Friday, March 31, 2006

Cutting Back Last Year's Perennials

Being outside yesterday was heavenly. I ate my "diet" pizza out on the deck steps looking at my used-to-be garden. At the end of the fall I dumped some of my potted plant dirt in clumps all over my garden thinking the snow would take care of it and decompose and smooth it out. It didn't happen. Now I have a garden full of pot-shaped clumps.

After studying it during my pizza lunch, I came to the conclusion that it was too much work to do at the time. I'll just enjoy the weather and contemplate what is ahead. There is a lot ahead.

I have a garden full of dead hollyhocks and ornamental grasses. I'm not sure what to do with them. Was I suppose to cut them down in the fall? Will those dead-looking stalks come back to life? Do you leave the bleached-out or dead ornamental grasses alone or do you cut them back to the ground? I hadn't even thought about how to take care of them until now.

I'll probably spend the next few days researching for the answers...or not.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From Bended to Mended: New Life to an Old Sole

Subject....wading boot. Felt bottom flopping and kept tearing loose after gluing.
Fix....polyurethane glue, ie Elmers Ultimate Glue.

How I did it. I pulled the sole off and cleaned it well with alcohol. When it was dry from the alcohol cleaning (just in case it would interact with the glue) I dampened both gluing surfaces because polyurethane glue needs moisture to cure. I applied the glue liberally and replaced the sole. I wrapped it in Saran Wrap so I could handle it without getting glue on my hands. Then I used twine and wrapped the boot tight to hold the sole tight. I clamped it down all around to make sure it held tight. The glue expands and "foams" up. When it cures you tear off the Saran Wrap can trim the excess glue that comes out off with a razor. It may not look real pretty but it has held for a year and gives no indication that it is loosening.

The other boot finally gave way so I just fixed it in anticipation of the up coming fishing season. I think there is no end to how long they will last.

The Horse Lover That I AM

I love horses, always have, always will. In high school, every report was about my horse. We were inseparable. Once my teacher asked me to write about something else, not that he didn't appreciate the horse stories. I slept in the stall with my horse at the county fairs, I rode just about every day across the fields in Jackson, CA and I showed every weekend there was one in the region.

Things are different now, I don't have a horse, but I still get emotional when I see a gorgeous horse in a field or racetrack or movie.

I didn't get a chance to see the movie, Dreamer, when it was in the theaters, so when my husband rented it for me yesterday I was excited. I loved Sea Biscuit so I knew I'd love this one. Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning are some of my favorites and it was a nice movie and I did tear up when I saw the interaction between the girl and her horse.

I thought it was strange that I hadn't recognized the name of the horse in the movie. It was advertised as being based on a true story. The extra features explained things a bit differently. That was as loosely based on a true story as anything could be. Just about every movie would qualify as based on a true story if they used that criteria. I was disappointed. There wasn't even a horse by that name. It's all made up except that there was a horse once that ran again after breaking a leg.

But I'm still a sucker for horse stories. I'll still cry when I see a horse run in slow motion. Just as I do when I see a happy/sad dog, cat or rabbit story.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Time to Fish

I'm champing at the bit to go fishing. I'm sure we'll have our fishing licenses by the end of the week and most likely will be going to Oil Creek this weekend. According to the best source there is on Oil Creek, in my humble opinion (Mike from Oil Creek Outfitters), the water is clear and low and with the weather warming the fish should be active. He is a great source as to what fly to use. We rarely get skunked following his advice. Trout season isn't officially open but you can fish certain special regulations areas. Check your fishing regulations to make sure you are in the areas that you are allowed to fish.

My husband and I have been walking through the house air-fly casting, or maybe you could call it shadow casting. Pretending to be casting with our fly rods (similar to air guitar). We can't help it, it's in our blood. The sun shining and warmer temperatures has awoken the fishing beast in us. Oh, that would have been a good idea for whose subject this week is "monster".

Monday, March 27, 2006

The $2.5 Million Ugly Duckling

We use the Blasco Library quite often but only key in on the artwork while in line waiting to check out. They have some large, beautiful paintings behind the desk that I stare at and envy.

All the hoopla over that $2,500,000 painting made me want to search it out. It was upstairs behind glass. I must have walked past it before as I've been up in the microfilm area on the second floor a few times doing some research. No, it doesn't look like $100 let alone millions more. A famous artist painted it and maybe there is something about the color or technique that is so wonderful (but the color is neutral, bland and boring to me.) Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay. If they could sell it for millions then it is worth that to someone.

Even if you think it may be "ugly" like everyone says (and it pretty much is to me, I just don't get it) go up and see it. You'll see some gorgeous paintings right across from it. Beautifully done paintings in a style everyone would appreciate that rivals any in a good museum.

I have recycled my newspapers so I can't find the quote from someone at the library but didn't they say there were some more paintings in storage? Why aren't they out on display? I'd love to see more beautiful artwork and it doesn't need to be worth $2.5 million to be appreciated.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

How Old is Old?

In the past few months I've come across some blogs that talk about getting old and how awful it is. It made me curious as to how old they are. I checked the profile and they generally are in their 20s. Are you kidding me!

I guess it is all relevant. I remember when I was in my late teens and seeing an obituary that stated the person was 40 when he died. I remember the stunned look on my mom's face when I blurted out "well, at least he had a long, full life". 40 was, like, so far away then.

Now that I see 40 in the rear view mirror, I have a new look on life. I see my dad, at 89, still going strong. He can out hike me any day. There is no way I can beat him at ping pong. Now, instead of thinking of myself as old, ( though I have been there, done that) I see how much is still in front of me. There actually are things left to try, places yet to see. So don't despair you 20 somethings, you've got a long way to go.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Internet/technology STRESS!

Our ATM cards didn't work. We thought maybe the metal strip was bad? Two days later our bank calls and tells us our card has been blocked with many others in that pin number scam involving Office Max (I don't know if it is proven it was them with the security breach, but fingers are pointing) The bank let us dangle for two days not letting us know our cards wouldn't work before calling us. We were left out to dry without working ATM cards for a couple of days until the new ones were being mailed to us. They should have called immediately. Good thing we weren't stranded somewhere trying to get gas.

I went online to check our account a few days later just to make sure nothing was out of the ordinary. The bank balances were off on my personal account not related to the account with above scam and they had wrong entries with wrong dates listed. They acknowledged the problem in a red memo on the page and they were working on it. What's going on here?

Blogger was having terrible problems and you couldn't view blogs or upload pictures etc off and on. Then Flickr had what they called "hiccups" and were working on the problem. It seemed like nothing on the internet was working. Then the blog counter site had problems and said my password was wrong but it wasn't. And I would have known that (they emailed about the problem) had I been able to connect to my email but of course, at the moment our email doesn't work through Verizon. It won't connect from your home computer. You have to go online to access your account and then the email. Is there a full moon or something? What is happening this past week? The stress of not being able to send emails, upload blog/pictures, check my bank account and not have access to my bank account's money has made my blood pressure soar.

Sunday I started getting stupid text messages saying "U want2hang tonight?". Obviously a phishing or an advertising scheme. I hope that illegal and they get caught. I got 3 of them in about 12 hours at odd times of the day and did a reverse look-up to see where it was coming from. It is coming from a Dobson Cell company which I believe is Cellular One. Probably somebody with an account there. I called Verizon and had my text message function disabled. I never used it anyway and I'm tired of hearing the beeping when that dumb message comes in.

I'm trying to remember how simple life used to be.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Illustration Friday - FEET

When I received the email that informed me the new subject was "feet", I sighed. I was hoping for something more fun. But then I started thinking of odd ball ways of using this subject in artwork. I thought of "cold feet" = "you're a chicken" (also, you're scared and yellow) and thought of the runaway bride. So here it is. I had fun with it. Acrylics on canvas paper 8 x 11.
For some reason I can't upload pictures to Blogger these past few days so I'm using Flickr and the size doesn't quite fit in my blog correctly.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Napoleon Dynamite Spoof Web Video

If you love the Napoleon Dynamite movie, you'll love this cartoon video spoof. Otherwise you probably won't get it. Go to this link ( and scroll down to the thumbnail on the right side that says Chuck Dynamite under the heading "Web Cartoons". I laughed through the whole thing. It was well done.


The subject for IllustrationFriday is "tattoo". I sketched a picture of a girl with a small tattoo on her neck as I didn't have time to paint anything this week.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I Paid the Price

I was pretty depressed when I got back to Erie. I had caught a bad cold, it was raining and when I weighed myself I had gained 3 pounds indulging in things I wasn't suppose to eat. A whole week of work-outs and dieting down the tubes.

Yesterday was sunny (which makes me happy) and I worked out even though I was sick. I only did 3 10-minute rounds (with 5 minutes between them to rest) on the elliptical machine so I wouldn't breathe very hard and start coughing. It felt good. This morning I lost one of the pounds I gained on vacation and now I'm back in good spirits. I've lost a total of 19 pounds. It should be more but you pay the price for not having will power.

My 3 cats are very interested in the windows as they are starting to see birds flying around. There are kitty nose prints on the windows now. Spring is in the air.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Back in Dreary Erie and Sick

Right before bedtime on the night before we were leaving Florida my throat suddenly got so sore I almost couldn't swallow. Great, I knew what I was in for. I can only think that I was lucky that it waited until I was leaving and it didn't ruin my vacation. I believe I got exposed on the flight to Florida, so in turn, I suppose I exposed everyone else on my return flight. Enjoy.

We left behind 78 degrees and sunshine and were greeted in Erie with rain. I bet Erie doesn't get but 50 or less full days of full sunshine a year. Something to think about. I have read where lack of sunshine makes people do strange things.

I'm one of those people who try and do a "spring cleaning" to my house before I leave on any trip. I guess it is because if something terrible should happen, I wouldn't want anyone to think I was a slob. I wear myself out and end up exhausted on the first day of any vacation but I get to return home without any housework to do but laundry. The pile is very big. We wore just about everything we brought. But being most everything we brought was summer-like clothes I suppose there is no urgency to get that pile done anytime soon.

Under the influence of my cold remedy, I can manage to do laundry, though I have thought about using it as an excuse to do nothing but sit here and play around with the computer and sniffle.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ahhhh, Florida

Kissimmee, Fl.

I find the weather this time (in the 70s and low 80s) perfect. I caught up on a lot of reading, enjoyed MGM Studios, and today we will take in a baseball game (Houston Astros spring training). I even brought my paints along to practice. It was a great vacation for me but my husband is working almost the whole time.

Luckily, Erie will be warming up when we get home. I guess maybe winter is over.

I did get to see some famous football players live on an ESPN broadcast at the MGM Studios on Saturday. Jerry Rice (my favorite 49er from days past) Chad Johnson (wide receiver, Bengals), Tony Gonzales (Chiefs wide end), Priest Holmes (Chiefs running back). Jerry Rice was very entertaining. He even did a dance for us that he learned when he participated in "Dancing With the Stars".

The weather was so nice we walked a couple of miles every night to go out to dinner. Good weather really makes you want to exercise. I pretty much stayed on my diet except for the lobster pizza and some cheese bread, oh, and the hamburger and french fries,the lasagna probably wasn't on my diet, either. But I did walk to the restaurant. Ok, I did have some cinnamon-apple desert with ice cream at Red Lobster, but other than that.....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Music Behavior

I've read about the influence of music on children's behavior. I have seen it first hand when one of my sons was walking down the hallway of the house listening to something I can't imagine would be called music. With drumsticks in hand (he's a drummer) he was "drumming" the walls somewhat violently as he walked with head violently bobbing as if he was mad at the world. I put a stop to that. But nothing ever came of it and I'm quite proud how he turned out. When people talk about music influences, I assume they mean teenager, etc.

A couple of weeks ago we were entertaining my little nephews at my in-laws. They were starting to get bored with my lame entertaining and started to get a bit fussy. So I had this great idea to take out my new cell phone that I had just loaded a bunch of tunes onto. I tried my best to get the 2 year old's attention. "Look, look what I have!" I exclaimed and I proceeded to turn on the phone. The music started playing a fast song. He jumped up and ran at me with a smile, bobbing his head. The song was "Mess Around" by Ray Charles. He proceeded to dance and jump and suddenly, with one swoop motion, he wiped the coffee table clean of a full cup of coffe and a full can of coke. The music abruptly stopped and a race was on for the paper towels. The little one was taken away to a safer area.

I'd say even little 2 year olds can be influenced by music and lyrics. How fitting the song was "Mess Around".