Sometimes Timing is anything but Good...

As I was posting that wonderful "Santa Baby" rendition... well, read here



Thru The Day

It will be a long day for me, since no family is here and just peeking out of the door reveals ice at least an inch thick on the sidewalk leading to where my car used to be (and will stay 'used to be' unless Santa sends me a big bank account...!). So, even if I get an invitation or two, there is not a Christmas prayer in the world that would entice me to go anywhere that requires stepping on any sidewalk or street today. Well, maybe if the house were on fire, but not much else....

At least I will have turkey today... I froze the Thanksgiving bird while it still had a bunch of 'leftovers' on it, and I will pick at it starting this afternoon and when I'm done I'll put the leftover-leftovers into the crockpot for soup tomorrow. If I had a pressure cooker, I would also pressurize the bones into mush and give 'the girls' a treat. Yes, you CAN give pets poultry bones if you do this... the only real threat is the sharp bones that pet crunching creates - pressure-cooking (and running it thru a sieve) eliminates that. There - that's my gift to pet- and pressurecooker-owning poultry-eaters in this recessive time! (you might want to put aside a quarter-cupful of unsalted juice to put into it... the fat is ok (they would have eaten it 'in the wild') in moderation, but the salt is not.)

Checking the cupboard...I also have some canned jellied cranberry sauce left from when I almost depleted it making cranberry juice for my UTI. (I will NEVER quit trying to say IUD, although I *know* the difference very well!!...I have to stop and make sure I say it right EVERY time...) BTW, where did all the whole-berry cranberry sauce go? I searched all over my small town on T'giving to no avail, not even our big-box store had anything but the jellied kind, which seems to me to be something I should be spreading on bread. Is it scarce everywhere, or just here?

I also have some lettuce, so a salad is available for my feast, and also one of the potatoes I nuked yesterday.

It's not going to snow today - just freeze - so I won't be enjoying a white Christmas except for the leftover snow, which I guess is par for this Christmas course.

For those who know me well, they'd agree this would be my favorite turkey leftover....

Found this amazing news video and had to share it...put up with the ad and enjoy the story!


Potpourri - Part 2

I've been busy most of the day dropping Entre cards and looking for humor online -- I really need some giggles. For the third (and hopefully final) time this year, I had to have my car towed. It was 12F outside, no one had told me the 'geezer bingo/lunch' had been canceled and I was way too far into the street with a car that had just **stopped.** The last time this happened, it was the distributor. This time I suspect the fuel pump, if only because when I tried to start the thing it would occasionally let out a 'foof' sound. Very 'airy,' like a Hondafart...

So there I am, in a towtruck, with the poor sweet driver trying to back my towed car into a slot on a patch of unpaved lot which is covered with between 1" and 2" of ice. He finally hiked to the garage office to ask if he could park it out in the open, since it kept jackknifing all around the lot as he tried to back it in. This gave me my first grin of the day -- The driver is one of those guys who have a bit of tummy overhang in front, so his jeans tended to droop a bit, giving him a 'plumber's crack' about 6" long. To his credit he did try to pull them up now and again as he literally skated the 100 feet or so to the office/garage building, but mostly he had to use his arms for balance. It was too much to hope for that he would lose them completely, but very Chaplinesque, nonetheless.

I really shouldn't giggle too hard; he was sweet enough to drive me home rather than have the folks at Corky's do so - he didn't want me on the ice at ALL, even to walk to the shop office. Nice guy considering he'd had dozens of towing calls since last night, and the general area had, by then, chalked up 37 semi's jackknifed or otherwise broken down over a 10 mile radius. A shout-out to Joe's Towing...
On a lighter note, I found this:

Bear convicted for theft of honey

By Paddy Clark - BBC News

The taste of honey was just too tempting for a bear in Macedonia, which repeatedly raided a beekeeper's hives. Now it has a criminal record after a court found it guilty
of theft and criminal damage.

Because the animal had no owner and belonged to a protected species, the court ordered the state to pay for the damage to the hives - around $3,500 (£1,750; 2,238 euros). The bear, meanwhile, remains at large - somewhere in Macedonia.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas tomorrow, and best wishes for whatever holiday you celebrate! I will be reading a book, playing with polymer clay, and wishing I had a car to go get something with which to make hot buttered rum.


Potpourri, or "Out of my Mind"

I really don't like blogs that inflict music unasked, but I suggest you play this one - it is a really neat version of one of my favorite 'seasonal' songs:

This woman is a national treasure. The spin she puts on this satire of conspicuous holiday consumption is just precious! (For those under 40, it's Eartha Kitt... a fantastic entertainer who was born WAY too early!)
I don't wish anyone harm, but this elicited a snort:
(AP) Some health department workers in southern Illinois think they may have discovered some contaminated food -- at their own office Christmas gathering. After the Lawrence County Health Department had a buffet for 72 people at a restaurant last week, 42 of the attendees suffered stomach problems, including the head of the department.
Scrooge in action: http://dailycontributor.com/200812222445/goodbye-snowzilla/
From the "Let's just rephrase it" department:

I like words...I've mentioned that before. I have a good 'feel' for using the proper one, but there is a word that just flummoxes me - 'wake' and all its permutations. I did a google search under 'grammar' to see if there is a definitive rule for 'wake,' 'awaken,' etc. All I can say after doing so is 'sheesh!'
See http://www.editpros.com/news0207.html#COACH question #2 for an example of the 'gee, thanks' kind of help I got for my effort.

More later, probably. I'm always wishing I'd added something, so maybe I will.


Stop That Drumming!!

I like the holiday season...I don't have much responsibility since my family is not in the area - just the love and good wishes to and from my precious friends is all I need to make my season bright. I even get to humming carols, although it takes a bit of prompting from radio or TV.

One carol I try to avoid every season is "The Little Drummer Boy." Supposedly a song of rejoicing, it sounds more like a funeral dirge. I really don't mean to offend anyone, but while the lyrics are just fine, the drag-ass melody is anything but joyous. If anyone can point me to a peppier version, I'd really appreciate it. I'll still turn off the draggier renditions, though, and look for 'Jingle Bell Rock' or even 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.'


Back from MD... well, yesterday. It seems I'm in fairly decent health for the health I'm in. Too fat, blood pressure a bit elevated (with HBP med) but within limits, blood glucose wavering but still within acceptable limits, a couple of other things (mostly maintenance) dealt with.

But in one of those 'oh, by the way' moments, I mentioned a spot on my upper arm that a friend insisted that I address the next time I saw my doctor. She looked at it, and said it looked like a precursor to, or possibly early basal cell skin cancer. She used liquid nitrogen on it, and we will watch it closely. She also called my friend a very wise friend, indeed. Absolutely, and with all the other things she has on her plate, Jael could possibly be a lifesaver, too. Hugs, lady!


Playing Catch-up

I'm one of those folks who can go without sleep for a time, but who has to get it back eventually. Between some looming projects and the mild-but-annoying illnesses I've had one on top of the other, I've either not been to bed or just stared at the ceiling when I did. That seems to be over, but my brain seems a bit slower to awaken than my ambition.

What I *have* been doing is catching up on mindless stuff, like watching the full series "Six Feet Under" (probably mostly because I'm glad I'm not), and playing russian roulette with SurfTheChannel.com's collection of Alfred Hitchcock TV shows... none have titles, just "???" ... while making fridge magnets for 30 people. Today is an 'on the road' MD appt. (she's 15 miles from the town I'm in), then the rest of the week is MINE!!!



No comments today... I'm 'recovering' from a lesson well-learned - that of erring on the side of caution when eating something your body isn't accustomed to.

In my case it was merely some (and I use the term loosely, so to speak) large, semi-cooked veggies - carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower - and they were so good I ate the whole bagful (8 lbs) over the course of two days. It was then that my 'nether reagions' rebelled with severe cramps and two sleepless nights.

I guess if I want to go on a vegetarian diet I'd better sneak up on it with a tad less enthusiasm. In the meantime, I think that notorious 'old corn flake' of the early morning infomercials is long gone.


Have Hatchet, will Travel...

I'm feeling mighty mighty today...

In the 90's I moved from Northern California to Arizona to help someone in time of need... I got there just as a new governor was being voted in. Within a couple of years he was indicted for fraud.

I eventually moved back to California, then when I got disillusioned with the Deukmejian-sterilized version of my home state, I moved to Illinois, just in time for a new governor to be elected (in a very close race). A couple of years later, he was indicted for malfeasance of various kinds. A new governor was voted in.

Today that governor was arrested by the Feds and charged with various felonies having to do with using his office/power in a corrupt way. Yesterday he was quoted as saying in a press conference:""I don't believe there's any cloud that hangs over me, I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me."

I guess I'd better dig up my hatchet again... Anyone want to get rid of a governor? My mere presence seems to do the trick. I ask only moving expenses and at least one year's worth of rent/utilities....


TRADER JOE'S - Frustration R Us....

I love Trader Joe's. It's a fun friendly store, and the items they offer are really quality stuff. Some things I just can't find anywhere else, like the 'clear' (as opposed to tomato-drenched) salsa. Likewise 'two buck Chuck' (actually three bucks in our state), a very drinkable wine. Go here for an article about TJ's...

What I *don't* love is the fact that they are continually opening new stores, including new ones in Illinois, and THEY ARE ALL IN UPSTATE ILLINOIS!!!!! Am I shouting? In the words of Sarah Palin, "Ya'betcha!!!"

I once wrote to them, asking if they were going to open a store in central or downstate Illinois. After all, this is a long state, and even our state capital is more down-state than central. What's more, east-central is home to the University of Illinois @ Champaign-Urbana, a favored area of many, many 'most desired' lists. Students and staff come to the U. of I. from all areas, and many - if not most - are familiar with TJ's from their own home areas.

The reply I got was very annoying - they pretty much inferred that they were very selective in choosing what areas TJ's is located. It sounded to me that they were saying all but the greater Chicago area was undesireable. If it were any store but TJ's I'd mumble a few expletives and forget I'd ever heard of them, but TJ's really is special. Here is their own map of how they cluster the 11 or so stores in Illinois. (If you're unfamiliar with Illinois locale, just look at the Great Lakes... Illinois is that kinda 'flaccid' state at the lower left. Use the focus tool in upper left hand side of the map to pull back the mapview - move it closer to the '-' range to see dramatically how close the clusters are.)

If it weren't so bloody hard to organize pretty much anything, I'd help stage a march or something, but if someone could suggest an alternative, I'm listening...


In Other Words...

I love words. I love trying to find just the right word to fit the idea or emotion I'm trying to convey. One word, though, stops me in my tracks every time.

How does one define "thrill"? There are a lot of words that are hard to define, but pretty much everyone knows the concept... love, hate, and my absolute favorite 'defining-itself word, "uptight." But what is thrill? It's a silly word on the face of it, sounding vaguely like a sound, or perhaps one of those 'group of'' terms, akin to 'a pride of lions' or 'an exultation of larks'...

But it's not. It is a positive word, I guess... I haven't heard it used negatively unless it refers obliquely to the results of an action, such as "Dexter gets a thrill out of imposing justice on the deserving," Or "the thrill of the roller-coaster ride caused cardiac arrest"...

It does seem to be a real thing, though... one of those things that is unseen but felt. We can't 'see' pain, but we can feel it. Likewise 'love.' It's a tangible. But 'thrill' seems to wander around one's mind, meaning different things to each of us.

So the next time you're tempted to use it to describe a feeling or reaction, think about what you are really saying, and smile.


Looking for FORMER fabric painting artists...let's make a deal!

I know you're out there... those artists who decided to try fabric painting and bought all those supplies and paints just to decide it wasn't worth your time or money. You put the stuff away, not wanting to throw out all that paint that represented all that money. Worse, was there a little devil in the back of your mind that whispered that tossing it would admit failure? Read on...

I've found that the raised dimensional fabric paints (as opposed to the ones that apply flat to the fabric surface) are a wonderful tool in making my polymer clay beads and jewelry. However, frequent readers of my blog know that I can't afford a pack of gum without major massage of my budget. So for anyone who has multiple bottles of the medium hanging around, let's make a deal... let me know by email what you have (and it must have the kind of nozzle shown--the brand is immaterial); I will swap beads /pendant /whatever. Of course I'll pay postage! I'm a great fan of bartering and this seems to be a great opportunity to do it. Or if you know someone who might be interested, share this URL with them?

As to color...since all I have right now is green and orange, ANY color would be welcome!


Crock-pot Redux...

It seems that the fates felt sorry for me and my crockpot plight... I was getting my monthly groceries at 'that big-box store' and went over to the appliance dept to see how much it was going to cost me to replace the cooker I murdered. I remembered that the last one was over $30 and figured that they'd gone up a bit...or worse, that the model/size was discontinued.

Ah, but there it was... the same size, same model, brushed stainless...and on sale for $25! On my miniscule budget, that means someone(s) else is going to get short-changed unless I sell some items this month, but that pot was so much a part of my way of doing things, I would have to change a large part of my 'routine' to deal with its absence. Since the crockery insert from the old one fits the new one, it means that I can 'bulk cook' two large items the same day instead of having to plan two days...hooray! Have I rationalized this expenditure enough? [snort!]

If it sounds like all I do is cook - there is nothing further from the truth. I don't like it all that much, which is why I usually devote a full day or two to doing mammoth batches of whatever, then splitting them into servings and bagging them for freezing. Economical and good for portion control, which I desperately need... [grin!]

REDUX UPDATE: Murphy's law... I crowed too much... the new pot is, I guess you could say, 'a quart short.' It's otherwise identical, and the size of the box fooled me...the space was taken up with that fun foam stuff. That means I can't use both crockery inserts in the new one, but I can still use the old, larger one to store the cooked stuff from the new one in the fridge and carry on cooking. Usually I have size info with me when I go to shop for something, but this was a grocery trip. Dang. Oh, well!


Please Please Please....

I went to my usual Monday geezer bingo/lunch this morning, and just as lunch was starting, one of the more irritating regulars came in sniffling and coughing and snorting and sneezing. It's ironic that this particular person NEVER donates to the meal ($3 suggested donation, but they can't turn anyone away who doesn't pay because they get federal funds), yet she is just ever so happy to share her damn germs.

Please, folks - one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is a free one...avoid going out when you have a cold or the flu. While your presence would be missed, it wouldn't be nearly as appreciated as your thoughtfulness in NOT giving everyone your cold or flu bug. Trust me on this!


TV Shows - some are just too good to miss!

While I'm kadoodling with some beadmaking and other creative endeavors, my little TV or laptop is ever at the ready.

Currently I'm catching up on a series I missed the first season-and-a-half, on Hulu. It's Burn Notice, and I guess you could call it the poor man's OO7. While trying to learn who 'burned him,' former spy Michael takes on what you might call 'odd jobs' earning the money that used to come a lot easier as a 'special ops' guy for 'the government.' A lot of fun, a lot of explosions, but not a lot of bloodshed, and what there is isn't nearly as messy as CSI's.

Another 'never miss' is Dexter. I'm just amazed at Michael C. Hall's talent. I just wish I could find a site that has back seasons of '6 Feet Under.'

I have plans to catch up on the seasons of another show I missed first time around - 'Rescue Me,' because I really like Denis Leary. Finally, when I'm thru with that, I'll peek in on a few others I've ignored because they cost big bucks to subscribe, like HBO and Showtime. Bless these streaming rerun sites!!


Bits, Pieces, and the demise of a well-loved Crockpot

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, which means a lot of time in front of the small TV I also have on my desk. As a child-of-the-####ies (oops, a little line noise there), I learned to aurally multitask, listening to music or radio dramas while I did other things, most notably my homework. (hmmm...that might be why I got thru 12 grades by the skin of my teeth...) At any rate, I never did get out of the habit--to this day I can't just sit and watch TV. I must have something going on with my hands, be it needlework, beadwork, or even a book. (That takes REAL multitasking...) This is really my explanation of the 'bits and pieces' entries...I'm doing something else and something has piqued my interest on TV (or the Roe Conn radio show...you should stream that sometime!).

So...watching the Early Show's presentation of great (if not inexpensive) gifts for kids...I fell in love with Bisquit. As a cat person, I can be pretty smug about not walking the dog, especially during a snowstorm, but this pup I could really warm up to. I can't seem to get the embedding to work here, but here's the URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKSgU2cLUvg

I might add to this today, but for now....the dearly departed crockpot saga...
This isn't exactly the LOOK of my pot - it was white with flowers on it - but the style is the same. I loved to make stews and big chunky soups in it, as well as my 'end of the month' shove-in-the-Uncle-Ben's budget stretchers. It had its faults, one of which was divesting itself of the lid handle, and it became a real challenge to find something with which to lift the lid. But I loved it, knew its temps, and pretty much timed everything just right with the symbiosis of a real partnership.

Then came the unit inspection. I was doing a major tidying of my counter, shelves, etc., and the crockery insert was in the sink holding silverware and coffee-cups bathing in sudsy water. I had put a shopping bag over the pot because the inside had become pretty disreputable-looking over the years and I figured lifting lids and such was beyond the purview of even the inspection militia. Well... apparently in all the shuffling around, the little thingie (technical term) was jostled from 'off' to 'low,' so for the better part of the day the pot was working on the green recycled synthetic shopping bag. At some point the bag sagged down to the bottom of the pot, which was still without its crockery insert (it would have modified the damage greatly) and melted pretty much permanently onto the insides of the cooker. It does not peel off, and putting ice on the green stuff doesn't allow it to chip off, either. Leaving it there is not an option; it sets off my hard-wired smoke alarm, although there is no smoke to be seen...it's all invisible and apparently insidious.

So, it's 'goodbye, old friend.' I can't afford to replace it on my incredibly tight budget, although using the gas oven is going to be more expensive in the long run. I guess I'll have to chalk it up to another lesson well-learned...


Bits n' Pieces

Sometimes when 'dropping' I run across a blog entry that just has to be shared. This is one of those times, and I really hope you stop and read this one:
If it didn't at least almost bring a tear to your eye, you need new eyes...

More later, but just had to share that.

The WE channel has just given me a very nice Thanksgiving present... they're showing "Benny and Joon." This is such a rich, touching film, almost my favorite. "Friendly Persuasion" has that spot, but B&J is IMO Johnny Depp's best movie.


Good/Bad News and a Thanksgiving wish...

I passed our housing unit inspection despite dumping a whole shoebox full of beads and supplies on the floor just as the housing nazi arrived to inspect. I must make the catbox alcove a little more accessible to fresh air, but other than that I'm ok for another 6 months...just enough time to get it all cluttered again.

Bad news (and I had a feeling this would happen) is that I think the UTI/kidney prob is back, just in time for the T'giving holiday medical office closures. The doc substituting for my regular MD gave me 5 days of antibiotic, although I think 10 is more the norm. At any rate, those 'fork in the ribs' sharp pains in the right side are back. By the time the office opens, I'll be more than ready to pop in and say 'hi again!'...

And my best wishes and prayers for my friend Jael, who is going thru more stresses this season than any one person (or even family) should go thru. She truly deserves to say 'what next???' every five minutes as long as it takes to subside!


In my Opinion....

Every so often I become inspired to be grumpy, crotchety, catty... I think it occurs in all of us, but not all of us express it. This is one of those days for me.


Just saw both Liza Minelli and Tom Jones within an hour, live, on morning TV. First, I have to say I'm not a dedicated career follower of either. Tom Jones is pushing 70 and Minelli is just over 60. I don't think it's just a gender/sexual thing when I say Jones looks 10 years younger and sounds light years better today than Liza has for the past 20 years. Maybe it's just good ol' hardy Welsh genes, but whatever it is, he's pleasing to listen to, and Minelli's voice sends me diving under the table. (Checking out some of her fairly recent reviews, I feel like the little kid in the story "The Emperor's New Clothes.")

From the "You just can't win" department: I'm hearing now that grumbling has surfaced about Obama not attending church since the election, and about his registering his kids for private school in Washington rather than public school. Jeez, guys... doesn't the phrase 'sitting duck' come to mind? I'd prefer he stay in his house and lay low until inauguration day, thanks.

"Boston Legal" is my guilty pleasure, and I could forgo the first 50 minutes of any episode just to savor the balcony scene. But last night's Thanksgiving show (the last one of the series) was such a true-to-life joy. Not a gripe, just sayin'....

LOL!!!! Elizabeth Hasselhoff just called Larry King 'opinionated' ... that's classic...

Holiday birthdays: We should figure out how to have a group hug. No one singing happy birthday to us in school, and if our birthday falls on a BIG holiday, we're pretty much largely ignored/forgotten. My birthday, January 1st, is annoying because both Christmas and NYD's gifts were great excuses to say "remember, that OTHER gift day had to be counted in..." I know, I know... grateful and all that...but kids just don't think that way. I'm not sure which would be worse--having a Christmas birthday with all the hoop-la spread around among all the guests and all, or New Year's Day, where pretty much everyone is either hung over or anxiously waiting to see if their favorite 'bowl game bet will be successful or not. Feh. If I had to choose one, July 4 seems nice. All those fireworks you can pretend are just for you...

To bring this diatribelette to a positive end, I'd like to mention a TV 'star' of sorts who should probably have a series of his own, or at least be a major part of one -- that's the guy who does the Jimmy Dean sausage commercial, Haynes Brooke. The only non-commercial acting I've seen him in was an episode of Medium, where he played her husband's alter ego; I think he should be grabbed up by some casting director for a chance at a series of his own.


How to Identify a REALLY bored kitty...

Today was very 'kitty-oriented' -- usually I can stretch out things until the end of the month, but ran out of money and cat-food simultaneously. So... went to geezer bingo as usual (I keep a little stash of nickels and dimes in a special geezer purse) and won enough for a box of food for the girls. (At 5c a card, 6 cards per game, the chances are good, but not perfect...)

I'd like to think they'd appreciate it, but I suspect they couldn't care less that I dedicated my day to them.


Catch the Fleeing Dollar...

If you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as Bankruptcy Planning. Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant , Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stores
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard's to close some stores
Mervyns closing all stores



As a former Californian, Henry Waxman has long been a hero of mine. He is a stunningly brilliant choice for chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Bravo!

Be afraid, Halliburton... be very afraid...


Magic in Monochrome

This blog was started, originally, to share my artwork in bead and jewelry designing, but has taken on a life of its own... mine!

Today, since my phone bill is looming, I'm going back to its roots and showing a favorite design of mine, and offering it up for sale.

There are two great things about this particular necklace -- first, it goes with absolutely EVERYTHING. It would even look great with that little basic black cocktail dress, with the three high-quality CZs that follow the line of the piece. Second, you would be wearing a bit of way-back history... way back as in millions of years. The focal point of it is a fossilized seashell, tumbled and tossed by ancient seas and waiting eons just to grace your neck in a wonderfully fashionable way.

Hyperbole? Maybe. But it is all true. Go on, take a closer look over on Etsy. If you want to snatch it up, and mention that you saw it here first, I'll even take 10% off.


Breathing easier...

...in several ways. Trying to put my inspection reprieve to good use, and the corn pollen seems to have settled down a bit. My regular pharmacist (in nearby Paxton) saved the day by doing what the Walgreen's guy couldn't...pushed my breathing med thru medicare. I have to give kudos to this particular pharmacy...Hudson's...they really rise to the occasion when needed, without blinking an eye. As an example, I had a nasty staph infection on my leg that needed immediate antibiotic. The Rx was called into a local pharmacy which promised delivery the next day (they deliver 2 days per week). The next day was very snowy, and they decided not to do deliveries. I called them to ask if they would catch up on the undelivered scripts the next day...seemed logical.

No, they would wait until the next scheduled time, three days later. I called Hudson's, which delivered it that same day. (no charge, incidentally) I subsequently pulled all my business from the local pharmacy and have been with Hudson's ever since. The one time I wavered was this last time with the breathing med, because it was early evening and I thought it would be expendient. [snort!!] I'm just grateful there are places like Hudson's still around.

I have taken this weekend 'off,' essentially - forced myself not to feel guilty about not doing much, and it was very restful.

Now... tomorrow will be another day - my first time back to the lunch I attend twice a week when they play 5c a card bingo. Last time I was there, one of my tablemates was going to move to Canada if Obama won the election. Maybe it's been enough time for the ol' coot to simmer down... if not, I have a feeling my mouth is going to get me in trouble...again....


Retreat and Regroup

On the heels of the fubar inspection, I'm taking a blogging-vacation. Just a day. But I found the ideal 'spacesaver' for those who want to read a like-minded columnist writing on a subject at least 'near' to me, if not 'dear' ...


I can feel it, even if I can't seem to do it...


The inspection saga continues....

As loyal readers may remember, I've been suffering (big-time!) with a UTI with possible kidney complications. For some reason it's not painful (most are) but it's energy-sapping.

On the heels of this charming illness comes the biannual unit inspection of the community in which I live. Since I'm a clutterer and semi-hoarder (just things I'm sure I'm going to use someday...) the only thing to do was to bite the bullet and get to 'tidying'... What with rest periods, some procrastination, and the occasional glance or two at the TV, my only recourse as I counted down in hours to today's inspection was to pull an all-nighter.

That's right... awake from 5am Tuesday until this morning at around 9:30am. The place wasn't perfect, and Roger Hazard of "Sell this House!" would almost certainly spend most of his time in it frowning, but sometimes reality just has to be accepted.

Exhausted, I emailed the office and mentioned my illness, and requested that they check out my place first, "so I could go back to bed." (They are infamous for never changing their schedules for anything ... as in, "you're dying? Just don't block our way..." It's why I didn't try to postpone it--it's like poking a caged tiger)

So what happens? While I'm "indisposed" I get a call that goes to voicemail. Because I'm sick, they are rescheduling me for the last tour of inspections on the 26th.

This, for me, is the very definition of mixed emotions... as I neared my 30th hour with no sleep, irrationally proud that I could actually do it, contemplating the total futility of it... it was pretty much more than I could handle. So I went to bed to dedicate at least 5 or so hours to olympic-quality snoring.

Hour 2: Charley-Horse!!! Worse, they're bilateral in the thighs, and the kind that make you suspect, thru your agony, that you just may levitate out of bed. The kind where you're fine standing up but no possible position lying down will block its relentlessness. So......... it will be at least 50 hours (minus the 2 I snuck in) of unrelenting 'awakeness.' I'll watch my favorite shows, then I'll try sleep one more time.

Less of a challenge than keeping the place tidy until the 26th....


Still coughing, sneezing, swearing, and tidying up for tomorrow's inspection... Anyone want to come help?? ;o)


Quick n' Dirty Contest

I'll give 25 ec credits to the first five people who can identify this flower. Yes, *I* know what it is, but I'll bet not too many other people do... Amazingly gorgeous thing of beauty, and a great example of form AND function...

Please reply to kellythek at gmail dot com rather than the 'comment' option below. I don't want to reveal the answer prematurely, but don't want to keep the winners waiting, either. I have 2 winners I can't contact because they didn't
do so.

The Inspection Nazis

Note: The photo in this post is NOT of my place -- but it sure is close.

Once more the managers of the community where I live have scheduled an inspection of everyone's home. This is for construction/obstruction/repair problems within each unit, and I understand that, I really do. But I was raised by parents who closed themselves in their home, and while the curtains weren't always drawn, the blinds were always set so no one could look in. Privacy was as vital to them as air and water.

Now the inspection affects me strongly along privacy issues. I hate having people wander thru my house; it's a feeling I'm being judged (and probably being found wanting). Since I'm a clutterer/procrastinator, it always means I have to stop what I'm doing and tidy up. Ah, that it would only be a dusting/vacuuming kind of 'tidy' -- no, it's the yard bag and shovel kind, due to the disability I have in my arms and fingers. Things drop, and usually when I'm busy trying to do something that might sell and thereby is more important to my personal survival, like paying the rent and keeping the utilities on. Lets see... I drop things maybe 30 times a day, multiplied by 6 months. Ick.

Wednesday is the inspection day. I really do have time. So what the hell am I doing blogging??? Yep, procrastinating.


What's it to Ya?

Warning - this may be considered a contentious post, so if you don't want to possibly be annoyed do go watch The View, or Oprah or whatever. It will be fairly short.

Among the propositions on which Californians were offered their say, Proposition 8 (gay marriage) was the most repugnant, IMO, and one of the reasons I left California 10 years ago. What was once a truly Golden State became tarnished with the advent of George Deukmejian (1983), and the loss of the gay marriage affirmation (3 days ago). Can California have come only THIS far in 25 years?

To those who voted for the Prop (outlawing same-sex marriage) I ask you -- "What's it to you?" I have no dog in this hunt, being neither gay nor (still) married, but I wouldn't begin to think of taking away something as precious and important as marriage from a large segment of our population.

Gay marriage (I hate that phrase!) doesn't jeopardize traditional wedlock. If you're offended, go somewhere else, look elsewhere, or think of blue skies and puppies. Your marriage is safe. Since most of the scientific evidence indicates that 'gayness' is genetic rather than whimsical, it's unlikely that any of your family will be 'recruited.' The majority of this important minority is simply looking for peace, and love, and recognition of themselves as part of the Family of Man (no pun intended). Who are you to thwart this search? Do you think that by voting for that odious Proposition, the 'offending behavior' will cease? Of course not. When we start legislating, in 2008, from each others' bedrooms, we truly will have begun a really nasty downward spiral.



Now back to regular programming...

The euphoria of the election has made me less mindful of my responsibility to myself and to my art. (Also distracted by the racket caused by my mother and father turning over in their urns.. I'm so glad to have escaped the bigotry so endemic to the first half of the 20th century.)

Went to the MD yesterday for the allergy and the 'other problem' I was experiencing. Seems I have a major UTI, with possible bladder/kidney involvement. Since I'm on Medicare/M'aid, I only had to pay a couple of bucks for the antibiotic, but the cough medicine (the only one that works for me) for my dry cough is Tussionex at $48, with no generic. AND, if you are drawn to those Advair ads to help you with your breathing, know upfront that the stuff costs $400 per cassette as quoted by my Walgreen pharmacist. That's 66% of the money I have to live on ALL MONTH. I can only hope that the big-gun antibiotic works quickly so my immune system can get to work fighting off the pollen and dust that corn disking throws in the air and into my lungs. I know there are 'compassionate use' programs, but the paperwork takes weeks to process... I'll either be cured or dead by that time...

Anyway... what does this have to do with 'art'? Simply this: I'm going to actually start posting some of my work available for sale, here as on Etsy. Most will be $20 each, with 10% off if you mention this blog. I just HATE promoting myself (mentioned in the 7 things in my 'tagged' list), so bear with me. If you see anything you like, either on the scroll or listed in-post, email me and let's make a deal. If something you see is 'gone' I'll custom-make one just for you.

{{coughcough}} Eeek... time for my every-30-minutes dash to the 'other room'. I'm going to have to dig out my CD of Willie's "On the Road Again...."


This Day in History...

Voted today around 11am - I knew if I waited much longer I'd rationalize my vote away. I'm totally miserable with hay fever and hopefully temporary ... um... well - ya know that commercial with the little copper pipe characters?? Like that. It's really frustrating with hay fever, especially the kind I have, which is probably brought on by the disking of corn stalks. I braved the possible embarrassment and went to vote, anyway, because at the very least I wanted to nullify a vote by the loyal opposition. Made it there and back safe, sound and otherwise dignified, but this really has to stop, literally.

On the way home I thought about all the other presidential races I've voted in. Pretty much all of them had either a winner with an agenda, or were won by well-meaning but ineffective candidates. THIS time, I really think both candidates have the best interests of the country at heart, and the means to be effective. So my choice really just came down to the people directly surrounding each one, and the ability to admit a bad choice and change course.

Watched "The View" today and found myself screaming at EH. She's become a one-trick pony in her 'don't interrupt me while I'm interrupting you' defense of McCain. I hope she wasn't planning on becoming Official Hostess to a McCain administration...


...some of my favorite things...

What with all the grumbling I (and others!) have been doing, I think it's time for listing some of my favorite things:

Let's see...

Favorite TV shows: CBS Sunday Morning, Dexter, Survivor, As Time Goes By (British)
(I also like the Roe Conn radio show weekday afternoons, on WLS Chicago)

Favorite movie: Hard to find, but a joyous little gem: "Good Luck"
(Vincent D'Onofrio as you've NEVER seen him before!)

Favorite Actor: Vincent D'Onofrio and Michael C. Hall

Favorite Actress: (Dame) Judi Dench

Favorite food: sushi ... I'd eat it every day if I could afford to.

I'll add to it as I remember things to list.



I usually agree with folks' pet peeves, but there's one that I seldom (ever?) see listed. That is the habit of some people to try to enter an elevator car before riders who are disembarking have a chance to get out.

What's the hurry, that they risk actual injury to others? Perhaps they think the fella who has to step backward against their frontal assault doesn't have someone behind him who is less steady on their feet? Or maybe boarding ten seconds later, after allowing other riders to leave, will somehow corrupt their own journey up or down? They should look on it as an IQ test, and they've failed...

And... I'm not a huge fan of Andy Rooney - he seems a bit around the bend sometimes. But one thing I agree with him about... when asked what he'd say to the youth of America he said, "Turn your cap around and pull your pants up---you look like an idiot."


Lovin' this...

Working on my stuff to bring to the monthly beader's lunch, but had to share this T-shirt comment:

I have multiple personalities and none of them likes you!

Dunno...it just tickles my contrarian center...



Dang...don't do that! I'm not too good at the great reveal. Probably comes from having an extraordinarily snoopy mother, but I'll do the best I can.

First, these are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

And now... seven facts about me in no particular order, thanks to Jael of http://jaelsjewels.blogspot.com/ :

1: I'm no good at promoting myself - my friends say 'get your work out there!' but for me it's like putting a child up for adoption - what if I do so and nobody wants it? (no offense meant to the adoption movement, of course...)

2. I'm a Michael C. Hall fan... missed his earlier work, but watching "Dexter" is another one of my guilty pleasures. Thank goodness for replay websites!

3. I'm an old folksong junkie - in both senses of the word 'old' ... Kingston Trio, Clancy Brothers &TM, and popfolk geniuses like Jim Stafford and the late Roger Miller.

4. I'm a 'mirror-writer' -- that is, I can take pen and paper and starting on the right, write to the left so that it can only be 'read correctly' when reflected in a mirror. Good penmanship, too. It's not a skill acquired thru practice - I've just always been able to, from the first attempt. Apparently my left/right brain hemispheres are scrambled like an omelet...!

5. I'm a clutterer. Not so much a hoarder, but if something falls from my hands (and it does quite frequently after 4 arm/wrist surgeries) I don't want to lose focus on what I'm doing. As a comedian once described himself, "I'm anal...I have a lot of little piles here and there..."

6. I'm pretty good at prognosticating (and also procrastinating...that's another story), but some of my 'misses' have been WAY off the mark, such as when Gracie Allen died, I said "George Burns won't last the year without her.'' I was off about 30 or so years, but who's counting...
and worse, "CDs? Who's going to be willing to buy an expensive player and have to rebuy every record in their collection?" In my own defense, I saw the outcome of the Beta/VHS coming way early...

7. My favorite color is periwinkle.

Ok, Jael, happy now???

Now, with apologies beforehand to my victims, here is my tag-list:



End of the Month...or... Creativity isn't just for Artists

Here we are just a few days until November. In some ways it's my favorite time of the month (so to speak). The first weeks are easy, when I've gotten my hard-earned benefits such as Soc. Security and foodstamps for the month. (Hard-earned, you ask? Damn right! I worked for 40 years--I paid it forward out of a lot of paychecks!) Anyway, shortly after the first of each month I make my assault on Mejier's and/or Wal-Mart, getting my really inexpensive instant coffee and one of my guilty pleasures, flavored creamer. I've run the sale sheet for Mejiers with a lot of BOGOs (Buy One, Get One free) so it's pretty much in and out after swinging by the great veggie section for the big bags of lettuce and the little carton of salsa that goes on my scrambled eggs the next morning. Then I go to the W-M nearer my home, and go right over to the meat department where I find the least fatty of the huge beef briskets. That raises eyebrows as I use my food card...I guess it's assumed I'm going to toss it on the barbie and throw a party.

Actually, I take it home and whittle on it. If you're not familiar with this particular cut of beef, it looks like a flattened acorn. I take the big top part and into the slow-cooker it goes. The middle part gets partitioned and goes into the freezer. The last part gets sliced thickly on the diagonal and I pan-broil the slices now and again when I'm in the mood to pretend it's steak. Quite a lot of mileage out of a $30 piece of meat... at least 10 or so meals. I'll have big bags of chicken thighs, too, and a couple of pounds of turkey-burger.

No matter how I try, though, those last few days are an adventure. Out comes the big crockpot and the Uncle Ben's rice, and the big cans of chicken broth I never touch earlier in the month. Anything at hand goes into the pot with the broth, and when it's bubbling, in goes the rice and a few tablespoons of Clover Valley Soul seasoning and however many eggs I have left, up to 5. This lasts for at least 3 days, for each meal. I'm not whining... it's really very good! But what it REALLY does is make me genuinely appreciative of the comparative bounty of the earlier weeks.

This Saturday is going to be a particularly neat day for me - I not only get my monthly allotment of food credit ($132 for the month), but it's the day my beading buddies and I go to a great restaurant called "Crazy Buffet" and for $7.98 enjoy a terrific lunch/sushi bar, and spend about 2 1/2 hours admiring and bartering for each other's hand-crafted beads. Out of the 7 of us, only 2 are sushi freaks, and we enjoy enough for the whole group. Excellent quality, and given the amount of sushi and sashimi we gobble up, it'd be worth around $50 in any regular non-buffet restaurant. If fish is heart-healthy, I hope it still counts to eat it all in one sitting once a month..!

I'll be busy for the next two days making beads and pendants to, hopefully, sell during lunch, so I may not blog until afterwards -- I'll scan them first and post them here. Any of my beads and pendants, etc, are available for sale, BTW... just email me.


I'm a kitten person...

Don't get me wrong... I adore my two cats, T'elma and Dharma (personality-wise, between the two of them they make one great cat). But I'm a sucker for kittens. I don't go to cat shows because kittens might be there. I can withstand the temptation to gather cats up en masse, but get me near a kitten and I'm a blob of jelly in seconds. I guess it's understandable, since I'm one of those people who love babies, but try to avoid being around kids from 2 on up for more than a half-hour or so.

It was frustrating when my two kids were little, finding so many 'adults only' rules on apartments I wanted to rent, even though I fully understood the reason. (All you need is a hot-wheels tricycle going back and forth under your bedroom window early on a Saturday morning to understand...) I wonder, would an 'adults only' restaurant be legal? Friends laugh at me knowingly when we're sitting in a restaurant and that first shriek fills the air (and probably goes down the block, too...). I get out so infrequently (usually once a month to a beader's meeting) that it makes me want to run shrieking myself. Once is ok...parents can't anticipate the first one... but to let it continue should be worth a ticket and fine at the very minimum! ;o) Or maybe a citizen's arrest for disturbing the peace?

But back to kittens... I once heard someone (not a kitten 'owner') call them 'guileless.' Yeah, right. Kittens are not born with much in the way of social skills, but most come with a full complement of guile, which we immediately play into. Two genes click on the moment their eyes focus... the mischief one and the 'ain't I cute' one. Then I'm lost...one more victim of kitten hypnosis.


"The Positives of Poverty" ...or... "It ain't Easy being Poor"

No, I'm not going to whine. That's a totally useless, time-wasting, and energy-depleting activity. It also wrenches the soul.

Instead, I want to point out the positives. I'll try to avoid the word 'joy,' although there are a few; I prefer to think of them as challenges well met.

I don't recommend that any single woman of modest means stay in California. Once a bastion of creativity and individuality, it has morphed (beginning with Gov. Deukmejian) into an 'I get mine first, then yours, too' mentality. When I left, I left behind a rented 'home' the size of an inexpensive travel trailer with a bathroom smaller than some shower stalls I've seen... with a rent of $600.

Eventually I fled to Illinois - ten years ago - and have never been happier. I had to do it after I became eligible for SSI and with a small settlement from a work injury (resulting in 4 surgeries). The difference in rent was a real wake-up!

I also found very helpful store clerks...folks in the heartland seem to like to be helpful. I believe that's what has fostered the spirit of volunteerism that seems to be rampant here. When you're not able to work anymore, it's nice to be able to do for others as one can without resenting the time it takes away from earning a living.

Now I live on what it used to cost me in rent...just a tiny tad over $600. After working like the proverbial dog ... probably a sled dog ... for decades, I avail myself of things I paid into -- Social Security, food-stamps, heating/cooling programs. I do volunteer work for my community (generationsofhope.org), wracking my brain monthly to make things of interest to kids from 7-18. (Not easy!) Other times, you'll find me making beads and designing jewelry to supplement my 'income.' (There should be a better word for it, considering that it incomes and outgoes usually on the same day...how about 'ingo'?) You'll find some on the side of this blog soon.

You'll also find a 'donate' button. This will be to help defray the cost of supplies that I use to make items for the kids of GoH, as well as to replace the findings that suck so much out of my decades-of-hoarding collection of end-caps and tiny accent beads when I make them.

As to the 'positives' I promised in the title of this entry...they'll be along quite often. I intend to make hints and discoveries part of many blogs. Here's an example - why buy conditioner if your hair is in good shape except for vexing static electricity? Just pass a fabric softener sheet lightly over your hair and your hairbrush... static gone, and one sheet will last a very long time. Considering you can get a box of them at a dollar store for very little more than that, it's a great savings over a year. I'm not going to turn into a low-rent Heloise, but every little bit helps.


Just What I Thought... Pt. 1

Listening to one of my neighbors talk about her 50th high school reunion just confirmed what I've always thought... reunions have diminishing returns as time goes by.

I attended my 20th reunion. (I didn't want to go to my 10th H.S. reunion because...well, I didn't think it was enough time for people to mellow, for the jocks to settle down and the nerds and other 'second class students' to blossom.) Joy abounded -- the jocks were, for the most part, beginning to cultivate beer bellies, and the popular (pretty, of course) girls going quietly (or not) into matronly early middle-age. Everyone was looking furtively at everyone else, and you could almost hear the wheels turning: "...at least I'm not the only one..." or, worse, "...at least I don't look that bad..."

I haven't been interested in attending any other reunions. It could only go downhill from that one, plus I'm not sure I want to know why some folks weren't there. Curious, for sure, in the way we see an accident and think, thru our sympathy, '...sure glad it's not me...' So, SRHS, enjoy your trips down memory lane, and a hearty wave to you all, but it's BTDT for me, sans T-shirt.


Dewdrops falling in your mailbox...

It occured to me that the best way to help folks understand how neat Dewdrops are (see post below) would be to share some. So... if you'd like to have a little sample, please send me an email (use the comments link--I won't publish inquiries), and I'll send you information by email on how you can see them for yourself and use them in whatever project you want. Cost-free aside from a couple of stamps for return mail SASE, they'll speak for themselves! And an Entrecard 'drop' would be nice, too, for which I'll reciprocate if you're even *close* to appropriate for Art, Hobbies or Fashion.

I keep forgetting to invite you over to my Flickr album, which is also forgotten by me when I finish and photo my pieces. That's got to stop, Kelly! Show your stuff! Since it's all for sale, I might as well show it to folks who might be interested, huh...


I wanna be Smart...

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I'm in love with a car. I haven't been this taken with an automobile since the REAL Volkswagen bug went out of production. I did have a brief fling...well, not so brief - 9 years - with my Suzuki Samurai (and it never flipped over once!) but the SmartCar is my longed-for set of wheels.

Not that I will ever have one - my days of actually acquiring what I'd like to drive are over, I think. And if they're REALLY smart, somewhere down the line they'll make it a hybrid - that would be astounding mileage!

In the meantime, if anyone would like to buy me one, I'm not proud. Well, I am, but I'm certainly not stupid...!


When I first started 'playing with glass' I discovered that just as many artists were interested in the little dichroic half-rounds that I was making as they were in the more 'artistic' items I created. Well, that's ok! These dewdrops are now what helps put food on the table and keeps the gas/lights on. They're devilishly labor-intensive, too, so most of the folks who buy them ultimately appreciate the little jewels they've acquired. (For information, email me: kellythek@gmail.com)

While I'm mentioning artsy things, let me again mention my friend Jael Thorp, who does phenomenally amazing things with my little Dewdrops -

Here is her Flickr album - worth perusing just for the 'wow' factor!

Jael's quite a gal - She donates a lot of her work to causes such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, as well as a good portion of her profits to the discretionary fund at her minister husband's church in Rantoul (IL). And she does a whole lot of kindnesses just out of the overwhelming goodness of her heart.
Hugs to Jael!


Taking time out...

...from actually making some beads to mention an on-line petition I've signed. I don't usually do that, but this is a very deserving one... Google "Pete Seeger" and read up on him, then go to this
site and, if you feel moved to, be counted.


I'm asked if I have an Etsy site. Yes and no. It's kinda on hold right now because I'm in transition from a desktop to laptop computer. Sound simple -- it's not. My camera has a SmartMedia card and adapter for a floppy drive. My laptop has no floppy drive. I'm sure there are ways of getting around this having to do with items of varying cost. Alas...unless my budget improves, that's not going to happen. I suppose I could rehook-up my desktop and do a camera-smartcard-adapter-desktop-borrowed.memorystick-laptop transfer... hang in there with me while my Prozac kicks in....


getting in gear...

I always have such good intentions. Today my intention is to clean the house top to bottom, brush both my cats until they gleam, update this blog, and make enough beads to cover my utility bill.

OK, so far I've updated the blog. It's a start. And in the classic tendency of the ADD-addled procrastinator, my next priority is to go into the workroom and make beads. I will feel guilty every moment because I'm not doing the first two on the list, but I've just got to stop that! Besides, I have what may be a brilliant idea for a series of beads, and I'm going to try to get it from my brain/imagination, down my arm to my fingers. That would be a change....


Introducing my work seems easiest by show-and-tell. This bead is what I consider one of my best...somewhat of a 'Wedgwood' style of bas relief. It sold well, and has appeared in Lapidary Journal and various other publications for which reprinting LJ paid me nothing (grrr!).

I tend to wander around my imagination, creating things mostly in my head, seldom doing as well in reality. That can really be a downer, since what may be perfectly fine suffers from grandiose expectations.

This is my personal favorite -- the irises worked well, and the hummingbird was just serindipitous...it sorta suddenly appeared, and needed just a nip and a tuck to make it everything it wanted to be.


One more time...

I've started to start this blog way too many times... let's see if I can at least get it up and running.

I'm KellyK, and I'm the creator of the 'Dewdrops' mentioned often by Jael of Jael's Art Jewels. She's absolutely amazing, and I'm delighted to call her my friend.

I live in Illinois, transplanted happily from California, and a master of procrasination...which is why I probably won't blog every day. I'll try to upload a picture or two every so often just to let folks know what I'm up to - everything I make is for sale, so if you see something you like, don't hesitate to ask! Since I live solely on Social Security, PLEASE don't hesitate to ask!