Thursday, November 30, 2006

STILL Not Smoking...

It's been 106 days since I quit smoking. Even with the abundant stress I've encountered dealing with my car issues and the nervousness I've had around the election I've not walked back to the ashtray. I am so grateful for this, I never want to smoke ever again. Thank you Rachael, I wouldn't have been able to do this without your birthday gift to me. :)

Friday, November 17, 2006

It Failed Again...

But I think the error may be in the calibration of the testing machine where I tested it. It failed with completely different high numbers, and where it failed before it passed with flying colors. The operator says he's never seen anything like it, and that the things we did should not have changed these numbers this drastically. It may be worth another test at another facility to just to see. Cha-ching to the tune of $30.00 a pop. Didn't cry on the way home I'm irked...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"All The Way"

I wasn't looking to shift my direction
My eyes straight ahead hands ten and two
The gravity of our first connection
Veering off the road and into you
All the people drive by slowly gawking at the scene
Of the smoldering inevitable spark and gasoline
All the way I met you head on full speed
At the heart the blue flames burns
All the way I took the crash course impact
But have I learned all that I'm supposed to learn
No amount of playing safe could save me from this day
The head seeking path of my trajectory
Didn't we cooly divest of predestination
Slamming into futures we can't see
I know what can happen when there's more than meets the eye
But there's no way to avoid it just get in the car and drive
All the way I met you head on full speed
At the heart the blue flame burns
All the way the crash course impact
But have I learned all that I'm supposed to learn
It makes me laugh talking over tea
When I can still smell the smoke on my sleeve
Steaming like gunsmoke the wreckage of our past
The scene of a crime I still can't leave
Oh you and me, we should let well enough be
But each revisitation points to clues
There's the oilslick of uncertainty
And warning signs back there we didn't use
At least we laugh about it now how we escaped alive
It's remarkable the mess we make and what we can survive
-Emily Saliers-Indigo Girls-"Despite Our Differences"

Dear Aunt Laura 11-13-06

I am so sorry for not writing you for a while, so I am sending two presents I made myself. I am writing you two pages this time, because Mom said you were sad and probably crying because I forgot to write. The fuzzy present is for your birthday and the other pot holder is just from the heart. I hope you had a great birthday and you get me something great for my birthday. I'm really looking forward to my birthday and Christmas if you come. I really want to see you. Did you know I was the Phantom of the Opera for Halloween? Anyway, you want to know why I'm not writing you, it was because I didn't have lined paper and so I just watched too much TV. I also lost your envelop, can you send me one more? I have more time to write now unless I get lazy. Princess just licked me in the face and walked on this letter. I guess she misses you too. I've wrote two pages totally now. I miss you a lot and look in the mailbox every day for a letter from you. I hope I see you at Christmas. I love you with all my heart you know. Write back soon.
Crystal B.(aged 9)

A late birthday present that arrived today, but pretty near perfect if you ask me. :)

Dr. Pepper Day Trip

Peeking from behind the tree...

There she is!

So today I had to run through an entire tank of gasoline to disperse the "presto magic" gasoline additive through my Van engine in preparation for re inspection tomorrow. One entire tank of gas gets me to Dublin, Texas and back home. As you may remember earlier I talked about the special Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Plant, and so today I drove five hours to go to the gift shop and bring back a case. This also happens to be the home of one of my very favorite billboards, "Pee-A-Boo Pepper Princess." All day long she swings back and forth in her little Texas Star boots, and I thought I'd share her here. Can't share the bottled Dr. Pepper though, Genie and I will be taking care of that ourselves. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Many EYES Work Better than Two

While I was taking pictures of the new alter items, I thought as a lark I would admit my current obsession and ask folks to keep an eye out for these in their travels. When I was a child, these little "Pixie Shoe" key chains were given as salesman premiums and as Sunday school gifts. The story is, I had forgotten all about them until I was at an auction in Illinois last year and found a green one in an old box of junk. Another of those things I remember clearly coveting as a child, I thought they were REAL pixie shoes at the time. I bid on that Illinois box, with no bids against me and that green shoe started my quest. This year I have searched daily on Ebay, and for all my persistence I have only found one shoe, this lavender one with a bible inscription on the bottom. Sometimes they have rain bonnets inside, the two I have found have not. No one on earth is collecting them it seems, so they are generally inexpensive. If any of you find one you know where to send it now. :)

Artist Alter of Intention Update

Realized yesterday I have added two items to my alter since the big clean up on August, and wanted to update those who might be interested. The fabulous Ocarina painted like a skull was my "Day of the Dead" Celebration acknowledgement this year. Handmade in Mexico, it hangs on a neck cord and hopefully keeps death entranced and away from me.
I also found a teeny-tiny Oriental "Lucky" cat on my birthday. He stands less than 1/2" tall, and I figured since I was turning 50 I could use all the luck I could get!

Less Mechanical Angst Today.

So I spent almost all day working on my car to try to get it to pass the Texas emissions test. Enter car GOD Charlie to check everything out. It required a complicated series of new spark plugs (the old ones looked like they didn't get replaced in the massive overhaul last year) new spark plug wires, new air filter and some presto magic gas additive that cleans out the engine (Thanks Risley). The oil and filter had already been changed, and Charlie checked the transmission fluid and antifreeze as well. I filled my car with premium gasoline (yikes) and tomorrow I must drive, drive, drive the whole tank through and then return to have it reinspected. From the very poor condition of the spark plugs, Charlie feels replacing them will probably do the trick. I sure hope so, because Charlie does not do replacement catalytic converters.
I was thinking today, how greatful I am to have a mechanic I trust around. Charlie is 23 years old, just an honest guy trying to feed his kids and make extra money on the side for Christmas with odd mechanical jobs after his work day as a school bus mechanic. One of those people that obviously know car engines backwards and forwards. He never shames me for not knowing anything, and tells his own horror stories of mechanic rip offs he has witnessed in his work. Like I said before, everyone should be blessed with a Charlie.
Genie told me today she thinks that failing the emissions test happened at this time so that I could have something fixed that was minor instead of a major car problem later. After seeing the spark plugs, and talking to Charlie, I think this is probably the case. So cross your collective fingers for me out there, hopefully all this work was the only steps I needed to make.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Update: Failing Emissions

I've been scrambling around trying to find information over the last two days about car emissions standards and how to get my car up to code without installing a new catalytic converter, since my van did not pass the Texas emissions test on Friday. Car issues really upset me, generally because I know practically zilch about automobiles. I have had many try (winking at Judy) but for some reason I can never retain automobile information in my mind. When I didn't pass, the mechanic went into a lot of detail explaining my next steps to me and all I heard was "wha-wha-wha" like the adults sound on the old Charlie Brown cartoon. I know it is silly, but I cried all the way home from the test. I don't know why automobile troubles put me in a childlike space like this. They just seem so big, overwhelming, and expensive to me and always have. I am lucky to get it filled with gas and on the road most times, the unfortunate truth. All I know is that I must get it up to standards within the next two weeks, or my van becomes a four wheel front yard paperweight. :(

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rollercoaster RIDE

The last few days have been truly amazing. First the anxiety around another election, then the barn burner results, taking us into the wee hours without a clear majority in Congress. Yesterday I felt like I was hungover from all the keyed up emotion, happier for this country than I have been in along time. Although I think Rumsfeld was a "Trojan horse" announcement timed to steal the thunder of a Democratic victory, overall I think we are headed in a new direction. Or at the very least blocking one we know will lead to a future none of us would ever want as a legacy. I have always been convinced in my heart there are many more people just trying to do the right thing in life than there are those that must crush others under their boots to succeed; greed at any cost. This election confirms that for me.

So today I am feeling the energy surge to go forward and focus with my new creative project. This is going to take a lot of time and focus, so I will attempt to keep everyone updated on my progress with my blog. Please forgive me if return emails arrive slowly, or calls and letters are late. I am decidedly not an effective multi-tasker, especially when I am working creatively, as I become very focused at the task at hand. It is my nature to isolate when working, I've lived 50 years with myself and I know this is unlikely to change at anytime soon. It's certainly not personal, just a fact of my creative life. But this does not mean I suddenly care less about everybody, just means I have chained myself to the desk. :)

So that is my story on a beautiful Fall day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


We now have a few road blocks in place. And as good as this feels today, just think how great this will feel when we finish this job in 2008.
Don't forget us Nancy; the hopes of a weary country are focused on you now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

At least we will always have CHILI...

Yes folks. Today was Exgirlfriend Chili Day in honor of the elections as always. No exgirlfriend meat since I gave up that practice in the 90's, so I used steak, I am sure everyone will be happy to know. The above picture the chili pot after I added all the fresh spices, below the first pound (out of six) of meat being braised. My sister was really bummed, because the year she finally voted Democrat again she didn't get to celebrate with my chili. Watching the returns tonight, practically holding my breath. Praying all the way through.

Some of my favorite Trick or Treaters

A picture of my neices and a nephew taken on Halloween. Of course Ryan is on the cusp of being too "cool" for Halloween, hense the attitude. There is Ashley in pink as a fairy princess (she always goes as a fairy princess, no surprise there.) Next to her Amber (My little pen pal) as the corpse bride. But oh my, what do we have HERE? Why, the light of my life Crystal is dressed as what? The Phantom of the Opera. Bwa-ha-ha

Last year, before I left Illinois, "Phantom of the Opera" was the last movie Crystal and I watched together, and I gave her a video copy last year for Christmas. It is reported she watches it at least twice a week, and has become enchanted with dark, misunderstood Phantom.This costume actually started in August, when she announced she would be going as the Phantom of the Opera to her poor, buffudled parents. Try finding a phantom mask in a middle America Wal-Mart to know exactly what a daunting task this can be. The Halloweens before this she was Spiderman, the Incredible HULK, and just about any super hero you name. And now she finds her heart as the "Phantom."
How could you NOT love this kid?

P.S. She got to slick back and spray dye her white blond hair black, and those are Dad's "lace-tie" boots she insisted on wearing. :)

Focus on HOPE Today

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity–we shall harness the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Monday, November 06, 2006

Smoke Free Still

82 Days
...since I last smoked a cigarette. I'm down to five commit tabs every day, still on target to be completely nicotine free by Jan. 1st, 2007.
More good news, another friend has decided to quit and I get the opportunity to support her as an informal stop smoking cheerleader. Congratulations Pam on making that first big step today!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thai Goddess Dance

The last video from You Tube for a while (I promise), just a beautiful and hopeful dance of the Hindu Goddess Durga. Her name means "invincible" in Sanskrit, and she is the Mother Goddess of this faith.

Sunday Check In

A cool drizzly day in my part of Texas, finished my bracelet work and have spent some of the day looking at images to inspire the next push on my creative project. Doing this settles my thinking and helps me keep from skipping continuously from the "critical thinking about business" side of my brain to the "creative" side. I've discovered "You tube"...what a visual resource! I already have 70 or so videos marked as reference materials. I know lots of artists that never really look at anyone else's work, but I tend to look at everything under the sun, then go forward. I guess I see this as stoking the brain, giving it plenty of images to chew on and "think" about and be inspired by. Generally the images I look for make no logical sense to the project at hand (like the tombstones, or my curious obsession with 30's era cartoons), but they end up triggering something in my mind that does work somehow.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Public Service Announcement

What do we want ? FREEDOM
When do we want it ? NOW

Busy, Busy, Busy

Been busy the last week building bracelets for a quick show at the Design Center in Dallas this next week. Don't think they'll ever be a November I'm not busy making something for galleries and such for Christmas. Just thought I'd share what was on my desk today. :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Whirling Dervishes Sema Dance

In the Mevlevi sufi tradition, sema dance represents a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfection." In this journey the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the "Perfection"; then returns from this spiritual journey with greater maturity, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination against beliefs, races, classes and nations.
A beautiful and mystical ceremony that speaks to my artist's dreamy soul today, and I wanted to share it here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Just to say those words gives me a chill, but how best to describe voting in the modern USA? We voted with paper and pen the old fashioned way, and the voter's office was very busy. I even refused to vote for unchallenged Republican races. Now if we can only make the above words a reality by throwing the bums out, or at the very least building a roadblock to the personal Armageddon the Bush administration has invited us all on I know at least one happy patriot that will sleep better at night.

Hanging out at any Asian Food Stores Lately?

Judy, it arrived today and was a treat to open such a delightful box of discovery. I love you, as always :) Thank you.

Will that be Paper or Pixel?

Genie and I have decided it will be paper voting for us, and we are going to VOTE today to be able to use the paper ballots in Texas. Actual voting day is electronic here, and neither of us trust these machines for a nano second. A little different procedure than my usual voting day activity, no chili making. I'll be doing that the day of the returns as usual.
It is a sad day when you have to make a decision to vote early to insure your vote is actually counted and not eaten by Diebold. But then there have been quite a few sad days in this country in the last few years. Let's hope if we can just keep the faith we can turn some of this around. It is unlikely we will defeat Rick Perry for governor here in Texas because of the split among the Democratic side (Kinky is an independent...that's our guy), but as Genie says we will hopefully throw some of the bums out of Congress and The House of Representatives. Heck, with any luck even changes in the school board, judicial system, or dog catcher would be good. Sometimes change can happen, and it always does from the bottom up. I think we're as low as I care to go in this country, how about you?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Tonight is one of my favorite Hispanic festivals "Dia de los Muertos." Always the day after Halloween, like most Hispanic religious celebrations it is fun as well as meaningful. A welcoming back of the dead to visit the living. Alters are built commemorating a the dead loved ones of a family, decorated with flowers, candles, and things that are reminders of that person. Special foods are also included, and in some villages in Mexico this is performed in a midnight ritual at the cemetery. Of course it can be as rowdy a party as Halloween is here, but it is a beautiful custom with a lot of spiritual meaning. I uploaded a few of my favorite pictures of some of the festival highlights. I always love the sugar skulls the most, used to decorate the alters and to remind children death is always with us, something to live with and not fear. I didn't build an alter this year, but I do take the time now to honor those I have loved that have passed by writing this.

Interesting Horoscope

November 1, 2006 -- It would appear that you are having last minute doubts about something that just a few days ago you were convinced was the right thing to do. Rest assured it is still the right thing and that you won't lose out in the long-term by pushing ahead with it now. The only thing to fear is fear itself.

Those of you that know what is on my creative burner at the present time...Is this a clear sign from the Universe or what? Not to worry, I am convinced. :)

Online I.Q. Test Results

Your IQ score is 139.
Your Intellectual Type is Insightful Linguist. This means you are highly intelligent and have the natural fluency of a writer and the visual and spatial strengths of an artist. Those skills contribute to your creative and expressive mind.

So does this make me a cunning linguist?...Ok,Ok....jeez...I was just kidding! (LOL) Took this long involved I.Q.Test online and here was my result. Wanted to see if I'd lost any points under the Bush Administration. Looks like my steady diet of International News is working as an antidote. Thank God.
Here's more:

Insightful linguists can take complex concepts and articulate them to just about anyone. You have a gift with words and insight into processes and the way people think. These talents enable you to explain things clearly to people.
Helen Keller is a great example of an Insightful Linguist. Blind, deaf and mute, she was still able to put things together in her mind and to understand complex ideas. She could do that because she was able to conceptualize ideas internally. Though she could not literally see, she had the visual and spatial skills necessary to understand patterns on an abstract level. She learned to read, write and ultimately became a writer on issues of social justice.

You have an uncanny ability to work your way out of sticky situations using your talent with words. Crossword puzzles, debates — you're particularly well equipped to come out on top since you can read people well. Like Charles Dickens, your verbal skills go far beyond having a good vocabulary. Dickens' genius was in the artful and descriptive way he crafted sentences. Also Dickensian, is your keen eye for detail and your adeptness for identifying the best way to express an idea based on your given surroundings and circumstances.