Thursday, June 28, 2012


I know you can't see it well, but Karma is meowing and panting at the same time.
What has her undivided attention and gotten her in such a state that she will leap and chase (too blurry to snap a picture) until...
...she captures her precious prize...bites hard, parks herself, breathing heavy between her teeth, and won't let go?  
What treasure is this that causes such kittenish excitement and begging as I have probably not observed in several years?  
Lindt chocolate truffle wrappers! 
I'd never tasted a truffle before, having thought them some kind of fungus or mushroom, until I heard online that they were chocolates!  Well, then I just had to try them and bought me an assorted sample bag.  (They were all delicious!!)  Little did I know that the wrappers--which make a crinkling noise--would drive Miss Karma bonkers.  Here she is protecting her hoard of wrappers--LOL! 
I have to put the string toy up on top of the bookcase by the front door because if you leave Karma alone for two seconds with string she will have bitten through it and be trying to eat pieces as fast as she can.  Took my eyes off her for a bit yesterday and she bit through the string--again!  That's why her string toy has so many knots in it and I have extra string so I can replace the whole string when it gets too short.  She's bitten two or three of Dagan's shoes laces into pieces over the years.  Yes, Miss Karma has a string fetish, that's for sure.  And, at least for now, she has a Lindt chocolate wrapper fetish, too.  ;)
I worked on the zendala some more on Tuesday.
Wanted something softer to contrast the pink abstract flower shape in the center, so I added some leaves and such. 
Got this far before Dagan and Leah came last night. 
We never did Sacred Circle last night, either.  Leah came later--with food from A&W/Long John Silver's.  We did phone and computer updates--gabbed a lot--and they put down some of the leftover velcro for me on that far end of the porch to cover the gap in the carpeting.  It was already getting late and we like to have 2-3 we postponed again to try for this coming Saturday night.  You just don't want to rush Sacred Circle, you know?  
This morning I went to take a picture and Karma immediately noticed the velcro strip.  As you can see, the gap wasn't the full length, so it ends there by the padded chair.    
Karma immediately tried to paw it up.  Good thing she doesn't have claws and this is industrial strength velcro because she was over there working on it for some time.  Too hot to keep at it for long, though--LOL!  
Anyways, I finished up this morning so that I can enter my zendala!
I used a black LePen for the triangles and I should have used a Micron.  The LePen was tending to bleed more on the cardstock and was harder to control for crisp edges.  Now I know.  It was a rich, dark black, though, so I added the black squares around the outer edge, too, for balance.
I could have added more, but I tend to like the contrast between empty areas and filled areas.
Anyways, that's my contribution to The Bright Owl's Zendala Dare for this week.  You can click on the link and see what other people have done with this week's template, too, if you'd like.  They're always so different!    
Today I'm off to work on something "garden" for the Artist's Play Room challenge this week.  It's supposed to be around 90 for the next several days so I am staying inside where it's cool.  Karma's out soaking up the heat, silly cat.
Have a great day!  :):)
"Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next."
Jonas Salk

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


When I was a kid these are the kind of salamanders that came wandering up from Moore Lake into the brand new Fridley suburb of Minneapolis we had moved into in 1956.  (Note: I found all these photos today via google search.)
  After a good rain they came waddle-sliding along and fell into the new window wells.
I wandered around the neighborhood with an empty three pound Folgers coffee can that had a little water on the bottom...
...and I'd lay down on my belly to reach down into the window wells and collect the lost salamanders so that I could bring them back down by the lake.  If I forgot...mummified salamanders.  :( 
I fell in love with these silly, gentle things and still have a soft spot in my heart for them.
Years later, when I was working in pet shops, something new became available.  Well, how could I not fall in love with axylotls!  The first one I took home I got for free because three of its legs had been chewed off by other axylotls before it ever got to the store.  When it tried to walk along the bottom it rolled and spun, poor thing.  It was a black one similar to the one below.  I hand fed it and kept it in a tank with lower water to prevent as much spinning.  Blew my mind!  All his legs and feet grew back within a few weeks!  The manager at the store didn't know that axylotls could regenerate limbs, but let me keep him.  I had him order copies of the one book we could find on axylotls.
I named him Axel.  I know.  Not very original.  But I named him after goofy, Scandinavian-accented Axel from Axel's Tree House that I used to watch as a kid.
So, of course, when I got a white one that looked more feminine, I named her Carmen after Carmen The Nurse who used to visit Axel in his treehouse and later took over the show for him when he died.
And finally a got a hefty brown speckled axylotl and named him Clancy after the Clancy The Cop show as long as I had been following the morning kids' TV show naming theme.  Clancy the Cop and his sidekick, Willie Ketchum--LOL!!  Only kids from Minnesota would remember any of these local original programs.  
 Anyways, I got a lot of questions about what an axylotl was.  They are actually related to tiger salamanders and it can be tricky to tell them apart from the tiger salamander larvae you see below. 
The difference is that axylotls don't turn into salamanders like this tiger salamander larvae form will.  (We got a couple of these in by accident in the shipments at the store.) 
Axylotls remain in larvae form and yet mature and reproduce (lay eggs).  They live out their lives underwater.  But they have been known to switch over and become salamanders if their water supply is drying up.  They can do this in a couple of weeks, but not all of them will be able to do it.  Once they do become a salamander they can no longer regenerate limbs and it shortens their life span from about 15 years down to 5 years.  Amazing survival skill in a pinch, though, don't you think?
You can read more and even see some short videos below in these links.

Edge (videos!)
Axel, Carmen, and Clancy lived about 7 or 8 years in a 30L aquarium.  I don't know what killed them to this day.  Something (in the water? in the frozen food?) killed all three of them within a couple days.  It was shortly after I cleaned the tank, too.  ??  Broke my heart.  I just see pictures of axylotls and they make me smile.  They have the goofiest, sweet faces and they're feisty.
Okay.  I also got asked about the "naming myself" thing.  I never understood what my mom meant by that until I was pregnant with Dagan.  His name kept coming to me over and over--awake and in dreams.  And I could see it spelled D-A-G-A-N with two As.  It wasn't even in the baby name book I had at the time and I couldn't remember ever seeing it in a book or on TV or anything.  (I have seen it since spelled Dagen--but you have to admit it sounds good with McGregor.)  I truly thought I was having a girl.  But when I met my boy--it was like--"Oh, so you're Dagan".  And I couldn't imagine him being anybody else.  ;)
That's it for today.  This took longer than I expected.  I have Caroline coming this afternoon and Dagan and Leah tonight for Sacred I had best get moving here.  ;)
I do have a question or idea to pose, though, before I leave.  I don't mind answering questions at all and will answer almost anything you ask me.  ;)  I just don't like the obligating other people thing.  Now, I have seen a couple other bloggers who invite people to ask them questions and then they'll answer them in posts on their blog.  What would you think of that?  Do any of you have questions you'd like to ask me...about anything at all?  I also have some new people this last year who probably don't know much about me.  What do you think?  Let me know and go ahead and post questions for me if you have any.  If I get a lot of them I could just take one day a week as answer day or something like that.  Don't worry about overwhelming me with questions.  You know how OCD I am.  I'd keep a list going.  Would be nice, actually.  Give me something to talk about--ROFL!  ;)
Happy middle of the week!!  :):)
"Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence."
Alistair Cooke

Monday, June 25, 2012


I guess I had written that I don't do awards but had neglected to also include tags--LOL!  (I have now added tags to my comment note.)  But since that was my oversight, I shall respond--somewhat, anyways.  ;)  I'm not going to do the whole tag from In My Mind It's Always Funny, but I'll answer the questions she posed, just because she is a hoot and a nice lady.  ;)
1. Why did your parents choose your name? Does it mean something?  I like to believe I was named after the actress Rita Hayworth, but my mother always said I named myself.

2. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not.  Yes.  Why not?

3. Do you think any president will be able to fix our economy? Do you feel like things are better or worse with the current president.  I don't discuss politics.  Gives me a headache.

4. Favorite time of year. Why?  Fall!!  Not sure.  Has always been the time of year that I find the most exhilarating.  
The cool, crisp air; the colorful, crunchy leaves; the hint of far away snow in the air...and knowing Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner.  Ahhh!  Plus is such a relief from the hot, humid summer--my most unfavorite time of year.  

5. Favorite item of clothing, past or present.  I don't get very attached to clothing.  But I am sentimentally attached to a denim shoulder tote bag I made and embroidered that I used as a diaper bag when my son was a baby.  Does that count?

6. Name the strangest pet you ever had.  Would have to be either the iguana...or the skunk...or maybe the axylotyls...or the baby snapping turtle...or maybe the skink...or the rat...or the rescued toads......

7. If you could take a week off and travel anywhere with money and time away not an issue, where would you go and why?  Well, if health wasn't an issue, either, I'd go visit friends and family.  :)

8. Do you miss a time when we didn't have cell phones are you happy for the latest inventions?  I have learned to LOVE cell phones, lap tops, digital cameras, recording TV shows on a computer...all of it!  No way!  I wouldn't want to go back.  I may be slow to jump on board and Dagan and Leah have had to push me a little, but I have become a convert.  The new technology is kind of like my brain--I only know how to use about a tenth of it--but I would be lost without it.  ;) 

9. What is the one thing you dread more than any other thing? Be honest.  To be perfectly honest--having to leave home for appointments (due to IBS and pain issues).

10. Are you high maintenance? Hair, nails, clothing, looking perfect, massages, etc. If so, do you do it to make yourself look better or to FEEL better.  I've always been a low maintenance girl who's slowly become bare minimal maintenance and doesn't even wear makeup anymore when I leave the house or curl my hair.  Clean and combed is good enough.

11. Insert random thought about me here. I am out of questions.  Sorry I didn't post that I don't do tags, but I hope this will suffice.  ;)

This is quick today.  It doesn't look like, with the cut and past questions, this is going to work with the font larger.  I will try to post normal size print and see what happens.  I hope it's readable.
byebye!  :) 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


The chair cover that was scheduled for delivery on Thursday finally arrived on Saturday.  USPS has been making cutbacks, so I guess it can take longer to get packages these days.  I don't think they're used to the delays, either.  They kept switching the delivery date online.  At least it wasn't because it got lost or something.  ;)
The chair cover arrived!
I also got a couple cheap things to qualify for the free shipping, of course.  A sample pack set of DecoArt Twinkles Writers.  They look like big bottles of glitter glue.
And a set of scrubby kitchen dishcloths.  I have never tried these.  They're cloth on the one a terry cloth...and plastic mesh on the other side.  Not sure if I will like them or not.  So used to my decades of Scotch Brite Pads.  ;)    
I was ready...had cleaned off the metal chair and the tables.  The new cover is stiff, of course, but tried it out right away on the metal glider chair.  This chair is smaller and lower, but the cover will work just fine.  There are leg ties on the inside seams.  It's okay.  It will soften up with the heat, rain, wind, and snow. 
Karma was a little distressed, though.  Her food and water dishes are under that chair--LOL!  
Then I tried it on the cushioned chair.  I flip the ottoman upside down on it and cover them both--and it worked just fine.
Miss Snoopy Pants had to check that out, too, of course.  ;) 
We hung out on the porch most of the day Saturday.  I went in on breaks, of course.  (If I sit in one place for more than an hour or so I can hardly walk when I go to get up--so it's always like a very slow game of musical chairs around here--LOL!)  Used breaks to work on the latest zendala for this week.  This is the template. 
I added a lot more lines to it, started coloring with my copic markers, and got this far yesterday. 
Karma always steals my spot when I leave.  She looked like she was out like a light on the chair.  I tried to walk as quietly and slowly as I possibly could...already had the camera on so there was no camera noise...and yet she heard me!? 
Are you kicking me out? 
That's probably why.  She knows she gets kicked out when I come back so she keeps one ear open--LOL!  But she saw I was just taking pictures.  Strange humans.
The swallows love this building.  They nest from early spring till it's very cold out.  Babies-babies-babies.  I love the sounds and watching them swoop by the windows, but I am glad I have a screen up so I can use my porch/balcony.  They get quite upset if you try to go out on your porch if they have a nest there and dive bomb you.  People are always calling maintenance to remove nests, he told me.  They love the top of the porch lights...which is where we had a nest the first summer I was here before we put the makeshift screen up.
Anyways, it's been hitting 80 during the day, but in the 50s to low 60s at night.  I little hotter than I like--especially up here on third floor where it gets even warmer by early evening.  I've been trying to leave the place open.  But I did cover the chairs (said it could rain again) and close up for a while last night to cool it off.  Yes!  the AC is working--tada!
But--before I closed it flew a moth!!!!  I think it landed in the philodendron and I haven't seen it since.  They can't get in under the screen anymore.  But there are gaps at the ends of the indoor/outdoor carpeting we tacked down out there--as you can see.  Here's right by the door...      
...and here on the far end by the padded chair. 
The carpet gaps don't even go the whole width of the balcony (it was hard to cut the carpeting perfectly to fit out there), but now I might have to think of something to plug the gaps between the boards on those ends.  Honest to goodness!  I have never seen so many moths in all the years I've lived here!  It's like a moth plague!  Any little crack and they will crawl in.  You'd think the swallows would have eaten them all. 
 I left the door open all night, though.  
Not expecting a big influx through those end board cracks.  ;)
 Has anybody else heard that they are going to discontinue the Blogger reading list?  I've been using it for six years!  I hope that's not true.  I will be bummed.  I haven't figured out google reader to this day.  *sigh*
Oh, and also--when I was expecting the class email for Doodles Unleashed starting (never did get one), I checked my spam folder (which was difficult for me to find in the first place).  Guess what!?  That is where my missing blog comment emails have been going!  Into spam!  And I think I figured out why.  They bunch up several in one email and any time I got an anonymous comment--it got bumped to spam and every other comment got bumped right along with it.
So, I went into my settings on Blogger and changed to registered users only so that I don't get any anonymous comments anymore and we'll see if that fixes the problem.  Maybe I'll get all my comments via email again?  Whoohoo!  :)
It's possible that when I am clicking to receive follow-up comments and don't get them that they might be ending up in my Spam Gone Wild, too, but I wouldn't know how to fix that issue.  At least I may have solved one mystery.  ;)
I'm listening to baby birds crying for food.  I sure hope mom and dad are feeding them moths.  The sun is out.  The prediction for the next five days is NO RAIN!  So we'll see if several dry sunny days actually come to pass.  Maybe the rain will wander off to some of you that really need it.  ;)
I know I should be working on the watercolor mixed media page, but I am heading to the porch to read again.  ;)  I won't be able to start her Doodles Unleashed class until July, anyways, when I get the illustration board.  If I can afford it...have big plans for July.  A big purchase for me that totally takes priority.  So exciting!  Well, exciting to me.  ;)
Anyways, have a great Sunday!
Keep smiling!  :):)
"Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow."
Helen Keller

Friday, June 22, 2012


It really is true what they say up here.  "Don't like the weather?  Just wait a few minutes."  LOL!  You can have a day that starts out with mostly sun and blue skies... 
...where you can catch a few rays...
...if somebody doesn't wake you up... 
...lurking around with a camera. 
Bird flew by the porch screen! 
Wait a while and you could have rain and thunderstorms...
...later on blue skies and fluffy white clouds... 
...have more rain...and then, by evening...well, it looks like the clouds can't decided whether to clear or gather for more rain. 
There was a beautiful, ominous orange cloud sunset.
Did it rain again?  Don't know.  I went to bed---LOL! 
I didn't see Dagan and Leah on Wednesday night for Sacred Circle.  A old college friend Dagan hadn't seen for a few years emailed him that he was driving up early for a class he had on Thursday and wondered if Dagan had the evening free.  So we postponed Sacred Circle until this coming Wednesday.  I'm sure they had a great time, so that was nice.  :)
Me--I watched a touching movie (definitely was a nose-blower for me) called My Afternoons With Margueritte.  It has subtitles and Gerard Depardieu.  Just a lovely, lovely movie.  An accidental meeting in the park and a discussion about the pigeons...well, it changed both their lives.  One of my favorite movies I've seen for a while.  :)
Well, I quit taking the Devil's Claw altogether (new herb trying for arthritis pain) last night.  Can't take the acid reflux anymore.  It does say if you have an ulcer you shouldn't take it.  I don't have an ulcer, but from the years I was prescribed high doses of Ibuprofen for my arm...well, I ended up with a very touchy stomach.  I put up with acid reflux problems for years and still had them when I went off the Ibuprofen.  Wasn't until I weaned myself off all my meds (for pain and acid reflux and IBS) that I finally was rid of the acid reflux 98% of the time!!  Oddly the IBS got a little better, too--but the pain got worse, of course.  They quit making the pain pill I could take, Darvocet, and I get sick from anything related to morphine/codeine, which is most of the rest of them.  Which is why I tried the Devil's Claw.
The Devil's Claw had been bothering my acid reflux all along to some degree...and hadn't noticeably helped with the pain or flexibility.  When I went up to the full dose this week--well, it's been bad for me with the acid reflux.  Affecting my sleep (besides the panicky dreams over the fast doodling--LOLOL!) and bothering me all day long.  I put up with that for years!  But it has been so long now that I don't even have anything in the house for it anymore.  That is how much my life has changed since I weaned off all the meds.  ;)  Sure, I've been feeling less pain lately--but I always feel less pain when I am out of the humidity.  Hasn't felt any greater relief than I would normally have, so I can't tell if the Devil's Claw was doing anything or not as far as the pain goes.  But it is awful on my stomach, so that was the end of that.  I just couldn't take it anymore!!  Done.
So, I can't really say whether it did anything at all.  Couldn't give it enough of a chance, really.  Oh, and I took them with food, too, as suggested.  If you have a touchy stomach, I wouldn't recommend it at all.    I would imagine that it will take a few days for me to get back to normal.  I didn't take it last night or this morning and I am still suffering right now.  Devil's Claw is not for me.
But, I really try not to let how I physically feel put me in a bad mood or ruin my days.  :):)
I've been playing with the watercolor journal page.  Hard to tell by looking at it, but this was five layers of misting, if I remember correctly.
First I tried misting the plastic paper plate holder with a blue color and it virtually disappeared into the background.  I didn't like that.  After that dried, I tried a gold mist.  Still too light.  Let that dry and tried a copper...whoohoo!  Can you see me now?!  LOL!  Darker than I expected, but I liked it.  Let that dry.  Then I did an overall misting of the page with the gold mister and let it dry.  Added another layer of gold and let that dry.  Was that five?  I think so.  ;)
Here's another shot with the flash so you could get a better idea of the shimmer that's all over this page.   
In the meantime...I never got an email to tell me about that class starting.  So yesterday I went searching on Traci Bautista's website.  
Okay, I admit it.  I can get overwhelmed with these complicated websites that have so much crammed onto a page with so many links...
Well, I guess (from the email I did get welcoming me to the class) I had signed up only to be a member of her website in general, but not for the Doodles Unleashed class specifically.  So, I am signed in as a member of her class for sure now (although it looked like my picture was already in the members list...and I still never got an email about the class starting).
Anyways, I found the first class--and bookmarked the page!  Two videos to watch and a class file to download.  Got the pages printed off...but was disappointed that there is very little information and mostly just pages of her artwork.  ??  There was no supply list or schedule of what we'd be doing.
Now, I knew I had seen a listing of what we'd generally be covering in each class someplace on her cluttered Doodles Unleashed class I went back and I did find an actual schedule with dates off on a side link (hope I can find it again--LOL!) and I have till July 18th to finish this first class.  I didn't find a supply list.  I'll have to look again when I'm fresher.  
But--in the video--we are doing the first class on "illustration board".  Which I do not have and wasn't even sure what it was.  I went on Dick Blick (pause so several of you can giggle at the name) and searched around.  Illustration board is thicker/sturdier and won't buckle with all the collage and such we are doing to it.  So, I'll have to order that in July before I can start the lesson.  And I hope I can find a supply list for the entire class in the meantime so that I can see what all I will need and won't have to buy something else each month, you know?  I really thought I would have almost anything we would need, but then...I didn't have illustration board--LOL!
Funny.  Those girly faces that are so popular are really not my thing and that is what we are doing on the first class--LOL!  Well, stretch myself, right?  In the meantime while I wait until I can order the illustration board in July, I can look for scrap papers and tissue papers for collage...and maybe practice drawing girly faces?
Another funny.  It actually got cooler last night--upper 50s, I think--I had the place closed up and the AC on very low...well, the AC partially iced up during the night.  So, it's been off and thawing out.  Tiny pieces of ice are falling off now and Karma thinks something is trying to get into the apartment through the air conditioner--ROFL!  She's watching the AC most intently.  Probably thinks it's swallows.  ;)  Anyways, I hope it works okay after the ice melts.  It happened before a few years ago and worked just fine after all the ice melted.  I really have to start paying closer attention to the weather when I have the place closed up.  ;)
Goodness!  Time to get moving!  Time to begin the scribbling on top of the watercolor page.  I'm at the nightmare point--LOL!  Have a good one!  :):)
"Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions."
Earl Gray Stevens