Thursday, August 26, 2010

Around the Corner

Those dog days of August are nearing an end. Temperatures here in Stokes County have been nice and cool during the night, and this morning I woke up to a refreshing 62 degrees. Ahhhhh. Our crabapple tree already thinks that autumn is here; it has dropped most of its leaves which lay in a golden puddle against the still green grass. And while I am not necessarily enjoying the dusk settling in earlier and earlier and the days becoming shorter, I am not missing at all the repressive heat that we experienced for the last couple of months.

Here are a few of my favorite pre-autumn finds on Etsy. As always, follow the links for a closer view.

I simply love this sweet acorn-adorned bowl by TinaFrancisDesigns...

One of my favorite Etsian artists, AmberAlexander, who showcases lots of animals...

One of my favorite jewelers, kathiroussel, showcasing a to-die-for necklace. For those who are vintage lovers Kathi also has a wonderful vintage shop...

Ver cool and earthy Twig Earrings by SwanRiverStone...

Love this scarf with all its lovely fringe by none other than Fringe...

Thick, luxurious washcloths or dishcloths by Easy123. I have some of her work in both my kitchen and bathroom, and I strongly recommend these cloths if you want to get away from commercially made cloths or sponges...

Aren't these the sweetest hair adornments ever? By littlebrownbird...

And of course there has to be a bird here... this sculptural bird in a box by lorinichols... LOVE it!!

And these wonderful felted acorns, which you can also see in the opening photo. I'll be purchasing more from fairyfolk to continue adorning my twigs for my autumn table decoration.

Enjoy the end of summer, spend time in your garden or walking through the park, sing loudly, and celebrate love!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Seventeen days ago... that was my last post. There are a couple important reasons for that. First, my computer crashed. And second, once that happened, I began reassessing some things. I have decided that I truly do not like computers. I know they are necessary for keeping your art out there, maintaining websites and online stores, promoting your work, and also for staying in touch with some distant friends. But oh my gosh, I do get tired of working at the computer, especially during the warm weather months when I'm much more inclined to create and to be outside, gardening, harvesting, playing with the dogs, or just bird- and lizard-watching. I know that the more time I spend on the computer, the less time I am actually creating and being present in the lives of my family and friends. And I do not want a machine to control how I spend my time.

So I have been doing more creating, more song-writing, more music practice, more reading, and more of almost everything else over the past couple of weeks. I haven't checked blogs (and honestly, there are some that I have really missed!), I haven't made treasuries on Etsy, I haven't listed too many things in Etsy, I haven't posted much on Etsy team threads or on Facebook, and I haven't sent many emails. Have I suffered much from that? Nope. Not really. It's true that I haven't made many online sales either. But I haven't had much luck in that area all year, really.

How I will use this lesson I am not sure yet. I know that when winter rolls around again, I will probably hibernate more and thus spend more time with online friends via emails, blogs, FB, treasuries, and threads, but for now, I think I will try to limit my computer time to an hour or so a day. And that time is just about up for today.

But before I sign off for the present, here are some images to prove that I actually have been working on art, both visual and musical, although I can't show you the musical work here (you'll just have to trust me when I say there are several songs at various points in progress). The painting above had been sitting in my studio, half completed for quite some time. So I finally got around to finishing it up and listing it on Etsy. And below are the newest scrimshaw pieces. A couple have been listed; the others will be soon.

Under the Sea bookmark, complete with fun lampworked glass fish and disc beads...

Dance of Life necklace with beautiful boro glass bead in garden colors, on leather...

Flutterbys and Ferns pendant, on flexible black wire with freshwater pearls and crystals...

Butterflies bookmark with aqua lampworked glass bead...

Ear Birds earrings, on sterling silver with autumn-colored lampworked glass beads and Swarovski crystals...

Sing to Me bookmark with aqua and brown porcelain bead and river stone lampworked glass bead...

Be patient with me... if you're looking for blog posts or if you're looking for my comments on your blogs. Trust me when I say that I value my online friends and that I think of you often, because I truly do. And when time allows, I will be visiting your blogs and I'll be adding new posts here. Until then, hug the ones you love, dance in the candlelight, sing a little song, and breathe the fresh air. That's what I'll be doing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oh Hummingbird

The hummingbirds have been flocking here since late last week. On Monday afternoon, no fewer than 12 were hovering around, awaiting a chance to get to the feeder. I sat and watched them up close for about an hour that afternoon. I took a few pictures, but eventually gave that up for the simple pleasure of focused seeing and hearing those wings and chirps.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Magical Day

Monday dawned with gray skies and drizzle. Another dreary day... with no indication of what was in store for us.

My husband left at 8:00 to take a bike ride to the State Park just a ways down the road, and I had my coffee and posted on the blog about the past week and listed a few new things in the Etsy shop. Around 10:00, Abby and Empi started barking and rushed to the front sliding doors, a signal that John was coming up the driveway. But when I looked out the window, he was coming from the woods and through the yard... very strange. Then the dogs took off up the stairs to the window which overlooks the back side of our property, and they were squealing with alarm and concern. I took a look, and there in the back yard was a black dog.

We all rushed back down the stairs just as John was poking his head in the door and calling for Abby. I went out with her and John led her to the back yard to meet the stranger who was in the fence there. As they sniffed and circled and met each other, John told me the story. He'd seen this dog a few times over the weekend, thinking at one point that she was dead because she'd lain in the same spot for hours on end without moving. But today she was hanging around some construction guys who are working on a new building between our road and the park. He wheeled up on his bike and asked what they knew about her; not much, they said. He looked her over, petted her, and immediately, there was a bond because as he rode off, she followed him home, no short distance.

She seemed just a wee bit thin, and we gave her some food on the porch and talked about what to do. We decided to take some Found Dog flyers down to the houses close to the park to see if anyone would claim her. But first, we introduced her to Empi, who normally is fairly territorial (though this is only her home away from home), but there were no problems at all. Seems that Empi and Abby would both accept her without any trouble, and she was very accepting of them too. She even does quite well with our cat, Scout, who has rubbed up against her and gotten a kiss. Next we gave her a bath, cleaned off all the mud and dirt, and inspected the scars in many locations on her body. She's got a bad limp and it appears that her right shoulder may have been broken somehow and healed without surgery.

A few hours later, after a nap and lunch, John headed down the road with the flyers, and he found the owner at the house where he'd first seen the dog over the weekend. The man said that he'd planned to move into town soon and didn't want to take "Ladybird" with him. He said she's about 8 months old, has never had shots or been to the vet, so of course she also hasn't been spayed. He said she is part Pit Bull, part Boxer, and part Lab. She'd had a brother who was larger than she, but he'd been hit and killed by a car. When John asked about her injuries, the guy said he didn't know anything about them. He was more than happy to leave her in our care.

She is definitely not a dog we would have picked out at the shelter, not a breed or mix we'd be inclined to search out, but it seems clear to me that "Ladybird" picked us out, that she found us. I believe she knew where she wasn't wanted and knew where she would be loved and cared for.

Last winter, when Bruschi died and I'd posted about the sadness and grief of that experience, one of my followers wrote this: "Our kindred spirits never go far from us in this universe, Bruschi will be watching over you and when his spirit is ready he will be at your side again in fur form." I could not help but think of this as, on Monday afternoon in the drizzle, I went out to pick blueberries, and our new dog came out to the bushes and sniffed around, happily eating the berries I offered her, wiggling her whole body with delight. Then she laid down and patiently waited for me to finish. That evening, when I was cooking dinner, I looked up the stairs and found her laying at the very top, with her paws draped over the edge, surveying the goings-on in the kitchen. Let me tell you, I got a bit teary-eyed because that is just what Bruschi used to do.

Tuesday morning, we finally reached a consensus on her new name. I simply could not live with "Ladybird", so we chose Cooper, and it seems to suit her. She has easily made her way into her new home. She likes to go up the hill with John to the shop, and she lays there, quite content just to be near him, while he works; occasionally she'll wander back down to the house alone and ask to come in. She has no inclination to leave, and it's a marvel at how well suited she is for us and we are for her. At bedtime, she has her own bed upstairs with us and Abby and Empi, and all three dogs sleep peacefully through the night. Yesterday I bought her a collar and leash, as well as her own puppy food (Blue Buffalo... natural and holistic without all the crap and fillers that most commercial dog foods have; it's what we finally started buying for the adults dogs when Bruschi was sick and needed less protein and better food), and tomorrow she'll take her first car ride to the vet where she'll get her shots and an appointment for spaying.

Last week was a hard week... full of fear, pain, emotional issues. So I'm very thankful and feel quite blessed that this week is balancing out with light, life, and love. Amen and amen.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

MIA... or where I have been

Life can throw a whole lotta crap at you, all in one fell swoop. You're rolling along, things are going just fine, you're enjoying your life... and then BAM! One phone call and your heart skips a beat or two, your ears are filled with thunderous sound, and your life isn't your own.

A week ago, my youngest son called me to say that his older brother was in the hospital after a serious bicycle accident. He'd fractured his skull, had a subdural hematoma, a broken collarbone, and a cracked rib. He'd been in the emergency room for several hours, a friend having called an ambulance after the wreck, and was headed to ICU. Needless to say, my husband and I jumped in the car and made the first of many hour-long drives into the hospital. My stomach was in knots, my thoughts were going to places I didn't want to be, and though I told myself to control the tears... well, I just couldn't co-operate. When we found our son in that curtained and darkened space, the tears started flowing. He tried to reassure me, but you know that words can't always soothe the fear, and the emotions just have to get out.

By the time we left the ICU that evening, after the nurses told us to go home, that they would take good care of our son, we'd talked with the neurosurgeon and I felt much more encouraged. Not only did our son have the injuries listed above, but he'd also bruised his brain in a second location and fractured his sinus cavity which could lead to other issues. BUT... the doctor felt that because he'd been fairly clear and coherent throughout the day, he'd make it through just fine. Our son was in the ICU through Tuesday night, and then he was moved into a regular room for another day. He was released on Thursday morning and so far, so good.

I am extremely thankful for my youngest son who got to the ER as soon as he heard the news and who took charge, asked and answered questions, and listened to everything so that he could fill us in. He also had his brother come home with him after his release from the hospital and tended to him for a couple days during his early recovery. It makes a mother proud!!

So you think that's enough? I sure did... but NO! My dad called on Tuesday afternoon to tell me that my step-mother was heading to the other hospital. She'd been wearing a heart monitor and when the results were read, the doctor reported that her fatigue, her shortness of breath, and her all-around discomfort were due to the fact that her heart was beating only 10 times per minute. Okay... with news like that, it's a wonder she was still breathing at all! So on Wednesday, we traveled into and across town to visit our two family members who were in not so great shape in two different hospitals. It was a very long day following three very long days... and did I mention stressful?

My step-mother had a pacemaker implanted on Friday afternoon, so we were back at the hospital for the afternoon. When we arrived, we found our youngest son sitting in the room with his grandparents. The surgery was a great success, and my step-mother is doing well. In no time, I hope, she will be feeling better than ever and able to get back to a normal life without feeling so tired all the time. My dad is much relieved, for sure!

One week of living like that is enough for me. So many heavy burdens, so little sleep, so many emotions, and so little control over any of it. I was reminded of many things this week, not the least of which is that life takes its twists and turns and I ain't the driver. I can't control the events of life. Accepting that fact sooner than later makes living just a wee bit easier in the sense that when a hard turn comes up, you just lean into it, steel yourself for what's round the bend, and do the best you can. But knowing it and doing it... two very different things.

And yes, lots of other lessons and reminders came along this week, but I'll deal with those later. One thing at a time.

So that hummingbird up there at the top of the post? On Friday morning, during a rare few minutes alone, I sat on the deck in the sunshine, warming my tired bones and getting energized for the day, and enjoyed the many hummingbirds who were jousting for a spot at the feeder. Those little souls move at a very fast pace, and though they sometimes hovered only a foot away from me, I couldn't quite catch them in focus with the camera. But their mid-air dancing and swooping and chasing and chirping remains focused in my mind and serves to remind me of both the simplicity and the complexity of this waltz of life.