Monday, June 30, 2008

It's All About Me......

Many of you that visits on a regular basis inquired about my artistic abilities after I did the last fix~up to my blog. My interest in art came about when I was in the 4th grade. We had art classes at our little school once each week. We had an art teacher, but she traveled between the schools each week. One of our first art activities was to draw circles, squares, etc. The art teacher walked around the room and looked at what everyone had drawn. When she got to me she picked up my paper and commented on how perfect my circles were. From that day on I was hooked on drawing.
There for a while I spent a lot of time on these types of line drawing. They were quick and they were fun to do. I have sketches that I did in the 60's that are very fragile now. I probably should choose the best of them and put them in frames.

When I got married the first time I put away all of my art supplies and dedicated myself to being a wife and mother. I didn't see where I would have time to be those things and be able to put much of myself into my art as well.
Before Chris was born I would take Tersie to a nearby park and while she played I would sketch. It wasn't long before Tersie was asking for pencils and paper and she started drawing too. At 4 years old she was really very good. Everything she drew was recognizable.

I put things away again when Chris was little and when he started school I started painting . I gave away everything that I ever painted, except for 1 picture. Tersie has that painting hanging on her wall. It was a painting of her and Chris playing on the beach at San Onafre. I did take a few pictures of those paintings, but the glare from the flash takes a lot away from them.

We lived in Quakertown, PA for a few years. Unlike the California schools where they love to have parents involved in the schools, I found the Quakertown public schools not wanting parent involvement. Chris was really struggling so I took him out of the public school system and put him in Catholic school. My involvement in the Catholic school was on the weekends, where I taught the sacrament classes for the children who attended public schools. It was during this time that I found a job working at Center Line Mfg. They made the little plastic dealership stick ons advertising where you bought your vehicle from. My job there was in the art department designing these stick ons. The two you see above was two that I designed. I loved that job.

Something else that I loved was working with the children during Catholic Schools Week. I taught the lower grades the art of alphabet cartooning and the older children the basics of Calligraphy. When the photographer for the local newspaper took the picture of me, he also got a shot of a couple of children in the class. When he took the picture of Chris, he had no idea that he was my son. You can click on the clipping of Chris and it should enlarge enough to read what it says.

I have always kept some form of art in my life, be it knitting, counted cross stitch, crocheting, writing, etc. The list goes on and on. Since those days when my children were small I have owned my own business creating country and primitive crafts for country gift shops in the area. I designed and cut my own stencils for wall stenciling. I stenciled many homes when I was in my 40's, climbing around on ladders like a monkey...... In the picture above, the saltbox houses stenciled above the chair rail in Chris and Melody's living room, I designed and cut that stencil. I stenciled it on their wall as a birthday gift for Melody.

I discovered a whole new outlet for my love of art when I discovered the Internet. I have created six websites over the years. That included doing my own graphics work. Much of what I learned was through the help of Tersie. She took me by the hand and led me every step of the way at first. Now is that a loving daughter or what????

My artwork has been an outlet for me over the years. The best way to describe it is like the valve on a pressure cooker. I spent the better part of my teen years shut up in my bedroom either drawing, painting or writing poetry. I truly believe that is all that made it possible for me to survive living with an abusive father. Out of sight out of mind sort of thing. Then again my artwork helped me keep my sanity through a 30 year marriage that was filled with abusive words and deeds. At times in my life I have thought that I would like to use this gift that I have been given in the field of art therapy. It never happened though and at 59 I think it is a little late to follow that dream.

What is really great is that my life on the mountain ridge with JD and my children and grandchildren within driving distance, I no longer feel "The Need" to have art a part of my life. It is a part of my life now because I enjoy it.

Thank you Betty at Betty's This and That for honoring me with the Super Commenter Award.

I was also honored by Aisha and Steven at Holley Herald by being chosen as one of their featured Blogs.

I hope that you will find time to stop by these two blogs and drop a hello or two.

Here's hoping that your week is filled with love and happiness.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bathing Suit Blues

I can't tell you how often I have struggled with stress or health issues and felt as if I was trapped in a dark pit with no way out of it. More times then not something happens, is said or I read something that brings a smile to my face. From that point on, the course of the entire day can change. I received the following story in an e-mail yesterday. With so many people planning their vacations, I thought it is a good time to post it to my blog. I have no idea who wrote it, but I can tell you it didn't just bring a smile to my face, it brightened the rest of my day. I hope it will do the same for you.

Beach Vacation by Lowell Herrero
Beach Vacation

When I was a teen in the 1960s the bathing suit for the mature figure was boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a good job.

Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice...... she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney's Fantasia or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of florescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room.

The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks as any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash. I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped
in horror.... my boobs had disappeared!

Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took awhile to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.

The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit alright, but unfortunately it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom, and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, 'Oh, there you are,' she said, admiring the bathing suit.

I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an over sized napkin in a serving ring.

I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.

I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.

I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit...a two-piece affair with a shorts style bottom and a loose blouse type top.

It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured. When I got home, I found a label which read .... 'Material might become transparent in water.'

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too I'll be the one in cut off jeans and a shirt!

'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.'

Connie at 'Over Good Ground' has requested prayers for her friend Karen who is having some health issues and is worried about the results.

Jeff at 'A Word In Edgewise' asked that we send up prayers for his Mother-in-law Maria, who was to go through surgery for the second time for breast cancer. This after the Doctors thinking they had gotten it all the first time. Please remember Jeff's wife Lisa as well. I know all too well that the loved ones of the cancer patients goes through their own private little hell.

Linds at 'Rocking Chair Reflections' has been ordered off of her feet for a while due to an injury to her knee. She has been bonding with her couch during this time.

Stacy at 'Living My Days In Hope' has been having some serious issues with her son. Please remember her family as they struggle with trying to find him the help that he needs.

Reva at 'Gifting Each Day' will be going to Denver for a medical procedure next week.

If I have forgotten anyone please know that it wasn't intentional. Hopefully you will stop by these blogs and offer some support and a few words of encouragement, as well as remember these special people in your prayers.

Yesterday morning we headed down the back side of the mountain as we had a few errands to run. When we finished about 4 PM we made a big circle and was met with this when we reached the bottom of the front side of the mountain. We were told that about 9 AM the loaded log truck in the picture either lost control of his truck or his brakes failed and it demolished the barn in the following picture. The driver was taken to the hospital. We haven't heard anything on his condition.

This barn usually houses a horse, but it had been turned out to pasture before the crash. There were two cows in the barn when the truck ran into it. They found one of the cows dead under the fallen barn. This is the second incident within a month due to the none stop logging that they are doing here on the mountain. The last one they felled a tree on the power lines causing a transformer to blow. We were out of electricity for around 12 hours. I think someone is trying to tell them something. What do you think?

Hope your day is exceptional!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Letters From Home

I received a special request from Kentucky Woman which I am passing along to everyone reading this. Below is a link from a Marines blog post. All that I ask, no more than what we all do every day. Please sit down and give maybe 10 minutes out of your day to write an e-mail to Marines who are in the Middle East. The same ones putting their lives on the line for each and everyone of us. No matter what your stand is on the war in Iraq, we all need to show our troops that we support them and are behind them all of the way. Just click here ->One Marine's View<- to get the info.

Thank you to Pea for the memento of Faerie Day. I hope if you haven't been to Pea's Corner before, that you will drop by and tell her hello. She'll make you feel right at home.

Before I close this post I want to share with you pictures of our new bird feeder that came to us from our friends Shirley and A.J. I think it is just about the best thing to come along since sliced bread. There is a mesh screen across the bottom of the seat that holds the seed. Shirley and A.J. came to visit last summer and they enjoyed watching our herds of birds while they were here. J.D. and A.J. worked together in Louisiana before they both retired. Great big thank yous for this wonderful gift that you made for us A.J. I might add the birds love it. They were perched on the swing filling their little tummies within 10 minutes of hanging it out. Now I am waiting for them to start singing, "Just A Swingin".

Have a great rest of the day! I've got a meat loaf to bake!! {{{yum}}}

Monday, June 23, 2008

Meaningful Monday

Black Pottery Typical of Oaxaca Area, Mexico, North America by Robert Harding
Black Pottery Typical of Oaxaca Area, Mexico, North America

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. 'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?' 'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.' 'For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

I hadn't done a 'Meaningful Monday' for some time now and thought this one to be a good choice. I know it has been around the block more than a few times, but the message is one that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Whispered Secrets by Betsy Cameron
Whispered Secrets

As I was starting to fix supper last night the phone rang. J.D. handed it over to me and it was Tersie on the other end. She just simply said, "Please tell me to go home." There was something in her voice that told me something is very wrong. Still I tried a wee bit of humor just in case I was reading something into her voice that wasn't there (I have been known to do that). So I replied, "OK, go home." The silence on the other end told me that I had not been wrong about the trouble I sensed. I then started my questioning of what was wrong and where is she. I could feel her fear as she told her story. It seems that she was on her way home from work traveling her usual route, a four lane road with a turn lane to separate them. She was in the process of passing an SUV when she noticed a car zig~zagging between the two south bound lanes going north and coming straight toward her and the SUV. It seems the SUV was as puzzled as Tersie was and didn't know what to do, because every time Tersie slowed to drop behind it, the driver of the SUV slowed as well. Almost at the last minute the north bound car got back into it's proper lanes. The closest place to get off after that was the entrance to a state forest. There is a lookout point there and that is where Tersie stopped. She said she had been setting there shaking and crying for a little while and just couldn't bring herself to start the car up and continue home.

Of course I showered her with my motherly concern and then with my all knowing wisdom. I told her that I thought she could feel pretty certain that the rest of her trip home should be a safe one. To my way of thinking if yesterday had been her day to die, it would have happened due to a north bound car traveling in a south bound lane. Just from personal experience I believe that what she had just experienced was indeed a wake up call of some sort. So many times God whispers in my ear and I hear him, but keep on keeping on. Then He whispers again and He gets the same response from me. Eventually He takes the only path that is sure to work and takes me by the shoulders and looks me in the eyes and says"Read my Lips!" With that I open my eyes and my mind and things start to click in place. Which always ends with me saying,"Ohhh yeah, that was the message."

Tersie continued her journey and arrived home safely. I hope that she will see what happened as a wake up call to what ever it is that she needs to give more thought and action to. I'm sure she will.

J.D. has been busy as a beaver cutting and stacking firewood for next winter. He has quite a bit put up..... Shhhhh don't tell him, but when he wasn't looking I took a little peek. He is indeed the modern day mountain man. He works so hard around here and is proud of all that he does, as well he should be. I am just as proud of what he has accomplished and continues to do here. I am glad that we have the home that we do. It isn't unusual for him to work outside with something physical all day and then come in, shower, have supper and offer to do the dishes if I have had a bad fibro day. I have heard of so many men that retire and have nothing physical to challenge them and after working so hard to earn that retirement they die shortly after retiring. I give thanks every day for this wonderful man that I married.

We made a trip to our neighborly Amish store today. It is only about 10 miles from us. I got the fixins for a salad, tomatoes included and string beans and new potatoes to fix for Sunday dinner. I love their produce and the lunch meats that they have. The line for the lunch meat and cheese counter was a mile long and I just didn't want to stand in a long line today. Besides, who needs lunch meat when you have big red juicy tomatoes. Guess what I had for supper....!! It wouldn't take a lot for me to become a vegetarian. Hope everyone that has been needing rain is getting some of that much needed moisture. We are starting to get some of the rain we were promised for today. I won't complain that it is too much when there are those without. Have a great rest of the weekend.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Wrap Up

This has been a relatively good day. I would say that I am finished with my little tweaks, changes and touches to 'Moodscapes'. I owe a great big "Thank You" to Tammy at 'Honest To Ya~Ya' for stepping in and giving me the guidance and links that I needed to get the job done. Thank You Tammy for the helping hand.

It seems as if this is good news Friday. I know that many of you are visiters to 'Second Time Around'. Hope has been going through a really rough time of it and has been away from her computer and blogging for quite some time now. When I saw on my reader today that she had posted, I wasted no time dropping by to welcome her back. I just wanted to share this with those that don't use the reader.

Now one last thing for today...... I have been looking for a song to add to my play list and can not for the life of me remember the name of the song or the artist that sang it. Now are you ready?.............This is what I remember of the the song it tells about a couple that went through the years together and she died before him. It tells about their plan to meet with each other, but when he reached their meeting place she wasn't there. Instead there was a note asking him to wait for her, she will meet him when her chores are through. Can anyone with a memory better than mine recall the name of the song and artist? I will certainly be grateful for anyone passing on that info.

Well that's it for now folks. Wishing you all a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I have officially changed the name of my blog from 'Bits and Pieces' to 'Moodscapes'
where you will discover through my postings the many moods of me. Somewhere between the last post that I made and today, I seem to have misplaced a day. If you find it laying around someplace, please return it to me. I have spent this entire day messing around with this blog. I got my banner made and saved with no problem. I played around with the different templates and found one that I liked. Then I tried to apply my own tiled background image. This is where I ran into trouble. I just can't get it to take. No doubt what ever I have done wrong is something minor and I am just overlooking it when I am trying to find the problem. This has had me banging my head on the key board all day.

If there is anyone out there that can take a look at it and point out my error, I sure would appreciate it.

I received an e-mail yesterday with a poem attached that dealt with a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. The subject was concerns the plight of so many abused and neglected dogs. We have domesticated the dog to the point where we think and sometimes expect them to act more like us and less like their ancestors, not so far removed, the wolf. Some areas have made it legal to hunt the wolves now and it has become quite a sport. Perhaps it is because of the beliefs of my ancestors that I disagree with the hunting of wolves. When my ancestors hunted they made use of all of the animal that they killed, such as food, clothing and tools....etc. How many of those hunters are going to using those wolves as food? I know that everyone has their own opinion on this and I am not trying to force what I believe on anyone.

"There's never been a documented case of a healthy wild wolf killing or seriously injuring a person in North America."
excerpt from: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" -- Revisited
By L. David Mech

I found this to be a very interesting article. I encourage everyone to take an active interest in what is happening to these beautiful creatures. Like many animals of the wild they are slowly being squeezed out of their homes as we continue to take more and more of their wild lands and clear them and build on them, making what was once the territory of the deer, bear and wolf our backyard. How can anyone look at a picture of a wolf and not see their own little lovable mutt.....

Prison Bars
by Karen Evans
In memory of Contessa

These prison bars I sit behind
From which there is no escape.
Why didn't I get a second chance
But, now it is too late.

I tried to live my master's way
To put instincts aside.
To disobey meant punishment
And oh, how hard I tried.

I didn't mean to trash the house
I did it just for fun.
It's boring being in the house
With no place I can run.

And when I got to go outdoors
He put me on a chain.
I'd run around in circles
Till he'd come out again.

Uh oh, he found the hole I dug
I did it to stay cool.
He beat me with his balled up fists
Oh, why is he so cruel?

My tail tucked between my legs
I'm so scared that I pee.
It doesn't matter what I do
He's just so hard to please.

He doesn't even like the song
I howl every night.
He yells "shut up", and out he comes
To start another fight.

I'm battered, bruised and all alone
Is this how life should be?
When all I wanted was his love
And true acceptance of me.

For I can't help the way I am
At times I feel so strange.
I guess I'm like my ancestors
That once had roamed the range.

So, here I sit on death row
Trapped behind these bars.
Soon to be a spirit
Free amongst the stars.

I guess I'll never understand
The punishment that he,
Gave me each and every day
For me just being me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
~ Pope John XXIII

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection. ~ Sigmund Freud

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.

~Author Unknown

There's one sad truth in life I've found

While journeying east and west -

The only folks we really wound

Are those we love the best.

We flatter those we scarcely know,

We please the fleeting guest,

And deal full many a thoughtless blow

To those who love us best.

~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I grew up with a father that was seriously overlooked when the parenting skills were passed out. Yet, for all that he lacked as a father, I couldn't have asked for a better grandfather for my children than what he proved to be. I used to have a complete series of feelings that would surface with every thought of him. They ranged from hate, anger, pain, disgust and even jealousy. Yes, you read it right..... 'jealousy' . I was so jealous of other people's children because he was always so sweet and tender with them, as I stood there watching and crying inside because he never showed his own children that side of him. He died 29 years ago and I mourned for the father I never got to have.

I gave my children the ultimate gift of a father that was the carbon copy of my father. Now I ask you, how thoughtful is that? Instead of leaving him the many times that I wanted to, I waited until Tersie and Chris were grown and on their own before I grew that all important backbone and walked out the door. I have to tell you, I carried a lot of regrets and guilt for not leaving him when my children were small. I am reminded time and time again, that when it is said that a person is 'a product of their upbringing', it isn't necessarily a bad thing. I used my father as an example of the parent I didn't want to become. I watch Tersie and Chris' parenting skills and know that the same is true for them.

With that said, I need to tell you that I was blessed the day that JD became a part of my life. He is the caring loving father my children never had. He was already the father of 4 children from his first marriage, now he is the father of 6.

I have a special request of all the dads out there that may read this post. Please be the kind of father to your children that you would have liked to have had or the the loving father that you had (if you were fortunate enough to have that kind of father).


Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Milestone In My Life

Tomorrow I will be not only celebrating Father's Day with JD, but I will be celebrating an important milestone of my own too. Tomorrow will mark the day, one year ago when I found the strength to lay the cigarettes down and walk away. I still find myself thinking about a cigarette from time to time when I feel stressed. It really is just a matter of seconds though and the thought is gone. I haven't regretted it one time since I quit. I was really quite hooked on smoking. I had my routine as to when I smoked...... First thing in the morning I had to have those cigarettes with my coffee. I needed the smokes to read the mail. Meal time included a cigarette before I started cooking, as well as a few trips outside for a smoke while the food was cooking. After the meals the food just didn't digest right unless I smoked a cigarette. When I wanted a snack I would often substitute that urge with a cigarette. Then of course who can go to bed at night without first having a cigarette to help unwind. There were any number of other things that would require a cigarette as well. I tried to stop smoking several times before without success. I wish I could tell you that I did it on sheer will power alone, but I didn't. My family doctor wrote a prescription for me for Chantix with several refills. I am proud to say that I quit without any refills. I give JD a lot of credit for enabling me to quit. He was once a smoker and quit without the any aids, just plain old fashioned will power. He freely praised me for my efforts and told me time and time again that he is always willing and ready with any support that I need. He cheered me on as I went.

I wanted to share some more pictures of the beauty that surrounds us on the mountain ridge. This is just a sampling of the wild honeysuckle that we have growing all around the property. It is heavenly to smell that sweet aroma of the honeysuckle in the evening and as we drift off to sleep at night.

Year before last I decided to start planting perennials, so eventually I can just do my plant clean up in the fall and sit back and enjoy the flowers in the spring with the least effort. I planted these Coreopsis in an old metal wash tub. Talk about a hardy and easy to care for plant..... this would be the one. Not only is it all that, but it's dainty little flowers are a sight to behold.

JD found this little fellow wandering around in the yard just outside of bedroom door this morning. While JD was telling me I needed to take a look at it, I was grabbing the camera. I had figured out a few years ago that living where we do, we will see quite a parade of different animals over time. This little guy was quite a nice surprise though.

He either had a moment of being camera shy or she needed to powder her nose. I always thought that turtles lived close to water. Someone please correct me if I am wrong on that. We have run off here on the mountain of rain and snow , but no streams, creeks or lakes up this high. There is no permanent standing water up here.

We figure this little guy did some traveling to get here. Either that or a water spout picked him up and he fell out of a cloud with some of this rain we have been having. If that is the case then it not only rains cats and dogs, but a few turtles too.


I have decided to change the name of my blog to "Moodscapes". The change won't take place until next week some time though. This is just a heads up so you won't think you have somehow ended up on the wrong blog when you come to visit.

Have a wonderful weekend!