11 July 2018

little things...






Little things that make me happy...

playing in a homemade art journal for the first time...

a basket full of art papers (many of them I've made)...

experimenting with new mediums (brusho crystals)...

being happy with how a little journal girl turns out...

finding small ways to honor those important to me....

These are kind of behind the scene images that have happened around here over the last couple of months.  Last week and this have been filled with Wimbledon, catching up on The Originals, watching Justice League (finally!), playing around on Ancestry again,  and trying to finish a knitting project (last season's Steeler Scoreboard) that I need to get done before football starts in a month.  Yep, football starts next month...hard to believe.

Anywho, I've been wanting to get here, but I swear time just disappears on me.  


Now I'm off to work on my knit and watch more tennis. I'm hoping to get back in my studio soon.

Tell me, are there little things that make you happy?  

thanks for stopping in for a read, 
love & blessings
~*~

02 July 2018

garden visitors...




I've had quite a few visitors to my little garden this past week.  These are just a few that have been hanging around.

The remarkable thing about these photos (at least to me) is that I took every one of them from inside my house.  Not bad, huh?

It has been pretty hot out so I've been spending my time indoors.  I head out early morning to water and check the plants, but that is about it.  

What kind of visitors do you get to your garden?

thanks for stopping in for a read...
love & blessings
~*~

28 June 2018

I found a little something...

I bet you can't guess what I was thinking about when I stumbled across these items at the big box craft store the other day.  :-)

I'm hoping to get to use them soon! (In an official sort of way) Maybe?  Fingers and toes crossed!

Do you pick up odd things to use for specific functions (like blog parties of the most fabulous sort)? 

I find myself doing that all the time.  I'll see something and think, Oh I could use that in the so & so tea party!  

Anyhoo....

They were just too cute not to share.

thanks for stopping by for a read!

love & blessings
~*~

26 June 2018

a favorite thing - books...










I love books.  I have always loved books.  When I was little, I was most always hiding somewhere with a book, avoiding my mean (and not so mean) cousins, or doing my chores.  I loved to read.  I have always loved to read, to get lost in the worlds that words can create.  That is my happy place.

And while I do very much like my e-reader, I really prefer to hold a book in my hand, to be able to turn the page, to feel the paper.

Before I became so ill that I couldn't work, any money I had after paying the mortgage and taking care of my babies (3 cats, 1 dog) was spent on books.  I was a regular at the big box book store that came in and replaced my local small book shops.  I had stacks of books everywhere, bookcases lining just about every room in the house with books shoved and packed in as tight as I could.  

When I was taken out of work, my income went to nothing (literally for 60 days no income) then to less than half of what I'd been receiving, so book buying had to stop.  I've had a library card since I was seven years old and began to use it with great frequency as reading was the only thing keeping me alive.  Seriously, it was the only thing I could do, other than sleep, that did not exacerbate my headaches.  Therefore, reading became my lifeline.  I was making trips to the library at least twice a week and would pick up as many as I could possibly get my hands on.  I had to start carrying a couple of tote bags so I could get them all in one trip.  

Then an odd thing happened.  I started noticing that the smells of the books was making me sick to my stomach.  The paper started to look gross and scary. Odd stains seemed to grow as I noticed them, dead bugs mushed between pages, what looked like dried mucus sometimes.  After a while, I stopped being able to handle the library books.

Enter the e-reader.  It saved my sanity, if not my life.  I could download lots of books and read them without the heebie-jeebies the library books were giving me.  Plus, I could borrow from a state-wide library, not just my local one.  

I have no idea how many books I've read since I got sick. I have no idea how many books I've given away during various moves.  I have no idea how many books I'd read before I got sick.  

What I do know is that for the past several years, reading has become very difficult.  Where I could read a book in a day, now it takes two or three at the least, sometimes much longer.  Words swim on the pages and jump around as if they were dancers on a stage.  I read a line or paragraph and as I move to the next, I realize I have no idea what I just read and must go back and start again.

The last time I saw my neurologist, it had mostly just started (a few months prior) and I mentioned it to him.  He said it was to be expected, that with the type of pain I have and the intractability of managing it, my cognitive functions would decrease more rapidly than if I wasn't sick.  

That was almost two years ago, and it has become much worse.  But, I still love books and I still love reading.  So I'll take my time and keep going.

I'm back to buying books again.  Not a lot, mostly just things I know I'll love from authors I'm addicted to.  Although, I recently ordered a recently released book online that I have been waiting to read for about two years and was sorely disappointed.  I'd not been able to get it from the digital library and had waited and waited, but decided to just go ahead.  Such a disappointment!  That one will be headed to the stack for the used book store.

Since I love books, and they are one of my favorite things, I'm thinking about doing some book reviews from time to time.  If I remember correctly, I did a couple many years ago when I was blogging heavily and I miss doing them.  I think it will encourage me to read a little more.  Over the last year, I've mostly been re-reading books, over and over, as it seemed easier and I didn't have to focus as hard.  But I miss reading different stories, finding new authors.  

I'll warn you now, my reading taste is very eclectic.  Who knows what I'll come up with to review.  :-)

So what are you reading lately?

thanks for stopping in for a read...
love & blessings
~*~

ps...I've tried audiobooks, but the whole sound - headache thing just doesn't work for me, plus I couldn't get past the woman trying to imitate an old man's voice in the one I tried.  Maybe I'll try another, it would be nice to be able to sketch or knit while listening.  :-)


 

16 June 2018

in my garden...







I've spent a bit of time in the garden this week.  Some good, some bad.  

The blueberries are done for the season, but the cherry tomatoes and the jalapenos are doing well.  The lemon balm has exploded and I've baby blooms on my volunteer pumpkin.  I don't know that anything will form, but it's fun to watch.

My Lady of Shallot is blooming and smells so very divine!  I really need to decide where to plant her and get her in the ground and some support so it could take off.  

The blooms on the hydrangea are stunning and vary from light pink to a deep blue, deep purple to light blue.  Just lovely.  If you look closely at the photo of the hydrangea, to the left you will see my brand new, fabulously wonderful, air conditioning unit.  Ahhhh...just in time too, as the temps are to hit the high 90s coming this week.

Now for the bad...  Last time I posted about my garden I showed the progress of my san marzano tomatoes and cucumbers.  Yesterday, I shrugged on my determination and with hiccoughing sobs, and tears running down my face, I pulled them all out and disposed of them.  

You see, a few days after I posted that last post about the garden, our landscaper came along to spray the clover in the grass.  Apparently, this is something that is done every year because certain people in the neighborhood (my next-door neighbor being one of them) find clover offensive to their sensibilities and what kind of yard they want to see.  

I'd planned to ask the landscaper to skip my back area because I am highly sensitive to this particular herbicide (as in my skin breaks out with rashes if I get it on me and I cannot breath until the stuff has completely dried).  I'd been trying to keep an eye out for him, but I just (literally like 3 minutes) missed him.

A few days after he'd sprayed, I noticed the cucumber plants looking very bad and the cucumbers that had been growing becoming deformed (as well as the tomatoes).  It took me a little bit to figure out what was happening.  They just kept getting sicker and it took me time to give up on them.

So now I have no san marzanos, no cucumbers and a bunch of brown spots in the lawn (that I've been told won't be seeded with grass until the fall?!? - FTW?!?).  

It's days like this, days where everything about this place gets on my last nerve (and the next-door neighbor being falling down drunk a lot, certainly doesn't help) makes me want to move.   In fact, I've an appointment this coming Thursday to change my rent status of this place to an own status.  But right now I really don't want to do it.

After drying my tears and cleaning up yesterday I spent a few hours searching the internet for properties.  Part of me wants to just pack up everything in storage, get in my car and drive until I find my place.  Ugh...

Anyhoo...

How are things growing in your garden?  

Thanks for stopping in for a read...
love & blessings
~*~


ps... FTW is my version of WTF.  So instead of saying What the F*@k, I say F*@k the What.  :-)

pps...I've had several questions about the pig pickin cake I mentioned in my last post.  I'm planning a post coming up that explains the cake and also gives the recipe.  I'll need to make another one (oh the hardship!) and hopefully I can get that done this week.  

08 June 2018

lately...




Lately, you can find me in my little patio garden, monitoring the progress of my baby cucumbers (only 1 so far, but tons of blooms!) and the tomatoes;  picking jalapenos and blueberries; or admiring the local wildlife and my flowers.




Or you can find me in my studio, playing with new supplies, exploring new lessons in art making and getting my hands dirty.

I'm not sure which one I have the most fun with, the garden or the art.  Both are top of my list right now.

Of course, all of this is dependent on the weather.  I'm outside early and late but spend the middle inside with the blinds closed to keep the worst of the heat out.  My air conditioning is not working and hasn't for almost two weeks.  It isn't so bad right now, but I'm hoping it will be fixed before the major heat waves come in.

Another place you can find me is my neighbor's kitchen.  I've been helping her with cooking for company she's had for three weeks and a bridge game she has today.  I've cooked my grandmommy's pig pickin cake, homemade spaghetti sauce (2 batches), 3 batches of caramel layer squares, grilled chicken, something my neighbor calls "trash" but is like a chex mix type of thing, and honestly, I can't remember what else.  I have one more day to cook (Sunday) for my mum's birthday, but it is basically hamburgers/hot dogs on the grill with sides.


One thing you won't find me doing, is worrying about that pesky issue I talked about in my last post.  I decided not to approach my dad about taking a test, but my brother has said he would do it, so if I can ever get it done and sent in, it will be interesting to see what the results show.  

I have contacted several of the "2nd cousins" ancestry says I match to in an effort to find out how we are connected.  One of them replied very quickly and gave me a name, but it isn't one I've ever heard of before.  I'm waiting to hear back from another.  

Oh well...

I'm going to go back to my arting and my gardening... 

What have you been up to lately?  Any cooking/baking?  Arting?  Writing?  Seen any good movies?  :-)

Thanks for stopping by for a read...
love & blessings
~*~

PS...I'm having a lot of trouble with Bloggers comments, not getting email notifications and can't figure out how to respond to each one.  But I'm reading them and really appreciate you taking the time to comment.  I'm trying to figure a work around.  So please don't think I'm ignoring you.  :-)  xoxo

 

25 May 2018

DNA...

When I was a little girl, my family was the most important thing in my life.  I knew who they were and by extension, who I was. (By family, I mean my parents, siblings, grandparents and cousins.  We were all very close and they were my family.)

As I grew older, I began to wonder if maybe all wasn't as it seemed.  At one point I started to wonder if maybe I was adopted.  Of course, that could have just been wishful thinking.  :-)

When I hit my early twenties (early 1990's), I started to really wonder where I came from.  I started asking questions of my older relatives, especially the two grandparents I had left (one from each side).  I heard so many weird stories.  Rumors of chicken/horse thieves from one line, Native American ancestry on another line.  Some said we were from Scotland and some from Ireland, some from France and some from Wales. But there was no real information...just rumors.


During that time, I was bitten by the genealogy bug and began to seriously research my ancestry.  I bought and borrowed books on how to do so, joined Rootsweb (a free online genealogy community), and started haunting cemeteries and courthouse record rooms.  I wrote for documents in places I couldn't visit, sent letters and questionnaires to family members (both close and distant) and wrote down everything I could find in weird disjointed ways.

Over the years I built up a lot of information. I searched online, exchanged emails with like-minded people across the country and even printed a couple years worth of newsletters for two of my main family lines.  I even considered applying to a specialized college to be come a professional genealogist.  It was very consuming.
In 2004, a medical crisis knocked me out of my loop and I gave up.  I just didn't see the point when there was no one to whom to pass the information.  For many years my collection sat in plastic tubs, hidden in attics or closets.  I didn't really want to look anymore.

I don't know what caused me to start back.  I think the burgeoning of Ancestry.com and the "ease" of it.  I say ease, because a lot of ancestry information is from member trees and you have to be careful to take anything from someone's tree with a grain (sometimes a bag) of salt.  


Then Ancestry came out with their DNA tests.  I thought about it, when it first came out, but I was in an everything's a conspiracy frame of mind and it didn't seem safe.  I've continued to play around at researching off and on over the past 10 years.  I've found some interesting things and some frustrating things.  But I continued to be comfortable in my family knowledge.

Two months ago, I did something I never thought I would.  I submitted a DNA kit to Ancestry.  I'd had no luck finding those elusive Native American ancestors that we supposedly had and was running into brick wall, after brick wall on other lines.  So, I went for it.  

Turns out, I'm definitely not a Native American descendant.  In fact, I'm basically British/European, with a tiny portion Finnish/Russian, Iberian and from Asia central.  What?!?!

Once I started looking at people I matched to and seeing where we connected, I noticed that there was a line missing.  I contacted a cousin from this particular line that I knew had been doing research and asked if he'd submitted the test.  He had, but we didn't match.  What the *!&%@???

We talked more and he has lots of matches to other ancestors down this particular line, but I don't.  I have one match to a great-grandfather on this line but it also lists his wife (my great-grandmother) as a common ancestor.  I have lots of connections through her line, going way back.  But none on him.  Hmmmm...

Because of the common ancestor connections to her, I know for sure that my dad is my dad, and my grandfather is my grandfather.   So either my grandfather was not of his father's bloodline, or my great-grandfather wasn't of his father's bloodline.  Oh boy.  

I have no idea how to figure this out.  It isn't like I can call them up and ask.  They've all passed on years ago.  

I'll be honest.  I don't know why this matters so much to me.  No one else in our family cares or is even interested.  I've no one to pass the information down to, so why does it matter?  

I don't know.  It just does.  It always has.

Maybe I just really love a good mystery....

Anyhoo...

This is what I've been up to the last few weeks.  Lots of time spent sifting through "matches" on Ancestry and trying to figure things out.  

I have determined that it might be a glitch in their system/testing as my cousin and I have a mutual cousin who we both match to and it's the same family line.  So...

Hmmm, I didn't mean for that to be such a long post. 

So, tell me...have you researched your family history?  Does knowing where/who you come from matter to you?

I'd love to hear your research stories or why it does/doesn't matter to you.

Thanks for stopping in for a read...
love & blessings
~*~