Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Art Show Listings

My art show had an extended run but now it is over and I have a few paintings that still need a home.  If you are interested in any of these pieces, please let me know.  I would love for these paintings to find a good home.  
All are original, signed by moi, and ready to hang.  (Edges are painted black.)


 "Tranquility Falls"
24" x 24" x 1.5" acrylic on canvas

Abstract "gravity" painting

 Watering Can set of three

each is 16" x 20" on 1.5' wide canvas
Can be divided

"Feather Friends"
16" x 36" x 1.5" acrylic on canvas

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In-House Move

Boy.  That was a long absence from the Blogosphere.  We went on a Griswald-worthy car trip this past month and only recently returned home.  The kids and I racked up about 5000 miles in our trusty Suburban, crossing 13 states, over 37 days.  We visited family in North Carolina and then we drove up to Connecticut to visit my paternal family.

I'll tell ya, New England is a nice place to be during the heat of the summer.

During our trip, I had plenty of down time to examine our routines concerning both homeschooling and our daily lives.  Upon reflection, I realized that our arrangement of school room/office was not working for our family.  A major change was needed.

As soon as we got home, we hit The Home Depot for new cubicle shelving to convert our dining room into our school slash dining room.  Jerry, ever so handy, built a work surface into the pre-existing bookshelves in our living area to make a living room slash office.

What happened to the empty room?  Phoebe got her own bedroom.

Paige and Phoebe have been sharing a room for the past two years and with five years age difference, the fussing was getting past the breaking point.  Paige wants to play Jungle Kids or Underwater Secret Agent with her friends in her room and Phoebe, naturally, wants to play, too.  However, Phoebe does not play well with a large group and ends up causing all kinds of chaos to the Underwater Squad's play.

It's been a week with the new arrangement and so far so AWESOME!!

In the process of moving Phoebe out of Paige's room, we ended up rearranging 50% of the furniture in the house.  In the process of moving 50% of the furniture, I successfully got rid of 35% of the junk that had accumulated in the past few years.  In the process of weeding out the junk, I spent 87% of my time pre-organizing, in my mind at least, our remaining junk into three categories:  Take to the Bahamas, put in long term storage in the States when we move to the Bahamas, or get rid of.

Start saving now because, honey, we will be having one ginormous estate sale before we move in 1 year 8 months 22 days and 13 hours.

Not that I'm counting.

So what does the above photo have to do with anything?  Well, nothing, really.

I just thought we've all had enough of Jerry and his (coco)nuts.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Need for Frozen Peas

Recently, Jerry underwent a certain manly procedure that men with complete families undergo.  The Air Force is big proponent for this procedure, I guess because it's easier to take him off flying status for two weeks than giving him four weeks of paternity leave.

Men and women have a much different outlook when it comes to this sensitive procedure.  If you mention it to a man, they ALL say something like this:  "Oh, man!!  That sucks!!  Dude, make sure you buy lots of frozen peas.  I had it done a few years ago.  Ugh!  I'm glad I don't have to go through that again!"

If you ask a woman, a woman who has had children, they ALL say something like this:  "Oh, that's AWESOME!!  Congratulations!  What a relief you must feel!"

The disparity must lay in the relationship each gender has with his or her gonads.  Men hold (excuse the pun) their man jewels with a reverence we women usually reserve for our first born children, or an awesome pair of shoes.

Women, on the other hand, usually don't give much thought to their gonads, unless there is a medical problem with them.  Maybe because men's are all out there in the wide open spaces whereas women's are nicely contained within.

Maybe it's because we can't get kicked in ours.


I've been having a geeky good time comparing the types of reactions I get from each side of the gender card.  Men all get squeamish and apologetic, while women all get congratulatory and victorious.

Victorious?  Why are we HAPPY about our men folk getting their private man junk cut on?  Do we secretly want to inflict pain on our men?  Derive macabre satisfaction from their suffering?

No.  I don't think it's any of that.  I think it's a little matter of comeuppance.  A tiny, teeny feeling of IT'S YOUR TURN, BUDDY!!

The burden of reproduction falls very heavily on the shoulders of women.  Duh, right?  But think about it, we spend years on hormones trying to avoid getting pregnant, including all of the nausea, weird body changes, and symptoms those synthetic hormones can cause in our bodies.  (Not to mention the myriad of crappy symptoms I had with the Mirena IUD whose removal prompted the necessity of Jerry's procedure.)

Then, during pregnancy, our bodies turn from smoking hot to morphed blogs of unrecognizable mush.  For example, before pregnancy, who out there had a gorgeous chest and then after pregnancy and nursing, you look down and scream, "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THOSE THINGS?" wondering when you started looking so much like the tribal women seen on PBS?

Of course, let's not forget about labor and delivery.  Labor, at least natural non-drugged labor, is an experience not easily forgotten.  When I labored with Josh, I went for almost 8 hours stuck in transition, with almost constant contractions.  By the end, right before the doctor told me my cervix was swelling closed from the pain, I was literally begging for death.  Pain like that should not be possible. 

Only because of the numbing goodness of oxytocin would a woman ever choose to purposefully go through that AGAIN.

Can you see?  Can you see why I, and ALL the women I've talked to, get kind of IN YOUR FACE, SUCKER!! when discussing the big "V"?  It truly is the man's turn.  His turn to share in the burden of reproduction.  His turn to suffer for our family.

I'm tired of it being ALL ON ME.

So thanks, Honey.  Thanks for going through this procedure for me, for us, so I can get off the hormones and get my body back fully under my own control.  Thanks for stepping up and laying it all out there for our family. (So to speak.)

And by the way, it's not like I got away completely off of the hook.  I did have to buy five bags of frozen peas at the grocery store.

THAT is embarrassing!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Thanks to my friend, Kerry, who is blogging her way through an entire year of NO new product purchases, (www.thesimpleyear.com), I have been introduced to freecycle.org.

This is a website where you can list thing you want to give away, or ask for something you need.  It's like a virtual swap meet.

In my spare time, of which I just had five minutes, the first time in 6 months, I like to check out freecycle.org for my old, affluent neighborhood near Houston.  (In Del Rio, there is no freecycle.org.  Everything here is a want.)

I would just like to share with you a few interesting items I came across. 

1.  Wanted:  baby swing.  (OK.  That's reasonable.)

2.  Free:  Underwear  (Oh, jeez.  Thank you!)

3.  Wanted:  washer and dryer, but FRONT-loading only!  (Must have!!!)  (Me, too, buddy!)

4.  Free:  3 cups of pebbles and stones.  (Why?)

5.  Wanted:  New carpeting including padding.  (Should be easy enough to find.....)

6.  Free:  Pant lining.  (What?  I can't think of anything that wouldn't be disgusting.)

7.  Wanted:  New home and new kids but no furniture!!  (We all have those days, don't we?)

8.  Free:  Orange kitten  (I will give you $10 to keep it away.)

9.  Wanted:  Infant and Toddler (Why?  I can rent you mine!)

10.  Free:  Box of kids books K-2.  (Wait, what?  This is a good one!!  Hold on, I've got to call these people!)

So if you're like me and have five minutes every six months to spare, check out the freecycle.org for your area!  It's a hoot!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pinterest Backyard Waterbed

 If you've never checked out Pinterest, leave this blog immediately, go to pinterest.com, and request an invitation to join the site.  Within 2 days you'll be able to join and then let the fun begin!

Pinterest is a virtual pin board where you and other people you "follow" can keep a record of all of the cool things found on the internet.  You can scroll through categories such as cooking, crafts, photography, education, etc. 

I've been trying to actually DO some of the awesome projects I've found on Pinterest.  Here is one that we did a few weeks ago.

This is a giant water-filled bladder, like a giant water bed.  It was made using plastic painters drop cloth with the edges duct-taped all around.  You put in 923856932874629387 gallons of water, plug 0972935872398523985719837519 holes along the tape, and you're ready for some fun!

 The plastic was wet and slippery, soft and squishy, and the kids had tons of fun running around on top of the backyard water bed, until...

 ...their heels started going through the plastic making giant, leaking holes.  I quickly duct-taped up the worst of the holes and told the kids to just roll around on it with standing up.

 This project was a LOT of work and quite a bit of money, especially taking into account the amount of water needed to fill this thing up.  The kids played on it many times over the course of the day, and believe it or not, they had more fun because of the holes than without them.  A wet backyard waterbed is fun!

Overall, I give this project a Pinterest rating of 3 out of 5 on a random scale of 0-5, one being didn't work/awful, to five being the best thing ever!!  It's a highly technical scale I just made up this exact second.

I will be rating other Pinterest projects I've tackled so you can know the real deal.  

If you get onto Pinterest, do a search for me and we can follow each other!

Happy Pinning!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Swingset Mastery

These photos mark an important milestone that all children reach:  When they can pump themselves on a swing.

No more standing at the playground pushing a child back and forth and back and forth and higher, Mommy!! for an eternity.

Nope.  That's all over.  Now I can go sit down on the bench and watch the ants go marching by.

I'm excited about this.  Anything that allows me to be momentarily lazy is OK with me.  I'm know that in a few years I will be sad, thinking and longing for those days of playing with my little kids and pushing them on a swing.

But until then, I'm tired and really want to sit down.

Good job, Phoebe!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hardware Store Find

I think I'll let you find out for your own what's so funny about this sign.

Find it yet?

I didn't know they sold that kind of thing at The Home Depot!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crabs for Dinner

During our last Bahamas vacation, Jerry (which ironically means "man with spear") speared these tasty ocean creatures for dinner one night.  We scored three rock crabs and two tiny grouper that Jerry speared just to say that he did.

The kids always get a kick out of holding the dead crabs to see how much they weigh and how long they are.

Holding giant dead crabs negates the otherwise unmanly fact that Josh is wearing a Speedo.  

Phoebe has no fear of things living or dead.  We would often find her holding starfish, sea cucumbers (sea penises), jelly fish, hermit crabs, sea urchins, or some other poor sea creature.  She's not very gentle.  For many reasons, I'm glad I'm not a small animal in her hands.

The crabs really don't look that big when Jerry holds them.  He's so dang big that he makes the crabs look teeny tiny.

But they most certainly are NOT teeny or tiny!

Jerry would put them in a pot of boiling water to cook and then cut open the meat to share with the family.

Guess how much meat we would get out of that huge specimen?  Oh, maybe 2 bites each.  The body is full of gross things we won't eat, even though Mr. Zimmer from "Bizarre Foods" says you can eat all of that mess.  And those huge claws?  Almost nothing.  I'm not sure how those crabs actually moved their claws with such little muscle.

 With such a big catch, we would be hard pressed to survive on this alone.

OK, Mom, that sounds like a lot of complaining about the crabs Dad caught.  You know, he was SWIMMING when he caught these things.  He used a snorkel to get in and under some really sharp reefs, braving cold water, jellyfish and the giant shark you are certain lives in that cove yet no one has ever seen.  He had to find the crab or fish first, and then shoot it, a moving target, with a spear launched only with a slingshot.  

How many crabs did YOU catch?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beverage Barn

There is a type of store here in Texas that really blows my mind:  The drive-through beverage "barns".  What you do is:

1.  Drive into the barn, preferable in the correct direction, but hey, whatever.

2.  Stay in your car while the attendant comes to your window to take your "order".

3.  Watch the attendant pull from the refrigerators the items you have asked for.

4.  Scream out of your window when they reach for the red Mountain Dew instead of the green.

5.  Accept items you ordered when attendant hands them into your window.

6.  Pay attendant.

7.  Drive away with beverages, snacks, ice, batteries, and maybe a frozen Margarita in hand.

Now, if that is not awesome enough, the above beverage "barn" in a neighboring town takes it one step further.  Not only can you get you and yours fed and watered, but you can also provide for those you've left at home.  Like your cows, horses, chickens, dogs, and unruly children you've locked in the closet.

OK.  Maybe not THAT.

Attendant:  Howdy, Ma'am/Sir.  Can I help you? 

Customer:  Yes.  I would like a Diet Coke, a pack of peanuts, and a bottle of water.

Attendant:  Anything else?

Customer:  Yes.  Throw in a 40 pound bag of kibble, one sack of deer corn over there, 6 bags of ice, some sweet feed, and some ivermectin for the horses.  Just throw all that stuff in the back of the truck.  Much obliged.

Then you pay and go about your business knowing you have your Coke, the kids have their water or Big Red, and Bessie the Cow has some nice feed coming her way.

Country livin' at it's finest!

Monday, May 21, 2012


People wonder why we need a Suburban. Why not a car or minivan that seats all five of you?  

Here is a quick summary of what we had in the back of our Suburban on Sunday:

-gas-powered generator
-Small garden container with chives, thyme, and one marigold
-assorted tools and power equipment
-one dissected fetal pig
-beach towels, sunscreen, and bug spray
-5 paintings and 2 packs of brushes
-a change of clothes for us all
-2 extension cords
-one dissected frog
-a notebook full of high school biology lab reports needing grading

All of that random assortment of crap was in the back. Add 7 humans in the seats and you've got yourself a mobile party!
Can a car/minivan do that?  
 I heart Suburbans.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Art Show Contestants

 The annual Del Rio Art League's Judged Art Show begins next Friday.  Today was the day to turn in any artwork to be entered into judging.  You are allowed to enter up to five submissions but I only entered three this year.  Here they are:

20" x 24" x 1.5" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

Named after a character from a favorite TV show (name that show!), and meaning "prince" in Hindi, I thought this a fitting name for the king of the jungle.  Well, prince of the jungle.

 "Tranquil Falls"
24" x 24" x 1.5" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

This is an abstract technique that I've been experimenting with some in the past few weeks.  I like the effect and it's affect.

"Red Watchman"
16" x 40" x 1.5" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

This is one in a series of three songbird paintings I have completed.  This cardinal painting is one of my favorites.  

The tiger painting is in the acrylic still life category while the other two are competing against each other in the acrylic landscape category.  I originally intended the abstract to be in the abstract category but the only abstract category they offered was for mixed media, as in using more than one type of paint, pencil, or chalk.  I should have added a bit of colored pencil so I could have a contestant in each of three categories.  Now I know for next year.

One of my songbird paintings won 2nd place last year in the landscape category.  We'll see if I get a ribbon this year.

If you are interested in any of these pieces, email me.

Which one do you like the best?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Beach of a Joke

 What do you call a snake that lives at the beach?

 A sand-aconda!!

Bwahhhhh hhhaaaa haaaaa!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Advanced" vs. "Old" Fitness

 Lately, as in a few months ago, I have been changing up my weight routine to include more CrossFit style exercises as opposed the the weight-assisted machine style of exercise

I'll tell ya, my body responds really well to this type of exercise.  In forty five minutes, I can get such a complete workout that I almost throw up twice and the next day my entire body hurts.  Yes, Mom, those things are signs of a good workout.

What I find ironic though is how so many old things are now new again.  Take this style of exercise for example. 

In the gym on base, "they" have converted one of the racket ball courts into the "Advanced Fitness Program" room.  Notice that this is "advanced", aka modern/new-and-improved, fitness.
Get a good picture in your head as to what "advanced" fitness would look like.


And I bet it wouldn't look anything like this.

Let me take you on a tour of the "Advanced Fitness Program" room.  And yes, I did take pictures of the inside of the gym.

First, there are jump ropes for doing sporadic bursts of intense cardio.  Also, there are medicine balls, circa 1976, good for throwing, tossing, dropping, and causing hernias.

Next are kettlebells.  These are heavy, handled weights that simulate "modern" techniques of lifting using whole body momentum.  They replicate such things as lifting heavy bags of grain (think Peeta and his bags of flour), hauling heavy armfuls of bricks, and guiding beasts of burden along side of a plow.

Can you see how "advanced" this stuff is?

 Here are some weights that go on to the bar pictured below.

With this bar, and optional weights, you can do all kinds of "advanced" exercises such as the squat, straight-leg dead lift, and shoulder press.  Think lumberjack "exercises".

This piece of equipment is highly technical.  It's a bar.  You hang on it and pull yourself up.  Repeat.

And if you are not strong enough to pull yourself up and repeat, here is a tremendously "advanced" tool:  A giant rubber band.  After centering the rubber band on the bar, you hold the bar with both hands, put on foot into the loop of the rubber band, and then lower yourself down until you are hanging with straight arms.  The rubber band assists you pull yourself up to the bar.

The rubber band was first patented by Stephen Perry of England in the most modern year of 1845.

Now, that you have a proper picture of what "Advanced Fitness" looks like, let's take a look at what the other style of fitness looks like.   And assuming that the above was "advanced", and if this is in opposition of "advanced", then the following must be "antiquated", old, out of style.

Let's see what a normal weight exercise room looks like, an exercise room from the days of yore:

Here is a machine for exercising ONLY your shoulders.

This machine is called a "Smith" machine.  With this you can multi-task and do exercises for either your legs, shoulders, or chest.

This machine is ONLY for strengthening your lats.

Leg press...

I don't even know what this is and I've been a gym rat for 18 years.

Yes, my friends, this weight room is obviously very antiquated, mundane, and the opposite of "advanced".  Just ignore the Terminator walking around all of that metal.

In any case, I'll take my "advanced fitness" over that "old" stuff any day.  Please excuse while I go bounce around on a giant rubber band!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Songbird Painting

"Finches on a Fence"

40" x 16" x 1.5" Acrylic on Gallery-wrapped Canvas

This is a painting I completed in February as part of my "Songbird Series". We have a plethora of goldfinches in our backyard, well-fed and noisy little things that swarm our thistle-seed bird feeders. They go through food so fast I believe our birds get more of our monthly food budget than our beloved Great Dane.

My husband has a thing for the birds. Thistle seed, wildflower seed for the songbirds, suet for the woodpeckers and squirrels. It's safe to say the critters in our backyard are well tended.

Here are a few close-ups of the birds:

I will be adding this painting to my art website soon. When I'm not so busy, like, I don't know, 2016.

Love you all!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Ants Go Marching By

There is a small army that marches, day in and day out, up and down the sidewalk behind our house.

Red ants, march and march and march. All day. Every day.

These are not fire ants, but some kind of leaf cutter ant. Here is the opening to their underground nest.

The ants wind through the grass, creating paths with their million feet march.

Most homeward bound ants carry pieces of leaves many times bigger than their bodies. Other ants carry pieces of sticks or even other dead insects. Once, I saw two ants, believe it or not, working together to carry a dead bee. It was amazing.

If you start at the mouth of their nest, you can follow their path backwards to see where they are coming from and where they are going.

Up the sidewalk, along the edge Phoebe has nicknamed the "bacon", the ants march in a single file line.

10, 20, 30, 40 feet up the sidewalk, and the ants never vary from their marching line by more than a few inches.

All the way up to their destination: This tree of unknown species.

On the ground beneath and surrounding the tree are hundreds of small, cut pieces of leaves. A few ants scurry around these piles collecting their choice piece of leaf.

But most of the ants keep on going, climbing up the tree, as their march continues on.

The ants carrying leaves march down to join the queue heading toward the nest. Other ants without leaves, march up the tree, heading to the leafy branches overhead.

Once reaching the branches, the ants veer off from one main line, some ants heading this way, others heading that way.

It's like they know where they're going!

When they find their leaf of choice, they use their serrated teeth to cut off small, oval shaped pieces of leaf.

Then, while holding their leaf cutting over their heads, they head back down the tree, across the grass, down the sidewalk, and into their nest.

In this tree, above my head, millions of ants march, chew, and carry in an endless parade of survival.

Right over my head.

I think I'll step back now. Come one, Phoebe, before the wind picks up and it starts raining ants!

Isn't the life of an ant interesting? How do they do it? How do they know where to go, what leaf to cut, who to follow?

I'm tired just thinking about it!