Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday and It's COLD!

Today is Sunday, and it is cold out. I guess it's supposed to be cold here in Ohio in December, but I am never ready when it starts settling in and staying cold. I have miniature dappled dachshunds, and they are very low to the ground and short-haired, so when it gets like this, they have to have their coats on to go outside. Sometimes I am a bad mother and try to get them to go out without their coats, and they just stand there and give me dirty looks. It's like they're telling me, "You know better than this. Do you think we're stupid?" And it usually works to shame me into getting their coats for them.

Another reason I dislike the arrival of cold, snowy weather is that it tends to make me hibernate. I've posted before about the fun I have every Friday night going over to the Scrap Shack to play with my friends, and the cold weather sometimes makes me stay at home. It's not that I don't want to go play; it's just that I have never learned the fine art of packing light. So, instead of dragging all my stuff out and packing it in the car, then unpacking when I get there, I just snuggle up in my jammies and think about the fun I am missing . . . Sigh.

So, here I sit on this sunny, cold day looking for reasons to complain. I think I'd better get up and get moving to warm myself up!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A New Doll

This is a new mermaid doll I made last night at my weekly visit to the Shack. She is made from a template available

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Long Holiday Weekend Plans

Today was the last school day of this week, so I have a full day off to get things ready for Thanksgiving. I haven't planned my menu formally yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what we're going to have. I am pretty classic - roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry something, gravy, stuffing (for my hubby, I don't like it), pumpkin pie, relishes, squash, maybe some turnips, and also some mincemeat tarts. Oh, and homemade yeast rolls in crescent shape. So yes, there it is - I have planned my menu. Now for the shopping list . . .

Tomorrow is also my hair appointment day and cleaning day. I have the major cleaning out of the way, just little stuff.

I have finished up all my dolls for the time being. Now I am ready to start making some jewelry. I have a ton of beads I want to play with and make some dazzling new creations. Got lots of ideas. So maybe Friday evening at the Shack will be jewelry bling night.

Friday AM will be one early morning jaunt to Michael's. Last year I scored some really good deals and it wasn't crowded at all at six AM! I can always stock up on my new favorite glue; Zip Glue. It's a great quick drying, non-wrinkling paper glue. LOVE it!

So there you have it in a nutshell - my long holiday weekend plans. Oh, that reminds me - I need to pick up the rest of the black walnuts out of the driveway that we have been hulling by running over them with the car. And those will be used in future plans for Christmas goodies.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Get 'Er Done

Yep, that's me, Ms. Get 'er done. Last week I complained about all the swaps I had to make that were sending me over the edge because it seemed as if I wouldn't be able to get them done on time. Well, I am here now to crow about my ability to get 'er done! They are all finished, and will be going out in Monday's mail. Friday night's Scrap Shack get together was very productive for me, but I also spent several evenings holed up in the basement working some late hours, too. Now someone needs to come over to my house with a scoop shovel to help me clean up my mess down there! It is a disaster of epic proportions - there are some pretty precarious piles waiting for me to carefully approach them and start the sorting process so all my stuff can be put away.

Even though I fight valiantly against it, the collections of "stuff" seem to grow continuously. Should I just give up the fight and fill my house up with all the things I might someday need? I really wonder if I will ever use the rest of the VERY NICE French bread sack I tore to collage-sized bits, used two pieces for the Marie collage, then meticulously saved for the future. It's a wonderful sort of paper with an almost imperceptible pin dot pattern . . .

Maybe I need to charge up that get 'er done thing to a really high level and race down to the basement and organize like crazy. But I'm thinking (and I bet you are, too), that I am probably going to save all my get 'er done for all the important things that I fill my life up with!

Now off I go to find more important things on which to focus my awesome get 'er done powers .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Son

Happy Birthday, Son! I just wanted to let everyone know that today is the anniversary of a very special event in my life! It marks the day my wonderful son was born. Scott, thanks so much for being you. You are a kind, caring, empathetic person. You are intelligent and are not afraid to be the voice that speaks out for injustice and cruelty in the world. I am proud of who you are and what you stand for. I will always love you.

La Reine

Here are the latest dolls I have been working on. Blue one sent off already and the pink one and display collage she's shown in are in the box ready to ship off to my swap partner. I hope she likes her.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Post Script to Dolls, ETC.

Hoo-Boy! I wish I had paid more attention in business and office class when I was supposed to be learning how to type! Man, I had a big, long post all ready to go on here about how much I accomplished last night at the Scrap Shack, when BOOM! my finger hit the wrong key and I deleted the whole darn thing! So, instead of trying to remember what I had written and go into all the boring details, here is the short version: I got some things done! Made three Marie Antoinette dolls, one of which is totally done. The others are going to be easy to finish up. Finished the huge doll except for a pink feather boa which I purchased this evening (bought some more Zippee Glue, too, which I love!). On our weekly late-night/early morning jaunt to Wally World, I bought the items I needed for this evening's potluck/turkey shoot my hubby and I attended. Today I finally sat down and made the genealogy list for the goats hubby requested, made the pot-luck food (yummy golden baked onion casserole and crock-pot peanut clusters), and then we tagged goat ears. OUCH! they said. That's the update - I am getting that elephant eaten one bite at a time . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I've posted before about my paper doll group on Swap-bot, Paper People Art Dolls, so I guess most people know I like paper dolls. And if you know me personally or know anything about me, you might know I sometimes tend to get in over my head on projects, and this seems to be one of those times. I recently started a swap for a traveling doll with the participants' faces as the dolls' faces. The swap has twelve people participating, so all twelve dolls will be worked on by all the participants. The schedule won't be completed until late next summer, so this is a pretty involved undertaking. My doll isn't done yet, and I'm getting a little nervous about this because I want it to be perfect. But that's not all - I've also created another fairly involved swap for a Marie Antoinette paper doll. This isn't just for a doll, though. It also includes a display folder or backdrop to go with the doll. But even that's not all! I also decided that I just had to have a Frida Kahlo doll made by another member of the group, jewelrydoll180, so we arranged a private Frida doll swap. But wait! Even that's not all! Since I love jewelrydoll180's dolls, AND I am greedy, we also arranged a private Marie doll swap! Arggggh!

Are we done yet? Nope - I am also making a huge, jointed doll (this is the same doll we are making for the Traveling Round Robin Self Doll Swap) for a friend to give to her husband's boss, AND another one like it as a surprise for the above-mentioned friend. This isn't even mentioning the pair of Thanksgiving-themed dolls I made last night to go out in tomorrow's mail! Or the profile surprise swap I am in or the bead projects I have in mind or the wreath for our front door that I made last night, or. . And that all these things are due by the end of November? And that I said I wanted Thanksgiving at my house?

Did I mention I sometimes get in over my head? And that I hold a full-time job? Or that I have a husband, three dogs, three cats, 25 goats, and four fish? And that my house is actually kind of clean? And that I cook now and then? I need to stop now and go someplace quiet. Seeing this in print is even scarier than having it in my head! I better get my butt off the computer and down to the basement and GET BUSY! BYE NOW!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The People Behind the Blogs

I already spend way too much time on the computer, but I sure wish I had more time to spend browsing through people's blogs! Last night I hopped on here and noticed I had a comment on a post, so I stopped to read the comment. From there I was drawn to the commenter's list of interests, so I clicked on one that was a common interest. That took me to whole list of people who shared the same interest, and suddenly, there I am cruising through various blogs. My problem is that I am nosy. I will be merrily reading someone's blog when out of the blue I will wonder about some little piece of their personal lives. That sends me off sniffing for their little bits and snippets of their lives and lifestyles and I never do finish reading whatever it was they thought important enough to share in that day's entry.

The other bad thing I do is start off reading one person's blog, notice a link they have that looks interesting, click on that link, and never finish reading the original person's entry. Then, I get lost in such a convoluted web of open windows and links that I don't ever find out what I was looking for in the first place . . . Adult ADD, maybe?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Today I am feeling confused. I feel as if I do not know how to teach or how to do my job. I feel like I am out of my experience area and that I am not doing my students any good. I also feel like my job is mostly an "add-on" type of job and that I'm just a warm body that is filling a spot that has been created so the school district can get federal dollars.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crockpot Peanut Clusters

Okay, this is not going to turn into a recipe blog or one about my cooking adventures, but I am posting a recipe here today for my Facebook friends. Last night I stayed home from my weekly jaunt to Deb's famous Scrap Shack so I could make these peanut clusters to take to a friend's Halloween bonfire. Easy, right? Well, you know there is always a fly hovering in a corner somewhere just waiting to get into your ointment, and last night was no exception.

Richard saw a crockpot he liked last week at Meijers that was on clearance. He didn't buy it then, but when he went to the store on Friday afternoon to pick up the ingredients for the candy, he bought it, so we decided to use it last night for the peanut clusters. About two hours into the cooking time, I smelled what I thought was Richard making some toast. Turns out it was the candy, BURNING! Sure enough, that crockpot was defective, and by the time I smelled it, those peanuts were burnt black! The chocolate was all bubbled up and charred. Talk about nasty. . .

So at 11:00 P.M. last night we made a run into Marion to get more ingredients. We loaded up the OLD crockpot with the stuff and Richard fired it up at five this morning, and at 8:30, I was spooning out mounds of chocolately-peanutty goodness. (Somehow it just isn't as appealing at that hour.) Of course, I had to whine to my friends on Facebook about burning the first batch of candy and having to remake it, which naturally led to people wanting to know what I was talking about. So, that is why I am posting the recipe here. Now if any of my FB friends want the recipe, they'll have to follow the link I'm posting and come here and read my blog to get the recipe. That's kind of a sneaky way to get readers, right?

Crockpot Peanut Clusters
16 0z. Jars of dry-roasted peanuts, one of them SALTED and one UNSALTED
Two 12 oz. bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Two 12 oz. bags of white choc chips or equal amount of almond bark or white dipping coating
One 4-8 oz. bar of sweet German choc.

Layer in crockpot in order given - peanuts MUST be on bottom of crockpot. Do not mix. Cook on LOW for three hours w/o lifting lid. Turn off, mix well, let sit in crockpot for twenty mins. Spoon out in heaping teaspoonfuls onto wax paper-lined cookie sheets. Let set for a few hours in a cool place. Makes about seven dozen peanut clusters. Warning: Addictive! Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Okay – here are a few things I have found out from making these:
There always seems to be a little too much chocolate left in the bottom w/o enough nuts so you could probably cut down on choc a little or add a few extra nuts.

You can change up the kinds of chocolate you use to suit your tastes or suit what you have on hand.

Don’t lift the crockpot lid while they’re cooking b/c water could run into the chocolate and that ruins chocolate.

I absolutely KNOW putting the chocolate on the bottom will make them burn because one of the teachers I work with did it at school when we made them with kids one year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Update to the Update

Yesterday I talked about how busy I've been with my Swap-Bot group, paper People Art Dolls, but I have been even busier in my real life! If you read my post two days ago you heard that I was switched (I'm making myself passive in this move!) to the other elementary school in our district a week before school started this year, and was assigned to a new position. Although this move was an involuntary move on my part, I have grown to like the job most of the time, and am enjoying the interactions with the children I am teaching.

Our school district has been experiencing a great deal of upheaval the past couple of years. Our enrollment has declined considerably necessitating a reduction in force for two years running. This, coupled with an inability to come to terms with the board of education on a contract for certified staff, has also created some divisiveness between the teaching staff and the administration. The way all this affects me is that due to the reduction in force, teachers who were riffed left positions open that had to be filled from within and many people were shifted to different jobs and buildings. The job I am now doing was to have been done by a veteran, 34 year teacher. She was assigned to a different building, and rather than moving for her last year of teaching, she decided to retire thereby leaving a vacancy which was filled by me. I really don't know why I was chosen, other than the fact that it is a reading position and I do hold a reading endorsement. There were however, several other people who really wanted the position, and had expressed no interest in it or desire to move again since I had just moved from that building two years previously.

But I guess sometimes we need a little prodding to break out of the ruts we have grooved ourselves into, and I am no exception to that axiom. I was pretty upset about the move at first because at the end of May I had packed up my fifth grade classroom as ordered. Every. Last. Bit. Of. It! From the floor to the ceiling, my fifth grade classroom was packed awaiting orders to see if I would be moved. Everyone in our building had done the same because we knew there were being cuts and there would be many moves made. But in July I received a letter telling me my assignment was to remain the same with the exception that I would also be adding fifth grade Social Studies to my teaching duties. That was fine with me; I love social studies. So, I thought I was set to go. Since I had so much to unpack (I own some books!), I began unpacking and getting my room ready about the first week of August. It took me about two weeks, to get everything unpacked and put away, and to get my posters hung back up and to decorate my bulletin boards, do copying for the beginning of the year, and to get things ready for the students. I also wanted to be ready ahead of schedule so I could take the week before school started to enjoy family things and get things done around the house. Finally, because I was ready ahead of schedule, I began overhauling all my filing cabinets at school and reorganizing everything in them. By this time it was August 13th, and school started on August 24th.

Well, on the afternoon of the thirteenth when I was on my way home, my friend called to tell me that the superintendent of out district was asking for my cell phone number! Now that was a new one for me! I immediately became nervous. The Sup't. does NOT just call you up on your cell! Anyway, as soon as I got home I checked the answering machine to see if he had called our home phone. Whew, I thought to myself. No messages from him! Well, a little later, as I sat on the deck talking to our neighbor, my cell rang, and guess who it was! The superintendent. And guess what his message was. When he asked me why I wasn't saying anything after his message, I told him I was pretty much dumbstruck, but I wish I'd asked him some questions. Like why me? How long had my name been tossed around for the job? But I didn't, so now those questions will remain unasked and unanswered. But again, sometimes we just have to be shaken out of our complacency and get handed something new, which is where I am at this point.

So, do I like my new job? Yes, I do, on most days that is. It is very different than what I had been doing, and I am having to relearn many things from my undergrad days in college regarding early literacy. That is a good thing, though, because I really enjoy research and learning. Is it easy? No, because nothing about teaching Kindergarten, first, and second grade children can be assumed or taken for granted. It is very touchy-feely and hands on, and having been accustomed for so long to fifth and sixth graders who are more independent, I am having to make some major adjustments to the way I speak, think, and teach, among other things. Some days I feel as if I am mothering more than I am teaching, and some days I go home wondering how Kindergarten teachers ever make it to retirement! On the other hand, it has made me much more humble about my abilities because now I can really see the hard work and dedication put forth by our primary teachers! In my former life I often wondered why children arrived in fifth grade missing some piece or other of what I considered essential knowledge, and now I marvel that they arrived there with as much as they did have!

How long will I be in this position? I don't know, but I think the move has a been a positive one for me if for no other reasons than the ones I wrote of in the preceding paragraph. Change has a way of opening our eyes to a new perspective and that, for me, is a good thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Paper People Art Dolls

That's the name of my Swap-bot group that has been consuming huge chunks of my time lately. The reason it has been consuming so much time? We've grown! (

This is a group that is dedicated to making paper dolls, so the focus of what we do is pretty narrow. This was reflected in my group's membership. Up until recently there were about thirty of us in the group, and we weren't very active. I'd create a swap here and there and three or four members would sign on to swap, but to tell the truth, it was getting to be pretty boring! I was even thinking about getting out of Swap-bot altogether until I made a fabulous new online friend. RyeRye invited me to join a group she founded on the "Bot," we began chatting, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, here I am complaining to RyeRye about the small membership of the group and wishing I had more members to entice into swapping dolls with me. She immediately does what I should have done long ago - INVITE new members. Some group founder I am. Didn't even know I could do that! Does she invite one or two? Oh heck no - she invites bunches, tons, GOBS of new members. And so our membership for PPAD grew from thirty-two paper dolls lovers to 105 members within just a couple of weeks. That girl is nuts, I tell you! Anyway, with our ranks pumped up by this amazing friend of mine, our group is experiencing a renewed vigor and is practically brimming with talented artists ready to swap some gorgeous, original pieces of artwork.

Our group has a gallery on Flickr now where we can post pictures of our dolls for everyone to ooh and aah over. If your curiosity is piqued, you can roll on over to our photostream ( Even if you think paper dolls are for kids, I bet you will still get a kick out of the unique interpretations created by the artists posting here.

I'm very excited about a couple of the swaps we have going on right now, too. One swap is to make a Marie Antoinette paper doll, and while that concept itself is not new, we're taking it to a new level by creating a backdrop, or display stage for her. The most exciting and fun swap I've created for this group, however, is The Huge Traveling Self Doll Round Robin swap. This swap was taken from Lisa Vollrath's site, Go Make Something. (

She originated this Self Doll and put the pattern up, so I can't take credit for the doll or the idea, but I am taking credit for making it into a round robin doll swap. The people who signed up for the swap are making a "Self Doll." That is, the doll has your own face or your self on it. Then, we are sending our dolls off on a round robin journey so each person in the swap can make something for the doll before sending it on to the next person in the circle. We've also made the swap more fun by creating an identity, or theme, for ourselves. My alter ego? I am going to be a Wild West dance hall gal. My inspiration for this came from an anniversary card my mom sent to my husband and me years ago. It shows a dance hall gal and a cowboy at the bar. She's hanging off him with one arm draped around his neck and her other hand in his back pocket. I think that about sums up my personality, folks! We've also got an Audrey Hepburn (hey cpbunch!), a hippie chick, and a fairy princess, to name just a few of the multiple personalities floating around in this swap.

I'm loving the play of ideas and creativity we're bouncing off each other. It's refreshing to the soul to be a part of a dynamic group having fun together. And the best part is we don't have to travel far or invest a lot of money in it. It is happening within our own homes and at our convenience. We set the parameters for how much time we devote to it, and how involved we become with the group.

I bet at this point you're asking, "But what in the heck do you do with paper dolls?" Well, I don't actually do much with them except look at them and display them in my personal, private areas. I don't inflict them on my husband, much, because, well, he's just not that into them. But I guess because I made them as a young child and because I like girly things, I just like them. They're fun to make. So there's the reason I like paper dolls - pretty much a no reason type of reason. So if you find yourself bored with nothing much to do, check out Paper People Art Dolls on Swap-Bot. You may just find yourself elbow deep in glue and paper fashioning a new persona for yourself!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feeling Themeless

Why do you create? Whether it's writing, making art, or creating something with your hands, why do you do it? I have been struggling with this idea for a while, and I really don't know the answer to it. I'm beginning to see glimpses of the answer for me, personally, and I'm not liking what I'm beginning to understand about myself.

The first answer some of us may give is, "Because I can." And that answer works, to a certain degree, with me too. That answer falls under the category of having a talent and using it, but upon closer inspection, I find fault with myself by doubting whether I CAN, in fact. That is, do I really have a talent or merely a propensity? How do I measure up when comparing myself with others? Can I justify the time and money spent on creating objects or pieces of work that are made to give or trade with others and that have no lasting significance other than the fleeting satisfaction given to the maker or the recipient?

Because I do not create "fine" art, I am beginning to believe that the ephemeral existence of my pieces does not justify their creation. What happens with the things I am making after a couple of years? When I die, I will be leaving behind thousands of dollars of supplies that my survivors will either pitch or sell at tag sales. Will there be some of my descendants who will treasure and display my creations? I don't think so. First of all, look at what we are doing to the Victorians' scrapbooks. We're tearing them apart for the German paper cuts and the calling cards to use in our own pieces. Our own society is not one of saving and treasuring items of the past; we are living in a throw-away society where each item has its own obsolescence programmed into itself.
The ephemeral nature of paper arts and hand-crafted items is not the only reason I am struggling with this issue. I am also beginning to understand my true motives for creating. I think I am looking for recognition. Can this be good? It seems narcissistic in nature. There is a book out now, and I don't remember the title, but it examines why the social networking sites like Blogger, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, all these things that people are using to talk about their lives, are so popular right now. I believe its premise is that at some level, people are all insecure narcissists who need to have someone admire them for something and/or make their lives matter for something. I think I fall into this category. Can that be healthy? Why am I putting this out here now? To sound important? To make you feel sorry for me? To have you reassure me that what I do is important? Or is the answer to all my questioning merely that I think too much?

I am probably doing just what every other person in the world does at some point or other and which a philosopher (again, can't remember who) calls the stages of man. I am at the point in my life where I am questioning whether my existence has made a difference on the planet. I think I just need to get to the point of acceptance and stop worrying about all of this stuff. But how am I ever going to justify the money I have spent on all these art supplies? Maybe my claim to fame after I am gone will be, "Man, look at all the cool stuff she had!"

Friday, June 12, 2009


I haven't been very faithful to my blog here lately. I can't really come up with an excuse except that I've been on Facebook a Bunch! I think I owe that to my good buddy Michele, who introduced me to the evils of Bejeweled Blitz, a game on Facebook. Plus, several of my sisters and other relatives are members there and it makes it easier for us to catch one or the other of us online and chat. Cheaper than calling! It's actually pretty funny to catch up with friends from back in the day when none of had personal computers, to find that we all own them in the here and now.

I've been working on some Swap-bot swaps as usual, and these are the latest of what I've snapped pics of. The Victorian Row House almost didn't make it out the door. I wanted to keep it for myself. I guess the things you make that you want to hang on to are the best ones. If they are good enough to meet my standards, then I deem them good enough for others. I like the Vegas Showgirl dolls ok, but the outfits didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned them. I did like using the Marilyn Monroe doll as the model for the showgirls. I have asked to join a new group, Chunky Row House Group because they are making all sorts of these cute little row houses. The purpose of the row house, besides being cute, is that they are to be displayed side by side like - well, like row houses. The one I did has copper roofs and sheet acrylic printed with black STayzon ink. I used two of Tim Holtz spinners put together with a brad to make a weathervane. Like I said, I didn't want to send it off. But, my swap buddy Ayn, in Alaska, won out in the end, and she has it coming her way.

In other news, my mother has been looking around for a place to rent while waiting on th insurance to settle on her house and contents. Thank goodness my sister, Susan, who is a public insurance adjuster, came up from N.C. and found a company that does reciprocal work for them and put Mom in some good hands.

Mom has it in her head that she wants ot live out in the country now, and I've tried my best to talk her out of it. The reason I don't think she should move out into the country is because it is so much harder to live out in the country in the wintertime, and she is too old to move to the country by herself. She's 73, and I know that is not real old, but she is old enough that I think she needs neighbors. She's stubborn though, so I imagine the country is where she will be going.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Road Trip to Hollo's or On a Paper Buying Spree

Today was road trip day. My friend, Michele, and I went to Medina, Ohio, to a place called Hollo's that sells paper by the pound. I didn't look at my receipt, so I don't know how many pounds I bought, but I can tell you that I had trouble lifting the box it was in! I bought mainly whites and neutrals, but I also bought a few sheets of some 12 X 12 colored card stock. Also, today was my lucky day because they had the thinner chipboard that I like to use to back dolls and such. The last couple of times I was there, they had book board which, while nice for book covers, is way too thick to back anything with it.

Michele played personal shopper for a friend of hers via telephone, so she ended up with lots of paper and card stock, too. Both of us bought some really nice little folding boxes to use for mailing out swap-bot goodies, and we both bought some aluminum foil carry-out ware. The prices were really good on these items. I like to keep them on hand so when I make something to eat to take to someone, I don't have to worry about getting my dishes back or making extra clean-up for the people who I'm taking the food to.

We both sifted through the tons of craft goodies in their annex room, and mostly we resisted all the "stuff" in there, although both of us bought some beads. I have an idea that most of the stuff comes from down the road at a place call Pat Catan's because it was mostly Darice stuff, and that's what Pat Catan's carries. I had to work really hard to resist all the handmade Japanese papers in the annex. I have tons of that stuff already, but what I really wanted were the prints. I can't remember what they were called, but they were $9.50 a sheet, so I didn't get any. New rule: Use what you have and then you can buy some more. Like I'm gonna listen to rules!!!

After dropping Michele off, I got the idea that I was going to run down south to Delaware, Ohio, to go to Cord Camera because I want some of those tiny Basic Grey magnets, and I can't remember where I bought my last bunch. Cord didn't have any of them, and it looked like the economic slowdown has affected the scrapbooking industry because they didn't have anywhere near the inventory they used to carry. I did find some gorgeous Bazzil Bling papers in some scrumptious colors ocean-y colors. Don't know what I'm going to make with them yet, but they are pretty to look at!

I've been working in my studio area and have added new shelving, a 12 X 12 paper spinner rack, and lots of organizing baskets. One of these days I am actually going to have an area bigger than a postage stamp in which to work.

I haven't heard anything more from Mom. My sister from North Carolina is supposed to be here today to help act as a go between for Mom and the adjuster. That's what Sue does for a living, so hopefully she will be able to help Mom get reimbursed for everything she has coming to her that was destroyed in the fire. Even though she's not licensed in Ohio, she and her husband have a friend from Cleveland who will be acting for her. It will be interesting to see what Mom comes out of it with because she had tons of vintage and antique goodies squirreled away. Her cookbook collection alone was almost 300 books and it was all destroyed. If anyone can get her money out of them, it will be sister Sue. She is a pit bull when she judges someone is taking advantage of her!

Monday, June 1, 2009


You know when the phone rings in the hours between midnight and six A.M. that it's a harbinger of bad news, and last night was no exception to the rule. Our phone rang around 4:00 A.M. Monday morning and brought the news that my mother's house had burned down. The good news is that Mom was awakened by the smoke detector and got out in time. She was able to get herself and my dad's old Lab, Winnie, out safely. Everything else is gone.

This old house wasn't worth much as far as real estate values go, but it provided many years' worth of memories for our family. This is the house Mom moved into at the age of seventeen, and where we moved to when I was in fifth grade. It's the house we crammed twelve children and two adults into its three bedrooms. It's the house we all brought our spouses home to meet our parents, and it's the place we all brought our children to for the holidays. It's the home we all ran to when our father died four years ago. Now it's nothing but a burnt-out pile of rubble, but I had to run to it one more time to see for myself what it had become. And I cried. And I'm crying right now.

I didn't think I had much emotional attachment left to the old place because it seemed like I couldn't get away from it fast enough when I was a teenager. I was ashamed of its lack of amenities for almost all my life. I railed at Mom all the time to clean it up, empty it of all her "junk" and didn't visit her as much as I should have because of the house. I even hated it. Now that it's been reduced to a pile of charred wood and broken glass, I'm homesick for it. Now I see the value in it. Now I understand some of what Mom feels for the old place. Dilapidated, run-down, decrepit, at least it had stories and memories and life within those shabby walls. Soon it will be an empty lot because Mom says she's not living there on that land in a different house. And I get it. Now. When it's too late.

But. Mom is alive and that is worth more than any house on the planet. So we start making new memories. Now. And it's not too late for that.

I picked this bouquet of pink roses from the bush in the front yard. Although the bulldozer will come through soon enough and level everything and trucks will cart off all the rubble, they are a symbol of hope. I know this because Mom will be digging like a crazy lady, and you can bet these roses will bloom again in another yard.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Okay, I know it's not politically correct for teachers to be crowing about the last day of school finally arriving - but I am! The past couple of weeks has been very trying - meaning I have about one shredded nerve left. We have spent far too much time doing nothing. Grades were cut off about ten days ago, and since then, it has been a battle just keeping the kids from swinging from the light fixtures. I am vowing to teach right up to the last day next year. I MEAN IT! So if your child comes home the day before school is out next year and announces that he or she has homework, too bad. I'm not going to grade it either, but I won't tell the kids that.

Seriously, there has to be a way to keep the kids occupied the last couple of weeks of school without everyone losing their minds. We have shown movies, played games, given extra recess, cleaned and packed the room , had picnics, track and field, gone for ice-cream, you name it, and students think that is all this time of year is for. I have to disagree. Some fun is fun. But not two weeks' worth!

Anyway, this is turning into a rant, and I'm not letting it. I am just happy that we are getting out of school. I have all kinds of plans for the summer, and I guess I should start a list so I will keep myself on track!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm trying something new, and maybe someone out there can help me with this. I want to upload some doll templates that I created for people in my Swap-Bot doll group. Please try to print these from your computer and let me know how that works. I'm not too hopeful . . .

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friday Night Playtime

Went to my friend, Deb's, last night to play in the Scrapshack. This is the second weekend in a row I've gone over since my surgery seven weeks ago. Although I haven't built back up to my usual leave time of between 3-5 A.M, I stayed until about 1:30 A.M. I didn't get a huge amount of work done, but I did get all the Catherine Moore ( paper doll parts stamped I promised to send out to the members of my Swap-bot group. I also made an ankle bracelet for my swap partner in the handmade jewelry swap. It turned out really cute, even though I'm not an ankle bracelet wearer. Maybe when I get really skinny . . .

I'm down forty-one pounds now. One morning this week I changed my pants four times trying to find a pair that didn't look so baggy. Not bragging, you understand, but it is nice after being so heavy for so long to finally have my clothing not feeling like it was trying to strangle me! Today I went shopping at the Salvation Army store in Marion. For about fifty dollars I purchased two pairs of pants that fit me now and three more pairs that will fit in a month or so. I also found a great Land's End fleece anorak in red that is practically new for just $2.50! Doesn't fit right now, but I know it will in the fall. The find of the day, however, is the $5.99 pair of practically new Dansko dress shoes. These shes generally retail for about $110.00, and I NEVER buy them new. Mine are always off eBay. They are very supportive, and while they may not be to everyone's taste, they have great arches, which MY feet need. (Other purchases include old music books to use in my artwork, some books to read, a fleece jacket ugly, indeed, but purchased for the wonderful gilt thread medallion on the pocket, a little glass serving bowl with a pattern of blackberries molded into the glass $.99, and four old board games, one of which is a brand new OLD Stratego game. ) So, by the time I had piled all this into my cart, I was shopped out! My $54.00 really went a long way shopping today, plus it will stay in our community through the Salvation Army's outreach programs. Good Deal!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Yes, really. Some of you may have noticed that I belong to Swap-bot, a place where you can get in snail mail swaps for various items. Yesterday I decided to read the Swap-bot blog and ended up doing exactly what my title says for the better part of two hours. If laughter is therapy, then I deprived some poor shrink of a great deal of money last night.

The Swap-bot blog's author had some hillarious examples of awful craft items listed. Now, what you have to remember about Swap-bot is that many of the swaps created are for craft items of some kind or other to be created, and then exchanged within the group of participants who sign up for that particular swap. Craftastrophe (, is a site that posts pictures and comments of crafts gone wrong. Now, just so you know, I've made my share of creations that didn't deserve to see the light of day. And, if you read my Going to See the Wizard post, you already know that I've poked fun at myself and others in the past. So I think it is perfectly okay to laugh at othe people's stuff because I also know that there are people besides me out there LTAO at things I make. But seriously, if you want to just laugh and laugh, you need to visit this site. ***********WARNING: Some of this stuff should not be viewed while eating, taking a drink of a carbonated beverage, or by pregnant women. So go ahead, I dare you, not to laugh, that is!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Paper Doll Swap on SWAP-BOT

I just created a new paper doll swap on swap bot. This swap is for a Vegas Showgirl Doll. You will be creating two showgirl dolls and will have two partners. This is about BLING, BLING, BLING, Baby!

I plan on creating a whole series of swaps based on dancers, and then I am moving on to historical figure paper dolls. My goal is to start one swap per month. So, if you like paper dolls, drop by Swap-Bot to play!

I'm going to repost pictures of some of the dolls I've already made to try to get perople interested. How bout any of you bloggers? Do you like to dabble and play with paper? Here's the link:
I've also created a new group on Swap-bot, Paper People Art Dolls, and again, if you are interested in making and trading paper dolls, check out this group!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


This is a new picture of me at thirty-nine pounds lighter. Of course, I didn't know I was going to take my picture tonight and post it on my blog, or I might have combed my hair - tee hee. I just was looking in the mirror and got the crazy urge to photograph myself because the way my face looks is the most notable thing to me so far about losing weight. I can tell in the way my clothes fit, too, but it is still how my face looks that amazes me the most.

I did try to buy some new pants tonight, and both pairs I bought fit me, but after I got home I thought about it and decided that two or three weeks from now those pants would be baggy, too. So, I'm just going to tough it out for a while and not buy any new pants. If you should happen across me and it looks as if I'm carrying a load around in my pants, well, I might be, but it will probably just be because all my pants are getting waaaay too big. And that is a happy dance kind of celebratory thing!

My husband is getting all kinds of creepy ideas running through his pointy little head. I think he has a Fredrick's of Hollywood catalog under his mattress or something. He keeps dropping these broad hints about leather mini skirts and such. I don't know what to do to disabuse him of these strange notions, but I have some ideas. One being to stop shaving my legs. If anyone has any other ideas to discourage him from dressing me in things I might have worn forty years ago, I would love your input. Although, it is kind of sweet that he thinks I'm going to look like I did thirty or forty years ago. I guess he just doesn't have much of an inkling about the breakthrough work Sir Isaac Newton just did on that new-fangled gravity thing . . .
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Here is a picture of the newly junked up mermaid. Too tired for a long post, but she is going out in the AM mail. Hope the recipient likes her.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Everyone get out a tissue and get ready to read a really sad fish tale. I have a friend who is becoming more and more disabled from RSD. She had inherited two gorgeous saltwater fish tanks from her daughter who just graduated last weekend from the University of Findlay (Yay Echo!), and my friend just can't take care of them anymore. So guess who volunteered to take the fish tanks? Yep. You guessed right - me. See that big, blinking sign on my forehead? I've never even owned a goldfish. Parrots, yes. Several. Skunks? Yep. Raccoons? yup. Lizard? Right again. Dogs, Cats, Mice, Goats, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, lots and lots of pets, I've had. But never fish. Not even a guppy.

And, not only are these fish tanks (plural), they're gulp, saltwater tanks. So, Echo came home yesterday and said, "Girls, we're movin' fish today." That involved sucking out 41 gallons of water, dipping out 6 fish and a sea urchin, moving about twenty pounds of live rock, buying fifteen gallons of water to do a partial water change, then moving all the aforementioned "stuff" about twenty miles down the pike. Well, having absolutely no experience with fish, I was terrified that I would kill these fish, and I kept saying that. "I know I'm going to kill them!" Repeat phrase. Repeat phrase.

Well, I know you've already guessed the end of the story. Yup, I killed 'em. Not all of them, only the most expensive ones, and Echo's favorites. Of course. Not really my fault, but I didn't get up in the middle of the night and check the temperature on the new set-ups. When I got up this morning, the fishies wouldn't wake up, so I tapped on the glass. When I tapped on the glass, the glass felt like a . . . very warm . . . so I dipped my finger in . . . and it felt like . . . bath water. Now I could see why the fish on the bottom of the tank wasn't moving- And the poor sea urchin's spikes had lopped over. Very, very sad.

I called my husband at work, and while I waited to be put through to his office, I was saying some very bad words - until I realized the officer at the desk had not put me on hold while he was calling for Richard. So, I think that guy may have heard some language he may never have heard before in a prison. Next, I called my friend and told her the sad news and begged her not to tell Echo, but I think her phone was on speaker, and more bad news - Echo had stayed the night and was sleeping with her mother who was in bed when I called . . . So that is the end of my very sad fish tale - except - I went shopping tonight and came home with $113.00 dollars worth of fish stuff. Stay tuned for more fish tales - I'm sure there are more to come!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stella Gets Her Groove Back

Well, not exactly, but I am rejoining the world. Mind, I'm not setting anything on fire - breaking no records for productivity- but I am getting back into the swing of things. Yesterday I finally completed some ATC's for a swap I was supposed to have sent out on April 6, AND I created my mermaid paper doll for another swap I'm in. The mermaid is not completed yet; I have not "Junked her up," but her form, face, and basic colors are laid down.

<-----------------Here's a sneak peek:

Now, you have to remember, "junking things up" is near and dear to my heart, so imagine her with oh, say, some jewels, a little tattered something-something hanging off her, some glitter, something in her hair, etc. you get the picture, right? I hope the swap partner I have takes a look at this doll b/c I did not use the template they posted on the swap. Not that it's not a good template, it just did not allow me to use my own ideas.

Here is the drawing I made for the house-shaped ATC swap I was involved in:
I ended up shrinking this from 9X12 to approx. 3X5. After I printed them, I colored them with watercolor pencils, cut them out, and stamped the backs with an ATC info stamp. They turned out to be very colorful. The only thing I didn't like was that I had to cut the drainpipe boy off so I could make it fit into the ATC format. And, it's too bad that I couldn't have put one more child in the picture to represent all of my brothers and sisters and me. Count and see how many children MY mother has.
So, I am now coming up with all sorts of things I want to create. The fog has lifted and I'm Baaaaaaack!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Awards Go To

I promised I would think about the blogs that I thought needed an award, and I decided the following people should receive one. If you are one of the people I named, please stop by and pick up this badge by clicking and copying it, then pasting it into your blog by going to your dashboard and adding it as you would your photos. Then pay it forward by doing the following: Link to the blog of the person who gave you the award (me); list seven things you love; and send the award on to seven other bloggers who you think deserve the award.

Michele at
Alicia at
Cathy at
Tristan at

No, this is not seven - but I'll find some others that I think deserve the award and I will post them later.
I am headed back to school on Monday. I am happy to be going back, but I wonder how I'm going to be able to handle my afternoon nap. Will my students be understanding and be quiet while I drool with my little heady resting on my desk? Or, will they tie me to things like Gulliver? Will I wake up to find mustaches drawn on my face and my shoestrings tied together? Ah well, I guess I'll have to forgo that nap - sigh.

We will only have three weeks of school left after I return, so it will all be hustle and bustle trying to squeeze in everything that I need to get done. I have to do DRA's (Developmental Reading Assessment) for each child in my class, then the end year Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Test, finish the book they're reading, Among the Hidden, and finally, give them an end of the year spelling assessment. I also have to get all this in around them going to Camp Ohio for three days, Track and Field Day, Science Camp Day, awards ceremonies, and all the other craziness.

In between all this is the record keeping I have to do. All the reading testing I will be doing has to be scored and recorded in their reading folders, cumulative folders have to be updated, grades will need to be entered for gradecards, inventories, ordering supplies and books for next year, and whew! I need a nap now just thinking about all this! And that doesn't include tearing the room down and packing it up! So - how many of you out there think teachers are overpaid?

Anyway, I AM happy to be going back - I just know I'll be tired for a while, but there is nothing like being thrown into the thick of things to get you going again. And I think that is just what this ol' girl needs!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I am so happy to being going to the hairdresser today! I know all of you ladies out there are always perfectly coiffed, but 'tis not always so for me! That "Only her hairdresser knows for sure," baloney never works for me because my hair grows so fast that it's always a struggle to keep up with those odd-colored roots that keep sprouting out of my head.

And, I know why it is that I do have so much trouble keeping the fact that I'm a gray-haired old lady under wraps.

When I was a teenager (imagine that, if you can), we lived across the street from a nursing home. There was an old lady who lived in the home with her little toothless Chihuahua, and she would walk him every day. Her name was Josephine. And Josephine, bless her heart, dyed her hair a deep, midnight black. Except. She probably didn't get to go to a hairdresser to have it done. Maybe a daughter or relative visited her and did it for her - I don't know.

But. What I do know is that I thought her head of white roots with the dark ends was ridiculously hilarious. And I laughed at her endlessly (not to her face - I wasn't that mean). And I told my mom that my hair would never look like that . . .

And so, that is why today I have endless white roots. Because in my misspent youth I had the audacity to laugh at someone else's hair, it has now come home to roost. I'm telling you children, listen to your elders; it could happen to you someday. So please, don't laugh at me when you see me wandering the streets with my little dogs on leashes and my long, white roots.

Hah! I bet you didn't think you were going to get a Por Quoi story and a morals lesson all in one post today, did you? Neither did I expect give them to you, but whew! it sure feels good to get that off my chest. And who knows, maybe confessing will give me a couple of weeks' respite from THE DREADED WHITE ROOTS!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

HGTV Green House 2009

Go to to enter to win this home! You can enter every day!


Today I received a pleasant surprise. My friend Jan, at Ignite to Write, presented me with the Kreativ Blogger Award. How nice was that? Anyway, this is one of those pay it forward type awards, and below are the rules that go with it:

1. Post the award on your blog. Link to the person who gave you the award. Here's Jan's link: and to her other blog:

2. List seven things you love:
my hubby
my family
my animals

3. List seven blogs you love and let those people know you’ve given them the award.
This is something I will have to think about, so I will get back to you on this!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Here is the newest addition to our herd. This is Oreo, and she was born on April 3. She is quite the show off, too. I was just positive her momma was going to have multiples, and she did, in fact, have two, but Oreo's twin did not live. So, as before, mom Bessie is still a "one bunner."

As I write, Oreo is now three weeks old, and she is quite the "kid." She spends her time trying to figure out how to play with the six week old triplets, getting into trouble with the older goats, and mimicking her mother by trying to eat grass and hay. Oh, and I forgot - the all-time, most fun our goats have - trying to climb up onto the top of the dogloo doghouse we have in the goat yard for the babies to shelter in. At any given time, there is at least one, and usually two, young goats on top of the dogloo playing King of the Mountain. They butt, they shove, and they execute daring high jumps as they play. Oreo should achieve lift-off sometime in the next week. She is just about the right size, and she has been practicing her climbing skills on the discarded street sweeper brush we have out there for everyone to scratch on.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Being at home by myself the last couple of weeks has given me lots of time to think. As a matter of fact, that's about all I've done. I think it's the anesthesia, but after I have surgery, it always takes me a while to get back into the swing of things - to want to do the things I've always enjoyed doing as well as the things I need to do. Anyway, I've been reflecting lately on the people and relationships in my life. One conclusion I've come to is that I'm not the kind of friend I'd like to be. I don't call people and keep in touch. I'm stand-offish, I think. Taciturn, even. I haven't been like this all my life. I used to like being around friends and family more. What makes me like this? I think about my friends and family often, but what prevents me from sharing time and conversation with them? I know friends and family wonder about that, too. If someone is having trouble, I can be depended on to be there with food, or help, or money. But, what about when things are going well for people? That's when I'm usually invisible. Does it come with age, this wanting to stay at home and hide? Or, is it due in some part to the huge family I'm a part of, a pulling away after years of being part of the hustle and bustle and strife that comes with having eleven younger brothers and sisters and all the in-laws, exes, nieces and nephews and two marriages and step-children and grandchildren? Or, is this one of the stages all people go through as they age? Do we shed people and relationships and prune our social lives to prepare ourselves for eventual loss? I don't have the answers, but there is a part of me that says I don't do enough to maintain relationships with those I care about. If you're one of those people, know this: I think about you often. I remember and cherish the times we spent together, good, bad, or ugly. I hope your life is good, and if it's not, I hurt for you and with you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am Back After Surgery

Well, I'm here. I had my bariatric surgery on March 30, and was in the hospital for four days. Surgery went well, but I had a staple line bleed that corrected itself very quickly. As a result, they held me an extra day. After I came home on April 2, I began to feel progressively worse, and was readmitted to the hospital through the emergency room on Tues, April 9. After a CT scan, it was found that my spleen had been badly bruised, causing swelling, which in turn aggravated my diaphragm causing the sac around my lungs to fill up with fluid and making one of my lungs collapse. I was hospitalized for another four days during which they drained a liter of fluid from around my lungs, finally allowing me to breathe again. I've been home since Saturday, April 11, and am feeling stronger every day. Jan, I see you're not following me, but just FYI, that silly Bessie had her "BABY" on Friday, Apr. 5. She had twins but one was stillborn. The surviving one is the cutest little "Oreo." She is dark brown all the way to the middle, then white, then brown to the end. She has three white feet and a white tip on her tail. She is so sweet and lovey. Hope this finds all well, and I appreciate all the good wishes from my readers. I will write more as I feel up to it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


A recent visitor to my blog influenced my thoughts for today's post. My writings here are usually no more deep than a raindrop running down a window. I'm not one to put most of my thoughts out for the public to read because I'm pretty private. I let people get a sense of what I'm like through what I say, but I don't share a lot. I do think deeply and reflect on esoteric matters, but keep most of my opinions to myself. This is a form of protective camouflage for me, I think. My thoughts and beliefs are not generally considered mainstream, and rather than rock the boat, I keep them to myself. Part of that goes back to the belief that as long as what you believe does not endanger or harm people, you are entitled to have your own beliefs.

Being a part of the status quo is important to me now, but in my youth I was more of a rabble rouser. I think what happened is that many societies punish the squeaky wheels and survival becomes a matter of blending in. So, as we age, we tend to subvert the more "unaligned" thoughts we have. One reason I think I have become less vocal about my opinions is that I am tired of swimming upstream. I don't like having to defend my opinions. Is this giving up? Is this not being true to one's convictions? I don't know. So, if while reading my blog you assume that what I'm writing is merely fluff, know this: I'm living a life governed by lofty principles and thinking big thoughts; I just don't have the need anymore to shout them from the rooftops.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Okay, I have one response to my contest for guessing when Bessie will have her kids. Jan, you will be winning by default if no one else guesses. But that's okay. I need to reward my faithful reader somehow. She still has not given up those babies! I think you are right on with that guess of three. My surgery date is March 30th. As you can imagine, I am beyond thrilled! It's finally here. Now all I need to do is get the things on my to-do list done.

Monday, March 16, 2009


The first picture here shows Bessie, the Hold-out! Notice her
bulges, AND her nice beard. Her beard isn't as long and luxurious as a Billy's, but it's pretty impressive for a Nanny.
Next is the terrible trio of trouble. In the rear is the little one, Clem, The front right is the female, Daisy, and the left front is Thor, the bigger male.

Here on the left we have a close-up of Daisy's cute little kisser, and on the right is another picture of She-Who-Won't-Be-Rushed.

Here is the terrible trio again . . .

And with momma, Heidi.

And again. Notice the stuff on the fence? Goat hair where they scratch. I'm thinkin' socks - if I only knew how to knit!

Okay, I'm so excited that I just can't stand myself! I received my approval today for my surgery! They are calling tomorrow to schedule, so it looks like I will be having it the last week of March. Hooray!!!!!!
I took a bunch of pictures of the goats today, so I am posting some just so you can see how much the babies have grown. Also, I took pics of the hold-out nanny so you can see how huge she is. I got some rear shots, so just so you know, I'm not trying to gross anyone out - Richard said, "Nice butts." I'm starting a contest with this pregnant goat. Leave a comment on my blog and guess when she will have the babies, and I will send whoever is closest a little handmade something! Really!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


FUN, FUN, FUN! I love making paper dolls, so I am now the host for a jointed paper doll swap. I can't wait for this swap to start getting people signed up. I joined swap-bot a couple of months ago, and it a neat thing to do if you like getting snail mail and or packages. It's just a social networking site, but with a twist. People create swaps for all different kinds of things, then other people who belong to the site sign up for the ones they want. Swap bot then posts the swaps, and when the host reaches the end of the sign-up period, Swap bot assigns you your swap partner and you send whatever the item is out to your partner.
I swap with Swap-bot! Swap-bot swap: Jointed Paper Doll SwapSo, here is a picture of a Ginormous paper doll I created a while ago. She is a fortune teller doll, and all the pockets in her completely-made-of-paper skirt contain paper fortunes. She is jointed, has hair, and has a cute pair of pantaloons and a cami under her outfit.

Anyway, I think this will be a lot of fun, and I can't wait to get started on my doll. See, I DID find something to do in the here and now, and No, Michele, it wasn't having someone stomp on my foot! (You silly wabbit) Michele, Deb, Jack, Cathy, I challenge you guys to join my swap!!!!!

I will re-post the widow here, too, in case others from Swap-bot jump by here to check out my dolls. THE WIDOW!!!!
This doll now resides in the Scrapshack. She has a place of honor along with her BLACK HAT. Her clothes are entirely made of paper, too, just like the Fortune Teller, Madam LaWeja's, clothes.

This is a mean looking doll, but that wasn't the way she was supposed to turn out! I wanted her to be a Spanish lady, and she would have had a mantilla. Oh well, that will come another time. She looks okay without her clothes, but with all that black on , she looks very severe.
I just came back in from a walk down through the back forty with the hounds. (It's really not the back forty, more like the back ten) It was so nice, and I really wore them out. Freda ( the girl) is football shaped, so she really needs to get more exercise. She takes after her "Momma" in that respect. Anyway, it was gorgeous, and I think it also helped my mood. So, right now I'm not so focused on the future happenings. The goats? She's huge, but she'll have those babies when she's good and ready. I just worry that we won't be here and she will have too many for her to deal with since she has been a "one bunner." (My term for single baby,tee-hee) Anyway, it can't be helped, so there's no sense worrying over it. As for my surgery, it will get here soon enough. It's not as if I am even ready for it. I still need to make sub plans for a month and clean my house, so I have enough to do without dwelling on when it will happen. so, that should be enough to keep me grounded firmly right where I am - In the here and now!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Waiting is hard for me! Our next set of baby goats have not arrived yet, and I still have no date set for my surgery. I'm getting impatient. I am so focused on the things yet to happen that I am not living my NOW life. That is not a good thing. I am wishing away time, and I feel like everything I am doing right now is just spinning my wheels. Does anyone have a method for living in the here and now? A way for me to just chill out and wait? If so, I'd sure appreciate hearing from you!

In other news, you should check out my friend Michele's blog. She is being published in an upcoming issue of an online magazine for a tutorial she created for a cupcake holder. Visit her blog and check out all the cool stuff she does with her Cuttlebug and Cricut. She's da bomb! And now I am off to the Scrapshack to try to forget my waiting woes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


My title says it all; Spring is just around the corner! I know, I know, we are still going to have some more cold weather, and we will probably have some snow, but the signs are making me hopeful. I'm a Spring and Fall kind of gal. I don't like cold weather, but I don't like hot weather either. I think it has to do with the intensity of the sunlight. I don't like the hot sun shining on me, and I don't like to sweat. So, even though I'm sitting here now in sweats and a fleece pullover, I know the days of shorts and t-shirts are just around the corner.

I'm looking forward to digging around in the dirt, too. I have an oak-leaf hydrangea that needs planted. I bought it last year, and it has spent the winter in its pot. That's not the greatest thing I could have done to it, but I couldn't make up my mind about where to plant it. We are going to put in sidewalks and a new front porch this year, so I have to move a flower bed. I need to do it early because the bed has large, established hostas in it, and I moved one of them before and it was a huge job. I dug, and I dug, and I dug, and when I was finally able to get it out of the ground, it was about the size of a bushel basket. I'm funny about hostas. they're one of my mom's favorites, but I only really like the large-leaved ones. My personal favorites are day lilies and true lilies (bulb). I have to say though, that I'm not a very faithful gardener. It has become rather hard for me to do much bending and kneeling because of my knees, so I tend to favor container gardening more. The weeding tends to get away from me more than it should. Anyway, it is fun to be thinking about what to put in my containers and thinking about sitting on my new porch enjoying them. I'll decide where to put that hydrangea when I'm done daydreaming!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Check out my new Etsy shop, Paper Manic. I have spent all day Sunday adding new items and taking the paper creations out of my Lil Spotted Dog shop.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Okay, the tone of my last post was definitely not a cheerful one. I'm more on track today, though. I just came in from a fun time out in pasture with all the horned ones. We let the triplets outside for the first time today, and as always happens, they were comically fabulous to behold! They ran and leaped, and bleated, and generally had a rousingly great time investigating everything in the goat yard.

We have some "toys" for the goats to play on. These include a great big street sweeper's rotary brush, a Little Tikes play scape, and a large igloo doghouse. All these are in constant use: The doghouse and play scape are both sleeping space and king-of-the-mountain climbing places, and the rotary brush is where much of the personal grooming takes place. Imagine a person who can't reach that itchy place in the middle of their back leaning back as far as she possibly can and ruuuuuubbing that itch on a nice, rough corner jutting out. Then you'll you get a visual of what it's like seeing a goat leaning over and just ruuuuubbing herself along the entire length of the brush.

The babies checked out the house by going inside, so of course when they do that, Mom can't see them and starts panicking. She grunts her special "come here" grunt that brings them all running. When one of the babies gets too close to a larger goat, sometimes the big one butts them a little (not hard - usually they are pretty gentle with the little ones), and when they are scared, they have to go running back to mama for a little quick nurse of milk. This is like a pacifier to them and Mama seems to allow this.

She has been regulating the nursing activity. I suppose because they would nurse all the time if she didn't. Right now it looks as if our fears of her abandoning the little doe are unfounded since Daisy is full of energy. But we are still keeping a watchful eye because it takes a very short period of time for these little ones to go downhill. We keep feeling her belly to see how full it is.

No new babies yet, though! Oy Vay! The size of that nanny! I hope she is a better mother than her twin, Psycho. Psycho (real name LuLu) was sold with her baby earlier this winter. She only had one good teat, and she kept having twins. That is not good. She actually managed to almost raise twins after her first pregnancy. She quit feeding one of them, and we almost lost that baby, but luckily, she was just starting to eat grain and hay a little when Mom stopped feeding her. We had to give her supplements, and she was the one who was sick in February, so she has become very tame and loving. New issue with her (Little Sister): I saw Birthday Boy mate with her yesterday. I think we will have to watch her very carefully because she is so small from all her tribulations that she may have a hard time carrying a baby.

Thank goodness the weather has turned a little warmer for the weekend. I know I'm not the only one this winter has begun to wear down. My students are tired, too. Wednesday I felt incredibly tired all day, like I could just lay my head down, thunk! on my desk and go to sleep. On Thursday, one little boy who was still suffering the effects of this stuff going around fell asleep twice back at the reading table. It was around three-ish, he was sitting by the window, where miraculously the sunlight was streaming through, and he had on a hoodie. All these things conspired to make him just so drowsy he couldn't stay awake. Which says what about my instruction?

The year has flown by in a blur, as usual. After the Achievement Test at the end of April, for all intents and purposes, the year is over. We go to camp in mid-may for three days and boom! the end of May arrives and we are out of school. Too soon! I'm not done! I still have tons to teach!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Tonight I am feeling very ambivalent about things. I don't feel bad, but I'm tired of coughing. I don't feel tired, but I don't feel like doing anything. I don't feel like going to bed, but I don't have anything I feel like doing. So, here I am. Just here. Doing nothing. Much. I was going to write an update on the babies, but there is really nothing to update. No new ones. Yet. Not much new with the little ones- except mom seems to be trying to abandon the little doe. So. That's too sad to think about or write about.

I know what's wrong with me. I think. I'm feeling let down because my surgery hasn't been scheduled yet. I am waiting on emails and phone calls that haven't materialized yet. Testing for the Ohio Achievement test is coming up soon, and I'm anxious about how my students will perform (and, by extension, how I will be evaluated). So. That's what I feel like. I need Spring.

How about you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


In answer to Jan's question, "What do you do with all your babies?" The answer is, "I dunno." This is becoming a very puzzling problem for my husband and me. We started raising goats in the first place so we could keep our agricultural use real estate tax designation. We bought this house about three and a half years ago, and the previous owner raised alpacas. We could not afford alpacas, so for a year or so, we didn't have any livestock because we're not farmers. Or weren't farmers, I should say. But one day we received a notice from the county auditor telling us that our real estate taxes would be rising by $600.00 dollars per year, and they were going to reassess for the prior three years because they had sent someone around to see if the property was being used in accordance with the agricultural use guidelines. Which it wasn't. So, in order to save $600.00 dollars a year, my husband and I are now spending about $200.00 per month to feed our growing herd of goats. I'm glad I'm not a math teacher because I would be very disappointed if there was something strange about our tax savings.

Most people who know anything about raising livestock also know a little about the birds and the bees. I'm thinking Richard and I are kind of dumb on that subject because we just keep getting more little goats. I guess there is something in the goat manuals about keeping your buck penned separately. I think I also read somewhere that female goats will allow mating through fences too, if they can figure out how to do it. Well, after having so many babies born that our barn was bursting at the seams, we figured out a way to stop having so many babies: We got rid of the buck - except - before he left, he decided to leave behind a couple of departure gifts - and- we kept his son, Birthday Boy - and - I think BB has now reached puberty because I saw something - blush - yesterday that I think . . . So we're not really any smarter now than we were a year and a half ago.

We have sold some goats. Out of necessity, of course. Because of the barn. But doggone it, how do I know these buyers are feeding and watering the babies enough and giving them enough head rubs. And calling them by the names they were given? And I know Gary Bradley went into the soup pot after we sold him. That's the only thing a neutered male is good for. Except for Buddy, out little pygmy-Boer mix, who is the friendliest little guy on the planet and who won't be going anywhere ever because what can you do with a neutered male except - rub him and scratch behind his ears and wiggle the little wattles that hang down on his neck and feed him circus peanuts and apples and, well, I guess you get the picture. Even though I ain't Zsa Zsa Gabor, our little tax-saving enterprise probably should go by the name of Green Acres!

Pregnancy update: The mama is still growing! I don't know what she's holding out for now. Richard's birthday is past, mine isn't for months, and Christmas is a long way off.

Fritz and Freda received mail from Wales today. I was in a swap for a personalized matchbox on Swap-bot, and I received mine in today's mail. My matchbox was too cute with a little dachshund deco and my initials and lots of goodies inside, but all wrapped up in polka-dotted paper, complete with a card addressed to them taped to the outside was a yummy package of soft doggie treats. When I told them they had mail and showed them the package, they immediately demanded I open it up and divvy round the treats. I'm making them write thank you's right away!