Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

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Easter sure snuck up on me this year. It always feels strange when Easter arrives in March, but if not for seeing my sweet Easter basket this morning that Mom made for me, along with her dying a few eggs last night.... (of course you can't ever be too old for an Easter basket and colored eggs! What are ya thinking?).... Easter would have come and gone and I wouldn't even have known it.

For weeks now, we've been running ourselves into the ground getting the house ready to put on the market. I feel like I'm 90 years old.

So since we've been so busy getting the house ready, packing boxes and carting them to "the farm" (more on that later)... I'm sad to confess that I never put up our Easter decorations. Since I failed at that this year, here are older photos of some of them.


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What? Doesn't everyone give their holiday figurines names?

We do the same with our snowmen at Christmas.

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Named after the rabbit in Jimmy Stewart's movie classic, Harvey, meet ELWOOD P. DOWD. (And I'm pleased to announce that that hideous blue dinosaur-sized bow is no longer a part of his wardrobe. It was just too dandy for Mr. Elwood P).

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creativity Fairy Wanted


If it's true that creativity takes courage, then color me a spineless... lily-livered... yellow... gutless weak-kneed wimp from the Land of Wimpania.

Just call me the cowardly lion.


Thankfully, I don't have to befriend Tin Man and Company to find my courage. My fear is actually quite a puny molehill, only I've made it comparable to those mountains that we see The Fellowship traversing in Middle Earth.

For years I've always wanted to be able to draw. I'm pretty obsessed with artwork, and there came a time when I needed an intervention of sorts in order to take down some of the pictures hanging on my bedroom wall.

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Really, I had it baaad.

I even remember, back in my senior year of high school, when we were given an assignment that had to incorporate something along the lines of adventure. (I think that was it. My memory isn't what it used to be). I remember creating two drawings. The first was Garfield as Indiana Jones. The setting for his adventure was above an active volcano. My other drawing was Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Now, I was one of the least artistic students in this class. Let me confess to this right now. (Rambling Note: I was even worse at sewing in Home Economics. When I was making a tote bag I had to come into class, before school started, to work on it because I was so behind. When I handed it to my teacher for a quick inspection, she eagle-eyed it and said, with actual despair in her voice, "Oh, Kristin." She then got out the seam ripper, which was a tool I was on intimate terms with).

And forget about paper mache. was that a nightmare. A true embarrassment. It was pathetic. I tried to make a knight, but none of his body parts would stick together. In fact, his body parts were hardly recognizable. It looked like a pinata that had been attacked by a group of schoolchildren at a birthday party.

The Black Knight in Monty Python looked far superior.

But back to my Garfield and Mickey Mouse drawings----
I was pretty proud of them. I worked really hard on them. I was never stressed over them, but I did become a little OCD on making them as good as I possibly could.

Still, that didn't stop one of the other gals that sat at my table from announcing, and with confidence, that I must have traced those pictures.

TRACED those pictures.

TRACED those pictures!!!!!!!

Let me tell ya, that kind of pissed me off. It certainly frustrated me, but I comforted myself with the knowledge that this girl's brain must have been comprised of a sackful of ferrets because DID SHE NOT SEE HOW MUCH I USED THE ERASER ON GARFIELD AND MICKEY?!

I still have those two drawings, although over the years they have acquired a lot of smudging since they were charcoal pencil drawings.

Several years later I decided to give art another go. I only did a few random sketches. I copied an illustration or two from "The Secret Garden," a painting in one of my Tasha Tudor art books, and then a drawing of my Beatrix Potter figurine of Hunca Munca.

I was actually really proud of these, too, so I figured that learning to draw in a school setting just wasn't my thing. I didn't like being told what to draw, and then being graded on it.

By a football coach. Photobucket

Through the wonderful world of Pinterest, I came across this gem of a quote:

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~ Rumi

Time will tell if Rumi is full of hot air, but I'm gonna give this drawing gig yet another go. I'm just going to have to keep reminding myself of these key things:

1). It doesn't have to be perfect. It's plain old common sense that that just isn't going to happen to a newbie anyway. Hell no is some artistic genius going to emerge when it never did before.

2). Another quote: "Comparison is the thief of joy."

I don't know who was the first bloke to say this, but I know it to be true.

3). Like Nike, JUST DO IT! (I really hate myself for citing that overused slogan). Stop being such a scaredy cat. While it's true that I'm tired of trying and failing/falling short in my creative endeavors, I really need to chill out and march into that battle anyway. It's not like I haven't done it countless times before.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

"I can't believe I'm in love with a leprechaun."


In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, did you eat a bowl of magically delicious Lucky Charms for dinner?

Are you wearing your GREEN today? We have Irish in our family, so I showed off my Shamrock earrings... at Krogers.

Yeah, that's the only place I went. Kroger, and then the drive thru at McDonald's to try a Shamrock Shake for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I l-o-v-e-d it! The only thing missing were shavings of Ande's chocolate on top of the whipped cream.

When we got home I helped Mom make Shrimp Gumbo, took Abby outside to pull up more weeds again (the lass is obsessed), played rescuer to a lizard that almost got eaten by my cat, and now I'm watching my Hubba-Hubba-Wham-Bam-Yowza Scottish Hunk Gerry Butler on tv.

P.S. I Love You is on.

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Such a sad, yet really funny movie. (The landscape in Ireland is gorgeous, too).

This movie was so interesting to see at the movie theater. People were crying and laughing non stop. The lady sitting in front of me cried over one scene for the longest time after it was over, and the men in the theater provided a lot of entertainment. I can't tell you how many coughs I heard, all from men, trying to mask their unmanly tears.


Symbols and Folklore


It is said the St. Patrick Died on March 17th, hence we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on this date.

St. Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat and he was born in Scotland (not Ireland!) around 385 A.D.

Leprechauns are the official shoe makers of the fairy kingdom.

Shamrock is the national flower of Ireland.

The Christian Church of Ireland was founded by St. Patrick.

It is said that St. Patrick died at the age of 79 in 464 A.D.

St Patty’s Traditions


The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737. It was first celebrated publicly in the U.S. in Boston.

On St. Patrick’s Day, in Chicago the rivers are dyed green.

Green is affiliated with St. Patrick’s Day because it is the color of Spring.

On St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland people traditionally wear small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps.

If you are caught without wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll be pinched!

Traditional St Patrick’s Day food includes, Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, and of course, Guinness.



Legends about Patrick


Many of the stories about Patrick are based only on legends.

One of the best known tales tells how he charmed the snakes of Ireland into the sea so that they drowned. Different tales tell of his standing upon a hill, and using a wooden staff, drove the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from the shores of Ireland. One legend says that one old snake resisted, but the saint overcame it by cunning. He is said to have made a box and invited the reptile to enter. The snake insisted the box was too small and the discussion became very heated. Finally the snake entered the box to prove he was right, whereupon St Patrick slammed the lid and cast the box into the sea. While it is true there are no snakes in Ireland, chances are that there never have been snakes since the time the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the ice age. As in many old pagan religions serpent symbols were common, and possibly even worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was most likely symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice.

According to another tale, Patrick used a three-leaf shamrock to illustrate the idea of the Trinity. Many people believe the shamrock came to be the traditional symbol of Ireland as a result of this legend. Today, his feast day, March 17th is celebrated as a national holiday in Ireland.

St. Patrick also introduced the Roman alphabet and Latin literature into Ireland. After his death, about 461AD, Irish monasteries flourished as centers of learning.

Compton's Encyclopedia adds that despite a constant threat to his life, Patrick traveled widely, baptizing, confirming, preaching and building churches and monasteries. Patrick succeeded in converting almost the entire population of the island. His "Epistola" pleads the case of the Christian Irish at the hands of their British conquerors. Patrick's writings have come to be appreciated for their simplicity and humility.

The Shamrock


The shamrock (at one called the "Searoy" is a type of small herb with leaves made up of three leaflets, and is the common name for any of several three-leafed clovers native to Ireland. The Irish have considered shamrocks as good luck symbols since earliest times, and today many people of other nationalities have adopted that belief. It has become the national symbol of Ireland, because of the legend that St. Patrick used it to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity.

Preaching in the open air on the doctrine of the trinity, he is said to have illustrated the existence of the Three in One by plucking a shamrock from the grass growing at his feet and showing it to his congregation. It symbolizes the cross and blessed trinity.

The legend of the shamrock is also connected with that of the banishment of the serpent tribe from Ireland by a tradition that snakes are never seen on trefoil and that it is a remedy against the stings of snakes and scorpions. The trefoil in Arabia is called shamrakh and was sacred in Iran as an emblem of the Persian triads. The trefoil, as noted above, being a sacred plant among the Druids, and three being a mystical number in the Celtic religion as well as all others, it is probable that St. Patrick must have been aware of the significance of his illustration.

The Leprechaun


The Leprechaun is an Irish fairy. He looks like a small, old man (about 2 feet tall), often dressed like a shoemaker,with a cocked hat and a leather apron. According to legend, leprechauns are aloof, unfriendly, live alone, and pass their time making shoes. They also possess a hidden pot of gold. Treasure hunters can often track down a leprechaun by the sound of his shoemaker's hammer. If caught, he can be forced (with the threat of bodily violence) to reveal the location of his treasure, but the captor must keep their eyes on him every second. If the captor's eyes leave the leprechaun (and he often tricks them into looking away), he vanishes and all hopes of finding the treasure are lost. Legend has it that you can find the leprechaun and his pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sleep, Play, Play, Play, Repeat


~ Max Eastman, Enjoyment of Laughter Photobucket

Guess where I am.... again.

If you know me, or are psychic I suppose, you've probably guessed that I'm sitting outside with Abby. If you did think that, you've won the grand prize of being right!

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And that's it for the prize, sorry. You were right, the end. There will be no Snicker's bars, Starbuck's gift card, Spring flowers from Trader Joe's, or a box of Shipley Donut's. (Erhm... if I even had donuts I wouldn't be sharing them with anyone, no matter how much I liked them).

Abby has been OBSESSED with the good old outdoors lately. Her newly discovered outside activity is being a grass catcher. And when I say grass catcher, I mean this literally. See for yourself.



We were out here earlier, playing her favorite game, but this time I decided to have some Me-Time on the laptop. Unfortunately, it isn't very relaxing because Abby is pacing in circles on the patio. It feels like I'm watching her detox off caffeine.

I guess I've spoiled her these past few days. Unless one of the other dogs - Maddie usually, as Izzy is an indoors diva - is out here with her, she expects me to be her playmate. If I'm not sitting on the ground, throwing grass at her for her to catch she doesn't know what to do with herself.

But how can I say no to this sweet face?


Abby isn't only obsessed with the sport of grass catching. She's also enamored with the herbs we just bought from the garden center. We planted mint, and then lemon thyme I believe.

Abby and myself both l-o-v-e the lemon! I have to watch her like a hawk around it because she tries to pull up the entire plant in one big bite.


I almost forgot to mention that we came up with a new nickname for Abby. All our girls have really long names, and I really felt like Abby should have one, too. (She used to be my brother's dog, so that's why her name was so short).

Since gardening and the outdoors seems to run through her veins, first we thought of incorporating "Calamity Jane" or "(Samwise) Gamgee," but then we thought of something that sounded even more fitting.
Abigail Annie Oakley. Photobucket



For the longest time the bluebirds and black-capped chickadees both were making this their home, but in the end the bluebirds came out on top.


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I'm not a fan of rants, but sometimes ya just gotta!

1). I miss seeing our birds eating on the back porch. Since we had to take the porch cover down, that darn hawk has been hanging around. It killed one of our doves last week, and only this afternoon I saw it circling over the neighborhood. It was really close.

We've since started feeding the birds on the side of the brick wall, since it's canopied by tall bushes. They haven't been going after the seed much since we started that, but I'm not taking any chances on losing another bird.

2). This next complaint speaks for itself.


Okay, I think I suck at ranting. Epic Fail.



This brings back memories of high school. I'm not really a big Jim Carrey fan, but this is pretty hilarious. Photobucket

"Vanilla Ice" had a really amazing home renovation show a couple years ago. I wonder if it's still airing? I think he only renovated mansions. I only saw 2 or 3 episodes, but I enjoyed each one.


Whew! Did anyone read this entire post?

If so, CONGRATULATIONS and here's your major award!


I hope you didn't expect a leg lamp like in "A Christmas Story."