Friday, June 29, 2012

The Friday Five

My friend Iowa took kids from her German class on a tour of Germany.  I took a trip during April vacation another lifetime ago in 1973. We pretty much saw the country through a tour bus window. So five places I'd like to revisit with a little more time to explore. Ya'll listening, Iowa?

München, Munich. We got to drive by the 1972 Olympic Village. It would be nice to see the Marianplatz, the main square of the city during the daylight. Though the Hofbräuhaus was lots of fun at night and where I had my first taste of beer.

The Alps. We went by the Zügspitze, the highest peak in the German Alps. I'd like to go to the top. Top of the world, Ma!

Oberammergau. The shops had the most beautiful murals painted on them. This was my favorite, a shoe store with the tale of Aschenputtel (Cinderella). I wonder if this store is still in business? I'd also like to be there when the Passion Play is performed. Residents of the village made a vow to perform the play every 10 years, if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague. The play is now performed in years ending in zero. Iowa, how 'bout planning a trip for 2020?

During my trip, Germany was a divided country. We visited East Berlin and passed through Checkpoint Charlie. The wall is gone and it would be interesting to see the changes.
Heidelberg. Rather than looking down on the town from  the ruins of the Rose castle, I'd like to be able to wander the town and visit the University.

Are there any places you would like to go back and visit?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mystic Village

Yesterday, my friend, Red, and I ran away. Our destination, a little over an hour away at Old Mystic Village in Mystic, Connecticut.

It's a little touristy, but a favorite place to get away from it all for a few hours. Old Mystic Village is a collection of boutiques. The buildings are meant to resemble a 19th century New England town. Wooden buildings, boardwalks, and a dirt path that winds through lush gardens and the shops. In the center is a gazebo and duck pond.

Red and I used to make the trip every year. When our girlies were little we used to take them along with us. Somewhere along the line we left the girlies at home, and the road trip became our time. It's been several years since we've been able to get away.

Some shops we remembered closed and others opened. We hit a couple of our favorites. Franklin's, an old-fashioned, general store famous for it's two dozen flavors of fudge along with a free sample of the day ( we stop for the sample and return just before leaving for a block or two peace offering), the Grey Goose, a store with every kind of cooking utensil imaginable, Sofia's Mystic Christmas shop offering Christmas ornaments all year round. Bestemores, a Scandinavian gift shop, to name a few. We had lunch at the newly to us remodelled Ten Clams restaurant. Don't gag, Sunflower. Mystic is afterall, a New England seaport town. Yes, they offer other items besides seafood so you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Red and I had a great time catching up as well as lots of exercise as we walked the path. We left the village tired but happy, laden with packages, and a block of Franklin's Cinnamon Crumb Cake fudge.

Do you have a favorite place to get away from the daily grind?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Painful Memories

When I was a kid, we called it a cactus even though it's not a succulent. At least, I don't think it is. When the Big Kids didn't want us little kids tagging along, they'd knock us down so we'd sit smack in the middle of the plant with it's large, feed me teeth. 

While doing yardwork at the old homestead, Himself and I found the plant. This one must be a wee beastie as I remember the plant as being a trashcan lid-sized monster. Himself and I gave the plant a wide berth.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Recently, a friend asked me why the obsession with Westerns. Why cowboys?

I was born in 1955. Yes, I'm that old. As a child of the 50s and 60s, pretty much what we watched on television were Westerns. You couldn't swing a rope without wrangling a cowboy. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wanted Dead or Alive, Rawhide, Have Gun Will Travel, Bat Masterson, The Big Valley (when the show first aired in 1965, it was on past my bedtime. Wouldn't have been able to watch it anyway, as we only had one television set, and my dad wasn't a Missy (Barbara Stanwyck) fan. I fell in love with Heath as a teen when I watched the show in reruns after school). Death Valley Days, Wagon Train, The Rifleman. Even children's shows had Western heroes: Howdy Doody (though I barely remember this show), The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy (my first hero, I even had a Hopalong lunch box. Long gone. Thanks, Ma, that tin box is probably worth a small fortune today). In Boston, Rex Trailer hosted the Saturday morning show, Boomtown. So my heroes have always been cowboys.

But what's the attraction?  For me, the cowboy was someone who didn't go looking for trouble, but when it found him, he wouldn't back down. Brave, courageous. Didn't say much unless there was something to say. And who wouldn't want a pony? Had a moral compass. Was honest. Stood up for those who couldn't stand up for themselves. Chivalrous. Very similar to the knights of the Middle Ages. All this highly romanticized and sanitized.

 As a girl growing up in this time, there weren't a lot of opportunities for us. We could aspire to be moms, nurses, teachers, stewardesses (I couldn't meet the height requirement), and secretaries, and because I went to parochial school, a nun. Definitely not an option!  I didn't want to be Annie Oakley. Even though she had skills that were better than her male counterparts, she was still expected to conform. Paraded out. Shown off. Little Sure Shot.  No one would ever think Little Bat Masterson.

I longed to be a cowboy. The cowboy represented freedom. Choice. Go where you wanted. Be your own person. You were free to like blue and not forced to wear pink. Unless you wanted to. (Heath sported a pink shirt in seasons 3 and 4).

Who was your hero, and why did you aspire to be like him or her?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Friday Five

Thank you all for your comments on the blog this week and for helping me to celebrate the opening of my Etsy shop

And now The Young One will draw a name out of the cowboy hat...

And the winner of the 


Congratulations, Robin! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Solstice Sizzle

We're having a heat wave, and I'm a happy camper. Time to slow down with a cold beverage. I'm a fan of iced tea ( though I drink it all year long). What's your favorite beverage to help you cool down?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a tea cup to celebrate the opening of my Etsy shop. The winner will announced on the Friday Five.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Clients from Hell Video

Sometimes you have to laugh when you want to cry. I especially love the offer to be paid in muffins. For more true stories be sure to visit Clients from Hell you'll die crying.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Time Stood Still

Saturday, I took my journal, watercolor pencils, and a waterbrush to the courtyard of WAM. The weather was perfect, not too hot or too cold and sunny. At first, I thought what a shame no one was at the museum. No one in the courtyard. And then I was glad I had the space all to myself. I let go of the guilt of the time away. There were no phone calls.  No one fell. No decisions to be made about healthcare or medications. The dishes in the sink, the boxes creating snail trails through the hoarders heaven of the living room were still  there. But I didn't care. 

The image from Beltain had been stuck in my head waiting to be put down on paper. It was only a month or so ago, but seemed like ages. Sometimes, there are responsibilities one can't walk away from no matter how much one wants to. And on this day, this perfect Saturday, I had the luxury to escape into my head into the line, into the color.  My universe cooperated and time stood still for an hour and a half. 

And don't forget. Leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win the tea cup to celebrate the opening of my Etsy shop. The winner will be announced on Friday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Friday Five and a Give Away

My ma loved tea cups, figurines, and fancy dishes. She has quite a collection and some lovely pieces. Unfortunately, I don't have the room in the dollhouse to assimilate all her treasures. Five things I did this week.

1. Moved 6 boxes of her things to my house, and we still haven't finished.

2. Washed tea cups, dishes, figurines. wrapped and packed them in plastic boxes

3. Researched some of the pieces: milk glass, decorative plates, cranberry glass...

4. Spent the week learning the ins and outs of Etsy. (To those that answered my questions, thank you.)

5. Launched an Etsy shop: Mafundsalo Curio 

To celebrate the launch, visit my Etsy shop: http// Critique the site. Admire the wares. Correct the grammar of the item descriptions.  Come back and leave a comment on the blog. I'll put your name into the cowboy hat for a drawing to win the handsome teacup pictured above. The cup is 3 inches tall. It is decorated with small white, pink, golden flowers, and silver leaves on a white background. The cup is trimmed in gold and is in pristine condition. There are no chips, cracks or crazing so you'll be able to enjoy your tea or coffee in style. Because of the gold trim, the cup is not suitable for the microwave though the arcing will be spectacular.

Winner of the cup will be announced next Friday. Thanks for playing.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Button Box

While industriously cleaning and sorting the old homestead, a tin smacked me with nostalgia. The Button Box. My mother was a seamstress and had a tin of buttons. A ton of buttons. Metal, plastic, plain, and fancy in a rainbow of colors. I loved the button box. I spent hours counting, sorting and playing with the buttons. I loved the clacking sound as the buttons slipped through my fingers as I sifted them or tiddly winked them into paper cups (or at least tried to).

The biggest draw to the button box was the large white buttons. Ma taught us to thread the button onto heavy thread and securing the ends with a knot. The button would be pushed to the middle of the thread. Fingers grasped the ends and then spun the thread in the air until the thread twisted taut. Then you would pull the ends out and in like playing an accordion. Friction caused the button to make a whirring sound. We didn't have a name for it, just button on a string. I have since heard the term whizzer used because of the sound.

Did you play with the buttons in your ma's button box?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another Visitor

Besides Cacciatore (though he hasn't been around in over a week so I wonder if he became the dinner guest of one of the coyotes or fishercats in the area), another visitor has come to call. Twice a day, early morning and afternoon a hummingbird comes to sip the nectar from the honeysuckle vine. I'm not fast enough to snap his picture so I had to get a hummingbird pic from Morguefile.

Who stops by your garden?

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Friday Five

What do a teacup, a figurine, buttons, a ladies' hankie, and a brooch have in common?

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Many consider dandelions a noxious weed with their fluffy, puff ball seeds. Die-hard gardeners cringe when little people pick the stems and blow the seeds.

Take a look at lettering artist, Denis Brown's Wishies series, and you'll never look at dandelions the same way! Click the Glass Art tab. Click the last thumbnail on the right in the second row to go to the Wishies gallery.

Denis asked people to e-mail him their wishes. He etched the wishes on sheets of glass! You read that right, glass. This ain't your grandma's calligraphy! Follow the links on the page to read about Denis' technique for writing on layers of glass.

Denis also offers free wallpapers for your computer screen.  You'll find the wallpapers under the Extras tab.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wild Morning Glory

Wild Morning Glory. It looks innocent enough. Pastel, trumpet shaped flowers and dark green, arrow shaped leaves. It is insidious. Takes over the garden and chokes out other plants and flowers.  Probably where it got its other name, Bindweed. Doesn't seem to be any way of eliminating the plant except to yank the vine. My task this week if it ever stops raining. Image from

How does your garden grow?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Friday Five

As Forest Gump's mother told him, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Five unexpected things that happened this week:

1. Himself's car went on the fritz and had to go to the shop. My car was in the shop last week. Guess his car was jealous of the attention my car got.

2. I was doing more cleaning at the old homestead. I needed more light in the small bedroom so I took a lamp from the living room. As I plugged it into the wall socket, a giant arc of lightning erupted from the socket. Ma isn't happy about circumstances and was just letting me know.

3. We stopped for lunch at Uno's again on Wednesday to take advantage of the Double Nickel Club. The waitress recognized us. Just like the TV show cheers. Norm!

4. Ink left a tootsie roll on the floor six inches from his litter box. The I'm-not-happy tell. I forgot to make sure his water dish was full before I went to bed. Mea culpe.

5.  On the drive to pick Himself up to get the car from the shop, saw a family of geese out for a stroll in the breakdown lane of Route 9. Mama, three babies, and Dad bringing up the rear. An aw moment followed by the thought how much I like goose with orange sauce.

What surprises did you have this week?