Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samhain

From the Working Stiff and The Ninja, have a Happy Halloween. Oh, and wish Ink a happy birthday. He's 13 years old today.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Friday Five

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. I love the spooky decorations, the costumes, and of course, the candy.  Five Halloween memories:

1. My ma was a seamstress. When I was six, she made me an Indian princess costume. She sewed a fringed dress out of suede. The suede was pink. I wanted to wear The Brother's Robin Hood costume which he had outgrown. I didn't win the argument.

2. One year, The Brother decided he was going to go trick or treating across the entire town. He had a pillowcase, and he wasn't going home until the pillowcase was full. It was pouring buckets that year, as it did most Halloweens I remember. Ma must have made Dad drive us around trick or treating. We were on Bacon Street, about 1/4 mile from the house. The Brother with his pillowcase and me with a brown paper shopping bag. Crossing the street the bottom of my soggy shopping bag let go. All my treats ended in a wet mound on the street. I remember wailing like a bansidhe (banshee), Dad speaking in tongues as I was hauled into the car sans candy. That was the end of Dad taking us trick or treating.

3. We had a costume parade in the lower grades (1-4) of my parochial school. Only rule, everyone had to dress up as a saint since the holiday was All Hallow's Eve followed by All Saints Day (a holy day of obligation and a day off for us kids after attending Mass) Anywho, there were only two costumes. All the little girls dressed up as The Virgin Mary and all the boys dressed up as St. Joseph. Except the twin boys in my class. They came as Sts. Peter and Paul because their names were Peter and Paul.

4.  After the Halloween in the Rain fiasco, I went trick or treating ( in the rain) with Himself and his siblings. His mother walked us around the neighborhood. I can still see her in her tan trenchcoat, her giant mushroom of an umbrella, a kerchief on her head, and her flashlight. Most of the time we had winter jackets on because it was so cold.

5.  The scariest Halloween was when I was five years old. The Brother was eleven. I was dressed as a gypsy. Ma bought the costume for a buck or two at the Five and Ten Cent store. The Brother was wearing the Robin Hood costume I coveted. My costume was made of cheap nylon. A green bodice with a gold skirt that fell to my ankles. I wore my winter jacket over this. There was also a plastic mask of a gypsy face with red lips, black hair, and painted hoop earrings. The Brother took my hand and we trick or treated to the six neighbor's houses on our street. The most popular house on the street was the Hunter's because they always invited all the children into their home. Yes, this was in the real olden days when Halloween was first celebrated. At some houses you would be invited in for doughnuts and cider or candy apples, and a small Halloween party. Even though the Hunter's children were all grown, they still invited kids in for doughnuts and cider. Mr. Hunter was kind of a big kid himself. He loved to dress up. We climbed up the Hunter's front steps. The Brother rang the doorbell.  We could hear the Halloween party noises inside. I was very excited as this was probably the first time I was allowed out to go trick or treating. The door opened very slowly. A huge green ghastly hand was pulling the door open.  A hideous ghouish face peered around the door. The Brother let go of my hand and crossed the threshhold. The ghoul was making hideous moaning sounds at me, beckoned me to come in and then reached to take my hand. The whole time this was going on, my mouth was frozen in a wordless O. As the ghoul's hand came closer to mine, I recovered my wits along with a heaping lung full of air. I flipped off my mask and let out a blood curdling scream that to this day is still echoing in the frozen voids of space. I leaped off the front steps. My trick or treat bag went flying. The skirt of my costume tore with a loud rrrriiiiiiiiiiiiippp as my feet tangled in the hem.  Finding my footing, I went screaching up the street to my house waving my arms over my head to give me speed. The ghoul was close on my heels calling to me.

"Wait! It's me! Mr. Hunter!..."

I wasn't falling for that old trick.

Do you have any Halloween memories?

Happy Halloween. Blessed Samhain.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Begin Again Finnegan

I've been doing pretty well with not snacking between meals. I even set Sunday as a you-can-eat-what-you want day, and I haven't gone overboard. Himself had a bag of Halloween size Hershey bars, and I only had one! One! Usually with chocolate around, I'd be in and out of the bag a dozen times. But I only had one! So I was insufferably pleased with myself.

Then came Saturday. Mole Day., a chemist's holiday celebrating Avogardro's Number 6.0221415 × 1023

If you've forgotten your chemistry or are just curious, you can read about it here Since it was Mole Day, we had to celebrate with special food. After trying to decide what to make, Himself suggested Molasses Cookies. So I baked and then had to taste one which led to tasting another and another and... (They were sinfully good!) This wouldn't have been so bad except The Young One was home on Fall break for the week. Which meant, I didn't go for a walk around my block. I didn't even dust off the treadmill. And I had lunch out twice this week.

After week 4, I didn't lose any balloons, but I didn't gain any either. Just stayed the same.

Cookies are my downfall. What's your downfall?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wed Letter Day

A letter for last week, and a letter for this week.  Word of the week is Whimsy. The W is from a decorative element in Timothy Noad's The Illuminated Alphabet. That's my go to book for inspiration.

What books do you turn to for inspiration?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Counting Blessings

The Young One's college was on Fall break. We had an errand to run out in the western part of the state, not far from The Eldest's college. After we were finished, we went to the college. The Eldest had no afternoon classes, so we went to the nearby mall to hang out a bit. And then we went to Ruby Tuesday's for lunch.

Fun listening to them talk about school, what they're doing. What they hope to do.  No longer little girls, but young women.

Ziller Glossy Black, Nikko G nib, water soluble oil pastels, Sharpie marker.

Where's your favorite place to have lunch?

Monday, October 25, 2010

M.A.H.O.D.

Another view of MAHAND. Anybody but me remember the ventriloquist from The Ed Sullivan Show? He had a face painted on his hand, moved his thumb up and down to make the face talk. He rested his hand on a wood stand with a little suit. I thought it was hysterically funny so of course I painted my hand with a little face and made it talk.

Anybody else do this as a kid? Anybody still do it?

In case  you were too young to remember The Ed Sullivan Show, you can see a clip of SeƱor Wences on YouTube

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Friday Five

Five pets that have owned me:

1. When I was very little, maybe 4 or 5 yrs. old, we had two goldfish, one for The Brother and one for me. The Brother liked to go fishing in the goldfish bowl and pick up the goldfish, usually by their dorsal fins. I don't think the goldfish lasted very long.

2. I had a little turtle (the kind that comes from the pet store) named Sidney.  Sidney lived in a plastic turtle bowl that had a plastic palm tree. I also found a nice flat rock so he could sit under his palm tree. When Sidney passed, I had an elaborate funeral for him.

3.  The Brother was dating a girl and her family was going on vacation. She asked The Brother if he could take care of her kitten, Jeanette.  The Brother said yes. Shortly after the girl came back from vacation, she and The Brother broke up. She never came to pick up Jeanette. My ma was not happy. I was. I loved the kitty who turned out to be a male who got stuck with a girl's name. Jeanette would sit on the stairs and wait for me to come home from school. When he saw me, he would run down the street to walk  me to the house.

4. Mitty was a charcoal grey and white cat we got when The Eldest was 8. She was afraid of animals. I didn't think that was a good thing. I convinced Himself we needed to get a pet, a cat.  It took a lot of convincing since Himself is not a catophile. Walking a dog at 11pm on our dark road in the dead of winter didn't sound so appealing to him either. We went to the animal shelter and there was Mitty. Mitty was such a lovable kitty. I think he was so happy to get out of the shelter. He taught The Young One to eat a little faster, too. She was a dawdler when it came to breakfast. He would jump up on the table and lap the milk out of her cereal bowl.

5. Ink is the current ruler of the roost. We got him a few months after Mitty got hit by a car. I wasn't sure I wanted another pet so soon, but the girls wanted another cuddly kitty. The vet's receptionist had  a neighbor with a litter of kittens. She brought a boxful of kitties to the house. There was one carmel tabby with the most beautiful blue eyes, but she was already spoken for. Most of the other kitties were black and white and they reminded the girls of Mitty. Two kitties were all black, a male and a female. The Eldest wanted a girl kitty. The Young One wanted a boy kitty. I didn't see why we couldn't have two kitties, but Himself had the don't even think about it look on his face. The girls finally chose the runt of the litter. Ink was so small he couldn't eat the kitty kibble. On the vet's advice, I had to make oatmeal and scrambled eggs for Ink until his jaws were strong enough to crunch the kibble. Himself was not happy that I cooked breakfast for the cat, but not for him.

Do you have pets that own you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Begin Again Finnegan

 A few years ago, I heard 10,000 steps was the magic number. If you could make 10,000 steps during your day, you would shape up, lose weight. Apparently, 10,000 steps is equal to 5 miles.  I thought it was worth a shot so I bought a pedometer. Once around my block is a little over 1/4 mile. The first day I wore the pedometer, I managed some 6400 steps. Not bad, except it was real easy to cheat. Just clipping the pedometer to my pocket earned me 3 steps. Up down chairs, up down porcelain throne also garnered extra steps.  LOL

After week three, I lost another balloon for a total of 5 balloons gone.

How many steps do you think you take in one day?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Counting Blessings

 Apparently, decorative  tape to spruce up packages, envelopes, and art journals is all the rage. DIYSara has a simple tutorial that can save you some do-re-mi by using items you have around the house: masking tape and colored markers to make your own deco tape. This would also make a great project for the kiddos to decorate tape to send gifts to Grandma or to personalize their own stuff.

Bev's guild, Alphabeas, recently had a workshop using Frank Lloyd Wright's architect's printing. Since distance prevented me from attending the workshop, Bev's post allowed me to play along.

I'm  always happy to have new things to learn.  Ziller Glossy Black, Nikko G nib, drafting tape (like masking tape only removable), Sharpie markers.

What new things have you learned?

Monday, October 18, 2010

M.A.H.O.D

Today's M.A.H.O.D. is MAHAND. LOL I just slay me!

Color me surprised. Usually I have trouble drawing hands that look like hands. I'm quite adept at drawing a hand that looks like a mitten, or a cartoony hand with four fingers, but not a real hand. Still have to draw my hand in two other positions to complete this assignment.

What's your take on puns? Love 'em? Leave 'em?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Friday Five

Well, I never...

1. I've never been skiing. Not one for cold and snow. Though the idea of curling up before a fire with a good book and a lovely hot beverage is appealing.

2. I've never been impaneled on a jury. I came close one time. My juror number was two away from being called when both attornies finally accepted the jury panel.

3. I've never participated in karaoke. A good thing since I sing like a hinge.

4. I've never been horseback riding. A high school friend showed horses, and I went with her to a show. She had a friend who had a big, ol' plow horse named, Amy. Amy was a companion to another horse named Russell T Boomer. The friend asked me if I wouldn't mind giving ol' Amy some exercise.  She said Amy was real gentle so I agreed. I was boosted onto Amy's back, handed the reins and told riding Amy would be like riding a bicycle. Pull left to go left, right to go right, give her a little nudge in the ribs to go forward, and pull back on the reins to stop. Simple enough.  Amy had a shape like an oak barrell, and me being short (though I'm quite tall for a Hobbit), my legs stuck straight out from Amy's side. We were doing okay, she ambling across a field, and me bumping along on her back, when Amy caught a whiff of Russell T. having a snack. The ol' gal took off like a shot with me trying to hang on like a tick on a dog. No amount of pulling back on the reins, and yelling "WHOA" would help. That ol' mare wanted a share of the snack and that was that.

5. I've never had a professional manicure or pedicure. I don't like the feel of shellac on my nails.

Your turn.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Begin Again Finnegan

I've been trying to make small changes. Mostly no grabbing whatever I can get my hands on in between meals or after a stressful day. I did pretty good this week. It helps if there are no goodies in the house. I was stressed one day and didn't cram whatever I could find in my pie hole. I was amazed at me.

I've been going for a walk every morning. Not a long walk, just around my block. I even managed to go around the block twice one day and it was raining too!

Week 2: I lost another balloon for a total of 4 balloons gone.

How's by you?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Counting Blessings

This morning, I told The Young One, I couldn't think of anything for counting blessings. And then I had a DUH! moment. The Young One is helping me with my fitness regimen. Every morning for the past 3 weeks, she's been coming with me on my morning walk.  Having her along makes the day smile.

Ziller Glossy Black with a heavy hand, rubber stamp, and colored pencil.

What small blessing are you thankful for?

Monday, October 11, 2010

M.A.H.O.D.

Found a leaf on my walk. While waiting in the car, I sketched some leaves. At home, outlined them with Pigma pen and filled in with watercolor pencils. Added some detail with colored pencils.

What do you do while you wait in the car?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Friday Five

Enrollment for my calligraphy class has fallen over the past few years. I've created a poll (see the side-bar ---->) with five+ reasons people might not be interested in taking a calligraphy class. Your answers will give me some insight and perhaps help me improve the catalogue description. Multiple answers in the poll are allowed.  Also feel free to leave a comment here that is not addressed in the poll. Remember you can enter your comment anonymously. Thank you for your help.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Begin Again Finnegan

Two year ago, I started a weigh loss journey. I lost a few pounds and fell off the wagon. Got the urge to try again. Was surprised to find I weigh the same as I weighed two years ago. At least I didn't gain a ton.

I've started walking around the block. I'm not sure of the distance, but I'm pretty sure it's not more than 1/4 mile. Baby steps and then I can always go around the block an extra time or two.

Two year ago, I followed a very old Weight Watcher's plan. (I did WW after The Young One was born and lost 25 lbs. so the plan works. I just wasn't able to keep the weight off) I wrote down what I ate in a food journal. I won't be doing that this time around. I found myself constantly looking at the food chart to see what I could eat next. I don't want to obsess about food.

My food problems are eating in between meals,nibbling when I cook, and stress eating. I'm trying to curb the snacking and stress stuffing. During this first week, I've found I'm more thirsty than really hungry so I hit my ice tea (Crystal Lite) water bottle. It's been helping. Helped with a stressful day, too.

As to weight loss, I won't focus on the number, but on the shape I would like to have. I would like to have a more defined waist instead of an equator, thighs that don't rub together and go "flubba, flubba" when I walk, and oranges. Oh, and gracefully imitating Marilyn Monroe's jello on springs walk wouldn't be a bad perc either.

Week 1: I lost 3 balloons.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wed Letter Day

No surprise that I'd figure out a way to work something to do with cowboys into this project. Colored with markers. The scan came out horrible, but I'm not in the mood to fight with it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Counting Blessings

Oh, the luxury of having 120 colored pencils.  Four trays of pencils nestled in a tin. Nice and neat, especially if I remember to put my toys away.

Do you put your toys away?

Monday, October 4, 2010

M.A.H.O.D.

Armed with my sketchbook, I visited the Roman gallery at the Worcester Art Museum. I thought I would try to sketch the statue of Venus. I felt awkward, all by my lone, in the gallery. A bit disconcerting having the busts of several Roman emperors staring at me from across the room. I nearly jumped out of my skin when the security guard making his rounds came into the gallery.


Statues have always fascinated me. Amazing how the sculptor can shape the hard stone giving it the soft roundness of flesh, or the cascading drape of clothing.  The statue is dated between the 1st. and 2nd centuries A.D. I should have paid more attention to the description to find out why she is headless and one arm is broken. I wonder what her face looked like?

As I sketched, I wondered why plus size women's clothing is called Goddess size. This Venus was every inch a goddess, but hardly plus size. She appears to be a very lush size 8 or 10 tops. I'd love to have her curvaceous shape, though at my age, I don't think certain parts would drift North., at least not without the help of a roll or two of Duct tape.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Friday Five

Five blocks. Five letter words:

1. bride

2. glues

3. value

4. hovel

5. coves

Can you make any other five letter words with these letters?