Friday, January 30, 2009

Greek Tragedy or Parking Lot Theatre

O.k. so posts lately have been 'less than'. Ugh. A combination of my being incredibly dull and incredibly busy at the same time. I hope to remedy this soon. In the meantime I offer a strange little piece of conversation had between Thor and myself this afternoon:

Thor (reading an e-mail out loud): "Ah, good. They sent the R. T. C. S., great, ok. then."
Me: Articius?
Thor: (looking up confused) Wha? huh?
Me: Articius? You know, your e-mail... Articius? Like the famous Greek crafter: Articius Farticius?
Thor: (still confused):

This concludes my lame attempt at levity in an empty parking lot after a long day at work. Have a great weekend y'all.

add to sk*rt

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This little light of mine

A project I have been working on involves oil lamps. I have looked everywhere to find inexpensive versions of biblical types of clay lamps, they're out there, just not cheap enough for what I need in the project (read: over 150 lamps).

In my search I found out information on oil lamps of old. Anciently all it took was a small lump of clay, rolled into a ball and then flattened, pinch up one side and curl up enough of the other side to make a well and there you go. Because olive oil has such a high flame point, a puddle of (olive) oil will rarely burst into or sustain a flame, but dip 100 percent cotton cloth, or wick into the oil and light it and poof, a flame. One could make a lamp that would give enough light to walk by, read with, or make their way through dark streets or rooms with a simple little lamp.

The more clay the better design of the lamp. Make a larger well (like the one in the photo) or even throw a pot onto the wheel and design a symmetrical, almost perfect, bowl for the oil. Adding a spout and a handle and you were living large. Typically the oil reservoir was filled via a opening in the top center of the well, making it more stable and less likely to spill.

Since the oil would not burst into flame on its' own, the length of the flame was determined by the length of the wicking material. Draw out more or less and the flame takes its' direction. The vessel stays cool to the touch, only near the flame does it warm.

So with my newly acquired knowledge I decided to see what I could make. The small, a little smaller than three inches long lamp above, took an extremely small amount of clay and five minutes to produce. After curing, I took a length of pure cotton, cut it about a half inch wide and four inches long, twisted it and threaded it through the hole. I poured in about three tablespoons of oil and let the cotton wick soak it up for a minute or two then lit the end. It was a great little light! I was surprised at how bright the flame was and how much light that tiny vessel put out.

Plans are now for me to see if I can grab a pound of clay and make a few more and set them aside for those times when the lights really go out! Let's hear it for ancient technology!

add to sk*rt

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the girls

So here we are (finally) with the girls' names. Mommy wanted their names to match a certain patterned bedspread and pillow shams, also with dance and girly things put into the letters. We went shopping for paint colours and glitters and I added a bit of 'bling!', each letter dusted with glitter and lots and lots of colour. I hope the girls like their names!

Click on the photo to get a closer look at the details. Again the photo colour isn't quite the same as in real life, the green for instance is more of a kiwi and not so much acid, grrr. The pink a tad more bubble gum and less baby, and in those plaids, shades of kiwi, pink, some white and well...grrr.

add to sk*rt

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I'm back in the letter painting mode. This time for a little boy and his two sisters. I have "Wyatt" finished and thought I'd share the outcome.

Mommy wanted a Pirate map with a bit of "jungle colour", something that will grow with him. The nursery is currently cartoon jungle, but will adapt and change to a Pirate den in a few years.

Hidden in the map are all kinds of family names, something for him to seek out when he gets older.

Now on to his sisters!

(click on the photo to enlarge and see more details)

add to sk*rt

Friday, January 16, 2009

Love is spoken here...

For a few years here in our little neck of the woods we enjoyed a small family full of the most adorable children, a talented man, and one of the most dedicated mothers I have ever met. The dad played the piano in our church pretty much for every occasion as he was one of the few who could play at all. I remember one of the first times I met his wife. We were at an "Enrichment Activity" ( a church women's only activity, usually some learning, always fun and always some kind of food involved!) This particular night we were playing games. I can't really remember the exact game but Van was supposed to know-do- or something with a hippopotamus. The trouble was that Van was brand new to the United States, fresh from Vietnam and spoke only the very basics of English. Most of the time she would just shyly smile and nod and hope she didn't look to out of place. We all took turns trying to help her understand what a hippopotamus was and I finally just drew one on the paper table cloth. She took one look and repeated "hippopotamus" only in Vietnamese, with a huge smile.

Over the few years we all watched Van as she taught herself and her children English. She would ask for words from time to time, but her concern was that her children would be left behind educationally, so she not only taught them to speak English, but to read it as well. Her oldest little girl blew us all away when as a Sunbeam (Sunday school class for three years old) she was not only able to speak so maturely, but read from the King James version of the bible, old English style - Thee, Thou, and such, and understands what she read well enough to explain what she had read.

A few more years and a few more children- and all three of them were just as bright, polite, and well mannered. Van was it and a bag of chips in the mommy department. Always quiet and shy, always soft and loving.

It broke all of us apart when they announced their house was up for sale in anticipation of a move to Michigan. Ack! What would we do without the man who would arrange all of our music and play whatever we needed? What would we do without a sweet mother and her three little ones? Carry on.

I have waited for them to settle in before sending them a small house warming (which from the weather in Michigan nowadays might better have been an electric blanket). I found a piece of tin and recycled it with the word "love" in block letters, and the words "Love is spoken here" in Vietnamese. I hope they can find a place for it in their new home, the message sure reminds me of them all.

(apologies to anyone from Vietnam if I have missed spelled the above, sources tell me it is correct, but I may have goofed it)

Click on the photo to enlarge and see more detail.

add to sk*rt

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do One Thing! - reminder

Just a quick note to ask (beg, plead with) you to head over to Safely Gathered In and read today's guest post. Written by a person who has just experienced those ice storms back east, there is great advice in what to do and what not to do. Great post. Go! Then come back here and read about the great new prescriptions we have (post below).

add to sk*rt

Jagged little pill...

Since I was a little girl I have had weirdo leg pain. Back then Mom used to console me with "It's growing pains, you'll be fine.". But even after I grew and grew and finally finished growing all the way up, the pain was still there.

Other things I have are totally weird. (read through the laundry list or just scroll to the next section!) Skin that hurts, wobbly legs and legs that dance in the middle of the night, being completely exhausted without reason, heightened sensory impulses (light, smell, hearing, and unusually sensitive to pain), sometimes my eyes blur, sometimes I can't concentrate well, sometimes I get dizzy and run into walls...which has always been a great source of entertainment! I have always been able to predict the weather like an old woman by the pain in the back of my joints. My gums swell for no reason, every once in a while I can't swallow. Sometimes my heart races, which is weird, because most of the time I have such low blood pressure that a few times doctors have been unduly concerned for my well being. Sometimes I feel out of breath just sitting. I don't react to prescriptions or OTC drugs in the normal way, so I always have to be careful when taking something I've never taken before and why I try not to ever take anything at all. Sometimes I get odd blisters in places that shouldn't have a blister (like my inner forearm?), and I get petechia from time to time for no reason. I could go on, because frankly, there are numerous other situations that I deal with on a daily basis, which I have come to think of as "normal" which really are not.


I was once diagnosed with Fibromyalgia because of the myriad of weird oddities that I live with. (Is this a real disease or are they just pacifying me with a coolio name?) Now I see that there is a wonder drug out there for folks with Fibromyalgia. "Lyrica". After seeing the people in the ads I began to think "this may be the answer". But like the little pill that is supposed to help people with social anxiety break out of their shells but causes uncontrollable gas, diarrhea, mood swings, and sexual dysfunction, Lyrica has a few side effects also: (from their website)

In clinical trials, the most common side effects were:

  • Dizziness Check
  • Sleepiness Check
  • Dry mouth Check
  • Swelling of hands and feet Check
  • Blurry vision Check
  • Weight gain Check, Check and thensome! Check (yes! Let's all take some.)
  • Trouble concentrating What? Huh? Oh yeah, Check!

LYRICA may cause serious allergic reactions. Yup.

Call your doctor right away if you think you have any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:

• swelling of the face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue or neck check, check, check, check, check and check!

• have any trouble breathing been (GASP!) there

• Other allergic reactions may include rash, hives and blisters. yup, yup, yup.

2. LYRICA may cause dizziness and sleepiness. CheCk and yeeawn- yup.

• Do not drive a car, work with machines, or do other

dangerous activities until you know how LYRICA affects how alert you are. Ask your doctor when it is okay to do these activities.

3. LYRICA may cause problems with your eyesight, including blurry vision. check!

• Call your doctor if you have any changes in your eyesight. Hello, Doc?

So there you go. Pretty much every side effect of this wonder drug is a symptom that you probably already have! Yeah, those poor people with Social Anxiety get help that equals gas, diarrhea, mood swings and sexual dysfunction! And for those of us with Fibromyalgia... we get to take a magic pill that gives us our current symptoms.

I love science.

add to sk*rt

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do One Thing! -Project Noah 20

Week 20: 1 lb. Box of crackers sealed in plastic for 72 hour kit.

Hint: Teach family how to treat shock victims.
Learn how here!

add to sk*rt

Sunday, January 11, 2009

coaxing spring?

add to sk*rt

Friday, January 09, 2009

Now I'm just really hungry for a cookie.

If you make a new year's goal you're going to have to make some changes.

Those changes will make you sit down with a newspaper and circle certain sale items with a pen.

If you circle items on sale then you'll have to adjust your budget to accommodate the purchasing dates and quantity limits.

If you actually go to the store and purchase the limited quantities and other sale items you're going to have to keep them in the freezer.

If you need to keep stuff in the freezer you're going to have to clean and reorganize the freezer to make room for all the new items.

If you organize the freezer you'll find out that you'll need to get out the food sealer and repackage all the newly purchased food into meal size portions.

If you package the portions you'll need to get out the black magic marker and write the dates on the packages.

As long as you have all the dated portions in the freezer you may as well make menus.

If you're going to make menus, you're going to need a pen...

add to sk*rt

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


In an effort to keep those darn resolution/goals, I have been shooting photos like a mad woman. Case in point: this morning. I got up, had a bit of a head ache that I thought was from being inside too much, so I grabbed the camera and hopped in the car.

I drove randomly and eventually found myself at a nearby lake/large pond. The place was empty except for a few fishermen on the opposite side, so I just began to walk over to the outlet where I saw a flock of interesting little black birds, snow geese, ducks and random other birds.

I caught a swoosh of red above my head and saw a huge hawk landing on a high branch of the bare branched tree in front of me. I clicked the camera on and swoosh off it flew to the outlet lake. I walked over to the lake just in time to see the hawk swoop down and grab a baby out of the water! Augh! Terrible, but still quite interesting; so I followed the flight of the hawk to another high branch in a tree above a grassy area away from the lake.

I was surprised to see how close I could get to the hawk without disturbing it's breakfast feeding. Even at that, the hawk was so high I needed to use my telephoto to the max and then crop to actually see what is in the photos now. But isn't it cool?

In one photo, you can see the actual red meat in it's beak, eeeek! In another the hawk is staring right at me! The other photos you can see the pink of what's left, still on the branch held in place securely with a firm claw. Totally gross, totally sad, totally interesting.

If you click on the photos they will open up very large, for an even closer look...eew.

add to sk*rt

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Do One Thing! -Project Noah 19

Week 19: Buy 3 cans tuna and 3 cans pork and beans for 72 hour kit.

Hint: Put together a first aid kit for the car.

add to sk*rt

Sunday, January 04, 2009

service meme

Mark,The Mo'Boy, has tagged me with an interesting meme: To write about a time when I was the recipient of service, about a time when I gave service, and a time when I witnessed service being done by one person to another. Then to ask a few more of you to do the same and to see how far this service meme can go, perhaps to inspire us all to do more.

This meme has taken me a very long time to write. It's a difficult thing for me to write down certain things, some that feel almost sacred in a way. Service is like that for me at times, others just plain ol' fun!

I have been the receiver of service more times that I can possible write about and it humbles me to think that so many have given so much to me. Do I write about the "secret service" I have had, those times when someone gave gently used clothing to our family in time of need, or perhaps the time my sister has come to my aide and spent a couple of days helping me out of a tough situation by cooking up a storm? The fact is, I have so many examples of service that has been given to me and my family that it overwhelms me to think about it!

My mother and father in law come to mind also. It seems to me they were always the first to show up when I needed help with my kids. Those times when I needed to be with one child and leave the rest in their care. Most of the time it was with our first, because of his illness and his unexpected stays in the hospital. There is the service where a dear friend listened to the Spirit and made an extra unscheduled visit one day. That particular afternoon was late spring, warm and perfect for visiting friends. Earlier in the day all of my kids and I had gone to a neighbor's to enjoy their back yard swing set while I chatted with the mom. We walked back home in time for naps. As soon as everyone had been sent to bed the knock at the door brought in my friend Lorraine.

Lorraine had seen me a few days earlier and told me she just felt she needed to come by one more time to check if we needed anything. My usually obedient and constant napper of a six year old kept coming in and buzzing around Loraine like a fly. I kept insisting he go back to bed and he kept being naughty and literally laid down on the floor in front of Lorraine.

She commented on the bruises on the backs of his legs. Large thick deep purple bruises striped his thighs. He looked like he had been hit by a two by four, and hard. (in reality, the weight of his own tiny body, sitting on the swing, caused the bruises on his thighs.) I explained I thought he was low on potassium and had scheduled a visit with the pediatrician and that it was a few days from now. I showed her other smaller bruises that he had collected, on his back, on his arms, all over his tiny frame. I rationalized that he was six and we lived in the desert, rocks, dirt and plenty of opportunities to bang a little body lacking a few nutrients -nothing a couple of bananas wouldn't fix.

She looked me square in the eye and told me to forget the appointment. She didn't want to alarm me but he looked just like her nephew who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. She insisted I take him that afternoon, right away, wake the other kids and get him checked. Her voice told me she wasn't kidding, so I did as she said.

Long story short: It was not leukemia, however it was rare and serious, potentially fatal, incurable for his particular case. His platelets should have been 250 thousand, when we checked in his blood count showed 24 thousand and by 6:30 that night he was down to 12. Our son was bleeding out and would have died that night if I hadn't listened to her. That night turned into a very long and difficult 6 years. Both Lorraine and her husband gave us service all through those 6 years and then some. They supported us in ways that was more than average friendship and an true example of Christ like love.

Service because someone listened and followed through on a prompting.

I remember an older gal in our ward (congregation) who had diabetes and had progressed to the point of her sight being so diminished she could not see clearly enough to give herself injections. There were many of us involved with her care, and my part of the schedule was first thing in the morning. I would wake up and be at her house every morning at 6:30 sharp. First I would test her blood, then make the proper adjustments in her meds, and then help her give herself the injection. Then I would prepare her breakfast while we chatted about the day and her schedule while she ate, recheck the blood and then I would be on my way. I looked forward to this time with her and after a few months she decided that she needed to move to Vegas to be with her family. It was sad to see her go, and really, looking back on that time I wonder who was giving the service to who. I got so much from those early morning sessions that I doubt I gave her more than she gave me.

It's always the same, service becomes fun. Another friend of mine was pregnant and at four months her membrane ruptured and she was flown to Loma Linda University Hospital. She was placed in isolation and monitored for the rest of her pregnancy. Five months hooked up to monitors, unable to even walk around, other than back and forth to the bathroom -with a nurse's help- she laid flat on her back to keep her baby from being born. I had a slew of kids myself and couldn't really do anything for her during the week, so every Sunday until the baby was born I would go to church, then hop in the car and drive an hour to Loma Linda and spend the evening with her. We would laugh and chat and fill each other in on all the local "news". I would sneak her goodies, In-N-Out cheeseburgers or a shake, malt balls (none of which she was supposed to have!), and I decorated her room with streamers and humorous posters and whatever I could do on the cheap. I would ask different people to ride along with me from time to time, and we all had such a great time. That baby finally came, grew up, served a mission and is ready to get married! Good times!

I have a friend, Jann, who was asked to go to the women in a nearby prison and tend to their Spiritual needs. She was given training and a strict outline of what she was allowed and prohibited from doing and saying, and given a specific schedule for visiting. During her service there she listened to the women, she read their eyes and answered their questions. Although she did not condone their reasons for being in the prison she did not judge the women on a personal level. She was able to find the Child of God in each woman, find ways to respect them and see them as God sees them. Listening to her describe her experiences there, with softly cracking voice and tear filled eyes, I know she genuinely loves these women. She became the true representation of Christ for them. I am in awe of her service.

Now it's your turn! I will warn you this is a tough one. It's hard to share these things, but it is inspiring to reread them and rekindle those feelings. Please give it a go! I challenge anyone who reads this. Let me know when you post and I will send folks over to your blog to check it out.

Specifically I am going to challenge:




I am excited to read your stories!

add to sk*rt

I can only Imagine

add to sk*rt

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thanks to Kim at Something to Say for the link!

add to sk*rt

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Do One Thing! - reminder

Hey folks, it's New Year's Day - a great time to rotate items in your 72 hour kits and storage.

Dump the stored water on your plants, inside and outside, and refill your containers with fresh water.

Go through stored clothing for people who have changed their size over the past year or grown, add the correct sizes and repack the kits. Don't forget shoes, and outer wear as well.

Check prescription dates on stored meds in your first aid kits and rotate with fresh items.

Lastly just do a quick check on your supplies to look for trouble spots, water damage, loose wrappers, whatever. Tidy everything up and feel good about all your hard work this year on being prepared! See you Tuesday with a new item!

add to sk*rt