking my heart open after openly admitting that there may be harm in her protectiveness.

I was deeply touched by this film and it has certainly inspired me to love my family and friends with the same kind of unabashedly affectionate love that is shared among Monica, David and their family.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I know I can do so much better

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the goals I want to accomplish in this next year.  In addition to continuing to write in some way every day and spending more time cuddling the three beasts that I share a home with, I have a few more goals:

1.  Learn to play the xylophone.  Yes!  I have been wanting to take a stab at it for years.  Hands down,  it's my favorite instrument and I'd love to get my hands on those mallet things.  My heart will forevermore belong to the brass family, but it's time I take a chance and reach out to the instrument of my dreams.  I don't know if you know this, but I used to play in a bell choir at a Lutheran church while growing up, and I loved it.  I particularly loved plunking them on the soft foam when that sound was needed.  My childhood best friend was a Lutheran so I went to church with her family nearly every week (unless I was fighting with the best friend).

While the Lutherans at this church made me sit in a hallway whenever they were doing anything particularly religious or cultish, I still managed to participate in two important events: the whole cracker/wine combo (which the best friend and I partook in while no one was looking) and bell-ringing.  I even went to a conference in Illinois with the Lutherans and got a t-shirt with Lincoln playing bells on the front.  

So what do bells and the xylophone have to do with each other?  Mostly nothing, but wasn't that a great story?  I do think that I will find the same happiness in the xylophone that I found in bells.  And maybe I can join a band if I'm good?  Any takers?

2.  More silliness.  I haven't been silly enough.  I know I can do so much better.

3.  More hugs for everyone.  Less frowns.  I can probably stand to be less hesitant when tapping into that fountain of empathy that lies just below skepticism and self-conservation.

4.  I need to tackle some of the more outlandish embroidery ideas I have.  Possibly do a cinquain or two in a hoop.

5.  Keep using my car as a treat.  Ditto to cake, book shopping and beer.  And keep using the bike and tennis racket as extensions of my body, which is a very superhero thing to do.

6.  Reach out.

7.  Continue being an integral part of writers connecting to other writers.  Be present and helpful to those in my workshops.  Find answers and resources and remain positive.

8.  Be more like Scott.  The last awesome thing I saw him do?  Offer to buy a drink for one of those bell-ringers that haunt stores around the holidays.  I definitely have room for improvement in this area.

9.  Dance more.  Learn at least 5 dances from this list.

10.  Grow.

11.  Listen.  Keep an ear out for amazing ideas, inspiration and life-changing moments.  For example, after reading The Wheeling Year by Ted Kooser, one of my goals this year is to always put my shoes on standing up because he mentions that it is something he does to maintain balance.  Another example that I just stumbled across is the acronym W.A.I.T., which stands for Why Am I Talking? and borrowed from an audiobook that I'm currently listening to, Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein.  I definitely have trouble with saying way too much and have been using the W.A.I.T approach rather successfully so far. 

What are your goals?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Carting Around Beasts

Rose and Ella are no longer spring chickens.  They are nearing the senior discount age, and someday, perhaps sooner than later, they will need to learn how to drive so that they do not have to walk everywhere they go.  

Unfortunately, they have no desire to learn how to drive.  So, Robert and I have been asking ourselves, What's the next best thing?  And we are tentatively deciding on a luxury taxi.  This past holiday season Robert and I got a chance to try out the luxury taxi idea after we test drove one that we gave to Robert's grandma, Carolyne.  While Carolyne is not going to use hers to cart around beasts, she was happy to let me take Ella for a ride.  

For the majority of the ride Ella blew air through her massive jowls in an attempt to curse so I think it's settled.  We're getting them a luxury taxi!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I saw it and thought boobies?

A few days ago I had a very pleasant time in one of my favorite fabric stores picking out goodies.  This particular store is like a thrift shop for crafters.  Hoops and buttons and fabric galore but all secondhand.  I always find something surprising.  This time around I found a simple zodiac print that I don't have any idea what I'm going to do with.  I saw it and thought boobies?  Or perhaps a depiction of Adam and Eve and it could be her boobies?  I think the print is too large for embroidery so it's going to be a tough decision.  

Currently I am completely stumped as to what I'm going to do next.  I've tried to start a few projects and they have flopped because there is a disconnect between image, fabric and thread.  I know from previous experiences that if there isn't any harmony the whole piece will fall apart.  I recently finished a paper collage of kissing owls that needs about five more coats of sealer and I while I do that I will hopefully come up with another embroidery idea.  Perhaps with the zodiac fabric!

Monday, January 12, 2015


It can be said, now that there is distance between us, that this fish and I are not friends.  I'm not going to say anything demeaning or disrespectful about this piece, but it was a giant pain in the keister.  I will say that while I will do some things differently next time, I am still quite happy about his teeth.  I had a good time going gangbusters on the chompers.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My Dog

My Dog is a sweet exploration of the relationship between man and dog.  You will be delighted to see a spunky Isaac Mizrahi rave about his pooches, listen to Richard Gere’s brief philosophical tidbits about his dog and get a peek into the beautiful connections between dogs and their humans. 
I really appreciate how the film gracefully skips from one interview to the next, constructing an exciting collage of poignant moments and revelations and giving ample opportunities to see my favorite people and their dogs.
Daniel Shire, a boy with autism, created a bridge between his world and his family’s world through the companionship of dogs.  Lyn Redgrave’s special and brief relationship with her dog proves to be a testimony of living for the moment.  But undoubtedly, my favorite notable dog lover of the film is the poet, Billy Collins.  I won’t spoil if for you but there is a funny moment when the dog poops and Billy Collins curses, and it’s really very special.  Billy Collins, who has a book of poetry close by for the first few shots, eventually graces the movie with a poem that speaks of time and how it means two different things for humans and dogs. 
While Billy Collins and his dog stood out the most for me, my favorite quote of the film came from Richard Gere: “Whatever creature is under this dog costume—we’ve had many lifetimes together.  Maybe I had the dog costume the last time.”

Saturday, January 10, 2015


It's official!  I have an Etsy! 

I will be selling my collages, embroidery and paintings.  More items are coming soon!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

all too happy

Robert's cousins, Rachel (14) and Sam (who is 8 and pictured here) spent a few days with us, playing apples to apples, acting silly, going to the arcade, making crafts and even watching a band perform at a local coffee house.  We had a blast!  And while Rose spent most of the time hunkered down in her bed away from the noise, Ella was all too happy to be involved in everything, car rides being no exception.

Friday, January 2, 2015


I saw this at a nearby bookstore in the children's section.

And, this is how I discovered that I'm using Robert's Facebook more than he does:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

That pretty music can use some shit talkin’

When I listen to Classical Loon by Northsound I hear these great conversations between the loons in my mind, and I can understand why some crazy people never make the attempt to hop the fence to normal.

For instance,

Male loon #1 to male loon #2: Hey, what’s that intoxicating sound?
Male loon #2: That, my friend, is the sound of one hot mama loon. 


Loon talking to loon buddy:  Do you hear that?
Loon Buddy: Yes, it sounds a little like a violin being played in a toilet.
First Loon: No, that’s not right.
Loon Buddy: You must be talking about the cello.
First Loon: Stop making shit up.  I think we’re under attack.  I think we’re dealing with aliens bro. 
Loon Buddy: You mean Chopin?
First Loon: You know their name?!?


Loon named Betty: Henrietta, do you hear that?
Loon named Henrietta: (as she stabs her loon cigarette into the remains of her fish lunch) That aint nothing but Jimmy Bob fixing the washer machine.
Betty: No, it’s something else.  It sounds like the washer machine is stuck on the same distress call.
Henrietta: Hurummph! That’s because that piece o shit been stuck on spin.  But Jimmy Bob gonna pop it loose in no time. 

And lastly,

Loon #1 (possibly Betty from a previous conversation): Do you think we should tell the fancy musicians that the pretty music doesn’t hide all that sass of Jimmy Bob’s firey language?
Loon #2 (maybe Henrietta from a previous conversation): That pretty music can use some shit talkin’.

Nope, one more,

Violin to Cello and Piano: What is that sound?
Cello: We’ve been trying to tell you about that string for days.
Violin: No, not that.  It sounds like someone is violating a flute.
Piano: Oh that sound.  Didn’t you know we were chasing loons
Cello: Well, it sounds like somebody already got ‘em.