Friday, November 30, 2012

The Friday Five

Christmas decorations that I've started putting up.
 Last year, I wasn't in a festive mood. It was the first year my parents were in the nursing home. I was also dealing with the stress of trying to find a facility that would take both of them.

The shelf sitters were my mother's, given to her by a dear friend. I had them last year, but put them in a bag and forgot about them. Came across the bag while I was cleaning. I haven't decided what to call them. My parents bickered a lot. So much that the staff at the first nursing home they were in called them the Bickersons.

Ma placed this little gal with her Christmas stocking  on the fireplace mantle. I came across her while cleaning this summer. Her head broke on the ride home, but luckily it was a clean break. A little bit of glue, and the little miss is good as new.

 I love the sound of the jingle bells on the back of the front door. Sometimes, they stay all year round.

The year before my parents went into the nursing home, I had brought a small tree to put on the table in the living room as decorating the whole house was beyond them. I bought a few new ornaments for the little tree as there were too many pink ornaments. (Ma's favorite color)

I love the witch The Eldest gave me for no special reason. Love the broom and the sign I made: Yes, I can drive a stick. Pop an ornament on and a decoration for Samhain becomes a Yule decoration.

Have you stared decorating your house for the holidays?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


too far behind on NaNoJouMo to catch up. Ended up spending my time jumping through legal hoops and negotiating red tape mazes. Happily, the second to the last hurdle was cleared yesterday. One more hurdle to get over, and then I'll sprint to the finish as fast as my chubby, little legs will churn.

As to NaNo, at least no one will die because I didn't finish. I made the rules, and I can break them.

If you're participating in NaNoJouMo as an author or artist, will you complete your project before the deadline?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Abraham Lincoln

Vampire Hunter. What? That was our reaction when we saw the movie title on pay per view. And Himself and I were curious enough to earmark a Lincoln for the cable bill. The movie isn't worth paying theater prices.

The movie is a combination of Highlander meets Supernatural and a collision with history. Not the history you learned in school.

The movie, based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, is dark as expected of producer,Tim Burton. The vampires don't sparkle, though they do wander around during the day, and they aren't filled with angst. Breathe a sigh of relief. They are vicious and blood thirsty. There's quite a bit of spilt blood. That's what vampires do.

As a young boy, Abraham Lincoln witnesses the death of his mother at the hands of a vampire. As a young man with revenge in his heart, young Abe sets out to kill the vampire that took his mother's life. The fight doesn't go well and Abe is rescued by the mysterious Henry Sturges who offers to train Abe in the art of killing vampires. Henry harbors his own secret and wants Abe to kill Adam, the alpha vampire. All the vampires in America descend from Adam. I don't want to give away the entire good versus evil plot.

Tall Abe is certainly impressive as he develops his skills with his weapon of choice, a silver edged axe, especially has he practices a martial arts sword technique called "flowers". His Shaolin monk kicks and leaps a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon transforms an otherwise dusty, historical figure into a cool hero. The movie is entertaining if you can suspend your disbelief, like action, gratuitous gore, and are bored on a Friday night.

Have you seen Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Blue Laws

Many retailers tried to get a jump on Black Friday by opening up stores on Thanksgiving night. Not in Massachusetts, thanks to the Blue Laws. That's what you get when you let puritans settle an area. Mind, I don't think this particular ban is bad. There are some pretty silly laws still in the Massachusetts General Code.

1. Bullets may not be used as currency.  In God we trust, but all others pay cash.

2. Tomatoes may not be used in the production of clam chowder. Damn straight. You want tomatoes in you chowdah, go to Noo Yawk.

3. This one pertains to Boston: Women may not wear heels over three inches in length on the (Boston) Common. This one makes sense. The grade walking up Beacon Hill to the state house is pretty steep. Hard to do in flats, let alone in heels.

4. Again a Boston ordinance: Peanuts may not be eaten in church. I guess that means you can eat pistachio nuts, walnuts, or cashews and not worry about getting arrested. Keep the shells or container as evidence, just in case.

5. No person shall stable a horse or a mule on the second floor or on any higher floor. There seems to be a loophole to this law saying it does not pertain to cities. Students during the early 1960's  at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester persuaded a cow upstairs in Hanselman Hall. (The college used to maintain a dairy farm at the college) They must have been law students. But, your Honor, the defendants enticed a bovine into the building. Not a horse or a mule. And respectfully, your Honor, the statute does not apply to animals in cities. Worcester is a city even if people from Boston don't think so.

6. One more. This one pertains to the city of Marlborough. You may not detonate a nuclear device in Marlborough. Maybe that's why one of the large engineering firms that works on defense contracts built their facility in nearby Sudbury.

Any silly, blue laws from your state? And thanks to Erica for the suggestion.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

"There", I said as I pulled the two, golden loaves of bread from the oven. "Just like a pioneer woman, I got up at the crack of dawn to bake my own bread."

"Yup, just like every pioneer woman with a stand mixer to knead the dough for you," Himself said.

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Procraftinating: Getting involved in small craft projects when there are tons of other things to be done.

A friend gave me a beautiful quartz crystal. It was begging to be turned into a pendant. I spent my time hunting up instructions on the Interwebs. Found a YouTube video on wire wrapping a crystal.  Not bad for a  first attempt. Ending needs some work, but all in all, I'm pleased with the result.

Have you been procrastinating?

Monday, November 19, 2012


This is what my day will look like. How's your day going?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Friday Five

The Eldest got a part-time job as a lab technician. The job is about an hour away, depending on the traffic. It's no longer possible for her and me to share my car. So she ponied up four grand she had saved working at her minimum wage job to put a down payment on her first car. She  needed wheels with superior gas mileage so she decided on a Toyota Prius in pale green. Himself took her up to Herb Chambers Toyota in Auburn, MA. on Sunday, 4. November. The salesman talked her out of her color choice. He had a white model on the lot he wanted to get rid of. He'd give her a "deal" if she agreed to the white car. He told her she could have the car by Saturday, 10. November

Today's Friday Five are five complaints I have about the dealership. Your mileage may vary.

 She called the salesman on Thursday to find out when the car would be ready for pick up. She had to leave a voice message and he never returned her call. When he did get back to her on Saturday, as he was off on Friday, he said there was a problem with the insurance company, but they got things straightened out.

Monday was a holiday so we figured she'd have the car by Tuesday.

Calls to the salesman went unanswered. She called the insurance company to see if things were all set. They told her the dealership hadn't faxed information they needed.

 On Wednesday, the dealership called to tell her the car was all set and would be ready for pick up Thursday afternoon.

She got out of her first job at noon, on Thursday. She called the dealer before we left the job, an hour away, to see if she could come an pick up the car. Yup, it would be ready. We got there and the salesman told her the car needed plates. The dealer has access to RMV computers and does all transactions at the dealership. The salesman took her to see her car. Tried to impress her with how shiny new it was and what a great job they did with the detailing.

After a fifteen minute wait, no tags coming. The girl needed to get back home, have lunch and then head to her other part-time job. The salesman told me he didn't have control of what "they" did upstairs to get the tags. I told him, it was his job to follow the process from start to finish. He was the contact person.

The salesman promised to deliver the car to the house in the afternoon. She took my car to work and I waited for the delivery. By 7 pm. no shiny, new car was in the driveway. I sent a text message to her on her break to ask if she had heard from the dealer. Yup, the computers went down  they couldn't do the transaction. Car would be delivered on Friday at 1 pm.

I called The Sales Manager to complain.

1. Customer service is not an oxymoron. He gave me excuses about trying to get her a "college grad" special offer financing package.

2. If there were anticipated problems with financing, don't promise the car by a certain day.

3. Don't talk the customer out of the dream color to push a "deal". The girl has waited nearly two weeks for an automobile that was sitting on the lot. She could have waited for her first color choice.

4. She was told to pick the car up on a certain day. She called to see if the car would be ready, and she was told to come and get it. She also called the insurance company to see if all the paperwork was done. Yup, no problems on the insurance end. The car should have been ready to drive off the lot when the girl got there. The salesman shouldn't have tried to impress her with the detailing. I expect a new car to be all shiny. I also expect a new car to have plates and an inspection sticker when told the car is ready. There should have been no excuses about not getting the tags.

4a. I asked The Sales Manager if the girl had been a young man, if the car would have been delivered when promised. I was told gender made no difference. A he would have been treated the same. Nice to know screw ups aren't gender biased.

5. The Sales Manager said my complaints would help him to improve service. I hope he learned a lesson. I told him I learned mine. I am next in line for a new car. Am also thinking about a Toyota, but I told the Sales Manager I would not purchase a car from Herb Chambers Toyota of Auburn.

Besides delivering the car today at 1pm  (I'm not pinning my hopes here), the dealer should also include a bouquet of flowers: white mums for truthfulness, yellow daffodils to show respect, and purple hyacinths to express a sincere apology. A box of Godiva chocolates wouldn't hurt, either.

Have you had a good car buying experience?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 12

The faster I run the behinder I get.

This is a parody I wrote of the poem Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow
For the muse quickly passes
I've learned to my sorrow
So shut up cobwebs
Dust go to sleep
I'm making art
And art don't keep.

F.W. Acrylic black ink, Nikko G nib, watercolor pencils, Pigma pen, spider sticker, pastels, cotton ball

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordy Wednesday


We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find
that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea
pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't
groce and hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.If
you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do
you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be
committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise
man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your
house can burn up as it burns
down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out,
and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And, in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?

That's all for now. - Anonymous

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 11

For Armistice/Veteran's Day, In Flanders Field by John McCrae. The small white crosses between the poppies didn't show up in the scan )-:

F.W. acrylic black, Gillote 1068A, Prismacolor pencils, Pigma Pen, Sharpie Marker

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NaNoJouMo - 10

The Eldest told me she needed cupcakes to take to a function. I thought of the tons of goodies I had made for school bake sales, Girl Scout functions, school parties, and I didn't have to bake any more! No more rushing to get baked items frosted and packed while leaving the oven on.

The Eldest baked her cupcakes while I was paying bills in the kitchen. She pulled the last batch out of the oven, set them on the cooling rack, and made a beeline to her room.

"Is the oven supposed to be on?", I shouted.

I heard a scream and then a wail. "OHMYGAWD, I'm turning into you!"

NaNoJouMo - 9

Still catching up. Friday, my mother was to receive some news that would have upset her. Thankfully, she was not having one of her aware days so a mushroom cloud didn't blossom over Wellesley.

Gouache, acrylic, cotton ball, Ziller Grass Green ink, Nikko G nib

NaNoJouMo - Day 8

A quote from The Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor

" It seems to me there's so much more to the world than the average eye is allowed to see. I believe, if you look hard, there are more wonders in the universe than you could ever dream."

I decided to try a technique found at Angelia's Art Journals 
You color with crayons or oil pastels. Then paint over the entire image with black artist acrylic. When the paint is thoroughly dry, scrape the paint with a craft knife. The crayon will resist the paint, and the paint will scrape off fairly easily. Where crayon didn't hit the paper, the paint will adhere.

I remembered doing this technique in grammar school, only the nun who taught art mixed black tempera paint with liquid laundry starch. We were supposed to color a design with our crayons and when we scraped the paint off, our design would look like a stained glass window.  I seem to recall I drew a whole bunch of mermaids.

Water soluble oil pastels, Liquitex Soft Body Ivory Black, Ziller Midnight Blue ink, Brause 3/4 mm. nib

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 7

Playing catch up, a page to celebrate the Nor'Easter. Mixed media collage. I did a similar page last year for a mixed media class recycling your own artwork. I even used the paper towels I used to blot soupy spots on the previous journal pages.  I'm happier with this incarnation.

"Dear God, If it must snow, can it snow chocolate instead?"

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Friday Five

Some of you were asking about my cat when he was a kitten. Five plus things about Baby Ink

1. Ink is not a code name for one of my kids. Ink is the cat's real name. The girlies (ages 9 and 5 when we got him) decided he looked like the color of my ink.

2. He is all black except for 6 white hairs on his chest. I've been told an all black cat is extremely rare.

3. He was the runt of two litters and so small he could fit in the palm of my hand and still most of my hand could be seen. I think he was taken away from his mama too soon. When we got him, he couldn't eat the bitty kitty kibble. So for a month or so, I cooked Ink scrambled eggs and oatmeal every morning until his jaw and teeth got strong enough to crunch the kibbles.

4. He is not a friendly, cuddly, lap kitty. You have to wait for Ink to make affectionate advances, usually at 4:30 am and 11 pm.

5. He caught sight of the UPS man one day and growled and hissed. I'm not sure why. The only thing I can think of is Ink doesn't like the color brown.

6. He gave up the kitty bed in favor of my bed.

7. He likes a crumb or two of yellow cake.

8. He would sometimes jump up on the table and grab a bit of broccoli. He liked broccoli, but the broccoli did not like him.

9. He has a tendency to inhale his kibble and then exhale it (usually on a rug). To slow him down, there's a golf ball in his dish.

10. He's allergic to seafood. even though he likes it.

11. One night, Ink jumped up on the table and grabbed Himself's steak right off the plate. The piece of steak was bigger than Ink's head. The girls laughed to see Ink run away with daddy's dinner. Himself was not amused.

12. Ink had a twin sister. When The Eldest said she wanted a girl kitty and The Young One said she wanted a boy kitty, I thought why not. Until I caught sight of Himself giving me the Don't-You-Even-Think-About-It-Look. The twin was too frisky so the girls picked the quiet, calm Ink.

13. Ink talks. He can distinctly say: "Me out" or "Out" when he wants to go out on the porch or the sun room. He also says "Now" as in "Are you going to take a nap, now?" or loudly "NOW" at night when he wants to go to bed.

14. He follows me around during the day. He'll watch me or nap wherever I'm working. The girlies call him my familiar. He sits by the stove while I'm cooking in hopes of getting a treat.

15. He likes to jump up on tables and push small items off. He's especially fond of tipping over paper cups as he like watching the contents splash on the floor.

16. He jumps up onto the microwave cart where his treat pouches live. He tries to get at the treats. If he only had thumbs!

Anything quirky about your pet?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 6

A day or two late and a dollar short. What else is new?

For Election Day.

Amendment XV

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Section 1
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude

Section 2
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Amendment XIX

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

F. W. Acrylic Black ink, Gillotte 1068A nib, gouache, gesso, embellishments on Arches Text Wove.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 5

Remember, remember the fifth of November. No, not for Guy Fawkes' Day. It's my maternal grandmother's birthday. She's the only grandparent I knew. She was born in 1895 and left her native Italy at the age of 16. Actually, she was shipped off because her parents didn't approve of the young man who was coming around to see her.

She was the perfect grandma. She was a good sport and put up with our childish antics. She loved The Three Stooges and let us watch them even though my mother wouldn't let us watch them when we were home. More noted for the macaroni and goodies from her kitchen, she passed down a lullaby  a mixture of Italian and English to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Anyone who has taken care of a cranky, sleepy baby would understand the lullaby  The caretaker bribes the baby with "When your daddy comes home, he will bring you candy. Go to sleep, baby."

Gouache, Dr. PH. Martin, 18K Gold ink, Dr. P.H. Martin Silver ink, Ziller Midnight Blue ink, Nikko G nib

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NanoJouMo - Day 4

4. November 2012 - Time Change

"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but, actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff." - Tenth Doctor, from The Doctor Who episode Blink

Gouache, Dr. P.H. Martin 18K gold, Dr. P.H. Martin Silver, Ziller Midnight Blue ink, Nikko G nib.

NaNoJouMo - Day 3

Day of the Dead.  Lyrics from The Gift by Paul Williams

Sweet angel of life
You give us time
for touching and learning
eyes for pictures and tears
Moments and years
Your pages are turning
And love, love is your song
Love is your star
Your strength and your calling
sweet angel of life this is your gift

F.W acrylic black ink, Arches Text Wove, Nikko G nib, Black Sharpie marker and Prismacolor pencils on Canson Vellum

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 2

2. November

Halloween, Samhain, All Souls, Day of the Dead are all festivals that honor those that have passed on.

Do Not Stand Over My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand over my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you waken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quit birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die

Sparkling watercolors, F. W. Acrylic black ink, Nikko G nib.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Friday Five

1. We didn't get a single trick or treater. Usually, we get one kid. Dear, dear, what will we do with all the Halloween candy?

2. While looking through the candy bag for a mini Milky Way with nuts, Himself remarked kids nowadays have no incentive to go trick or treating. Fun-size just wasn't worth the effort.

3. Ink turned 15 on Halloween. When we first got him, he was so tiny he could fit in the palm of my hand. We think he was weaned from his mama too early as he was unable to eat the kitten kibbles. I had to cook scrambled eggs and oatmeal for Ink. Himself was not happy. Now he rules the roost. That is Ink rules the roost, not Himself.

4. Himself recorded the classic monster movies TCM showed on Halloween. Thursday night we watched Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in The Body Snatchers. I'd never seen the movie before. I don't know how I missed it. Directed by Robert Wise who directed my favorite movie (The Day The Earth Stood Still), in glorious dog view. (The Eldest's term for black and white films). I loved it. Karloff had such a great voice, and Lugosi was equally creepy.

5. Halloween just doesn't last long enough. I think I'll leave my decorations up another week or two to prolong the season.

Do you decorate for Halloween? Do you take your decorations down right away?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoJouMo - Day 1 Completed

1. November 2012 - All Saints Day

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us.

The little prayer should also include short-leggedy beasties, too.

F. W. Acrylic black ink, Derwent Inktense Pencils, Prismacolor Watercolor, Pencils, Pigma Pen, Nikko G nib, Arches Text Wove

NaNoJouMo - Day 1

Today begins 30 days of working in a journal. There are no rules except those I impose on myself. The goal is to work each day in the journal, not necessarily completing a page. I've written some prompts in a notebook and am ready to start.

Today's prompt is All Saints Day. Check back later to see the first page.

What are you working on today?

For All Saints Day, St. Michael, the Archangel.  To be colored to resemble stained glass.

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us.

Tomorrow: All Souls Day