Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Join Me...

In celebrating with my friend, Lois Kasznia.  Today her first book, When the Runway Went South, was released by Lazy Day Publishing.  How cool is that!  She's just awesome and I know her book is too.  I can't wait to read it.  She's a guest blogger today.  Stop by and get to know her and then go read her book, which I'm sure will be the first of many.

Blurb -

Every young woman would like to be like the famous New York fashion model, Ally Duncan, right? A successful career; constantly linked to celebrities, a wealthy boyfriend and a nice lifestyle to boot. What looks like a great lifestyle is far from it. The New York fashion industry only sees Ally as just another pretty face worth millions of dollars and her boyfriend is a two-timing liar. Ally decides to give up her career as well as men and packs up her things headed for Texas. She buys a house, a disguised money pit, adjacent to a cattle ranch. Not a good move for a first time home owner.

Caleb Strait, confirmed bachelor and owner of the cattle ranch, wants nothing to do with women. To have someone like Ally as a neighbor, sets his temper on edge. Things used to be quiet until she came along.
Can a New York model find love with a cowboy? Can a cowboy find love with a fashion model? Watch out as the sparks fly!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Juice Update

About to finish day five and I had no Excedrin today.  None!  The first four days I had a total of five.  Yes, I have a tiny headache but it’s so miniscule it barely counts.  Today is another hot, humid, mucky day, as the last four has been.  I should be curled up in a ball, contemplating moving enough to seek death.  Is it really the juice?  Or have I convinced myself so thoroughly that this is going to work that it is?  Don’t know.  Don’t care.  It seems to be helping and that’s all that truly matters.

Some observations.  Kale is not something I will ever willingly have again in my life.  There’s no way to put it other than to say, in my opinion, kale is foul.  Nasty.  Icky.  Disgusting.  You get the idea.  But it is so loaded with nutrients that I am going to continue to juice the vile stuff and force myself not to gak as I drink it.  The original plan to have some twice a day has been abandoned.  Once is more than enough and there are plenty of other non-vile veggies out there to sustain me.

The best part of this are the juices I make for breakfast.  Fruit, fruit and more fruit.  I made a strawberry-rhubarb-apple with cinnamon that was absolutely delicious.  Serious numminess!  And then, the second time I made it I added in a chunk of pineapple for sweetness and it was even better.  Makes me wish I had much, much more of those items and had skipped the other fruits.  But, when I was purchasing produce, I thought a variety would be best.  Now I know better.

Day three was the worst.  Not only was it 92 and extremely humid, I had zero energy.  My head hurt.  I felt blech.  And I was snarly.  If I’d been able to move there was an annoying someone who very likely wouldn’t have survived the day.  Luckily I ended up watching movies with Kya most of the day.  She’s been the best buddy through this time.  She’s enjoyed hanging out and getting all the attention.  The boys were sprawled elsewhere and couldn’t be bothered to be jealous as they usually are.  I just wish she’d stop choosing movies that had food in them!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thank You

Friday, May 25, 2012

Variations on a Theme II

Coreopsis - Original

Toned Down

Inverted Colors

Pencil Drawing
Neon in Blue

Thursday, May 24, 2012

All Set

I went to one of the local farmers’ markets for supplies after work today.  I left with a cart full of produce.  Literally.  And yay, more than I expected was locally grown.  Already!  Isn’t that awesome?  I wasn’t sure I’d fit it all in my refrigerator but with a bunch of rearranging and some purging, I managed.

Here’s what I have:

Red Cabbage
Beets, with the tops on
Summer Squash

And for added flavor:


Oh yeah.  Let’s not forget the never-ending supply of strawberries growing right outside my back door. 

Let the juicing begin and the headaches end!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I was chatting with a friend today.  I hadn’t really thought about it but as it turns out she is an “old” friend.  Time wise, not age wise.  I’ve known her for nearly twenty years.  I remember her son as a cute kid from back before he learned to drive.  He’s a grown man now, with a family of his own and has been for literally years and years and years.  (I wonder if he’d let me borrow his daughter since my little girls are all grown up now?)  Any way, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since she wandered into work as a temp, intending to stay a short time and ended up staying for what seemed like forever at the time.  Thanks to her, I have some very good memories of that job.

And then this evening I got back in touch with someone I knew in my teens.  I puppy sat for her back before I could drive.  Back before I was petrified of dogs though her collie was such a sweetie I doubt I’d be afraid of him even now.  Back before Reading became a place that was too unsafe to even consider leaving a country girl and a foreign friend the same age on their own.  Her house then is two blocks from where I live now.  The same block I mentioned a few weeks ago where the guy was shot to death.  Funny, how things change.  But then I realized it’s been 35 years since I house sat for her.  And 35 years since an adult took interest and gave me the courage to be myself which, as a teenager who didn’t really fit in, is saying a lot.

I haven’t really spoken with the second friend mentioned in the entire time I knew the first.  No reason and no real point to it.  I’m not old.  Or I don’t really consider myself to be.  But perhaps I am..  What is old?  Oh I know.  It’s all relative.  And attitude.  Yes, I’m rambling but as the title of this implies, I’ve been pondering today.  Some days it seems time is flying by so fast that it’s overwhelming.  Does it speed up as you age because you know more and start to understand there are things you want to do that you’ll never get to so at some point you have to choose between them?  Do you regret what you know you’ll miss out on or celebrate what you don’t?  Or both?

Life is too short, no matter how long you live.  Cherish the important people in it.  Always.  Say thank you to those who influence you, in big ways and in small.  Laugh, cry and everything in between.  As I said, I’m pondering…

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reclaiming Me

A few weeks ago, I posted about Excedrin being pulled from shelves and how I was okay because I went online and ordered some to hold me over until it was back.  I’ve been pondering this off and on since then because I really didn’t like my reaction.  I felt like I would panic if I couldn’t get some to have on hand for when it was needed.  Odd, since when I’m in the midst of a really bad migraine Excedrin is just as useless as everything else.  But it does help to some extent with minor migraines so I wanted, needed to have some. 

Yeah, imagine that.  Calling any migraine minor.  Sadly, when you suffer from these, you learn to live and function with the less severe ones.  Oh, don’t misunderstand.  It still hurts plenty.  You still want to curl up somewhere and have the world leave you alone.  But you learn to deal with it and get on with life since it could be worse, so very much worse, tomorrow.

As I see it, I have several choices.  Go on limping along as I have been with some level of headache 358 out of 365 days a year.  No.  That is not an exaggeration.  Find a new doc since my old one is no longer covered by my insurance and get some other form of drugs that will be ineffective two-thirds of the time or may make things worse.  Find an alternative medication that is not covered by insurance at all and steal someone’s first born to sell in order to pay for it on an on-going basis.  Or take matters into my own hands and make changes that I have the power to make.

A week or so ago I was chatting with a friend who asked me if I’d seen the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  As you can guess my first question was if it was being recommended since that describes me although I’m not nearly dead even though it feels like it on bad migraine days.  No, that wasn’t the reason.  The film, and book, were done by a man by the name of Joe Cross.  He has a disease that required him to take prednisone in order to function.   Not thrive.  Function as in just getting by and barely a lot of days. What he decided to do was detox his system and see if being healthier overall helped.  He did this by going on a juice fast for 60 days.  And while fasting, he travelled across the country, chatting with people, telling them what he was trying and how it was working as he went.  By the end he was down to very minimal prednisone dosages, which with continued monitoring of his diet, has now been eliminated.  He’d also dropped almost a third of his weight, become more energetic and felt alive in ways he hadn’t in years.

What interested me most was the segment in which he chatted with a woman who has chronic migraines.  She tried the juice fast and in ten days was migraine-free.  I can only imagine what that feels like.  But I want to know.  So I got me a juicer and I’m going off to the farmers’ market Thursday.  Friday I begin.  I’m intending ten days but if it’s making me feel better and the headaches aren’t quite gone that will be extended.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yellow Season


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Gruber Wagon Works

Cold press used to add iron "tires" to wooden wagon wheels.
I went exploring at the Gruber Wagon Works today.  Begun in 1882 by Franklin H. Gruber, a single craftsman, this grew into a 20-man, family run business. At the beginning, everything was done by hand. By the time it closed in 1971, the Gruber family had adopted a pulley system, first powered by horse, then by water, finally by gas engine. In 1976 the Army Corp of Engineers relocated the entire works, including over 19,000 tools left behind at the end of its run, to its current location near the Berks County Heritage Center.

Even cooler, my grandmother lived just past the original location when I was a very, very small child.  I remember going there, though I don't know why.  There was a kindly old gentleman who took me exploring and explained how things worked.  Jean, my wonderful guide today, let me wander on the other side of the ropes and I saw some things I remembered from when I was small.  A wooden clamp.  The boxes and boxes of iron parts.  The sound of the cold press in the picture.  And amazingly, I'm positive it smelled the same.  Isn't it odd, the things your memories hold?

If you've never been to see the Wagon Works, I recommend going.  It's a true piece of history that has managed to survive in excellent condition.   For more pics, stop by my JPG page.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Even after the blooms fall, poppies are still magnificent.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Don't Get It

What is it with handymen in my area?  Are they so solvent they don’t have to work?  Or so damn lazy and irresponsible they can’t be bothered?

Today I had an appointment with the second choice.  Recommended again by someone I know and trust.  Supposedly reliable, competent and reasonably priced.  Only I wouldn’t know because once again he failed to show!  And he’s another who won’t answer the damn phone.

I am on day three of a migraine from hell.  I want to either scream or cry but can’t because both will without a doubt make it worse.  I really don’t need this aggravation.  Really, really, really I don’t.

What I do need is someone to show up and do the half-hour’s worth of work properly for which I fully intend to pay him for.  If someone doesn’t come soon my house is going to start to fall down around me.  On the brighter side once that happens, with my luck lately, it will fall on my head and then it will no longer matter if I have a migraine or not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Blue Tent

I was semi-dozing Sunday afternoon because Kya wanted to snuggle and I couldn’t resist.  I drifted into a dream where I was frantically urged to remember that the books are in the blue tent.  Hmm, okay.  I can remember that even though I have no clue what the books are or why they are important.

I went off to bed Sunday night and the dream continued.  There were more people involved, none that I know of course.  A few were with me.  The rest were shooting at us.  They wanted the location of the blue tent with the books and things in it.  Things?  What things?  A detached portion of my mind wondered how they would ever discover the location of the tent if they succeeded in shooting me since I somehow knew I was the one connected to the tent.  The others were there to protect me.

At one point we barged into some unknown woman’s apartment.  After her initial shock wore off, she organized a meal for us.  Darn good too though I can’t tell you what it was she fed us.  But then the other group located us and shot up the outside of her building which inspired her to ask us to leave.  I felt bad, leaving her with all the clean up after she so nicely provided us with an impromptu dinner but the guys insisted that we go.

Last night the dream continued.  Does that happen to you too?  I have continuing dreams all the time.  Any way, last night we were still on the run even though the group with guns wasn’t close enough to do any shooting.  The one in charge of my group felt certain they weren’t far behind and made us keep moving.  No, I didn’t recognize where we were but it looked like a cool area.  I’d like to go back sometime when I’m not being chased.  At one point I got a call from an unidentified individual that instructed me to follow the bird and that the bird would lead me to the tent with the books and things.  And then, of course, I woke up.

I sure hope this dream continues.  I’d really like to see just how I am supposed to know which bird to follow, not to mention how one goes about following a bird.  I’d also like to know the significance of the books and things and what the blue tent has to do with everything.  Yep, even sleeping is an adventure at my house.

Monday, May 14, 2012


The last iris of the season in my yard.  I thought this color had died out.  What a wonderful surprise to come home
 and find it waiting for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Beau did permit me out into the yard to pick these.  The first of many, many, oh so many berries.  Someone please
come take them!  Seriously, I'll get at least this many a day for the next three weeks.

Beau Says...

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I am angry.  There.  I’ve said it.  I need a bit of home repair done that is too heavy for me to do myself.  I have someone recommended to me to do it.  Someone who I’ve used in the past for things I am unable to deal with on my own.

Two weeks ago, I called and made arrangements for one day after work.  I came straight home.  He didn’t show.  Nor did he answer his phone.

I called again, the following Monday and made arrangements for today.  Okay, I know today is only half over.  But today is already half over!  And once again, he hasn’t appeared nor does he answer.  So now I am angry.

It’s not a total waste.  I made a kettle of soup bright and early this morning so I’m set for food for the week.  My laundry is almost finished.  The cat fur is vacuumed up for this five minutes.  I’m knitting, which is soothing and the only thing keeping me from being furious.  But it’s a nice day, not to hot, and I could have gone to the Burpee Open House and toured their gardens.  Or I could be at the carnival up the street with my camera.  Or I could be digging in the dirt again.

Have I mentioned that I’m angry?

Anyone know a reliable handyman?

One that would actually show up when scheduled and prevent me from wasting all this energy being so angry.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Variations on a Theme

The Original

Heat Mapped



Play Time

Found while digging today.  Isn't it cool?
I spent the day playing in the dirt.  I dug a whole bunch.  I went to a plant sale, intending to buy one specific thing for one specific place.  I got it.  And a whole bunch of other stuff too!  The colors were so gorgeous I couldn't resist.  They're all planted and the yard spirits have been tasked with helping everything to grow pretty.  My Zen is restored.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I have SWAT boots!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Farm near Oley, PA
I forget how pretty the area where I grew up is.  Then I go for a drive and it hits me again.  Perhaps I should re-explore more often.  Want to join me?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitten Anyone?

Remember the kittens that were born in my yard?  They're growing rapidly and will soon be in need of homes.  If you're in the Reading area (or willing to drive a little for cuteness) let me know and I will get you in touch with the wonderful ladies who do the rescues.  And, if you want the sweetest cat ever, the mom from the first litter, with one of the babies, is still looking for a forever home.  Seriously, she is an amazing cat, loving, purrs non-stop and talks!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Day

In the garden
In the greenhouse

Friday, May 4, 2012


My mother called me last night.  She finished reading Linked and wanted to chat.  Highly unusual.  We generally don’t talk about my writing since it tends to horrify her.  Yes, I am once again the black sheep in my family.

She said except for all the sex she liked the story.  Um, it’s erotic horror.  By its very nature there will be sex in it.  What she really wanted to know is when I started having nightmares.  I’d mentioned that all the ones in the book were variations of ones I’d actually had.

As I sat there, shaking my head and laughing, I was reminded of just how odd our relationship is.  You see, my earliest memory is of a nightmare.  Or the aftermath of one.  I remember waking up terrified, standing in my crib screaming and crying.  And no one coming to my rescue.  The nightmare itself is one I’ve had many, many times since then.  Yes, it’s included in Linked.  The one about the tree.

I’ve had a constant string of nightmares my entire life.  Too many to count in the time I lived with my parents.  And my mother never knew.  Which means she also doesn’t know about my prowling at night when I was too afraid to sleep.  Heh.  Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

Happy weekend!  Take your camera and go exploring.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I’m one of those people who likes to work with background noise.  Lately, it’s been the original Doctor Doolittle with Rex Harrison.  However, I suspect I’ve had it on a few too many times.

When you read, whose voice do you hear inside your head?  Usually I hear mine.  Until recently that is.  The past few days it’s been Rex Harrison.  Okay.  I don’t mind that at all.  Kind of nice.

Only yesterday, I was reading something a friend had written.  This is a friend I speak with often enough to know there are certain phrases he uses regularly.  (Generally makes me giggle when he says it, btw.)  So when I got to one of his characters using the phrase Rex popped right out of my head to be replaced by my friend’s voice.  And yes, it made me giggle just like it does when he uses it.

Yes, I’m likely insane.  Or the cats think I am.  Sitting here, quietly reading all by myself.  A story not meant to be comic and I’m suddenly laughing out loud.  Oh, I laugh by myself but it’s usually when the furs are doing something silly.  They came running to see what was going on.  They seemed disappointed to find just me doing nothing.  I got that look that only a disgruntled cat can give before they wandered off to go back to whatever they were doing before I so rudely interrupted.

I think I’ll experiment.  See who else I can get to narrate within my head.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It Begins

Tuesday, May 1, 2012