Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Random Thoughts

Improvement wears many dresses...  

My wonderful 80-year young neighbor Mrs. C has been taking me walking again this week. This started Saturday when I cut class early so I could go to the Farmer's Market. She wanted to see if they had any "goodies. (I found some luscious spinach, mixed greens, purslane, and some budding plants at the Market.) Mrs. C and I haven't been walking in a long time for various reasons: my classes, she was hurting, weather was too cold, weather was too hot and so on...

Last Saturday, she complained how badly she hurt from that simple trip to the market and back again. After some discussion, she said she would think about going walking with me first thing in the mornings again. I really didn't expect her to call me bright and early Monday morning with her usual "Ready Freddie?" We went walking. 

We did again this morning. About half way around the library park, she had to sit down.  She encouraged me to finish my lap but hastened to tell me to hurry up about it or she would just go home! *laughs* So I went walking around the park, quicker than I usually do.  Needless to say, my legs were cramping fiercely by the time I was halfway finished, but because I was afraid she would get up and leave, I walked through the cramps. I'll probably pay for that later but I amazed myself that I could find that level within myself and walk through the cramping instead of stopping and whimpering like a baby. 

I reminded myself  when I began this journey two years ago, I couldn't walk around the park at a snail's pace without coming home exhausted. I had to stop at every corner of the park because the cramping was so bad that I wanted to fall down and move past merely whimpering into an ambulance for a ride home.  I hurt that bad. 

At the time, my various doctors explained that I had blood clots in my legs and arms and that caused the vicious cramp-burn-muscle knotting pain I experienced. At the time, only one doctor gave me any advice that I would follow that was not related to surgery. He told me to simply walk every day. 

 So now I feel a sense of pride about one of my goals because it's reachable. I feel like one of those pioneer women who gave birth one minute and  defended her home from marauding outlaws while saving her homestead from burning to the ground. 

Ok...may be NOT that good.  But I definitely understand that I have improved because of my lifestyle changes. I also understand that this journey of mine will never be an easy one because I crave carbs dressed as cookies and breads and rice and cookies and pasta and potatoes and cookies and cous cous and cookies and...Well you get the picture. 

Speaking of that, how come giving up smoking was so much easier than giving up carbs?  

The BC Life...
Otherwise Known as The Confessions of a Coffee Addict

Since I've moved to the percolator for our coffee pot, I have about a half hour every morning before it's finished. My old life used to be "Don't talk to me, don't ask me to feed you, don't ask me to do anything complicated like think about the day or ask me if I know where something is and don't wake up cheerful of all the gawd-awful things to do BEFORE COFFEE!"   

Some mornings I would give only one warning: "It's a two-cup day."  That meant don't do anything or ask me anything or even talk to me until I've gotten at least two cups of coffee down me first. And you would be safer if you let a half a pot get into my system before even breathing or looking in my direction. 

A dear friend who used to be a classmate called me this weekend and asked me, "Have you had your coffee yet?!?!?!"  Since she called me at 8:30 in the morning, her question was legitimate. And then she reminded me that I used be really, really bad BC. She remembered the days when I was trying to reduce my consumption of coffee down to something that was "reasonable" and how fellow classmates brought me cups of coffee before class so I would be "reasonable." 

Yeah, yeah, yeah...and that was a long time ago. I've changed. No seriously--I've really changed.

To give you some examples: This morning I went walking with Mrs. C BC.   Before our current drought initiated the severe water restrictions, I would water and sometimes weed the garden BC. I feed the cats and the birds BC. I start laundry or do a quicky load of dishes BC.  I read my favorite blogs BC. I answer emails and phone calls from students BC!

How's that for seriously changing from the coffee hag into who I am today? *grins at you*

Alright--I confess. I warn my morning statistics students with "I've only had a cup and half of coffee today--so I hope you had your protein because we're going to hit this hard and heavy so I can get that last cup in before it's too late for me to have any!"  

Nonetheless, there's still life before coffee!

Humongous Bead Give Away Reminder!
If you haven't signed up--please do so! The bead drawing is coming closer and closer to its finale! Go to Denise Yezbak Moore's blog and check out her huge, ginormous, bestest ever give away! The Bead Addict is screaming at me--actually pulling at my hair because I'm reminding all you beady readers there's still time to enter. She wants all these beads to for us to keep--but I believe in "What comes around, goes around." Since you've been generous with me--I'm spreading the news! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bead Soup Unveiling!

I've been waiting for this day for a long, long time! My partner, Dana James at Dana's Jewelry Design sent me some seriously and completely luscious beads for my ingredients. I was in awe. Pearls are some of my favorites gems but I felt totally out of my league with these beauties. Check out the abalone--that soft, shimmery, silvery gray just whispered to my soul. I totally loved the rose quartz rectangular beads and the kyanite ovals. Check out the Swarovski crystals in two different sizes! The heart-shaped clasp caught me by the throat because it's beautiful and funky. The Bead Addict in me came out in full force and giggled--a little maniacally--with glee over such a treasure. How could she resist?

After I got HER calmed down enough to start thinking about what I was going to do with my wonderful ingredients. I admit that panic settled in because these ingredients cried out for something more elegant than plain ole' soup. I also felt trapped because I normally don't do hearts. Understand I give heart-embellished jewelry to others who do hearts, but I rarely if ever do hearts for myself. The Bead Addict had already declared that what ever was made from this mix of treasures from Dana would be ours--I mean mine. 

Since I teach classes at two different universities, I checked my calendar. The Bead Party would fall what would be my midterms week! I had to use my time wisely and get this delicate creation done NOW.  About that time, the horror of the BP Oil Catastrophe hit the news and I realized that the damage done could spread world-wide. It hit me that these precious gifts from the sea might become exceedingly rare and I understood that Dana blessed me with something even more than mere beads--but a gift that could turn into an heirloom treasure.  Thank you Dana. I hope I did justice to your wonderful and beautiful gift!

Click on the pictures for better viewing and detail! 
So I put on my music CD that was a symphony to whale song and created. The first piece that I did was the necklace... I was enchanted with the rose quartz Dana had included, but wanted to reserve them for something else. So I pawed through my stash and ran across a diamond-shaped rose quartz strand. That maniacal giggling you hear in the background is Bead Addict. Another addition were the biwa stick pearls my husband had bought for me a couple of years ago. They were elegant and totally out of my area of stringing "expertise" but they worked well with what I was doing...framing that gorgeous abalone focal.  I also added  a couple of different colors in the Swarovski crystals to emphasize the gorgeous pink ones Dana included. 

I completed this choker-style necklace with silver-plated chain and one of my own clasps. I did find one last tiny heart toggle, left over from a project I did for my aunt. To me, that was fate, because it was still within the theme of what Dana sent me. 

Then I because I'm on a huge bracelet kick lately, I made one with some of the left over ingredients. This was totally out of the box for me because I experimented with danglies. Since we decided...I mean I decided to keep this, I wanted to try something I haven't really worked on before. 

I used Dana's heart clasp because it was too pretty to hide in the back of a necklace. Secondly, it just seemed so natural to use that toggle in a piece of jewelry as part of the ensemble's focal. I used silver pearl head pins to combine the pearls and the stones to form danglies. The bracelet has a good weight to it--not to heavy but not so light you forget you're wearing it. It doesn't jingle-jangle--something that would get on my nerves since I use my hands a lot in teaching. 

Well, what's a bracelet and a necklace without matching earrings?!?! This was rather fun because I stretched myself again here. I wanted a pair of earrings that would compliment the necklace alone, without the bracelet. But I also wanted a pair of earrings that would compliment the bracelet if I chose to wear that without the necklace. Then to top it all off, I wanted a pair of earrings that I could wear with both the necklace AND the bracelet as a matching set. So this is what I came up with as a solution
Starting from left to right, the gray pearl buttons with the pink Swarovski crystals would be perfect for wearing alone or with the bracelet. They would also compliment the necklace. The kyanite and cyclamen Swarovski crystals would compliment either the necklace or the bracelet...or could be worn alone. The gray ablalone and white button pearls with the the crystals would fit the necklace well.  

So what got me out of my normal box? Using pearls and making danglies. Thank you Dana for giving a shot in the you-know-where to boost me from my conventional form of beading! 

I hope you visit others who are unveiling their Party Pieces as well. 

Carol, Carol Bradley Designs 
Wanda, A Frayed of Fibers
Diana, Vintage Blue Studio 
Marieke, Marieke's Blog
KJ, Silver Parrot
Maire, Maire Dodd 
Shannon, Miss Fickle Media
Dana (and MY Partner!), Dana's Jewelry Design
Charlene, The Bead Dreamer 
Elisabeth, Beads for Busy Gals 
Missy, Melissa Rappaport 

I also want to thank Lori Anderson, our coordinator, for all the encouragement she gives us!The fact that she keeps nearly 100 women together for this event is simply amazing and I wanna be like her when I grow up! :D 

Enjoy the soup... 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bead Soup--Day Three

The Bead Soup Party is still rockin' today with talented artists! To help you find your way, here's a list of today's Bead Party group. If you have a couple of minutes to spare, go browse around and look at the incredible, talented, wearable art! 

Before you go on the tour--this is for my bead friends and readers. 
 Have you ever wished you could just win a huge stash of beads? Now's your chance to try for one humongous bead destash/giveaway!  Denise Yezbak Moore is having such a giveaway. She hasn't decided to send it all to one person or to split it six ways yet but I think she's counting the votes! You can click on the link above (her name) and check out this wonderfully, gorgeous, luscious, delightful set of beads she's giving away--all SEVEN AND A HALF POUNDS of it! 

Back to the Bead Party! 

Here's today's group!
27. Lisa, Alterity 
28. Dale, Dales' Flights of Fancy 
29. Melanie, Kookie Designs 
30. Christine, A Hot Piece of Glass
31. Nancy, Beading From the Heart 
32. Laurel, Rue's Daftique 
33. Sandi, Do Be Do Bead Do 
34. Nicki, Nicki's Reef
35. Virginie, ViviBijoux
36. Janeen, Wild Vanilla 

(Psst! Lisa and Virginie are also having giveaways! Here's your chance at winning some fabulous handcrafted jewelry by extremely talented women!) 

Have a wonderful day!

PS: Dana, my bead soup partner is having a NON-BEAD giveaway at her blog! Go check this out! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Friendly Visitor

The other day, I looked out my window while I was on the phone with a student and saw a wonderful sight. As soon as I could, I rushed outside with my camera. We had a visitor and I wanted pictures!
 That's my Fire Witch that I planted earlier. The butterfly couldn't leave it alone.  
 This little one intrigued me since I haven't seen that many butterflies in a long time. Beauty on the wing...
  Apparently, it really liked the Fire Witch--which smells spicy sweet. No pun intended.

The first day of the Bead Soup Party was yesterday. Lori Anderson, our coordinator has broken the party up into easy sections so this party is going to last all week long! How exciting is that?!?!? My partner, Dana and I don't get to do our unveiling until Thursday and I can hardly wait! So if you have nothing to do for the moment, head over to Lori's place and check out some amazing talent in today's world of beaders, jewelry designers, and artistic craftswomen!

Finally, Natalie of Tins and Treasures is having a stupendous giveaway to celebrate her blog's upcoming two year anniversary! And no--it's not beads so those of you who don't follow the craft can take a peek at her blog and see some of the wonderful items that are up for grabs on this giveaway! Just leave a comment on her blog by Tuesday, June 22nd and you're entered in the drawing! It's as simple as that! 

Hope your Sunday is easy and peaceful!

It's What's For Dinner!

Since my crazy summer schedule leaves very little time for daily meal planning, I've had to get crackin' and come up with a new way to have our meals prepared in advance. We live in New Mexico where it's hot and dry. Really hot and dry. Luckily, we live in northern New Mexico and in the mountains where it's not as bad as where I used to live in southern New Mexico. Still, no one--especially a dozen cats--wants me using the oven to cook because the heat lingers for days. They're having a hard enough time keeping cool. 

So my method of choice is the outdoor grill. On the weekends. When it's not windy. Or rainy. 

Grilling outside is preferred because I can cook a whole bunch of food at one whack. For example, today I grilled...well look at the pictures and see!
 I try to plan this well but sometimes I get ahead or behind myself. Today it was a bit of both. I wanted to grill D's potato and his corn, along with my eggplant and zucchini first since they usually take longer. And normally I don't crowd the grill this badly. Missing from this picture are D's button mushrooms. I don't use a marinade or rub or sauce because I count on the mesquite wood smoke to flavor everything. Mesquite is just my personal preference, but hickory or other aromatic smoking woods could be used. I also cover the grill to let the smoke do its magic, but I can't take a picture of the magic. 

What I have on the grill today are zucchini, eggplant, red bell peppers, an ear of corn, yellow squash, one baking potato, purple and yellow onions.  When the veggies are all done, I add meat. Kathy--you may wanna scroll past this bit. 
 I added fruit tonight to the grill because it adds a nice dessert.   Stone fruits, like peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums grill up deliciously. I found that pineapple works well as one of those fruits I can grill. The trick is not to over-cook your fruits. A tip I learned (the hard way!) was to use ripe but not soft fruits.
Tomorrow, I'm going to cook green beans and asparagus on the grill.  I'll use foil or my cast iron skillets for that and see how they turn out. I'm also thinking of trying to grill carrots and see how that works. Alright--you can call me a grillin' nut if you want. But if it works, you'll wanna try it!

My favorite marinade for meats is simply beer. I personally can't stand the taste of any beer in the liquid form, but it does tenderize and adds a delicious flavor to grilled meats.  I have chicken soaking in D's Moosehead beer, using a covered casserole dish. I've used his Negro Modello, Shiner Bock, and Corona beers for various meats. I prefer the darker beers for beef, pork, and chicken; and I like the lighter beers for chicken and fish. 

Because the grill usually stays hot long enough to cook several meals, I can get plenty made for the upcoming week. It's simple to store in ziplocks or covered containers. What doesn't get eaten within a couple of days is relegated to the freezer in case of rainy or windy days. It also makes it nice since D and I are on different schedules--he's coming home from the lab when I'm beginning a class. It means we both get a nice meal despite the conflicting working hours.   But I have to confess, the fruits are usually eaten for breakfast. 

So do you grill? What are you favorite ways to do it up?  


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just Little Bead Tease...

Most of you know I'm involved with the Bead Soup Party hosted by Lori Anderson. The Bead Soup Party kicks off this weekend and I can't wait to go traveling to visit all the wonderful, incredibly talented bead artists. My unveiling of my bead partner's stash isn't until next Thursday--June 24th. But I'm really excited about this party and wanted to give you a hint of what's to come. Dana sent me some exotic and exciting beads to play with and play I did!

So here's a sneak peak at some of those luscious beads that Dana sent me!

 I can't wait to show the rest! But I gotta...I have to wait until it's my turn. So mark your calendars for the unveiling and join me for the Party! The Bead Party that is...worn by movie stars. (I wish!)

Wishing you a peaceful day! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Short One...

I  just finished teaching class. I helped D change out the last catboxes and watered the food garden while he watered the flowers in the front yard. I'm bushed. I want time to relax with my  husband and the cats. 

For you beaders, please check out Elizabeth's bead giveaway! It ends tonight! Last chance to comment and get your name in the drawing! She has some fabulous beads in her collection, which has me drooling. (One of these days, I'll tell you about my drool-trails, which aren't as toxic as chem-trails.) Beads have that effect on me.  Elizabeth put together an eclectic mix of beads that are both cool and funky and fun. So if you bead a little or a lot--go check out her giveaway and leave a comment! 

We found critters eating up some of our plants, so now we have to get them off and out of the garden. It's OUR garden--not bugs! I'm not raising that food for them. Most people would reach for the bug spray or some other pesticide. Since I'm trying to protect my kidneys by growing my own food, I have can't use commercial pesticides either. I'm going to be pressing several garlic cloves into a spray bottle and let it sit for a day or two--making garlic tea. It should discourage most garden pests, and I'm hoping it works for these bugs.  

Tomorrow is a full day and I don't finish teaching until 8 in the evening. I finished some administrative stuff today so I'm hoping I grade papers in my spare time. And yes--I know I "stay pretty busy" but one of these days, we'll break down the A-Personality type (that's combined with a bit of OCD and anal retentiveness.)

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Staying Busy!

What a week! I've decided to quit asking myself if I can get busier--because invariably I can! It goes back to that old adage about "Be careful what you ask for--because you may get it!" Remember that one? Well, I think I'm finally learning that lesson. Again.

I'm still acclimating to the new teaching schedule. Acclimation as in I come home from class on Thursday afternoon and take a nap! Fridays are supposed to be my paper grading day. It's turned into my "Answer the PHONE" day. I tell people my left ear is still recovering from having the receiver pressed it against it constantly on Fridays.  Like calluses, it takes time to build tolerance and extra thick skin! I don't get as many papers as I would like graded--because I'm on the phone. That puts me behind my schedule. Any delay in grading papers or answering the phone one more time spills over into my gardening time. 

What?!??! I like to spend a bit of time every day in my gardens other than getting up at dawn and waiting until after sunset to water them. It's the only way I can keep up with the weeds. I'm telling you now--I'm growing a fine crop of binder and tumble weeds. Too bad they aren't edible--I have a yard full of them. 
 I walked outside for some "alone time" the other evening between classes and found one of our ferals in the pot that's home to catnip. She had been sitting in the pot, loving on the plant. I asked my beloved husband for some hard cloth to make a barrier so the 'nip will survive long enough to be harvested. It's not pretty but it's keeping the plant from being loved too much!

I did some more planting of flowers on the other side of the walkway and the front porch. 
 Here's another view. That's blue delphinium and lavender pincushion. The columbines and calla lillies are behind them.
  Can you tell I love purples and blues?  I need a few more plants in that bed for the summer-fall flowers. That's where most of my daffodils reside for the spring. I've also got to set the rock border up so it's a bit tidier.
 When we first moved into this house, I planted a raspberry-colored salvia that has come back every year. It's beautiful.  And yes--that's one of the new crops of tumbleweeds growing in the background that needs to be pulled. Again. 
 The garden is not doing as well as I hoped. Only the wax beans, green beans, and the zucchini seeds have sprouted. So I've been adding plants. The plants are doing well, despite the heat.  What is pictured are Roma tomatoes, cinnamon and sweet basils, and oregano growing. 
 One of the other things we've managed to accomplish this week was more tree trimming. Actually D did the tree trimming. I just helped. As in I got conked in the head a couple of times from tree limbs either coming down or being piled up. I was constantly distracted by "Man Muscles." Most of you ladies know what I mean. Let it suffice to say that we will be celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary in a couple of months and I still get distracted by D's Man Muscles in action.  
  I realized yesterday that I hate Siberian Elm trees. They shed worse than my cats do during shed season. Every time there's a bad storm or high winds, the yard fills up with branches. It makes raking a year round chore. Siberian Elms send out millions of seeds, most of which have sprung up in my garden. I'd be fine if they blew into someone else's yard or garden patch--but not mine. Actually, I suspect that the ones germinating in my garden came from across town or even across the state since Siberian Elms are invasive.  I hope someone can use this lot as firewood for the winter to keep warm. 

 Fun surprises this week in the mail! My friend Debi sent a box full of beads for me to play with! I'm not done sorting them, since sorting beads is not quiet work to do on the phone. 
 These beauties make me drool! It was such a great mixture of gemstone, glass, Czech, acrylic, and shell beads. I have plans for those sky-blue peacock and the porcelain beads! They would so match a set of polymer clay flower beads I purchased from Mary Ellen a couple of years ago. The blueberry quartz would work well with the blueberry quartz rounds that my friend J sent me a couple of weeks ago.  

I ask you--can a bead addict ever have too many beads?!?!?!?!

Speaking of beads...My friend Elizabeth, over at Turquoise Skies, is having a giveaway. There's still time to check it out and get signed up for it. So get over there and comment on her blog to be entered in her fabulous giveaway!

Have you noticed? I'm either hung up on gardening or beading. Well, here's another. I'm in the Second Bead Soup Party, hosted by  Lori Anderson.  My beading partner is Dana James who sent me some fabulous beads. You might remember the post I had about them not too long ago. 
The Bead Party opens up Saturday, June 19th and runs through Saturday, June 26th. Stay tuned to this blog for details. I'll be posting my own creation debut on Thursday, June 24th. I'm really excited because of the beads that Dana sent me were beautiful and fun to work with! I hope you take the time to check out some very talented and creative artists--there's nearly a 100 beaders, jewelry designers, and artists who signed up for this round the world event! Woooooooohooooo!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

That Easy Peaceful Feeling

I look forward to Sundays. After a specially hectic week--it was my first full week of teaching and there were problems...Yeah. Problems. Such as not being able to get connected into the online classroom to teach Wednesday night. I didn't have any problems last semester logging into the class. My husband, D and the Education Outreach boss, J were both working on my computer, trying to figure out why my computer was not able to connect.  With two computer techie/gurus working their magic on my machine, it made it hard for me to do much of anything else on it.  That issue was not resolved until late Friday morning. 

Since this was the first week for one of my graduate classes, I decided to hold a special Saturday morning review session from 8AM until noon so my students could get caught up on course material. It was actually successful, judging from the comments made by my students. It wore me out but it was worth it for my students. 

I also decided Friday that I'm pretty busy during the week--judging by this past week. If I want to eat during the week, the weekends are my only time to cook. So I grilled pork steaks on Friday; tequila-lime chicken and seared our pot roast (on the grill) on Saturday; and today, the pot roast is cooking in the crockpot. There's fresh salad and grilled veggies (D's corn, potatoes and our zucchini spears) for side dishes, along with fruit salad and grilled pineapple spears in the fridge. I won't have to cook again until Thursday afternoon. Yippee! 

Today is Sunday. The cats were gracious enough to let me sleep in until 6:45 this morning. Even Harley kept his purring down to a comfortable roar while kneading softly on me.  This was heaven. Nonetheless, it's been scorching hot here lately. I've been getting up early to water my garden out back to keep everything alive. So I dragged my sleepy butt out of bed, dressed, made coffee, fed cats, and then went out back to water. I saw these...
 Baby zucchini plants with leaves!  I'm so excited because these sprung from the seeds I planted!
 I also caught sight of this...the first green bean plant also from seed! This will go well with the wax beans I have growing as well! I'm going to have to transplant this bunch of wax beans.
 After watering the garden, I kept my promise to the girls in taking them outside in the front yard. This allows them to get outside time, allows me to work in the front beds, and allows D to sleep in without being woken up to cats crying to go outside.
 Ava, sniping in her grass nest.
 Topaz checking out hunting spots.
 Chile and Arby enjoying their morning.
Merlin and Chile greeting each other. 

Last Wednesday, I started weeding out one of the front flower beds. Then I had this brainstorm--I can plant my strawberry plants there! It meant enlarging the flower bed and changing its configuration. I started out with this on Wednesday....
 I ended up with this today...(and it's not done--just started)
While I pulled weeds (tough buggers too) and planned the front flower beds, I had an epiphany.  I realized that for the first time in years I felt better than I ever did before. This was the first time in two years since my first hospitalization I really believe I'm going to live for a while longer. I suddenly realized that I wasn't even doing the "I'm dying so I need to get this all done NOW before I go" thinking.  For the first time in a long, long time, I feel I can just stop, breathe a bit, and relax. 

I attribute this change in my attitude because I changed my eating habits. Since I learned I was allergic to food preservatives, I had to give up eating out. I also had to give eating nearly all foods that came pre-processed and in a box, can, or bag. I had to give up processed meats and vegetables.  In fact, what most people consider to be "normal eating," I've had to just quit doing--including coffee drinks, sodas, ice creams, canned soups, instant dinners, etc.

Because I changed my eating habits, my blood pressure is stabilizing and I'm able to use the lowest dose for my hypertension medication.  I'm off the cholesterol statin drugs. Other than a few sore muscles and joints, I'm feeling better--healthier--than I have in a long, long time and that goes back before I became sick enough to be hospitalized. All this because I changed my lifestyle from convenience to healthier choices. 

This year, I'm growing--or attempting to grow--some of my own foods. While the garden has become my obsession, I also realized it's been my center. Sunday mornings are a joy because I can spend time nurturing the very life force that will nurture me in return. The garden has given me what's been missing in my life--that peaceful, easy, healthy feeling. 

I'm living it. 


Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Need to Bead

During this recent holiday, I took time out to bead. I wanted to get my beading fix in before the summer session caught up with me full force. On top of that I wanted to play with the bead soup mix that Dana sent me. 

So here are some examples of what I did.
 I had a lot of Swarovski crystal two-hole sliders and finally figured out how to use them to make some bling.  
Recently, I won this gorgeous Blue Riolita pendent from one of Gretchen Lima's auctions.  I put it together with some blueberry faceted quartz rondelles, amethyst luster roller beads, and bronze bicone beads. It worked out to be a delicious combination.
A couple of years back, I purchased a couple of strands of copper Sedona pearls from Gretchen. I rummaged around in my bead boxes and found coin-shaped brown slate. Combined the pearls and slate with some amethyst copper lined seed beads came out prettier than I expected. I originally had the idea of saving this set for a gift but I'm keeping it. It works with my "style" whatever that is.

I also snagged these gorgeous beads from Terri Stone's store. I couldn't help it--they were so my colors! The shades of purple, indigo, midnight blue, teal and black just screamed out my name when I saw them in her store. I bought all of them up. I've been looking at them for weeks and weeks, dreaming about what I can make with them. I paired them with lapis and crystals. I call it Cathryn's Colors...go figure huh?

I'm not one of these people who can sit on the phone for hours and hours and not do nothing. That's what I used to do when I was smoking cigarettes by the packs and packs and drinking pots and pots of coffee. So now when I'm on the phone for any length of time talking to family or friends (because I don't have call-waiting either), I try to keep my hands busy.  So that is how this set came about. I love it. I paired fresh water pearls with silver-plated chains for the bracelet and the necklace. It's too sweet!
 I've thought about opening a bead store but then I would have a hard time selling anything! Tomorrow I get to play in the dirt...Saturday morning teach again. Hope your weekend is warm and sunny without being overly hot!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Full Week and I'm Tired Already...

Tomorrow noon ends my first full week of teaching college classes. I'm already tired. My kitchen looks like disaster struck it and I don't have the energy today to clean it before I go online to teach tonight. While I know it's going to take a couple of weeks to get acclimated to my new schedule, I'm wondering if I bit off more than I could chew with teaching three summer courses and the garden.

No--wait! Not the garden! I didn't bite off more there...I LOVE my garden. It's my center--my being. All right--it's my obsession. There I said it. The Garden is MY OBSESSION! This morning, I couldn't wait to get out there and put in some more plants, to check for seed growth, and to water it. I was awake at 5:30 and out of bed, dressed and feeding cats before 6:00. Did you know it's still a bit dark outside at that time? The cats are loving this early-rising human because they get to eat earlier than usual. Ava loves this time of day because if she asks "IWantOutsideNowPlease" it will happen. At 7AM, I was loaded up with vegetable plants and tools (along with a bucket, sweater, hat, gloves, coffee cup, and a cat) and was out the door by 7:01:30. 

We have some growth. I'm praying that this...
isn't another Siberian Elm tree trying to take root in my garden.  I'm hoping that's our Genovese Basil finally sprouting. 
 I nearly whooped and hollered when I saw this...nearly. I remembered my neighbors were asleep as was my darling husband....they wouldn't have appreciated any loud celebrating that stated YES! THE WAX BEANS ARE FINALLY GROWING! That thing on the bottom looks suspiciously like a new binder weed. I shall banish it shortly if it is binder weed.   
 I planted sunflower seeds and hollyhock seeds by my fence line. One or the other or both are growing. I might even be able to transplant some of those to other areas. And yes--that's my barbecue skewer sticking up around it. It served as a marker so I know where to water and to keep D from mowing it down. 

But this gave me pause and made me stop and thank the forces that direct life on our planet. 
 It's our first peony flower that bloomed. Our neighbor, Mrs. C's mother planted this bush over 20 years ago when they lived in our house. We still get blooms every year.

In less than two hours, I get online and teach statistics to graduate students for two hours. It will be intense and fast because we have only two hours this week of class time. Tomorrow morning, I teach the three hour stats class in person. I'm so looking forward to Friday--when the most I'll have to do is grade papers. Friday morning, Ava and I will be out in the front yard so I can clear out the front flowerbed and plant strawberries and rosemary. I'm looking forward to my day off since I'm teaching Saturday morning. 

I'll get used to this schedule. I always do.