Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

...the Great White North. I can't really complain, it hasn't been all that cold. My poor father thinks it is though, because my parents have been spending their winters in Florida so they seem to have forgotton what cold is. He's constantly rubbing his hands together and looking at the thermometer. Mom has threatened to remove all thermometers from the house so he won't know how cold he's supposed to be. Here's who doesn't mind the cold:We got another cord of wood delivered the other day, and she's such a big help with the stacking. Or should I say un-stacking. The last time, she actually made her own pile. Don't know what that was all about. This time she seemed more interested in seeking out specific pieces, based on some criteria only she knew, and chewing on them. Fortunately it's oak, so even those strong jaws can't do TOO much damage. The problem is that she needs to be right in the middle of whatever is going on so we have to step over and around her while we stack.

Christmas is almost here and my state of mind can be summed up thusly; the other night (1:30 am) in Walmart I ran into someone I know and she said, "Ready for Christmas?" and I said (jokingly of course, I'm not a grinch), "'s gonna come, whether I'm ready or not!" And so it is. I guess I've done all the shopping I'm going to do, since Christmas is in two days! Although I got an email this morning from Musician's Friend reminding me "there's still time to order".

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Food Pantry Benefit Show....

...was the success I had not dared to hope it would be. We collected a massive pile of food, and everybody seemed to have a good time. Especially "It Was The Best Of Times", who after their set had a line of people wanting to buy CDs and T-shirts. They're an excellent band, fronted by someone who can only be described as a hot chick with a lot of talent. Recipe for success. I hope Decorus Mens gets back in the studio soon to record some more tracks, because a couple of the best ones exist only on my computer because I videotaped them, and they really should be available for mass consumption.

Anyway, the holiday shopping bug has yet to bite me. I should probably be concerned, as Christmas is right around the corner, but I just can't seem to muster any level of stress about it. I'll be sorry later I know. Mom keeps going out shopping and coming home with nothing, but in between it all has managed to get most of her shopping done. I think she does most of it online, all the trips to the stores are just because she likes to get out! Not me, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, when I anticipate not having to leave the yard at all. I live for those days!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Random Thoughts of the Week...

....and it's been a week. First of all, if I had prayers (that's another story), they'd be going out to Sean Taylor's mama. I'm not particularly a Redskins fan, but I'm a mama, and he was only 24. 24!! I know people that age and younger die every day tragically, but my son is 24 (in a couple of weeks) so it hits home. And it just made me so sad to hear what happened to him. He wasn't in the war, where you know you might not make it home alive, or out doing things he shouldn't be doing (although he was no boy scout), he was at home with his girlfriend and baby and if you can't be safe in your home, what are you supposed to do?

On a lighter note (although some would probably beg to differ), the freakin' Patriots are going to give me heart failure. I guess we shouldn't have been spoiled all season by all those one-sided victories because now those close games are just TOO close. I know they have to lose sooner or later, but the more they win, the harder it's going to be to watch them lose. Kind of like the higher you climb, the bigger the splat when you fall.

This week I have thought a lot about getting things done. I'm not talking about finishing projects around the house, I'm talking about finding solutions to unacceptable situations. I really believe that there is no problem that can't be solved if one just has enough determination and resourcefulness. A minor example; the benefit show (which is tonight) for the St. Mary's food pantry. We decided to hold the concert, but then discovered that there were going to be unforseen expenses. It just wouldn't be right to stick the food pantry with the bill, so I have solicited donations to cover the cost of the police officer which we are required to have present (and he ain't cheap) and the bartender. See? Problem, solution. This, as I said, was a minor example. It wasn't a whole lot of money, just a couple hundred dollars. But there are other unacceptable situations I'm (mentally) chewing on. Stay tuned for more on THAT subject.

And so about the benefit; coverage by our local papers has been not spectacular, although at least we got some. Chariho Times put it in last week, which doesn't make any sense to me, but at least it was in there. I have been telling everyone I know, and I probably sound like a broken record, but it's for a good cause. In case you haven't heard about it, it's 5 rock bands playing at the Calabrese Club, 28 Pleasant Street, Westerly RI. The show kicks off at 6:00 with Formal Action, followed by A Paradigm Shift, It Was The Best of Times, Decorus Mens, and finishing up with Verbana Darvell. Price of admission is 3 or more nonperishable food items, baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.) or personal products (toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.) which will all go to the St. Mary's/St. James Community Food Pantry in Charlestown. Cash donations will also be accepted. The bands are all donating their time and talent, and the Calabrese Club is donating the use of their banquet facility (but not their bartender, which is understandable). The only one NOT donating his time is the police officer!!! Hey I tried, but in the words of Mick Jagger, you can't always get what you want.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


...was where I spent my afternoon. Nikkomo is the annual give-away ceremony at the Tomaquag Museum, (Narragansett tribe for those of you non-Rhode Islanders). They hold these thanksgiving ceremonies many times during the year, and every single time I end up having something else I must do that day and can't go, so this is the first time I had attended and I'm so glad I did! Actually I was there to sell my stuff, but the ceremony was held right in the same room so I was able to be in the circle and take part. Paulla Dove Jennings told the story of the beginning of Nikkomo, and Thawn Harris told the story of how birds got their song which had everyone laughing, especially the kids! I have never been anywhere where storytelling is performed, in spite of being acquainted with many storytellers, Indian and white, and it was extremely entertaining.

Playing the show the other night with Preston and Joe was a lot of fun...I sure do miss doing the band thing. We are supposed to get together with a guy tomorrow night and see if we can start something. Starting a band (again) is kind of like dating. (could this be the one? He seems like a good guy, but what if he's a raging alcoholic or does lots of coke in his spare time?). It's a process that gets tedious after a while, but necessary unless you're really lucky and just fall in with the right people right off the bat. In addition to the many blind dates we've had in the last couple months, my amplifier has revealed its true nature, and it's a piece of sh*t. An expensive piece at that. I think it's the only piece of sh*t Carvin ever made, because we've bought plenty of stuff from them and it's all been good. I sent the thing back to them once, and they returned it to me and said there's nothing wrong with it. But oh, there is. Someday when I win the Powerball I'm gonna buy myself a Trace Elliott. But not this week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This is how it starts....

...the obsession with a new project. I recently did a show where I met Kim Vredenburg, a very talented artist who works in glass. While her work was absolutely beautiful, the thing I couldn't take my eyes from was a pendant she was wearing that she had bought from another artist. It too was glass, although it didn't look like it. It was about 3" long and had a picture of a seahorse on it, a very fancy one with long spines, looked almost like a dragon. Finally I had to sketch it:Because the wheels started to turn, and I could just picture it (it was shades of brown and tan) made out of fabric, in shades of teal and turquoise, with many beads and wire....somehow. So the other day I took the next step, which was to sketch out a full-size pattern. Well, the thing is two feet tall. I can't decide if this is way too big or not, so now I'm stalled. If I make it this big, it's going to be a monstrosity and may lose some of it's coolness factor. But the smaller I make it, the more difficult it's going to be to work with all those spines, which are going to have to have wire in them I think, to maintain their spinyness. (spell check is telling me that "spinyness" isn't a word. I beg to differ, and reserve the right to make up my own words.) So I will ruminate on that subject for a while longer.

On the music front, we have a show to play! I am most excited. Turns out Decorus Mens could not find an opening act for tomorrow night at Bobby G's, so PJ asked me if we would do it. Although, as I reminded him, there is no "we" at this point, I decided it wouldn't hurt to ask Joe T. if he was up for playing some stuff as a three piece. Fortunately, he was! So now we get to play. And then Sunday we are jamming with another guy, in the hopes of putting an actual band together. I sure miss the regular gigs. Of course there's all the hassle and frustration that goes along with having a band, but that's a pain you forget...kind of like childbirth, or nobody would ever do it again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Goth in me...

...loves my latest project, which is made of blood red fabric and black ribbon. It's a ribbon dress for Marylou S., and I'm fairly certain there's no Goth in her, although you never know! This is the fabric:and I'm using Folkwear's Navajo Blouse pattern....for the first time, which is always interesting. Some of their patterns look simple, and this one isn't really all that difficult, but the construction techniques vary from pattern to pattern so it's an ongoing education. It's good for me, I guess! I spent the afternoon listening to my Tony Elman CD (look it up), drinking hot cider, and immersed in the construction of many, many pintucks on the sleeves of this dress.

I really should get back to Debbie's house and finish the tree wall, but first things first.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gobble, gobble, gobble....

....yeah, yeah, yeah....
It's ten minutes till Thanksgiving, and here's wishing everybody a happy one! Thanksgiving dinner is at my brother's house, because his looks like something from Better Homes and the rest of the family's houses....well, do not. My part is about done, my pie is in the oven. That's the thing about having a small house, it's both a blessing and a curse; on the one hand, I never have to have the holiday dinners here. On the other hand, I never get to have the holiday dinners here. I really would like to, but there's just no room to put anybody!

So I just bring the pie. Mainly because I'm a pie snob, I can't stand those Pillsbury premade cardboard pie crusts everybody uses for some reason I can't figure out. I always make my own, just like Mom taught me. Except Mom now uses Pillsbury crusts. I guess she figures she raised me right and now she's done so it's time to coast. Problem with all that pie is that the dinner is SO good and my sister-in-law Ronda goes to SO much trouble with it, that nobody ever has room for pie so we just end up dividing them up and sending them home! So this year it's just one pie. I did make the traditional peanut butter pie for PJ to take with him though.

PJ and his friends, for many years, have celebrated "Thanksgiving II" which entails getting together the day after Thanksgiving and making a meal out of all the leftovers they have all absconded with the day before. Several years ago I thought that peanut butter pie sounded like something different for Thanksgiving, so I made one. But the thing was just so sweet and rich that nobody could finish a piece. So I gave the rest to PJ to feed to his friends the next day. I guess it was a big hit, so now I make them one every year. I still couldn't finish a piece, and I have a major sweet tooth. But I don't have to eat it, I just have to make it!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Come to the Open House!

If you live in RI or eastern CT, you might want to check this out! This little guy is something I made, but it's not just my stuff at the Open House; at least 8 other artists will be selling their creations this weekend! Directions are on my website .

It seems like it's been forever since I did a Christmas show, though really it's only been a few years; since I took the tailoring job and didn't have time to sew anything fun. I have missed it so much, and it's brought me a lot of joy to be able to be creative again. But as I told Carol, now that the floodgates are open again, new ideas and designs come to me on a daily basis and I just don't have enough hours in a day to make them all a reality! So this is why I need to be working on next year's show beginning right after this one. But like all the people who say they're going to start their Christmas shopping in January, it never seems to work that way for some reason! I did sign up for another show in December 8, at the Charlestown School, and there were a couple more local ones I would have liked to do but they're full now. All the more reason to think about next year's season!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

At long last, the leaves are done...

...just in time for them to turn colors and fall off. Believe me, if I could think of a way to do that, I would.
So now the next step is to stencil the ferns coming up from the baseboard. After that, I don't know...I don't know how far Deb wants to carry this, but all I can say is that the white wall continues down the hall, and into the living room. That's all I'm saying.

Anyway, it has rained here quite a bit in the last couple days. Today was sunny, thank goodness, because I don't know if my dog can take more than one day of rain in a row. It's like having a 6-year-old who can't go out to play. She wants to go out, so I put her out and she stands there looking pathetically out at the yard and finally decides "this sucks" and wants to come in where she is literally bored to the point where she gets into mischief just so I will have to stop her. Then she wants to go out again. She likes it when it's nice out and people are in the yard, Preston doing yard work or working on one car or another and stopping to throw the ball, my Dad puttering around with one of his many projects and stopping to feed her milk bones. It's all about her. What a life! She does like the snow though, so that shouldn't be a problem. The only problem with winter, and it's already started, is with ME--I get this uncontrollable urge to cook. And while the house is fragrant with beef stew and biscuits today, as it was last night with the bouquet of baking eggnog cookies, I am going to need to find some sort of exercise program or I'll never fit out the door in the spring.

Band news: Decorus Mens is hosting a concert on December 7 at the Calabrese Club in Westerly so anybody in the area should go check it out. It's a benefit for the St. Mary/St. James Food Pantry, and the price of admission is 3 or more nonperishable food items, baby items (wipes, diapers, etc), or toiletries.

Sewing news: Linda Perra and I have resurrected the old Christmas Open House, which is going to be November 17 and 18; details at I haven't done a Christmas show in years, and I can't tell you how happy I am to be sewing fun little craft things for a change instead of hems and zippers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm a huge fan of Georgia Kennedy. She drew this pic for the latest Decorus Mens show. Too cool!
I painted leaves on the tree yesterday, but my camera decided that 1/2 capacity batteries are not enough to do the job. So here are the pics of the trunk all done:

Actually with the flash on it, it looks more like rock than bark. But I'm pretty pleased with the results; in real life, it looks pretty much like a tree. And much better now with all the little twigs painted on. I could paint twigs all day, that was fun! And the leaves were fun too, I practiced that little brush-twist technique that Mom showed me from some tole book she had, and I used several shades of green in no particular order. Tomorrow I will go back and hopefully get the rest of the leaves done, right now there are only leaves on the lower branches and I have to decide how thick to make them as I get closer to the trunk to indicate leaves in the background.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Happy Anniversary.... us! Saturday Preston and I celebrated 23 years together. And by celebrated, I mean we got each other cards and stayed home. That's right, we're boring. Maybe that's why we've lasted this long! I got to thinking (which is usually a bad idea), why is it he's put up with me for so long? I have to tell you, I just can't be an easy person to live with.
To begin with, I'm stubborn. I mean, world class stubborn. If stubborn were an Olympic event, I would do my country proud. If you tell me the sky is blue, I will present you with facts and figures indicating that it is actually purple. I don't mean to be obstinate, I just can't seem to help it.
I have a problem with authority. I can't handle being told what to do and when to do it, or what is the acceptable way to act or think. Probably that's why I'm self-employed.
Also I'm disorganized and therefore so is my house, and I never seem to be able to finish anything I start in a timely manner; I am a horrible procrastinator (actually that's not true...I'm a very, very good procrastinator).
I can't imagine how he's managed to overlook all my faults for all these years. I know he's got his faults too, but I don't think about them much. Mine just seem so much more heinous. But if you think about it, maybe that's what love really is; how much crap you're willing to put up with.
How's that for romance?

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Great Potato Harvest....

....was less than impressive. I didn't plant potatoes on purpose, you understand, they were volunteers that came up in my compost pile. Or came down, I guess would be more accurate. Yesterday I harvested them all, and got enough to serve two of us. There were lots of them, but look how big they are!I just boiled them with the skins on and added some butter, s & p and parsley and they were pretty darned tasty. Fresh potatoes really do have a lot more flavor than store-bought ones but I can never get them to grow any bigger than this. I think you have to buy actual seed potatoes, I just use the ones I get in the store. Preston was kind of grossed out that they came from the compost pile, but really, what's the difference if I put the compost in where I plant the veggies or if I plant the veggies where the compost is? We also had fresh green beans which I cook like he told me his mom used to make them, steamed with a couple pieces of bacon on top. That's probably all the beans we're gonna get this year. Not a banner year for our garden! On the other hand, we have many, many tomatoes, which I give to my mom and she makes me sauce. I have tried to make my own sauce but I don't have the touch. NOBODY makes sauce like my mom.

It is truly fall now, and yesterday was my favorite day of the year....the day we remove the air conditioner from the kitchen window. That is the only window it can go in, but it's also the only window in my kitchen so it blocks the light and I have to look at it instead of the back yard while I do the dishes. Now I can watch the chipmunks come and go and watch my Dad putter around the yard. Much better. Yeah, I know I go on and on about fall, but it's my favorite time of year so I will probably continue until it snows and then I will expound on how beautiful the snow is. What can I say, I'm just a happy person!

Today I am going to finish painting the swamp mud on the tree; tomorrow I will sponge paint some colors on there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

NOW it's starting to look more like a tree...

...and less like a skeleton of a tree. I told you the paint was ugly! It looks like swamp mud. Especially when it was wet. Yuck. Next I will have to go back with a smaller brush and touch up the places that I couldn't get to with the 1/2" brush; the fine tips of the branches, some other smaller branches, and some of the edges where the plaster was really thick and I couldn't get the edge between the plaster and the wall. Then I can do the leaves! I will have to work on my leaf technique, which I haven't used since I painted Deb's kitchen cupboards.

I still don't know what kind of tree this is, I think it's just kind of generic. Preston said I should have made it a birch tree, to which I's a big hallway, lots of wall space to fill!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Another week goes by...

...and still no paint on the tree. Sorry, Deb, I don't know where the time goes!!! It's Monday now, so I have to catch up on all the stuff I didn't do on the weekend and I will be back tomorrow to paint. Or this afternoon, if possible.

Well I didn't end up taking pictures, as it turns out the band was in rare form and they don't sit still very much so my inferior photography skills would have been no match for that much frantic energy. I'm much better at photographing trees. Besides, the lighting was bad in the room so they would not have been good pics anyway.

What beautiful weather we're having here in RI! Cool, sunny fall days and cool moonlit fall nights. The leaves are starting to really turn and it's so beautiful. The chipmunks are everywhere, filling their little faces full of....whatever chipmunks eat, and storing it away for the winter. We were also preparing for the winter yesterday, got a cord of wood and stacked it all. Myah, in typical Myah fashion, was stealing the wood and making her own little pile. Then she discovered there were chipmunks in the woodpile, and that kept her occupied for several hours. They are really not afraid of her, insofar as I think they know how far her chain will reach because they have no problem conducting their business as if there were no big dog lurking two feet away. They are not, however, stupid enough to do what the toads do and come right up to her. Thank goodness.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Progress on the tree.... not really visible today, but I did get a coat of primer on it. It took me a long time to try and get the paint in all those little nooks and crannies, and when I was done my paintbrush was pretty much done as well. Tough stuff, that plaster. It's going to take me even longer to do the real paint, because it's looking like I'm going to have to use a small brush to make sure I get in all the nooks and crannies. So then I went back with my little sea sponge and sponged on some light blue paint around the branches. I tried to make it not look like sponge marks, because I think that looks tacky, and I think I succeeded. Probably you won't see much of it when the leaves are done, but I thought a little blue would give the whole thing more depth. It almost sounds like I know what I'm doing, doesn't it? Well I don't. I'm making all this up as I go along and hoping for the best!! It's going to look a whole lot better when I start to paint the trunk and branches, because what you can't really see in this picture is that the branches extend beyond where the plaster is, and some of them cross over each other. The plaster extends beyond where the screen is, in the hope that the transition from dimensional branches to flat leaves would be as smooth as possible.

Tonight we go see Decorus Mens at the URI coffeehouse...doesn't "coffeehouse" bring to mind a picture of acoustic music? Not so, not at all. Not tonight, anyway! Tonight's lineup also includes Animals Among Men, who are about as far from acoustic as you can get, and Seven Suns, who are also pretty heavy. I was not really able to get good pics at the Bobby G's show, because of the lighting and the way the band was set up, but I'll try again tonight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Greetings from a strange and foreign land...

...called Charlestown. I am sitting on top of the raging volcano known as Decorus Mens; the band is downstairs rehearsing for their show this Thursday, and Preston is messing with their sound system so they'll sound like pros. How many up-and-coming rock bands have their own professional sound man who they don't even have to pay? They'd better remember this when they're famous!

The tree project has stalled once again, poor Deb....she's so patient. I am going over there tomorrow to prime the tree (as it turns out, you have to use primer on plaster.) and maybe put a little blue on the wall near the top to sort of suggest a sky. After that is when it starts to actually look like something; I already have the paint to put the base coat on the trunk, it's sort of an ugly greenish-grayish-brownish color. Of course, not being an artist, my first instinct was to paint the trunk brown, but if you look you'll realize that the bark of most trees is not actually brown at all! Plus it will have all sorts of other colors on there, greens for moss, etc. so the base coat is going to mostly be covered up with other stuff.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Tree Project Resumes!

After a lengthy absence from Deb's house, I have begun work on the tree again. Actually finished all the plaster, so now there is a creepy white tree on the wall. Should have taken a pic, I'll have to do that next time.

Boy, it sure feels like fall here! I so love fall, I wish it lasted a lot longer. I'm always so happy the first time I see that one red leaf on a tree in August. Then when you hear the night bugs singing while the sun's still up, you KNOW it's coming! There are so many wonderful things about living in the country (well ok, it's not really country, but we have woods behind our house so compared to a lot of places, it's country). My mom has a veritable wild kingdom right outside her picture window...chipmunks that eat out of your hand, birds at the feeder, squirrels that chase the chipmunks, bees that chase the hummingbirds, it's a never-ending drama over there! Over next door here we have our own having to rescue the fat little toads (some not so little!) who seem absolutely fascinated with my dog and come out after dark to get as close as they can and gaze adoringly at her (the other theory is that they are all over in the bushes daring each other to see who can get the closest without becoming a midnight snack).

In other news, our son is moving out this week. He's a grown man, and I'm sure it's time he left, but I'll still miss him even though when he lives here he hardly ever is here anyway. His band just finished recording some of their music (which you can hear if you're interested, and are starting to get more local exposure and it's looking promising for them. I'm looking forward to seeing them perform, only seen them once and they were just amazing live and got a very good response from the audience.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nice day for a White Wedding... was the most beautiful celebration of a wedding I have ever seen. The weather was perfect, and the whole day was just indescribably joyful. I was unable to get a pic of the bride and groom together, because my camera batteries died prematurely but here's the bride, Paula, flanked by Frank Angell on the left and one of her friends on the right, during one of their many performances:
Both the bride and the groom spent most of the day singing and playing with various combinations of the bands Blame the Dog, The Woodbine Family, 5th Element, and Jus-Tus. Also performing were many of their non-band-affiliated friends, and local bluesman Harvey Jorgensen. I can't remember when I've had so much fun playing!

We have been busy with putting a new shower/bathtub in our house, so I haven't been able to get to Deb's to continue with the tree. Here's what our bathroom looked like yesterday morning:
There were only two of us home yesterday, so getting that tub out was a real bitch of a job, excuse my french. It's cast iron, and I don't know exactly what it weighs but it's a lot. Plus, when we put the tub in there over 20 years ago, it went in before the left wall so trying to wedge it out of there was...a challenge. But we got it out, and after re-plumbing the whole thing (which we didn't realize we were going to have to do), we are today ready to install the new unit. I hope it goes in easier than the old one came out, but that's probably too much to hope for. As we were putting in the new pipes, the mouse made an appearance from under the floor. Wonder what she must think!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wish I didn't have to sleep.... many projects, not enough hours in the day! Since I last posted, I have been sewing pretty much nonstop, only stopping to sleep and eat and play a little music! (More about that later). There is a powwow every weekend now, so I'm getting last minute requests from everywhere besides the ongoing hems and zippers and all that stuff.

I have been trying to continue with the tree, although this week I only got over there once. Poor Deb! The good news is that what I have done is coming out even better than I hoped! I worried about getting the plaster to have texture, but as it turns out texture should have been the least of my concerns. I'm pleased to report that, probably because I ended up putting it on there with my fingers, it's coming out very crusty and tree-like. I was going to do it with a putty knife, but Preston said that wouldn't work...and of course, he would have been right. I tried using rubber gloves, but the plaster just stuck to them and made them heavy and slide off my hand. So I just used my bare hands, which works better because I have more control over where the plaster goes. The trunk is the easy part, it's like finger painting and I can just slap it on there. But when I get to the branches it's a little trickier, I have to be careful and so it takes longer, which means I can only mix the plaster in little batches. So it's taking a long time.

We are still looking for a band to play with, but we get to jam this weekend with a bunch of different people at the backyard wedding of Rob and Paula. They played with us at Magstock, and had so much fun with the Beatles songs that they decided to incorporate that set into what has now been called "Wedstock". There is going to be an entire afternoon and evening of music by at least four different bands and even more combinations of bands. The event has also been called "Paulapalooza" by Rob, because of course being a wedding, it's all about the bride.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I Think That I Shall Never See....

...a project that takes as long as Debby's tree! Poor Deb has been waiting about a year for me to get going on this. She decided, after I was done painting trees in the bathroom ( that the hallway was dull and needed something. See? Dull. So we decided that what it needs is a tree. So after putting it off for a year--and mind you, I have been really looking forward to this, so the putting-off part wasn't something I wanted to do--I've finally started. The first day I went over and sketched a rough tree. Willow, while very cute, is not a very good watchdog. She barked at me once and then decided I wasn't worth the effort.
The plan is to make it out of plaster so that it has some texture, so the second day I went over and put some galvanized window screen on the trunk and larger parts of the branches so that the plaster will have something to stick to. No blister this time from the staple gun, and there was minimal bleeding and no cursing. I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm making it up as I go along. With any luck at all, it'll work!


Just an update on the mouse situation; I did manage to catch her in the mouse cube finally, and because it was, like, 2 am I wasn't going to drive her anywhere. So I let her go across the street. But then....
We had just finished dinner, and I put these on the stove while I went to find a flashlight, so I could put them in the compost. That's how quick she is!! Notice how she didn't flinch when I went over there, nor when the flash went off. Brazen little thing. So now, out comes the mouse cube again. Too bad I can't fit a corn cob in there! Next time we have corn I'll slice off a piece.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rumors goes off with out a hitch.... spite of all the things that went wrong. I only wish they could have put on a few more performances, such a lot of work-on the part of the actors, as well as us-for only 3 nights! Oh well, they all did a tremendous job and had a great time doing it. Here's what the set looked like when it was all done:
Other pics from the performance itself are at if you're interested.

So now it's back to my regularly scheduled life, which first and foremost involves catching up on all the sewing I didn't do last week. In spite of my best efforts, I did fall behind....I refuse to stay up past 3 am working. I am not kidding. I did finally get to meet Carol Mars from the Pequot Museum, and she had great things to say about my work! She did place a large order for shirts and other stuff, pending the completion of my vendor paperwork, so I need to get going on that. And this week I have an appointment with Deb Burns; I have been promising to paint a tree in her hallway for at least a year now, and she's been so patient with me! Also I have a myspace page, finally, but I don't have a clue how to make it work so I need to book some time with my son (yes, it's come to that...between work and musical and theatrical projects, he's hardly ever here for more than 5 minutes) to walk me through it.

One last note; check out Georgia's new project at (CAUTION: May contain strong language and hilarity). And if you want to see some real talent go to

Thursday, July 26, 2007

1 Day Till Rumors

We can breathe just a little, the construction is DONE. This is what it looked like when we left last night. All the flats with the painting on them were borrowed from the Chariho Players, left over from their past shows. The whole thing needs to be painted, which the U/M crew is supposed to do in the morning (nothing like last minute!) and we are going down in the early afternoon to put carpet on the stairs, hang curtains, hang some art and stuff on the walls, and just generally put the finishing touches on. Oh and clean up the big mess we left behind it...scrap wood, tools, sawdust, all that. I can't believe we pulled it off, I really am amazed. What scares me is that PJ never doubted it for a second. He had said, "I'm not worried at all." and I said, "Are you insane? I'm worried! I'm worried a LOT!" He had enough to worry about though. Today something else went wrong, something very major which I won't go was solved by an executive decision to put me on the U/M Board. THAT'S RIGHT, Mom, I'm now an official Director of Ungar/Madison Productions, Inc. Have a good laugh. As for me, I'm too tired to laugh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

2 DaysTill Rumors

At the end of two days of construction at the school, we have made a lot of progress...but not nearly enough. Still need to put up walls, hang the other door, etc. etc. UBS has come to our rescue, just because I asked them (and thanks to Preston for suggesting THAT), they gave us $200 of building materials so we should have enough to finish. We were clueless as to how we were EVER going to make it with no materials and no money. The thing probably won't be pretty, because there will be no time left to paint anything. BUT it will be functional, and I have some curtains to hang and some pictures for the walls and hopefully the acting will be so stellar as to distract the audience from the set.

And the drama continues....the sound and light guy dropped out, so they have had to find someone else to do that job. I am refraining from any comments as to the problems this show is having, in fear of tempting the fates to screw something else up. Our son is learning the lesson that I at my advanced age continue to learn, which is that you cannot completely rely on other people to do what they are supposed to do. This is why I'm the way I am, I am convinced that things won't get done the way they need to be done unless I do them myself. So I take on way too much myself and can't delegate. Total control freak, but there is a good reason for it. Unfortunately in a situation like this, he physically can't do all the jobs himself so he has to just hope for the best. Pardon my ramblings, I am running on much stress and little sleep this week.

3 Days Till Rumors

So this is what the set looked like at the end of the day, the first day of construction at Westerly Middle School....We got quite a bit done, although the amount of work still to come is too daunting to think about. The poor director got some bad news, one of the cast members dropped out today. Her mother made her quit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? What kind of person does that, effectively screwing the whole production 4 days before the show? Great lesson to teach your kid, just because you're in a snit. But fortunately, the show does go on. They found a replacement and so far it looks like she is having no problem filling those heels. So rehearsals continue, as does the

Monday, July 23, 2007

4 Days till Rumors

Preston continued the set construction today, although he's pretty much out of materials and had to scrounge some junk lumber from somewhere. I managed to find some doors for us to use, but they're in bad condition. I know we need to make due with what we can get, but some of them are probably so bad as to be unusable!
On the positive side, the Ungar/Madison crew held a car wash today to try and raise some money and I guess they did a pretty good business. Also I managed to sell a few more ads for the program so that we will be able to afford to pay to be in the school for a few more hours to construct the set. It's very hard to pull stuff off at the last minute with no money, but I have to say we are getting pretty good at it after having done it so many times over the years. I just hope there is a good turnout or it will all be for naught. PJ says he is not worried and he thinks everything will come together fine, although the other day I heard him tell one of the other guys that he had a huge knot in his stomach. Being the director, if things are bad it reflects not only on the company but on him too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

5 Days till Rumors...

...and set construction begins.... With lots of help from Myah....How we're ever going to pull this off under the circumstances, I don't know but we're giving it our best shot. And the circumstances are these; Ungar/Madison Productions has no money to buy wood, etc.; there is wood and some set pieces left over from some of the Chariho Players shows that we can use, but it's locked up at one school and needs to be brought to another school to use. Trying to get into schools in the summer is chancy; on the weekend in the summer it's quite impossible. Also we need several doors, and UBS is not open from Saturday 1:00 until Monday morning even if we had money to buy them. So we need to borrow doors from people, which sounds nuts but I've done it before. We'll see what I can come up with. A lot of the people I know are used to strange requests from me, and I have no problem making them! The other problem we have is actually BEING in Westerly Middle School to build the set; U/M has no money to pay the janitors/fees which is what you need to do to even set foot in a school in the summer.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Upholstery for fun and no profit

In preparation for the play that PJ is directing, I am attempting to secure set furniture and costumes. As things so often happen to me for some unknown serendipitous reason, the day PJ told me he needed two chairs, our neighbor down the street put two large wing chairs on his front lawn free for the taking. So I took them. The chairs themselves were in structurally great condition, just the fabric was faded and that on the arms was completely destroyed. I thought, how hard can it be to do a hack job of covering them? They only have to look good from a distance. It is to laugh. I asked Nancy the Upholstery Queen (no sarcasm here, she really is!), if she could just do a quick job on them and she said there is no such thing. So I did it myself. Here's what they looked like before:
I got some really elegant fabric from Nancy the Upholstery Queen ($4 a yard!!) and went to work with my staple gun and my hammer. It took me two afternoons to do both chairs. "There's good money in that upholstery stuff, you should go into that. Professionally". I hear my father's voice in my head; surprisingly enough, I didn't hear it in my ears this time. I'm very sure there is good money in it, and now I know there's a very good reason for that. Two afternoons and one very large blister (from the staple gun), many wasted staples, many safety pins and many naughty words later, I have two chairs that will not hold up to close inspection.
Nancy, my hat is off to you. But they look good from a distance, and if they survive the play I will be happy. Happy, nothing...I'll be astonished! No, I kid. They will be fine, you just can't look in the back or under the cushions!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Today the title portion of this blog is not working; for some reason it won't let me type in there. So I'm calling this entry...

Ok, those of you who are revolted by vermin in the house (other than the ones you gave birth to) need not read on, you're not going to like this.

We have a mouse. That's what I tell myself, although deep down I know there's no such thing as one mouse. She is very bold and not afraid of us, or the dog. We've had mice before, along with moles, chipmunks, and flying squirrels (that's a whole other story) but this mouse is different. I have always been able to catch the mice but not this one, she's too smart for me. I refuse to use snap traps or D-con, I have what's called Mice Cubes. It's just a little plastic box with a one-way door, and you put in it whatever you think will attract mice (oddly enough, cheese doesn't work. Crackers, peanut butter, and potato chips seem to be the preferred menu items) and then you take the trap into the neighbor's yard and let the mouse go. I'm kidding about that, I usually take them about a mile away and turn them loose not close to anyone's house. But as I said, this mouse is different. She is very interested in anything that's not in a mouse cube. Nothing has persuaded her to go in there.

Having mice in the house does not bother me. I know it should, but I just can't work up any sense of panic or revulsion over mice. She's not getting into my food or going in the cupboards where my food or my dishes are, she's not chewing my belongings to shreds and making nests in my sock drawer, so it's not a real big issue for me. She comes up from behind my stove, sometimes while I'm standing at the counter, and watches me. I shooed her away, but she came right back and now is not affected by my shoo-ing unless I walk toward her, because she may be just a mouse but she's not stupid. What I saw this morning made me glad I have not been able to catch her, because she has of them was on the counter next to the stove this morning. It would have been very sad to have caught the mother and left the babies to die. Also when mice die in your house and you can't find them the smell is unbelieveable, which is another reason not to use D-con. I know what you're thinking; mice carry diseases, it's unsanitary to have mice. That's why I have lots of antibacterial 409. Besides, people carry diseases too, and I let them in my house. But they get so upset when I follow them around with the 409 bottle. The mice don't seem to mind so much.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th!

Last night we got treated to a fireworks show, right in our own backyard! Well actually it was our neighbor's backyard, but close enough....close enough to hear the pieces falling all around me! That makes me a little nervous, but I guess they have all burned out by the time they hit the ground. It reminded me of when we went to the Richmond 250th Anniversary at the Chariho school baseball field. They had those great big fireworks, set off right above the field which was really cool UNTIL shells the size of half a coconut started falling on people and cars and the big cloud of sulfur and whatever else results from fireworks drifted over the field. Guess that wasn't such a good idea after all. Anyway, the ones last night were not that big. Our poor dog was less than impressed though, she spent the duration underneath the computer desk!

In honor of the 4th I am recommending that everyone who has HBO watch "Assume the Position with Robert Wuhl". I guess you could call it a comedy routine, but it's more like a history lesson. He does it in a lecture hall in front of a bunch of college kids. I don't know how much of what he says is actually true, although it's presented that way, but even if it's not true it makes you look twice at all the history you were force-fed when you were in school.

Speaking of history, I also recommend that anyone who lives in RI and SE Connecticut visit the Tomaquag Museum ( It is very small, only two rooms, but has a lot of Native American history packed into a small space. If you're lucky you'll get to talk to my friend Paulla Dove Jennings, who is just fascinating to listen to and knows just about everything there is to know about the museum and its contents.

In other local news, my beets are still alive! I really can't believe the fragile little things survived being transplanted. As did everything else in the garden! We do need some rain though, Preston watered last night when he got home from baseball but it's not the same. I guess it's supposed to rain tonight, unfortunately for anyone who is planning to go see fireworks. My sister, my neice and my grandnephew are flying in tonight from California for a 2-week visit so I hope the weather is not TOO bad!

Well it's time for the Bristol 4th of July Parade which I attend every year from the comfort of my living room, so I'll say again Happy 4th to everyone!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A plug for Schartner's

Yesterday we went to Schartner's Farms in Exeter. I hadn't been there for years, and I have to say I didn't want to leave! What a great place that must be to work. It's just HUGE! And full of beautiful flowers and gifts. And when you first walk in, the strawberry smell hits you like a pie in the face. So of course we had to have some. Oh, you can use the ones they have in early June at Stop and Shop, hard and tasteless and pale , but nothing even comes close to fresh-picked local strawberries. I have a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake that I will post on my website this week...I know you can buy those sponge cake things but...ick. This biscuit recipe is from scratch, it doesn't even use bisquick. ( If you've come upon this blog from the other direction, my site is ) The problem, though, is usually that by the time the local strawberries are ripe, it's too hot to light the oven. You've gotta understand, I live and work in at 500-square-foot house. It's easy to heat in the winter, also easy to heat in the summer which is why I have this thing about using my oven when it's hot out. But the weather during the past few days has been absolutely beautiful, so I took advantage!

We actually went to Schartner's to see if they had any summer squash luck. So I got seeds, and planted them last night. Now I know nobody in their right mind plants seeds at the end of June in Rhode Island, but what have I got to lose? I was pretty happy to see that all the stuff I planted the other day lived (I don't have much of a green thumb.), especially the beets which didn't have much in the way of roots, and what they had was all tangled up. There wasn't much to plant, and I expected to come out the next day and find them all lying on the ground but NO, almost all of them were still standing. I remember the first time I planted beets, I didn't realize you weren't supposed to peel them (ok, go ahead and laugh) before cooking, so when I cooked them they bled out and I was left with sickly white turnip-looking things. So now I know better. Mom has already laid claim to the greens, and she can have them!

Farmer's Almanac, I believe, and old folk wisdom will tell you to plant on a new moon, not on a full moon. So probably my squash will not flourish. We'll see.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

And God said, "Let there be tomatoes".....

...oh no wait, that was me. I had despaired of having a garden this year, because despite my best intentions, there just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. BUT, when I stopped at the local fruit stand yesterday, I discovered that not only did they still have tomato plants, but they were really quite healthy! So today Preston tilled the garden, under the watchful eye of the bull-who-has-no-name, who before I took this pic was following Preston back and forth along the fence like he was hoping for a handout.

I was hoping for some squash and peppers, but there were none to be had. I did get tomatoes, though, and that was the important thing. I also got beets and sugar-baby watermelon, along with several annuals that I never heard of and cannot pronounce, but they were pretty. And of course, the requisite marigolds. Can't have a garden without marigolds! Now all I have to do is plant them, but the black clouds are coming in from the west and I can hear the thunder rumbling ominously so I think instead of playing in the dirt tonight I shall wait until tomorrow and play in the mud. Ya know, I took the day off today so I could catch up on my sewing and that just didn't happen. I don't know which is worse, my procrastination or my disorganization. Someday I'll get around to figuring that out. But not today.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Survived Magstock

Well, it's over...I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I did both at various points yesterday! First of all, the bands were just amazing. They really gave it their all, even though the turnout was way less than spectacular. And they sounded fantastic. We got to hear PJ's band for the first time, and they were very, very good and I'm not just saying that because he's my son! They were very well received by the audience, judging by the screaming, so it's not just me. I'm just sorry my camera doesn't survive for more then 10 minutes off life support, so I couldn't take any pictures. There was supposed to be someone filming it, but like many people who said they'd help out, he didn't show up. It's so hard to plan something like this on a Saturday, during the summer...there are just so many other things going on for people to do, it's hard to convince them that they should come to yours. Oh well.

So now I have the week off from Second Cents (not that I work that much there anyway!) and I am going to use it to catch up on all the sewing and cleaning I didn't do for the past couple of weeks!

And then I am going to make many, many ribbon shirts. Looking forward to that!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Magstock Eve

Well it's been an interesting of our bands dropped out of Magstock, but The Flashing Reds stepped up to take their place so that was a minor disaster at most and actually may have worked out for the best. The Chariho Times did a nice article about us, but they also said "there is no charge for the event"...are you kidding? On the plus side, everything else seems to be falling into place very well. I'm also excited to be able to play in front of people again; since our last gig in February my band kind of fell apart and because of all the time I've spent planning Magstock I haven't really devoted any time to getting a band back together. After this is over, that will be my plan.

Personally it was also a big week for me...the Mashantucket Pequot Museum contacted me and wants to sell my ribbon shirts in their gift shop (pinching myself, don't wake up! don't wake up!) That would be my dream job, there's nothing I like making more than ribbon shirts and fancy regalia. So now I have to make up some shirts because I haven't had time to make any other than the specially-ordered ones. Many, many thanks to John Cutnose, who put them in touch with me!

So back to Magstock, it's tomorrow, so all I have to do now is 20 million little last minute things. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hell Week.... upon us. It started off with the news that City Confessions, one of the bands who had asked to play at Magstock, has had to drop out, leaving open the 3:00 slot which none of the other bands were able to fill. Mind you, the concert is 5 days away. When I could breathe again, PJ and I discussed the possibilities for a replacement and decided to go with The Flashing Reds, out of Providence. As luck would have it, I was able to contact and get a response from them by the end of the day. Catastrophe averted. Also by the end of the day, some good news came our way; we now have a framed limited edition photo and original Woodstock ticket donated for the raffle. I know where MY tickets are going!!

Other than that, the weekend was as it usually is, full of yard sales and baseball and sunny weather. Preston's Little League team is out of the playoffs, which I think is kind of a relief for him. It was kind of a stressful season, players not getting along with each other, etc. Sunday night we took a ride to Aunt Carrie's for chowder and clamcakes, just in time to see them closing their doors. Fortunately George's was still open...not as good as Aunt Carrie's, but it was late and we were hungry.

Carol has a new project in the works, which I hope will turn out to be profitable for her; after much fiddling and figuring--and I suspect more than a little cursing--she has come up with a small day planner specifically for SCA people to use at Pennsic next month. I need to get them listed on Ebay so she can sell them! I should probably do that today, although can't imagine when...have to do some Magstock-related errands and get some sewing done. Maybe I should be doing that instead of THIS!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Go to the Magstock concert!!

I can't stress this enough. This project has occupied most of my waking hours, and some of my sleeping ones, for the past few months. Details can be found at 6 bands, including Preston's and my band, will be performing for one outrageously low price of $10. Such a deal! Most of the bands are young, original bands; ours is made up of old people, (over 40!!) and we are playing our favorite Beatles songs.

PJ and I have been coordinating this concert to raise money for his friend Maggie, who is in a coma after having suffered a stroke at the tender age of 22. It really makes you stop and think, if it could happen to a perfectly healthy, fit young woman like a bolt out of the blue, it could happen to anybody. If I take nothing else away from this, it will be to appreciate every day for the gift that it is. Lots of people say that, but not too many of them actually live it. I'm going to try.

Is this June, for real?

....well I thought it was, until yesterday! I spent the late afternoon running the scoreboard at Dow Field, in my flannel jacket with a nice hot cup of Tim Horton's Cafe' Mocha. What screwy weather! Today's not much better, I will have to consume many cups of tea in order to be able to go to work this afternoon.

So finally I have a blog. I have been looking around for a site, and have signed up for a couple only to discover that I don't have the patience to figure out how to use them. I have the attention span of a mosquito. This one seems to be designed for dummies, though, so maybe I can manage it!

Powwow season is in full swing, and I am blessed to be asked to sew so much stuff! This week, among many other things, I decorated a shirt for artist John Paul Cutnose; usually I make the shirt, but as time was short he bought a shirt and I added the ribbons and the buffalo.
All the sewing keeps me so busy, I have not had time to plant my garden yet! I know, I know, July is right around the corner. But I haven't given up yet, Preston borrowed a rototiller (no, it hasn't even been tilled yet) but he is also busy so there it sits. I, with my girly arm muscles, can't start the bloody thing because it's one of those yank-the-rope situations. Girl power my butt, sometimes there are things that just require a man to get done. I'm not ashamed to say it.