28 April 2007

Needless to say...

I'm having a really bad weekend. Friday afternoon, Escondido, stop for gas. Instead buying a new hatch for the back instead. Arrgggh! Hang up and drive people!!!!!

Other than my psyche, I am fine. Click for a larger photo.

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26 April 2007

The corners of my home

I challenged s'mee to an exercise I have seen in different places on the net. It is called corners of my home. Yesterday she did the exercise and the post is on her blog. She also challenged me to do the same.

I find it very interesting that the important corners of my home are related to those I love and care for most. A lot of them you'll not see due to the fact that there are family photos that I cannot share with you. Not that there is anything bad about them or us, but some things need to stay just for family.

The corner I've picked to share is a small corner in my craft room. It is a piece of my family history. It is a physical representation of vivid memories. I really should be posting this at food chronicles as it is food related too. You see, as a small child, I lived in a constant state of turmoil due to my parents inability to be grown-ups. Food was usually an after thought rather than the center of a day. I came to realize that I was a skinny little rail of a girl because we didn't eat enough to keep small ferrets alive much less growing children.

There was only one place that food lived. It was a long drive away, but always worth the drive! We would take turns in the summertime going to grandma's house. She was a meticulous person. Her every action was planned, every movement calculated and very little time or effort was wasted in her day. She was the quintessential housewife. Her very life was to clean, organize, shop and make sure when her husband arrived home, that he would find all was well and a good meal on the table. It was her whole life. Including when we came to pay a visit.

We would travel in pairs, as always. My brother and I would get to go first. We'd pack everything we would need into a sack and off we'd go to grandma's for two. whole. weeks. They were always the best two weeks of the year. We'd arrive and instantly begin working. Lay out your clothes. Check to see if they were clean and in good repair. If laundry needed to be done, it was done. If mending needed to be done, it was completed quickly, before anyone noticed we were a bit unkempt. We would accompany her as she shopped. Being the little soldiers we knew to be with her. Never pleaded or begging for anything at the store. We had been told to be good and not to expect anything but a good swat if we were cheeky.

After the marketing was completed the groceries were laid out on the table in alphabetical order. My grandpa insisted on seeing the purchases of the day. Upon inspection and approval he would date them and grandma would arrange them on the shelves in neat and quick order. She would shoo us out of the kitchen so she could cook. Rarely, if ever, were we allowed in the kitchen to help. We would sit quietly in the living room waiting as grandpa would peruse the news paper or a book. When dinner was finally ready we would be summmoned to the bathroom to wash up. After careful inspection of fingernails and palms, we could join the group at the table. The group consisted of grandpa, but she always referred to it as the group.

At this table the wonders of the world were opened up to us. Wonders of celery, stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy! A wonderful roast, or a simple goulash was heaven. The smells and flavors were the best things ever. As I write this I suddenly understand the whys and hows of my affinity for food. Grandma's food was never really fancy, or complex. But it was delicious and better than most of the hot dog or hamburger meals at home.

If you cleaned your plate there was always dessert. However, it was sometimes the simple act of cleaning your plate that was a challenge. I remember once my next younger sister trying to quietly eat when grandpa hollered at her. I was surprised and stunned at his quick order to her to stop! Stop eating they way you're eating! I thought she had committed some heinous act of eating with her mouth full or something equally as impudent. But no, it was the fact that she was eating all of the same item before moving on to the next. He insisted that she take a bite of one food and then move on to the next in an clockwise position around her plate. That way it would taste better and she would enjoy it more. Aaaaack! It is the kind of thing that caused childhood nightmares!

And nightmares came, did they ever. I remember every time I was at grandmas I had more nightmares than anywhere else I'd sleep. I awaken in the night scared and frightened. She'd get up with us and always ask if we wanted a piece of her glorious lemon coconut cake. Or a date cookie. Or a dish of chocolate pudding. "I suppose, if you think it will help", I would answer. "of course it will!" she would exclaim. And amazing but true it always did.

When she died, the only item I asked to keep of hers was her cookie jar. That simple little red riding jar. I remember it oh so well. As you can see from the story above. All those memories and a hundred more, come flooding out of the jar, each time I look at it. I don't remember a time it wasn't in her kitchen. My mom tells me she got it when my mom was in high school. It's old, but it's worth more than anything else to me.

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24 April 2007

First of the trees

fused glass tree, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

I have been wanting to do some table art. I was inspired by Shiso Mama and her collage a day series.

I've decided to do a spring, summer and winter to match this harvest plate. Watch for them soon. Tomorrow night I have four 14 year old girls coming over to make their own necklaces. That should be fun.

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22 April 2007

Earth Day April 22

Finally, we're celebrating Earth day on the right day. April 22 is and has always been the real day the first Earth Day was celebrated. Go to Food Chronicles for my Earth Day post.

Gotta "love your mother" Peace out, baby.

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21 April 2007

Help a fellow crafter

Alison Gordon is a fellow crafter. She is also a co-organizer of Bazaar Bizarre and owner of WonderlandQ. Like most crafters, Alison does not enjoy the benefit of health insurance. Recently she fell ill and accumulated a few medical bills. I do not know Alison personally. However, when Renee, of Wolfie and the Sneak decided to put together a fund raiser I knew I had to participate.

We all need to help each other out a bit. Now and then we give when we can. Maybe just maybe if and when we need help it will come back to us in ways we never expect. I've donated an item for sale as well as other crafters. Head on over to Wonderland Retreat and see what inspires you. Help out a great person. You never know what that will do for you!

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20 April 2007

Meet me on Main Street!

Sheri and [m] have started a new project. It's called ~street~. They are looking for us to send them pictures of our Mains Streets. Whether they are full of charm and ambiance, or are run down and horrible, they want us to share ours with them and the world.

This photo was taken in Lexington Virginia, where I spent a month in March. The charm of this city can be seen in this photo of Main street in Lexington. The entire downtown area is walkable. It is up and down and on one side boxed in by two universities. The downtown charm is incredible. Each building is at least a hundred years old and you can still see the shadows of the first occupants in each of them. Lexington is full of history, from Stonewall Jackson's home and burial place, to the fraternity and sorority row houses. Oh the tales each could tell!

What's on your main street? Sheri and [m] want to know. Go to their place and see how to submit your photo and a short, and I mean way shorter than mine above, description for consideration. It's at the bottom of the page, scrolled down and enjoy your walk down Main Street.

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18 April 2007

I had the best day Saturday!

wedding day
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Not only did I get to see my youngest daughter and her darling husband, but we went to the best wedding. It was fun and delightful and did I say fun?

We got up early Saturday morning sand drove to Las Vegas. Met up with the daughter and grabbed some lunch. We went here and there wasting a bit of time prior to the reception. We went to Williams-Sonoma, Barnes and Noble and Whole Foods. Fun. We talked about chocolate and food, and stuff. Looked at pots and pans and even stopped in a Pottery Barn.

After we had wasted most of the afternoon we headed over to the house for the ring ceremony and the start of the reception.

It was the reception of our architect and his bride. He's actually the youngest one's brother-in-law (which makes it nice, money wise for the plans!). They have been dating about a year and a half. J decided to propose at the Parisian last November, on their anniversary. Because he did such a good job with the proposal they decided to keep the parisian theme for the reception.

It was gorgeous. The food was good, the flowers a plenty and lots of good friends and family added to the mix to make the day perfect. I added these pics to flickr so y'all could see how creative the bride and her family was.

If you're in the Las Vegas area, they are professional florists and I would recommend them anytime! I felt as if we had walked into a florist when we entered the house. There were flowers everywhere. It was beautiful and even the powder room had been decorated in the theme of the day.

Congratulations J&A! Enjoy the honeymoon!

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17 April 2007

New glass in the shop

I have limited quantities of new items in the shop. This is an example of what is there! They are four tiered glass light catchers for lack of a better name. I should have a name this object contest, as my creativity is strained when trying to name these things. They are currently available in greens, blues, red/yellows and browns. More to come in the coming days, the kiln is working over time.

I will also be putting up some same size tiers as well as individual tiles for mixing and matching.

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15 April 2007

Quick Note

I have an update on the "There is beauty all around" post. Go there to read a little more about the Violin and the public story.

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13 April 2007

Where I work from 7-9 a.m.

I go out, still in my jammies usually, and get to cutting glass. Here are a few of the tools I use:

And currently this is what I'm making:

They're 2x2 tiles that will hang individually or in sets. Watch for them in the store starting on Monday!

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11 April 2007

Magazine Cover!

This months issue of wired magazine had a great offer. You could go to their site and make you own magazine cover for the July issue. That is, if you were one of the first 5000. Well I was gone when the magazine came and looked at it just a few days ago.

I still went to Wired's promo site and made a cover. I used one of my pictures from the "light" exhibit and this is what I came up with. Can you tell I'm a Mac devotee?

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The taxes are done 4 days early! And no one died! Yay!

Now I can go back to crafting! The picture above is in the VMI Chapel. It is part of their museum. It is a pictoral of the Civil War battle, the charge at New Market. I believe. There's nothing like guys with guns blowing each other to bits to induce you to get your taxes done.

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10 April 2007

And the father is...........

Larry Birkhead is the father of the baby. Duh. Just looking at each of them, I determined he was the father at the very beginning of this ridiculous saga. Now maybe the news will turn back into the news.

File this under duh. In the wacky news section. Back to the real world.

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08 April 2007

There is beauty all around

One of the things that impressed me about visiting Washington DC was the architecture. Everywhere, there was evidence of beautiful, thoughtful, sculpture. The lion pictured above were at the entrance of the Taft Bridge on Connecticut Ave. There are four of them. Two on each end. I couldn't believe the lions. They were everywhere.

Then there are the buildings. Scroll work, finials, and lace at every turn. It was a feast for the eyes. I mentioned to S'mee that I would bet there were people that drove those streets everyday that didn't even notice it at all. Busy in their day to day world that the beauty that was around them yearned to be enjoyed.

Then I stumbled upon a story at the Washington Post today. It is the very thing I spoke to s'mee about. A virtuoso violinist in a hallway in DC. Playing music for the crowd. Did anyone stop to take notice? Did anyone recognize this virtuoso? Crowds just days before had paid $100 a seat for the cheap seats to hear him play. He also played a violin from the national archives. Did anyone notice that? You must read this story. It will make you stop and take notice, if even for a few short minutes, next time.

There is beauty all around, we need to take time to enjoy it.

UPDATE: There is a follow-up article to the WaPo article written by the author of the "experiment". If you are like me and enjoy reading all the details, go here to read the backstory.

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I believe, I know

Two days after the death of my brother, I was distraught. I remembered our last conversation. I hadn't wanted to talk and remembering the conversation, I felt I had cheated both of us.

We had made our journey back to California in a rush. We had to be at his funeral. While at the same time moving to go to grad school in San Diego. We got to my parents home and I was unconsolable. Not that there was gnashing of teeth and uncontrollable tears. Not at all. I had three small girls, I could cry, but I had to keep it together for their sakes. The last thing they needed was a hysterical mom.

I found myself lost in prayer. Prayers of hope, of comfort and of searching. My belief system includes the fact that prayers are answered. The heavens are open and our God loves us beyond belief. So I drew upon that knowledge and asked for comfort. I asked for something that I shouldn't have. It was indulgent. But I didn't care I needed one thing. It didn't matter if no one else had ever asked, I needed to say goodbye to my brother. I pleaded for the opportunity to see him one last time, to be able to give him a hug, to make up for my inability to allow him to reach out and be my big brother. Yes, it was a prayer of indulgence.

Sleep came intermittently, it was fitful and sad. The night before the viewing however, I went to sleep exhausted. My body succumbed to the days of filling vessels of those more needful than myself. That's when the miracle took place. In the wee hours of the morning my prayer was answered. My brother came to me and I was able to give him one last hug, to let him know of my love for him and to thank him for being my brother and protector all the years of our lives. It actually happened. When I hugged him I really hugged him. He was there. I awakened to tell my husband. I told a few others and they all said it was good. I am not sure anyone thought it had really happened.

It was not a magicians trick however. I know that my prayer, indulgent as it was, was answered. God understood the bond between us and my need to say good bye. I know without a shadow of a doubt God lives, answers prayer, sometimes not to our liking, and that the atonement and resurrection is real. I know that we will be reunited with those we love in the future, that our lives are worth living and that forgiveness is the key to happiness.

So this Easter morn I add my testimony to those of others. The Resurrection is real. Christ lives and atoned for us.

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06 April 2007

05 April 2007

Random thoughts

I was just checking my gmail and there was an ad off to the side. It's headline was "Date Liberals Now". I ask, why?

Is it that they expire and need a code date to let you know when they've reached the peak of perfection? Or

Is it that they can't find their own dates and need the mercy of an unknown person to pull them from the depths of despair? Or

Will I learn a new set of paradigms that I couldn't without dating them? Or

Are they the new "it" thing and if you're anyone, you'll be dating them, now!

Hah! and I love that the spell check thingy in blogger doesn't recognize gmail as a word. Blogger is owned by google which produces gmail. hmmmmmmmm, think maybe someone ought to update the spell checker!

Just an example of the random questions I ask myself when I read commands randomly put forth.

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04 April 2007

The little shack across the tracks

As I travel, I like to read. Making small talk on a plane is not high on my list of things to do. So I always make sure I bring along a couple of books to read while traveling. I usually like to keep it light reading as I am not one for emotion or intensity while trying to relax. This trip I chose two excellent reads.

Amy Tan has always been a favorite of mine. Her Joy Luck Club is one book I could read again and again. That is huge for me because once a book has been read, it usually goes to my library and resides on the shelf waiting for another person to pull it down. I don't revisit books. This time Amy entertained me with her Saving Fish from Drowning. Wow oh wow. I loved it. Her descriptive process always impresses me. I felt as if I was walking along with her experiencing every turn and cobblestone along the journey. Half way through the book, I mentioned to my daughter I never wanted to go to the country Amy was writing about. The story was frightening and thrilling at the same time. At the end there is a twist, a betrayal of sorts. It was surprising and enjoyable. I recommend your time being spent reading Saving Fish from Drowning.

Now the reference to the title of the post. I chose the second book, even though my sister said I probably wouldn't enjoy it. Just the opposite took place, however, I loved it. I cannot really express why other than the author was my voice. My childhood, in a sense. I highly recommend the book. The Glass Castle is an autobiography. Some will say it is a grand exaggeration. Some will saying it is half lies. Others will say she suffered at the hands of mentally ill parents. What I say is yes.

Garbage pit in the yard filled with garbage. Check. Stealing utilities from public utilities. Check. Wondering on a daily basis what will be available to eat. Check. Moving in the middle of the night. Check. Alcohol abuse. Check. I could go on and on. Jeanette Walls and I lived parallel lives. Had I known she was such a short trip away we could have been fast friends. Her life wasn't an exaggeration though. It was just like mine.

With one exception. She had both parents. She knew, in their own messed up way, they both loved her. And that they both felt they were teaching her to survive in the world. They were arming her with the necessary tools to successfully traverse the shark infested waters of the world. She had two parents. I cannot underscore how much different that made us.

I had a mom and a revolving door of men coming in and out. And an alcoholic father who would appear promptly on my birthday each year until I was ten to make sure complete and utter turmoil had been established and then disappear as if he were Merlyn the Magician. I have been the parent most of my life. I have had my friends parents tell me if my parents would just pay their bills things would be better. I have heard the whispers of good people behind my back criticizing our every move. And I couldn't change any of it. I still can't. I just swim my shark like swim and hope it doesn't all come crashing down around my feet.

However, Jeanette and I learned what we needed to learn. The example provided by parents were excellent teaching methods. So wrong, yet so right. Children should not have to worry about clothing, shelter and food. Yet every day children all over the U.S., not just the world are subjected to that tragedy, it is not an exaggeration at all. I made the choice to move away from my childhood in a stable way. My daughters have reaped the benefit of my hard choices. There was still a portion of a crazy parent there, but whose children don't think their parents are just a little weird?

The worst is people make judgements about you when you talk about how you wouldn't react in a situation like most of the rest of people. The harshest comments being, "well, you are so very arrogant as to think you would not react that way". My feeling is to strike back, recoil and strike again, it takes all I can to not ripped some one's head off and tell them how ignorant they really are. Especially when they live in a dream world I call "perfect parent" world. They've had two parents, the dad worked, the mom stayed home, dinners were always prepared on time, clothes were always washed and clean and ready to wear. They had perfect birthday parties and cupcakes at school and the worst thing that happened to them ever is they forgot their lines in a play at school or farted in front of the class. Then without any knowledge of me or my circumstances they tell me I have no idea of that which I speak. Heh. I have experienced most of it. And I know, I'll survive no matter what. No matter what.

I recommend the book. It will help the "perfect parent" people see a glimpse inside a world they've never even had a clue existed, except the whispered tittering of a few gossips, and see and hopefully learn empathy. It will help those of us who've lived the "walls world" know there are others like us and it wasn't all bad.

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02 April 2007

At your behest Lisa

I'm back! What a whirlwind trip! I spent time with the new baby until the very last moment. Can I first gush at how cute the little bugger is??!!? What a little darling. I stayed until I had worn out my welcome almost and then came back for more!

You see, s'mee was in D.C. I talked her into giving me a ride back to the city so the offspring wouldn't have to endure a six hour roundtript drive just to see me off. S'mee is quite the loving sibling and did get me to D.C. She even let me stay a couple of days in their hotel room with them. (it was a clothing optional room until I got there. s'mee said something about having to go buy the husband some jammies prior to my arrival) That said, I'll probably never get to bunk with them again. We saw D.C. in a blurry hurry, the DC Temple first and then historic site after another. These are some of my favorite photos:

The obligatory messing with the monument photo! A favorite to photograph and also to see how unoriginal we all are on how to adapt to the large structure of the monument.

This was a photo taken at an exhibit inside the Hirshhorn Museum. The exhibit was on light and the diffusion of said subject. It was amazing. If you are in the area, for get the other museums and go to the Hirshhorn first!

This duck stole our hearts outside the Smithsonian. He posed for us from every angle and was very patient with everyone who wanted to photograph him.

Then beyond belief was the chance that we would run into Spencer W Kimball in Virginia. But, yep that's him! Well, maybe not, but I think most of you have a pic of him in your baby files too!

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