Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Room Rearranging

I grew up in a room with furniture that my parents picked out.  I didn't have any input, it just appeared.  Then after I left home, my mother used it in her room when they moved to the farm.  It was good quality and durable.  Since then, I have not had a 'bedroom suite' of any kind.  It has been all mixed and matched and held together with hot glue.

When I moved to Montana, I splurged an not only bought a decent mattress, but also bedroom furniture.  I love my bed in particular.  It is high and has 4 X 4 'beams' framing it, acting as a ledge around the bed.  (That's how Lady K learned to climb early, so she could climb up into my bed.)   The downside of this furniture....IT'S HEAVY AS ALL GET OUT!

But then, Texter got raisers to put her bed frame on so she could use storage under her bed.  That made me want to do 'something' in my room.  I got two sets of shelves to hang on the wall to put my notebooks, pens, stuff which is now within arms reach of Lady K, up and out of the way (and off my floor).  That lead to wanting to move the bed....

With Texter's help, we slowly turned the bed 90 degrees.  Where it was basically sticking into the middle of the room before and I had little room to move my desk chair, it is now under the window on the west side of the room, in the corner.  After huffing and puffing and pushing and straining, stepping over each other, we did it.  And miracles occurred!

First off, I now of a ton more useable floor space.  To the point I can do yoga in my room now.  I can sit at my desk and move my chair in and out without running into the end of the bed.  And according to Feng Shui principles, I have improved my yin/yang.  What is funny is that it really confused the dogs and where they were suppose to lay on the bed.

This was all done on Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday I pulled the above Goddess card.  I feel better in my room.  Texter is set for school in the fall.  Savvy is now a manager where she works.  I think Vesta is watching over us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My List: Places I Want to See in Montana

It will be two years next month and I will have been living in Montana.  And I have to say, especially after North Carolina has been iced in for a week and it looks like they are getting hit again today, I haven't really regretted the move.

I am a list maker of a sort.  Usually, I make a list, it gets shoved in my back pocket, used and then thrown away.  Mainly grocery lists or a list of errands to run or bills to pay (way to many of those!).
So I am participating with relish in the 30 days of lists in March and this is a preview of whats to come.

But today, they asked for a bit of a warm-up on the March 'madness' of lists and I decided to list some of the places I want to visit in Montana.

  1. Waterfalls in Montana (some say 52, others say 120 named waterfalls)
  2. Garden of 1000 Buddhas
  3. Glacier National Park
  4. Yellowstone National Park
  5. The Sweet Palace 
  6. Hot springs
It may seem like a short list, but there are a lot of sites within each of those items.  Well, except for the 1000 Buddhas and the Sweet Palace, there are only 1 of those.  

Morrell Falls, I have crossed off the list already.  Although we will be hiking there again this year, so I will probably see it again.  I have already seen Crow Creek Falls.  Not sure if I want to make that hike again.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Mandala

Using the Percolator app to change up a picture and then creating a mandala from it.  Also using it as the background layer with a solid color over it at reduced opacity.  Now I want to go draw circles.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekly Review

...and boy, what a week it has been!

First, the library was closed on Monday for President's Day.  Which means the rest of the week was 'hectic' to say the least.  If you listen to all the statistics about how people aren't reading or using the library these days, I can tell them, at least in Helena, that's bunk.  We were swamped all week.  It's satisfying to know what an important role in the community the library fills.  For some people, it is about the books.  For others, it is the chance to get on the computer.  Some, it is a place to be during the day that is warm and dry and safe.  But let us be closed a day and we pay for it the rest of the week!

On the home front, I spent yesterday making a ton of soup and realizing I REALLY need a soup pot.  French rolls, crescent roll danish and banana cake were also made.  I packed Savvy a dinner to take to work, with some to share with a co-worker.  They were happy campers.  Tonight, twice-baked potatoes for dinner with probably a bit of BBQ chicken.

Also, BIG news....Savvy got a promotion.  Actually, it was a promotion by fire.  She was in training to be first assistant manager.  Then the manager quit on Monday.  My little girl is General Manager now!  I know she can handle it and am so proud of her.  It's nice to know I semi-succeeded in raising her well or she is doing well despite me, one of the two.

AND Texter is gearing up and getting all the paperwork in and testing and waiting for August when she will go to school.  Ultimate goal - nursing.  She has always been interested in EMT and the like, so hopefully this will be a fit and she will have something were she can take care of herself and Kayden all on her own.  

This semester (hopefully) will see my Associates Degree.  I currently have 4 certifications in Web Design and Graphic Arts too.  I am going to stop my college study after this semester for a bit so I can play baby sitter to Lady K while Texter is at school.  This will give me a chance to work on my art and writing more.

In the meantime, and I normally don't pay for apps for my iPad or iPhone, but I spent my $2.99 for this one.  Percolator.  I have played with it just a tiny bit and am having fun.  I love circles.  

View from the Info Desk at the Library

Basically, Percolator adds these neat circles to your pictures, using the tones in the picture.  You can dial it up or down for the amount of circles, opacity and a couple of different designs in the circles.  I am having a ton of fun with it and can't wait to use it within other designs.  My only issue is that I wish it was for my computer and not just for the iPhone and iPad.  But I can deal with moving it over.

Before the cold weather hit us again, I did go for a long walk on Monday.  It felt so good to be out in the quiet, walking in nature for 3 hours.  Did about 5.5 miles.  Can't wait for even better weather.

So homework is on the agenda today.  Tons of it as I have been playing hooky.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Memorial Day Hike

Sunday, after dropping Savvy off at work, I decided I needed to get out and take a bit of a hike.  Never mind it was a bit nippy and there was some 'snow showers' going on and off in the area.  I haven't been outside for ages, just for a walk, and decided to take the camera and head out to the reservoir nearby.  Unfortunately, while I had the directions to get there, I neglected to notice the mileage around the lake.  But the 5.5 miles was worth it.

Other than someone ice fishing on the lake, I had the place to myself.  And a few dozen Canadian Geese.  And some mallards.  And Northern Flickers and a flock of magpies.

But this is why I got engrossed in the walk and forgot about the distance, the cold and the time.

So the views around the lake are fantastic.  I am in a 'bowl' and there are mountains all around.   The lake is iced over and in the top picture you can see a guy in red out on the lake, fishing.

What a great day. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reaching a Milestone!

Wow!  I hadn't realized it until just recently, I am coming up on a milestone.  Between my main page and my secondary pages, I am only 16 postings away from 1000.  This main page is only 96 away from 1000 posts.  Hmmmm....seems something special should be in order, don't you think?

Anyway, here are a couple of homework assignments I finished up last week.  We were suppose to create 'typographic portraits' to express the word using our name (just go with it).  So here are a few I did.

I like what I came up with, now let's see if the instructor feels I met the requirements of the assignment.

So back to thinking about what I want as a celebration of 1000 posts.....

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mandala Monday

I missed last started out that kind of week.  Today is going well (so far), especially since I have the day off for President's day.  But a lot of homework which I am not looking forward to.

This is a flower, my rendition of a purple aster, and how I am feeling.  A bit ragged and jagged, but centered.  

I have a postcard swap I have to get postcards ready for to send out by the 28th.  Luckily, it is a mandala postcard swap so I have it pretty much done so far.  I just need to create the postcard and print them out.  Need to get some postcard paper from Staples.

So hopefully, I can breeze through homework and get onto some writing and organizing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day Review

Valentine's Day was luckily Savvy's day off.  We started out at Starbucks for a pick-me-up before heading to the movies.  Jupiter Ascending was what we went to see and am I glad we saw it on the big screen.

Premise is "Jupiter" is a somewhat reincarnated alien and her space family is out to kill her and she is being saved by the human/wolf/space angel.....ok, it sounds a bit weird, but it works.  This is space opera at it's best.  Great music, fantastic special effects.  And, one of my writing group buddies was online when I was getting ready to go and we invited him along.  He now is stuck with two people to go to the movies with as we all enjoy the same types of movies.  May is set for The Avengers and there is a robot movie, which looks like a reboot of Short Circuit coming out.  More popcorn in my future.

In honor of Valentine's Day I had a strawberry creme frap at Starbucks and then later than day had a strawberry kiss at Triple Divide.  Want to bet which was my favorite?

Savvy and I had a drink and then headed out for dinner, where we met up with her 'boss' and friend.  It was a good day.

But don't think Texter got left out.  She had her 'friend' over and was gifted with a very nice present.  And surprisingly there was no chocolates to be found.  Guess I will have to hit up the store and see what's left now that Easter candy is out!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Monster Under the Covers

Dear Monster Under The Covers:

It has been brought to my attention by Ma (as the one called Kayden-be-nice-to-the-kitty calls her) you have been neglecting your duties.  You are almost a year old now and need to grow up and (1) quit picking my sister and (2) GET A JOB!

As the head cat in the house, and that's what you are being the first cat, you have numerous duties to perform and need to stop playing around.  For example, in my house I am in charge of keeping the dogs in line and making sure they get their exercise.  In order to do this, I must hide and pounce on them, grabbing them by the head, tail or legs, as they walk by.  I also make sure that at least once a day I require one of them to lay down so I can use them for a bed.  This also works well for the big people in the house also.  Unfortunately, they sometimes protest loudly and hop around when pounced upon.  Just remember, it's their exercise time and no matter how much they complain, it must be done.

Speaking of beds, I am required to lay in the bed in such a manner that Ma, or any other big person in the house, are required to adjust their positions in order to also lay down.  This exercises not only their bodies, but their minds.

Another duty is window inspection.  You must go from window to window, making sure things are moving along outside.  On occasion, there are cords hanging from the window you are required to swat so they are picked up by Ma and placed where they are no longer hanging.  They do need help tidying up.

Another primary exercise job you are required to do is to run through the house at odd hours.  This causes the big people to get up to see what you are doing.  Remember, exercise, exercise, exercise.

One of the hardest jobs is to be sure the little person, Kayden-put-the-kitty-down, knows YOU are the most important one in the house.  This means you have to tolerate her picking you up by various body parts.  However, she does know kitty-kitty and not doggy-doggy.

And this business with 'toys'.  You are getting too old for toys.  You have several of those female types in your house and they all wear those things in their hair.  Therefore, you must learn to take those and hide them throughout the house, perhaps carrying them around and batting them around the kitchen floor.  Once again, exercising those people!  They will come running and searching for the hair things you carry off.

So, Monster, leave my sister alone and start working like the cat you are.  Now it's nap time.  I'm tired from all the work I do.



Saturday, February 07, 2015

Rainy Saturday and What's Been Going On

The wrist is doing much better, even though I did send the doctor's eyes up into the back of her head when I commented, "but it's not like it was before I broke it".  I have this nice "HUGE" y-shaped piece of metal on my wrist bones now.  My fingers on my right hand are stiff in the mornings until I pop some ibuprofen.  The bottom of my palm is numb feeling still.  But I am told both of those problems will away in time.  When?  Like, maybe, tomorrow?  Yes, I understand patience is a virtue, but I have never claimed to be virtuous.

Anyway, I am able to write and type now with a much greater degree of efficiency.  In fact, I haven't worn my brace at work for the past couple of days.  I do throw it on when going to work, as I don't think lifting several pounds of books at a time is quite what they have in mind for my wrist at the moment.

In the meantime, school is piling up.  I can tell the wrist still has a way to go when I have to crank out 40 sketches for a project and at about the dozen mark, it starts protesting.

One big project I have been working on is a presentation folder.  This is where we throw in samples of our work over the semester and send it in to the instructor to view.  One good thing about this is that is forces me to think about a real portfolio if I want to take my art to the next level.

I decided to go with one of my pieces of art to create my folder.  The flaps at the bottom will fold up to hold samples in the folder.  

Today I also have to go interview a couple of printers in the area.  And stop for stamps.  And take Savvy to work.  And create a 30-second video for a PSA (public service announcement). get the idea.  My goal is to get the rest of my homework done today and Sunday so that I can then drag out my trilogy and start getting it organized.  AND catch up on my journal after all these weeks of not being able to write.  Busy weekend on tap.

The best part is that this will probably be my last semester for awhile.  Texter is going to school to become a nurse (hopefully) and I will be the babysitter for her while she is at school during the day.  This will (also, hopefully) give me more time for writing and my artwork.  I am a bit tired of classes even though I enjoy learning.  But then too, I am almost at the age where I can audit classes at the local college at a very, very reduced rate.  So my school days aren't over yet!

Friday, February 06, 2015

Review - The Moment of Everything

I have been posting a few book reviews over on my "Between the Pages" section of my blog.  This book, however, really hit all the right buttons for me and I wanted to give it a little more exposure.  See, Shelly King knows used book stores.  She got the smell and the feeling of a little community used book store down pat.  And while I have given my fair share (and more) to the major book store chains, and mourned when Borders closed their doors, there is nothing like poking and searching in a less than pristine environment.

This book also contains enough nerdy, geekiness to go along with the books.  There are game nights and SCA references.  Awkward pairings and visits to Cuppa Joe for caffeine.  

Maggie has just been laid off from her Silicon Valley job.  She rents part of a duplex from the owner of the Dragonfly (the name of the book store), Hugo, and is spending her days moping around the store and reading bodice rippers.  And getting on Hugo's only employee, Jason's, nerves.

As chance would have it, she is going to get an opportunity to meet up and network with some Bay Area movers and shakers at their book club meeting and her introduction to the club is via Lady Chatterley's Lover.  Fate rears it's head and presents her with a copy of the book from the bookstore, broken binding and notes left between "Henry" and "Catherine" in the margins.  

A side note - Grendel the cat lives at the Dragonfly and I just got finished reading Beowulf for English class.  This Grendel wasn't too pleasant either. 

It took me a few chapters to warm up to the read, but then it clicked and soon it was 1:00 a.m. and I sadly closed the book.  Maggie, Hugo, Jason, Dizzy and the rest had all been sorted and shelved, but not necessarily in the way one would think. 

Couple of things I really liked about the book - (1) Maggie's smart.  Not off the chart genius smart, but she's not a dummy.  And she seems human and someone I would like to have coffee with; (2) it's not about Prada and high-end shopping and looking for Mr. Right to come along in his 7 figure lifestyle.  These are people you could meet in your neighborhood and get to know and enjoy their company.   Oh, and a third thing - there are several unexpected twists which are believable and add spice to the read.

This is definitely a read I think several people I know would enjoy....Christine.....

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Rabbit Holes, Writing and Advice

It's no secret to those who read this blog and/or know me, I am a huge Laurell K. Hamilton fan.  I mean, stop-the-world-a-new-book-is-out-and-I'm-calling-in-sick-to-read-it fan.  I love her openness about her 'real' life and I LOVE her worlds she has created (two separate series).  So when she posted something which contains references to Lewis Carroll and Alice, along with writing, I have to pay attention.

From The Nursery Alice by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Sir John Tenniel

This is a topic I have been wondering about in my own writing life - do I plan and outline and plot or do I just write and see where it leads me.  This is also a topic we briefly discussed at my writing group, The Queen City Creatives.  I have one of my favorite authors, using another favorite author, to illustrate a question I have been debating.  So far, I think I have dropped down the rabbit hole and don't know whether to climb up or keep falling. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Full Snow Moon

Typically, the full moon in February is referred to as the Snow Moon as the heaviest snows fall in February.  I am hoping this year will not hold true.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Mandala Monday

Wild and colorful and chaotic....just how my life seems right now.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Recap

Today is the Super Bowl (yawn) and this week has been - well, not to productive.  Instead of listing the things I did do, I really should list the things I didn't do, like...

  • take my vitamins (probably why I have been dragging all week)
  • write
  • homework
  • drink water
  • work on my art journaling projects (two)
  • organize my trilogy notebook

But on the upside, I did create 4 blog posts, read a few books, lead my writing group meeting, take the dogs to the doggy park one morning, Lady K to Books and Babe's last Monday (need to make it a habit) and go to work.

The hand is getting better, but there are a couple of things which are bothering me about it.  And Caitlan.  But my appointment with the surgeon is tomorrow, so hopefully, I will find these things are just normal healing for a 'person of my age'.

Despite a 'late start' today, I am hoping to get back on track for next week and the weeks to come. I did cook a pork shoulder overnight and turn it into BBQ for sandwiches for the next couple of days.  Instead of my Tennessee style BBQ, I made it more North Carolina BBQ (vinegary) for the girls.  Texter tried a bite this morning and pronounced it 'good!'  I have to remember how I did it for future endeavors.  This is cooked up a bit differently than my grandmother did her's and I have to say, overnight in the crock pot in a mixture of water and BBQ sauce had it falling apart this morning.  Chicken and Rice casserole is on tap for dinner tonight - quick and easy so I don't have to put in much time in the kitchen today.

I have less than two weeks to get my trilogy notebook organized and have a prompt to write about for my writing group.  I also want to get some ideas down for discussions for the group. 

There is also a 'big thing' going on in the background here also.  I am hoping it turns out like we all want it to.  So I am hoping to find my center, become calm, and work with the universe (and keep my fingers crossed).