Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meet Bruiser

Meet Bruiser, my in-laws new dog, a two-year-old Standard Beagle who was added to the family while I was in Longview this summer.

These two pics (above and below) were taken this afternoon shortly after Ed and I returned from a run to the library and grocery store which included a stop at Subway where we'd eaten lunch and I had taken one bite out of the second half of my twelve incher and said I was full and wrapped it back up.

I had brought in the library books and Ed brought in the groceries and my sandwich. After depositing the books on the bed I went to the kitchen to put away my healthy snacks. As I crossed the kitchen I stepped on a Subway napkin, picked it up and put it in the garbage and came back around the table to the sacks only to step on something that slid under my foot. It was the wrapping paper for my sandwich which was nowhere to be found. Only a stray leaf or two of spinach on the floor.

I went to ask Ed where he'd put my sandwich and he said on the table with the sacks. I shook my head. Its not there. I found its wrapper on the floor.

And he was the one who lectured me on the drive home Sunday and several time since about the way things have to be now we have Bruiser in the family. Like: no food in his reach can be left unattended; hook the bedroom door when you leave the room as it won't latch and Bruiser can push it open possibly start a fight with Merlin and definitely eat his cat food which makes him sick; keep Merlin locked in the room like before with Sweetie because of the doggie door, which had been closed up since Sweetie died last August but was now open again.

So a few minutes before I took these pictures, Bruiser had gobbled my six inch Fiery Turkey Jalapeno Melt. With extra Jalapenos.

A few hours later I decided it was time Merlin and Bruiser had a monitored encounter as it was past time that Merlin was allowed excursions out of the room again. He'd been given free reign of the front of the house after Sweetie passed and once the weather permitted this spring he had daily leashed visits to the front porch that lasted from 30 minutes to 3 hours or longer depending on his contentment.

So I brought him out but had Ed set up a short leash for him attached to the heavy bench on the far side of the driveway from the porch where Bruiser was leashed.

At first Bruiser lunged and barked and whined and whimpered and slobbered at a Merlin just out of reach and Merlin cringed and fluffed his fur big but did not his. I was sure it was all going to be OK as earlier today Merlin had got out of the room as I entered and he and Bruiser encountered each other in the hallway and touched noses. Merlin had raised one paw about half an inch off the floor and Bruiser had yelped and turned and ran. We're guessing he'd been slapped by a cat at some point.

Out in the driveway tonight Merlin soon figured out that Bruiser could not reach him and began to lower his hackles and I felt safe enough to move away and start taking pictures. My FIL was still standing at the ready to grab Bruiser's leash if need be.

But it wasn't long before he felt confident enough to go back up on the porch. And I felt confident enough to settle in the blue chair to the left there.

It wasn't long before Merlin settled by my right elbow either studiously ignoring Bruiser or finding the kids and dogs and cars going by more interesting.

But Bruiser watched Merlin obsessively for a bit. At first with the characteristic Beagle pose with nose pointed and body still as stone. I missed that shot but got this one after he lay down on the far side of the driveway, still eying Merlin.

But soon he too turned his head away.

But only for a few seconds. He had to peek.

And so did Merlin though both carefully pretended not to.

Bruiser went in the house with my in-laws about half an hour later but Merlin and I sat outside for over an hour. First across the driveway there and then after Bruiser went in we moved up onto the porch. I read fifty pages in Lori Lansen's The Wife's Tale, one of my new library books, while Merlin explored all the new smells on the porch to his heart's content.

Today my first haul from the library after six or seven weeks away included seven novels and six DVD. I have said here recently that I felt a fiction binge coming on and I am going to honor it. Since yesterday evening I read both of Alice Hoffman's Green Angel and Green Witch. One of the books I checked out today was her Here on Earth. I thought I had read it when it was an Oprah Book Club selection but I did not recognize anything from the inside cover so I checked it out. I may discover it's a re-read once I get into it but that's OK it would have been over a decade. I'm quite the same person as I was then. I just need a Alice Hoffman binge after re-reading Green Angel last night and reading Green Witch this morning and Here on Earth was the only one on the Phoenix shelf. I'll have to send for the others.

I'll leave a more detailed list of my library loot in a later post as I'm eager to get back to The Wife's Tale. Besides it is off topic for this post.


Monday, August 30, 2010


That pic was taken just before they started to unload my Mom's van into Ed's Dad's car at Rice Hill OR yesterday afternoon. Once home I brought in only the essentials for the night.

My day started at 7am. Got breakfast and coffee and woke up enough to help Ed unload the car before he left for work at quarter to eight. We piled the couch with the stuff and I spent the day pulling smaller bags and boxes out of the big bags and finding nooks and crannies to stuff them into in our room. I focused on crafts and 'office' stuff.

I got my 'desk' set up and printer and netbook plugged in and hooked up. My lamp plugged in. My alarm clock plugged in and set. Books shelved.

I still have to bring my clothes into the room. That will be tomorrow's chore and they will have to actually be put away proper or they will be unwearable. Don't want my sister's hard labor on the laundry to go rewarded that way so that will be tomorrow's chore.

Ed doesn't have to work tomorrow so he's taking me to the library to pick up the several books and DVD waiting for me there. And then grocery shopping for some safe snack foods.

I didn't write about it here but the whole time I was at my Mom's I participated in the Jorge Cruise Belly Fat Cure diet they have been on since early spring. I lost twenty pounds and nearly five inches. I hope to not loose that progress and even make more.

I think I'm going to turn in early again tonight. I'm wiped. I may read for a bit first. I started Alice Hoffman's Green Angel while waiting to be called to dinner. It's a re-read but Jamie gave me her copy of it along with its sequel Green Witch to pass onto my niece. I havn't read the sequel yet and want to read it before handing them over to my niece but I decided to re-read the first one first.

I have several dozen of my own un-read novels on the shelves here and no library books yet so I could have started one. I even casually looked over my TBR shelves but I didnt' want to start anything that would take more than a couple of days to read as I have several high demand novels and DVD waiting at the library for me. I apparently advanced to first place in a lot of the queues while my request were deactivated. I'd set them to reactivate on the 22nd as I thought I would be home by then. I had forgotten that and by the time I looked half a dozen or more items were already shipped to me.

So I started the Hoffman YA books. Both just over a hundred pages. I love Alice Hoffman. I feel a need to binge on her stories coming on. I know there are plenty I haven't got to yet.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Serenity #193

I took this picture of a Stellar Jay this afternoon at a rest area Ed and I stopped at on our way over the Sexton's this afternoon.

I think I'll let that stand for the trip home today for now. I'm exhausted as I elected to spend six hours hanging with the Longview library books after I'd finished packing last night and thus got less than three hours of sleep between 6 and 9. My choice. But now I'm paying for it.

We decided to leave the bulk of my stuff in the car until morning when I will then have to get up to help Ed unload it before he leaves for work and then spend the day putting order back in our little 12x10 foot room.

Well, if not order, at least room to sleep on the bed for at least one person at a time. :)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Flaming of the Shrew

So last night my sister helped me dye my hair auburn. Only the second time in my life that I've dyed my hair and the last time it was really just highlights as my sister was using up dye left from her last time and there wasn't enough left to cover my thick hair completely. She had a hard time getting full coverage with the complete tube this time and we were wishing we'd picked up two kits.

I've always wanted to have red hair. Or rather auburn not the carrot orange. I used to say that as I went gray I'd go red. That was twenty years ago tho when I was still thirty-something and I have yet to accumulate enough gray to be concerned about it. And my sister tells me that the red dyes look pink once you have a lot of gray so my original idea probably wouldn't work anyway. Which is just as well as I'm not that into the whole scene--the time, effort and money it takes and the fussing. Bleh.

In the top picture you can barely see the color change as the light is not strong. In the picture below it's more obvious as the flash hit it straight on. But, oh boy, you should see it in sunlight!

I don't know. Not sure I know this person. She startles me every time I walk past the mirror wall in the kitchen and I walked past it innumerable times today during the thirteen hour packing job.

Why am I hiding behind the book? Well, you can imagine how not camera ready my face is after 13 hours of traipsing from room to room to room, bending, lifting, carrying...

Everything but the last minute stuff is packed up and in the van. We're to leave here before 10 AM to meet Ed at Rice Hill by 2. I should be home by 5. And then I have to start unpacking. Bleh. Bleh. Bleh.

The book I'm hiding behind was my great aunt's leather bound complete works of Shakespeare and I happened to be opened to the first page of The Taming of the Shrew. Which is what gave me the title of this post. But, too, I'm feeling particularly shrewish at the moment. I don't do change well and even though I'm anxious to get home, to see my husband and my cat, and my niece, to get back to work on my reading, writing and research etc. I'm more anxious about the disruptions in the process of getting from here to there. The packing, the traveling, the extra socializing, the unpacking and putting away.

I thought I may have doubled the volume of my craft stuff but I at least tripled it and may have quadrupled it. It took four large duffel bags and a small tub to pack it up. What I came with wasn't in duffel bags but rather in one medium-large trash bag and several small boxes and bags (beach bags, book bags, shopping bags) and would probably have fit into one or one and a half of the new drawstring duffels I got at the Dollar store the other day.

How am I going to get it put away at home?!!


Friday, August 27, 2010

How Cats Help Pack

Enjoy this video and watch the other related too. This cartoon is hilarious. My favorite is the one where the cat is chasing a fly as Simon sleeps. But I posted this one in recognition of the two cats in my life: Bradley, my nephew's cat who will be 'helping' me pack this weekend and Merlin, our cat, who will be 'helping' me unpack in Phoenix Sunday night. And Monday. And Tuesday. And....

So. I'm busy packing and other trip prep. I said good-bye to my Mom this afternoon when she left to spend the weekend at my brother's in Portland. She'll be at church with his family when my sister and I drive through Portland on the way south Sunday morning. We'll be stopping in Vancouver to pick up Jamie so I'll get to spend a couple more hours visiting with her and Carri will have a companion for the drive back from Rice Hill.

I'm feeling a bit in a panic at this moment. My stuff is scattered throughout six rooms of the upstairs of this house. Plus the laundry room downstairs. As always I have more going back than I brought with me. I'm worried about how to make that less obvious to Ed when we transfer to his Dad's car at Rice Hill and to his folks when we bring it in the house at Phoenix.

I have a bit of a reputation. The kind of reputation they make epic humor about.

So I guess one option is to go with it, to just admit I've got a reputation and I'm out to uphold it. Flaunt it sister!!

Stuff R Us. Bring on the boxes!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beach Befogged

Here are some more pics from our beach trip yesterday. This one was of Captain Fishhead a 2nd hand store located practically under the Astoria bridge. We drove past it several times because the bridge was temporarily closed for a wide load vehicle and we were going to get lunch while we waited but my sister couldn't find the fish and chips place she remembered.

We wanted to cross the Columbia River on the Astoria bridge to go to Long Beach in Washington as it is possible to drive right down onto the beach there and that is so much easier for Mom.

We had crossed the Rainier Bridge from Longview WA to Rainier OR and then traveled the Oregon side of the Columbia as that is a much less winding road and shorter.

I kept trying to get a picture of Captain Fishhead's 'book store' and kept missing my chance until the last time we went by. I was all excited because I saw the word 'books' on the sign. It wasn't until I got home and got the pics off the camera and into my photo manager and enlarged until I could read the sign that I realized it wasn't simply a book store. I'm still having trouble letting go of the fantasy of the book store in a house on the river near the beach.

If I had been traveling on my own or with someone of like mind this is the type of place I would love to stop and explore. Even though it's not primarily a book store. I like places with personality like this.

This was a piece of driftwood near the driveway into the restroom on Long Beach. Do you see something in it that doesn't look like it belongs to any tree alive or dead?

This little wave or the one just before it reached my feet and went over my toes. I thought I was safe since I was six inches from the edge of foam from the wavelet that reached the furthest in several minutes of watching.

You can see how foggy it was at Long Beach. You can't see how windy or how cold. I was the only one of the four of us ladies to brave it. But I'm weird that way. I love all of the moods of a beach.

Well, except tidal waves.

This seagull seemed to be flying straight at me.

That little white gull on the left was one-legged. She let me get really close before she took to the sky. I took several shots but most of them did not catch the bird as the camera was tilted to far up. I got about five shots of nothing but foggy sky.

We returned to the Oregon side on the Astoria bridge heading for a beach someone at the fish and chips place had told my sister also allowed cars right down on the beach. It was called Sunset Beach. I'll try to put a few of the pics from there tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beach Bewitched

We did go to the beach today. Actually two of them as Long Beach in
Washington was socked in by fog and a brisk, cold breeze. I was the only one to get out of the car there to go stand at the edge of the surf and take pictures. The pic heading this post was taken at Sunset Beach on the Oregon side, near Warrington and Astoria.

My sister drove Mom, me, Jamie and our niece. Got back to Longview around sundown 8:30ish.

It was glorious. I took 346 pictures, wearing out two sets of batteries. But over 50% of them are 90% to 100% sky and sun glare. I can't see the LED screen on my digital camera when outdoors so I can't frame a picture before taking it. I just aim with my best guess and hope something I was aiming at gets in the shot so I can later crop to get the frame right.

I spent an hour cropping this photo of the gulls flying down the beach toward me. I can't do another one tonight without risking a face plant on the keyboard.

Nor do I expect to have much time to fuss with the photos before I get back home next week so what I'm planning is to feature them in my Sunday Serenity posts over the next several weeks.

I'm loving the seagulls picture right now. Can imagine it as a huge wall poster or painting. Maybe even the masthead on the template change I've been planning for months. I have my 3 column template selected and downloaded and only needed to find or create a 970 pixel wide photo for the masthead. Had been thinking something with a books and writing theme but this could work maybe. If only as a place holder until I can make the other one I've been envisioning. Beach scenes represent joy to me, even me, Joy. The gulls and other birds skimming the surf seemed joyful to me.

Well, I've gotta surrender to sleep now. Hoping for beach bewitched dreams.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Epic Haircut

From the moment I left Phoenix July 11, I have intended to have my hair cut before going back down into the oven that is the Rogue Valley in late Summer. I was beginning to wonder if we would be able to cram it in this week though. But this afternoon my sister asked whether I'd like to get it done before or after tomorrow's beach trip. Since I'd just washed it before bed last night and the beach breezes were likely to braid it into Celtic knots I thought today worked best.

The front and back pics above and below were taken as I began to get ready to go. I'd just taken my hair down out of the big ponytail I'd twisted and pinned to the top of my head with a big black spider clip as soon as the towel had slipped off my head last night. Over twelve hours later my hair was still damp.


Above and below: ready to go with tangles brushed out.

I hate taking care of my hair when it gets long now. Both shampooing and bushing it wear me out. I can barely remember why I enjoyed having it down to my waist through most of my teens and twenties. I experimented with it short a few times between high-school graduation and my 40th birthday but I kept growing it back long. Mostly, once it reached mid ribcage, I kept it in a single braid down the middle of my back or over my left ear. The braid was as thick as my wrist. I can no longer make those braids. My arms give out before I get it halfway finished and I have to drop it.

But before I left home I'd put it back into the twisted tail penned to the top of my head as it would have been like wearing a wet horsehair blanket on a hot and humid day. Just having it down while having the pictures taken and I was popping sweat on scalp, face and neck--in the house with central air!!

Above: Just arrived at salon, Mom and I are waiting for our eyes to adjust from the bright sun while we wait our turn.

Above: here we go.

Above: Mom plays a game on my sister's iSomething--it's like mini iPad but it's not called that.

Above: This was the back after the stylist finished the first time. I really liked it but I could tell it wouldn't work before the temps dropped below 80. Maybe by Halloween.

So off we go again.

And the results make me smile. Though that pesky strand of hair kept falling down in front of my left eye. I took care of it after I got home by wetting my hair down again and putting a bit of hair gel on my fingers and combing them through my hair until it was all laying how I liked.

I swear when I first saw this photo that looked like a dead cat. No, no. The one up there.

Above and below: After I got home and 'fixed' it. By then I had a bad case of hat head too since I'd put that visor back on and spent two hours in the Dollar Store.

Only the two pics of the left and right sides turned out. The one of the back was spoiled by my having hunched my shoulders until my neck disappeared and the curls in back were smashed.

In back it is a bit shorter than in front coming just below the nape a tad and that tad is curled up off my neck nicely.

I think I'm going to be happy with it. Here's hoping I'm still happy six weeks from now as it grows out.

I feel like I just lost ten pounds.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Last Week in Longview

Jus wachun u pak  giv me nap ataks

Yeah, I get nap attacks just thinking about packing. Don't even remind me of unpacking at the other end in that 10x12 foot room in a likely 99 degree outside temp with no central air to keep it a nice 78 degrees inside. Ugh.

But there are the pluses to offset the ughs. Seeing my husband. Hearing from my niece all about her drama class trip to Scotland to perform and watch performances. Mugging some hugs, purrs and face licks from Merlin. Meeting my FIL new dog Bruiser, who joined the family while I was gone. More face licks? I heard Merlin thought his nose was a scratching post. But I'm also told Bruiser, a beagle, is a lover and so is Merlin so I'm sure they'll work it out.

And there is getting back to creative writing in my fiction and poetry files. The urge has been building in the last month and it was missing since the end of NaNo last November.

Then there is reactivating my queues for books and DVD at my library and sending for those I was in the middle of when I left in July. And reactivating my research projects. But of course that also means saying goodbye to the books I've had out of the Longview and Vancouver libraries while here which I can't get at my library. Besides packing and attempting to stuff as much family visiting and fun stuff into this week (a trip to the beach on Wednesday? bargain shopping? walk on the lake?) I'm going to be frantically trying to cram as many paragraphs as I can from those library books before Sunday morning. I find myself sorely tempted almost beyond resisting to use my scanner which I brought for the family photo scan project to, well, you know...shhhh. (Get thee behind me. Sigh.)

But the packing! Oy! I'm going back with more than I left with. As always. So I'll probably be the recipient of a chorus of sighs and weeks worth of teasing. So gotta work on thickening my skin I guess since the thought of leaving any of the extra stuff behind causes more anxiety than the thought of the other's judgments on my traveling eccentricities. The best solution is to purge our room of unused/unusable stuff when I get home.

But that 90+ degrees!!!!


Nap time.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Serenity #192

I just got back to my Mom's from spending four days with Jamie at her cute little apartment in Vancouver. A four day slumber party. We gabbed and watched DVD, gabbed and listened to music--LOUD. Danced to the beat for a minute or two once, giggling like--well, like girls. We gabbed and ate (ymmy but healthy food that Jamie prepared). We gabbed and did a few minor chores. We gabbed and sang along with the songs on her mixed music CD.

And we gabbed.

It was so wonderful to have my friend back, to see her looking and acting more herself. So much better than four weeks ago in ICU. But even significantly better than anytime in the past six or seven years. And no wonder when you consider that she'd been running on 70% oxygen for years due to the scar tissue closing off her airway just below the voicebox.

We didn't say good-bye today as we're sure to see each other at least one more time before I leave for Phoenix OR next Sunday. There is a tentative plan for going to the beach with my sister and Mom, sister-in-law and nieces one day this week. And Jamie may ride with us to Rice Hill to meet my husband next Sunday.


Saturday, August 21, 2010


This was the group Jamie introduced me too this week. I would never have thought to be able to claim to love the sound of a metal band. But this one grabbed me somehow. The closest thing to the Nightwish sound that I've ever loved in music would have to be Queen and Stravinsky.

I'm not sure if either of the songs featured in the vids top and bottom were on that mixed CD of her's and she was unable to tell me the name of the songs I heard or the album as she had made the CD without including them. So I've selected these two to show the range of the sound and, in the first one, to show them in action on stage. The sound of the drums were the first thing that drew me in. Of course. I can't get enough of watching that drummer in action.

As I prepared this post, I created a Nightwish playlist on Youtube which already contains over 30 songs. I've only listened to a few though as the connection I have here at Jamie's is not the best for listening to streaming music and vids. I will be listening to them over the next weeks and looking for more and trying to identify the one that hooked me. It was almost symphonic in places, even operatic, and was very long, well over five minutes and Jamie thought ten but I haven't seen one on Youtube yet that approaches ten minutes though a few go over six.

Before the first Nightwish song I heard was over I was already identifying them as a group and a sound that my character Maia from Spring Fever would be into. I think it was because there was an element of the Celtic in that one. By the time the second one was over I was having vivid images of Maia choreographing a dance for it. That was the operatic one and it seemed a perfect fit for someone who was obsessed with Stravinsky for I was hearing the roots of Stravinsky growing out of that song.

I don't know enough of the jargon to talk about music the way musicians talk to each other about it so I don't know how to explain what about the Nightwish sound conjured up memories of the Stravinsky sound. All I know is it was a very strong association made in my mind via feelings and images. It's not quite right to put the 'and' between the word 'feelings' and the word 'images' as they arose together completely entwined.

Music is very hard to think about in words which makes it hard to write about or talk about--or read about for that matter. So I should shut up now.

OK I couldn't resist including this third one:

Their Gethsemane is great too and the images in it coupled with this one reveal a spiritual theme I was surprised to find in a group labeled 'metal' but I shouldn't have been considering the effect the music had on me when I first heard it as music expresses the spiritual much better than words. Is it possible that music is the language of spirit?

OK now. I'm getting loopy. I guess it's past my bedtime.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Slumber Party

We're having so much fun, Jamie and I, we've extended our sleepover through Sunday.

Tonight we watched the movie Get Smart. Yesterday afternoon and evening we watched the movie Next and a disc of Monk episodes, a disc of Criminal Minds episodes and a disc of Saving Grace episodes.

This evening before the movie we listened to music on a mixed CD of Jamie's favorites from the last four decades. She's introduced me to a few new groups that I've GOT to hear more of. If I can find a way to embed something of theirs here I will. But not tonight. Probably not while I'm dependent on Jamie's Cricket connection with its two bars of service strength that are continually dipping to one or zero which makes loading vids and music a pain.

If fact it has cut out on me several times as I prepared this post and is out as I type this sentence. Blogger warning that saving and publishing may fail.

Oh, there it's back. I think I better publish while I can.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the Way to Normal

That's Jamie with my sister at the hospital last night just before they removed her trach.

Below she is trach free.

She is also home. Or will be in about an hour. She was released this morning and my sister brought here here. They are patiently waiting for me to get ready to go as our plans for her to spend tonight here at Mom's were changed when Jamie ended up with a Dr appt in Vancouver tomorrow morning.

So as I publish this at 6:30 PM Wednesday to post after midnight, I'm on my way out the door to commence a two day slumber party with my sister-friend, Jamie.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Jamie is being discharged from the hospital today and will be spending tonight here with us but the following day I'm going home with her to spend a couple of days as she reacclimates to her home life. She went in for an in and out day surgery on July 20th and complications kept her in ICU for two weeks then a transitory hospital room for about three days and then rehab for nearly two weeks. They removed her trach this evening which wasn't a given. If they hadn't I'd probably have needed to go get lessons on how to care for it provided by her rehab team.

My travel plans to return home to Phoenix had been set for this coming Sunday but when news of Jamie's imminent release reached us Tuesday I began to panic at the thought of all I still needed to do by Sunday morning which now needed to be done in two days instead of five with the stay at Jamie's sandwiched between. So I called my husband this evening and got my stay extended a week.

Now maybe. Just maybe. We can plan some fun stuff to do before I head home.

I know at least one fun thing Jamie and I had planned before I arrived and that was to watch the video Julie and Julia together as she owns it. I'm still looking forward to that but I'm also hankering for something that will take me out of the house and other enclosed spaces like the back seat of the car and waiting rooms.

I arrived here on July 11th. The first week was all about learning the ropes for what I'd need to do the following week to care for Mom, the pets and the yard while my sister went on a week's vacation with her son. She left on the 19. We learned of Jamie's ordeal on the 21st.

My sister arrived home the wee hours of the 25th. The daily ICU visits began on the 26th and went through Saturday the 31st. We actually spent more time in the waiting room than in Jamie's room. We would leave here between 8 and noon and arrive home after 11pm.

Late that week my brother's family left for their two week vacation and turned their respit care child over to my sister. So entertaining a ten year old girl, dragging her along to the waiting room or driving extra miles to drop her off for play dates and so forth became part of our routine.

Mom and I took a few days off from the ICU visits after Jamie's sister flew in from Alabama on the 31st, staying until the following Wednesday. My sister took one of those days off from visiting Jamie in order to run errands and grocery shop.

After Jamie's sister left town we resumed our visits but stepped back to every other day and occasionally my sister would leave Mom and I behind even then. Within a day or two of her sister leaving, Jamie was moved out of ICU and after that our visits would only be a couple of hours at most. But those days were centered around those visits what with waking to the need to get ready to go and arriving home past time to get ready for bed.

Contrast all of that to what was in the plans as my visit loomed closer:
  • We were planning on having a day at the beach with Jamie and possibly my brother's wife and girls.
  • I was planning on having another day at Powell's book store in Portland to wander the aisles of books for 4-6 hours and maybe buy one or two. Yeah window shopping on the other side of the window. I love that bookstore. I wish I could live in it.
  • I was hoping to get to spend some time with a high-school friend.
  • I was planning to scan more of the family pictures. Had even brought my own printer/scanner with me for that so as not to have to commander the one hooked up in the office.
  • I was planning on finishing several of the library books I can only get my hands on while visiting here.
  • I hoped to wander the path around Lake Sacajawea one end of which is a few blocks from here.
  • I'd planned to work out daily on the mini-tramp my sister bought so I didn't have to bring mine.
  • My sister wanted to take me bargain shopping at the dollar store and the liquidators store.
  • I'd expected there would be one or two evenings of food and board games at my brother's house in Portland.
  • I'd hoped to get to go visit my Aunt and Uncle (Mom's sister) who live several miles out of town.
  • I was going to suggest a picnic at Willow Grove beach on the Columbia River.
  • And Jamie and I were planning a two day slumber party to watch movies and gab at her apartment.
Instead my summer fun and relaxation became focused on crocheting and decorating the bookmarks, giving them away, sorting and organizing the related craft supplies and tools, shopping for more supplies (18 new thread colors and 19 new ribbon colors!), learning new stitches and techniques and designing new patterns and color combos for future bookmarks 20 times faster than I can hope to crochet them.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All Dressed Up

So here they are. The eight bookmarks that have been the focus of the past ten days. The first couple days sorting through beads, buttons, ribbons, and thread selecting adornments for each one as I envisioned them. Then gathering together needles, bodkin, needle threaders, embroidery scissors and setting up a workstation making it as portable as possible so I could move back and forth between the couch in the living and the bed in Mom's room because I couldn't work in the same room where Mom would be moving about or sleeping.

It is not as quiet dressing them up as it is to crochet them. Tho it gets quieter once I've gathered all tools and selections. Besides the noise disturbing Mom's nap in the living room there is the issue of having to have the Ott Light cord drug across the middle of thee room right across Mom's path.

These eight are for my RIF mini-challenge winners from April's 24-hour-read-a-thon and will be going in the mail as soon as possible now. I need to touch up the ribbon and rick rack with the iron on several of them first.

It's going to be hard to say good-bye to them. I got so attached I even started naming them. Top picture left to right: Apple Blossom Spring; Baby's Breath; Summer Daze; Bounteous Grace. Bottom picture left to right: Whispering Breeze; Blueberry Dreams; Flowering Snow; After the Rain

Here's close ups of two of the old buttons I used. The brass colored acorn is attached to Bounteous Grace. The translucent blue flower below is on Blueberry Dreams.

There's no telling the age of most of the buttons as very old (80+) to medium old 25-40) are all mixed in together. Mom inherited her Mom's buttons and also took buttons of the clothes of two of her aunts she was executor for. She took buttons off all the family clothes as they wore out and went into the great quilting pile that sits to this day in the tiny sewing room down in the basement.

Mom identified the acorn button as having been on the jacket she made for herself in highschool.

Well, I guess I better wrap this up and get my head swung around towards sleep as tomorrow is a big day. See tomorrow's post for details. I will publish it minutes after this one as I don't want to worry about posting tomorrow night.


Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? #14

Well, I didn't get to read much this past week as I was concentrating all my free time at home on the bookmark dressing project as it has the urgency of an past due commitment. Watch for pics of them in tomorrow's post (which might not go up until late night.)

So I started The Help by Kathryn Stockett as stated last week. But I only made it ten pages. I could tell within two pages that this was not the kind of story I could read in brief snatches. I need to be able to sit with it uninterrupted for a minimum of 30 minutes but 90-180 would be better. I was holding it out as a reward for getting the bookmarks in the mail but now that that's all but done, I am looking at the likelyhood of needing to spend a couple days with Jamie at her apartment as they are releasing her from the hospital this week.

Plus my date to return home has been set for Sunday so that means I need to start packing now as that always takes me a couple days and that's the most I have before Jamie will need me.

So in those spare moments in which I couldn't be working on the bookmark project I read snatches in three NF books: How to Read and Write About Fiction by Dr. William Kenny, A Voice From the Attic by Robertson Davies (on the same topic by one of the great reviewers of the mid 1900's), and Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Trhough the Unique Perspectives of Autism by Temple Grandin and Sean Barron.

I will probably continue to dip into those three and if possible a few others off the same list as I posted last Monday--one of the twenty-some books I have out on my sister's card which I cant' get at home.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Serenity #191

Creativity is a primary source of serenity for me. This week two major creative projects are occupying my time and thoughts. One is dressing several of the bookmarks I crocheted. The other is creating a new and very challenge design for a bookmark. I'll have pictures of the dressed bookmarks sometime this coming week I hope.

The pic at top shows the new pattern in the making. I'm teaching myself two new things: starting and stopping a thread color in mid row and making shapes via contrasting colors. In this case I'm making a triangle as seen in the picture. There will also be a diamond in the center which is just two triangles placed base to base.

The colors were chosen in order to use two of the new threads (new before last night's four additions anyway), the bright yellow and orange. I added the purple because my nephew loves purple with bright colors and as he was describing combinations I thought they sounded brilliant myself. I added the Kelly Green because it was the only bright color that played well with yellow and orange. It won't come into play until I near the far end where it will be the background for another yellow triangle. the middle section will be a purple diamond on a yellow background.

I'm itching to get back to work on it but I'm only allowing myself to work on it when dressing bookmarks isn't an option. I'll probably get to work on it in the car later today on the way to see Jamie as well as in her hospital room.

Jamie is progressing well and may possibly be getting to go home later this week.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Craft Shopping Spree

My sister took me shopping at Michael's craft store this evening. Everything I got relates to the bookmarks craft. Among them:

  • 4 new crochet thread colors (navy, light peach, mint green, shades of blue)
  • 19 new ribbon colors (there was a 25% discount off the entire ribbon purchase so I went a bit wild rectifying the fact that my ribbon rainbow had more holes than my thread rainbow had last February before the first Joann.com order)
  • 3 small pkgs of small primary colored wooden buttons (it would seem I hardly need anymore buttons what with the thousands in Mom's collection, but those buttons have relatively few bright colors other than reds and even fewer duplicates and fewer under half an inch in diameter which make them useless for attaching to double dangling ribbon ends to weight them which prevents the large bead or button on the other end from pulling the bookmark right out of the book)
  • a bag full of assorted sequins and spangles to be used the same way as beads and buttons and also to decorate a length of ribbon not just the ends
  • a pack of blue and white paper flowers
  • a set of 3 fine work scissors (the most expensive item but with a %50 off coupon still cost less than the single pair I ordered from Joann.com last month)
  • a set of repair needles including long big-eyed dull pointed ones and curved ones among others--for tucking tails as the short needle I've been using is very frustrating and the new bodkin won't fit through the stitches themselves
  • a box of mini clips that I'm hoping will work to replace the bigger clip I've been using to hold a stack of ribbons together as I'm prepping them for a tassel (these are even small enough I might be able to keep the ribbons clipped as I thread the ends through the loop)
  • fray check (some of the ribbon ends need it but I don't need two that size so one is for my sister)
  • a bobbin winder for cardboard floss bobbins which I need for the braiding I've been studying so I can make braided tassels and bookmarks (my sister bought that in exchange for the second bottle of fray check)
  • a pack of 58 cardboard bobbins

Moving on.

I finished the dressing of four bookmarks last night, taking pictures of each step of several of them and of course the finished product. Was planning to make that tonight's post but that would have taken much longer to put together what with a dozen photos to prep and then telling the stories that go with them. My sister and I didn't get home until after nine and by the time we'd eaten the Subway sandwiches we picked up after leaving Michael's it was after 10. So I decided to make the Michael's shopping spree the topic but that meant setting up the display for a pic and by the time I had the pic off the camera and and prepped for posting it was after midnight.

This post came close to not getting done at all tonight as I almost fell down the basement stairs before I started writing it. I was going down to ask my sister something and I stepped on Bradley, my nephew's cat. I wasn't holding the rail but did have a hand on each wall which helped to steady me but wouldn't have prevented me from toppling forward if my foot had hit the edge of the stair after Bradley squirmed free or if I'd had more forward momentum. I was going slow because the light bulb on the stairwell is burnt out. We need a big tall man to change that light bulb. It's not only hard to reach it is inside a decorative castiron lantern that is hard to get open. It's especially hard to do without light.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Adorning Bookmarks

I was hoping I would have all, or at least most, of the bookmarks I targeted for dressing this week ready for their pictures to be taken so I could post them tonight. But I got too involved in the button and bead sorting project and so totally lost track of time that I was really startled to notice the window light about 6:45. It took me another hour to get my mess put away and get ready for bed and when I woke up the focus of the day was getting ready to go to Vancouver to visit Jamie in rehab (post ICU rehab not that other) getting there and getting to visit and getting something to eat and getting home. Pretty much eight hours were ate up by that whole process.

Jamie is progressing nicely it appears. They are tentatively estimating a week or so before they release her to go home. She'll continue to have the trach for a time but hopefully not too much longer.

I could easily get caught up in the buttons and beads again tonight. There are sooo many and thus so many possibilities. But I've set my mind to focus on dressing the bookmarks tonight. I've already decided what will adorn each one for the most part. Two or three maybe are sitting in my mind with two or three options but that is way better than the dozens of options for each one that I started with in my imagination and the dozens more that occurred to me as I organized my ribbon boxes and sorted through buttons and beads and thread and ric rac and...

I put a few dozen beads and buttons of the right sizes and colors to go with the sizes and colors of the bookmarks into the blue tray (lid to a blue box full of sewing etc) along with the ric rac I selected for one.

I cut one ribbon early in the process but it got creased before the sun went down that day so I held off on cutting any more ribbon until the moment I am dealing with the bookmark it is for.

As I was getting the mess put away before I went to bed at dawn, I knocked that blue tray on the floor. All the organizing by color and by bookmark caput just like that. And I had to spend several minutes on my hands and knees crawling all over the floor petting the carpet, sweeping my palms under the couch and the stationary bike and into and out of shadows.

There were probably three to four more items in the tray by then then there were when the above pic was taken yesterday afternoon.

Today I started working on a new bookmark using a new pattern that uses two of the colors from the stash of new thread plus two more. I'm making up the pattern for this one and it is another first as it involves changing colors in mid row and attempting to create a recognizable shape. I spent the entire ride to Vancouver plus the entire visit with Jamie working and ripping out portions for one row. I'm itching to get back to it but I am requiring myself to get those bookmarks dressed first or at least a decent showing for several hours of work with them.


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