Thursday, March 26, 2009


I'm one of those people that everyone talks to. If I am in the grocery store, looking for okra, for example, five employees will ask if they can help me find it. Young men will see me selecting okra pods, and ask for advice for choosing the best ones. And for easy recipes to impress their girlfriends. When I wander into the cereal section, little old ladies will ask me to reach them the One-Minute Quaker Oats off the top shelf, because those canisters are fresher than the ones on the middle shelves. And I am tall, so I can reach.

I will put a box of quick-cooking barley in my grocery cart, and someone will ask me what I make with barley. The truth is, I am making dog food (barley plus salmon plus green beans plus cottage cheese.) But that is unglamorous, so I will explain how to make my famous barley-mushroom soup.

My friend, Maria, who lives in Baltimore, says that I look "approachable."

I don't mind. I'm glad to reach things, and hand out recipes. But I draw the line at underwear consulting.

Two days ago, I had the misfortune of shopping at the local Target, while the store was in lockdown because a 3-year-old girl was lost. The sales staff were sweeping their jurisdictions, while I was looking for black, french-cut undies. Along with a very confused, and fairly intimidated gentleman; who knew his Significant Other help in the foundation department.

Although he rang for assistance, employees were unavailable; as they were climbing under racks and canvassing dressing rooms in search of our 3-year-old Houdini. And there I was...approachable me.

"Um, excuse me? I am looking for undies for a woman, about 5' 2", and 125 lbs? Do you know what size she would wear?"

(The curse of the approachable woman. Again...) "Maybe a size 6?" said the nearly- 6-foot-tall-me.

"Uh, she wears those thongs. They don't look good on her. What would you suggest?"

Oh, man. Man-o-man. Why does this always happen to me??? "French cut makes your legs look longer...maybe she should try them?"

Out of the corner of my eye I see, at the front of the store, a joyful Mother and Child Reunion.

Yay, the saleswoman no longer has to search for a lost toddler. She saunters over.

The confused man describes his Significant Other to the salesperson, she shrugs and says, "Why don't you bring her in to try stuff on?" and scurries away to pat the once-lost 3 year old on the head.

"I'm off to the dog food department. Good luck!" I really mean it, too. Sort of.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I {{HEART}} Trader Joe's. I Really, Really Do.

My mother has been in the hospital for nearly a week. Other than the fact that Piedmont Hospital allows patients the luxury to choose meals from an impressive menu, and have said meals delivered by a tuxedoed waitron, it has not been remotely pleasant for any of us.

A couple of days ago, I stopped by the Trader Joe's closest to the hospital (Peachtree Road in Atlanta), to get some flowers and some caloric snacks, because my mother had lost a lot of weight. And she likes cookies, And TJ's has awesome pastries. I chose a lovely spring dish garden, with iris, hyacinth, tulip, daffodil and other goodies in bloom. And a decadent selection of mini yummies and chocolate-drenched almonds. When I set out my treasures for the cashier - John - to ring up, he asked who the flowers were for. I told him my mom was in the hospital...

And he said...

"Go over there and get another bunch of flowers, and pick out a card. From the Trader Joe's staff!"

John signed the card, "Get Well Soon, From the Trader Joe's Crew!"

I chose some glorious blue hydrangeas,

an indulgence (especially for this one-time-florist patient!) because their beauty is fact they faded by the following day.

But their splendor lives on in their story. A happily blooming respite for mom and daughter; and a tribute to John and Trader Joe's. Thank you for allowing us to feel special, in an especially unpleasant time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Children Should Not Be Left Unattended.

Neither should Teenaged Kitties. Especially if you are in the middle of crocheting baby blue leg warmers for the new grandbaby.

No matter how mature you BELIEVE your Teenaged Kitty to be, he is - at his core - a Kitty. Who WILL open the nightstand drawer, and uncrochet; simply because you are not there, and he can.

If you MUST leave your Teenaged Kitty overnight, I recommend a house-sitter to guard your stuff. Choose a house-sitter who does not like television, is agoraphobic and therefore unable to leave the premises, and doesn't need to go to the bathroom. Preferably one who does not sleep.

These measures cannot guarantee the safety of Baby Leg Warmers, of course; but they are a start.

Monday, March 9, 2009

You Think Herding Cats Is Hard? HA!

As an Expert Cat Herder, I am in possession of the coveted Six Claw Certification; meaning that I am often called upon to lecture (nationally) on topics such as "Herding Cats Into The Basement Because There is a Tornado" and "Herding Cats Into The Car Because There is a Little Fire in the Furnace and the Firemen Want the House Evacuated." Civic Groups, Garden Clubs and Children's Birthday Party Planners often incorporate my "Stuffing a Cat Into a Cat Carrier" lecture into their programs. (Children are especially impressed with the presentation if [my] blood is involved.) And I am frequently invited to Senior Citizens' Centers to perform my "Dressing a Cat in Cute Costumes, Using a Real, Live Cat" routine.

Which all of this is, to me. Routine.

Photographing horses, however, is...haha...a horse of a different color. Especially the horses who are camping out (Literally! They have a Horse Tent!) in the back yard, while their new barn is constructed.

I love my equine friends. They love horse treats and apples and carrots; proving that love is not necessarily a two-way street.

A friend, who has not met our house guests, requested photos. So I trotted (yeah, lame but irresistible) down the steps to the yard, camera in hand. Treats not in hand. Horses hurried over. Oh, great! An action shot! But, it was too late. Got this:

Then this; as I was being worked over, pockets, armpits, hair, by Horse Two looking for peppermints:

And, FINALLY, Horse One (as you can see, begrudgingly) allowed for some semblance of a portrait:

Horse Two sulked. Clearly hurt feelings:

It worked. I set the camera aside and passed out goodies. Did they toss their manes, smiles on their horsey faces, so I could take pretty pictures after treats?

Nope. Some snorts, foot stomps; then horse butts as they ambled off.

I think I'll stick to Cat Herding.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Smelling Good is Not Necessarily Good

Reed diffusers, candles; incense. Room sprays, plug-in oils; stick-up smellies. Glade air fresheners, carpet sprinkles; those things to insert into toilet paper rolls that release scent with every spin. Fresh flowers.

The lengths to which we'll go to fragrance our surroundings.

So I woke up the other day, slowly. Drifted in and out; and, mmmmm...the bedroom smelled lovely...

Lovely. But, wait a minute...that scent is not orange, like the reed diffuser. Not ginger-eucalyptus, like the linen spray. Not passion fruit-apple, like the yummy soap in the underwear drawer. More like lavender vanilla. Delicious, but incongruous.

Rubbed the sleep from my eyes, stepped into flip-flops; headed into the living room to let the dogs out.

Lovely! The living room smelled even more lovely.

Dogs came in; headed to the kitchen for their breakfast. And, oh my. Did the kitchen smell super-lovely! Something was very, very wrong. And it appeared to be coming from the laundry room. Aha:

Ooh. Mess. SOMEONE wrestled the lavender vanilla detergent from the top of the washer. But, who?

Note the sticky, spiky, laundry detergent tail...

Laundry room needs an overhaul. Feline needs a bath - but at least he's already soapy. I should be furious.

But how can I be furious, when he's SO cute?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I've been making jewelry for quite a few years. It is what I do most of my waking hours. Yet it rarely makes news here.

A couple of days ago, I decided to apply to the Metal Entanglements Market at 1000 Markets. 1000 Markets is a juried site, and the Metal Entanglements Market is juried, as well - you have to pass muster to get in. There is a test.

And the first question is, Why? Why do you make jewelry out of metal wire?

Why? For me, the easy answer is "Why not?" But I didn't think that would pass muster.

I thought about it. For a looooong time. No one had ever asked me "Why?" before. Including me. I didn't really KNOW why. So I began to work backwards; with "how" I found myself working in the medium. Hoping I would get to "why."

This is where I ended up:

Ooh, scary question, kinda like introducing myself at a 12-step meeting. {{Deep Breath}} OK. It started with paper clips. I was always the kid who fiddled with paper clips. My mother, as artistic as she was, didn't appreciate that all the paper clips were turned into non-clippy flowers. But I couldn't stop myself...

And, it turned out when I got there, Corporate America was pretty unimpressed, as well. (BTW, Corporate America also has no tolerance for memos folded into paper airplanes before being placed on the recipient's desk.)

Clearly, the only solution was for me to part ways with Corporate America, and open my own business. Where I was FREE TO BE ME!!!

Unfortunately, my Paper Clip Habit was eating into my bottom line.

Then, a flash! An AHA Moment! Dare I say, a miracle? Or perhaps it was merely the voices in my head, chattering a little louder than usual...there are metals more beautiful than paper clips! (Please don't get me wrong, paper clips are beautiful in their own special ways.) I could bend beautiful wires into fun and functional stuff, and make all my Christmas presents at the same time! Because, really, no one wants a paper clip flower for Christmas. And I could do it at my office, while I talked on the phone, and I wouldn't bend any more paper clips! Who doesn't love a win-win situation?

So I went to the Jewelers' supply house in town. Met my good friends Austin and Rolf. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) Pestered them incessantly...I mean, asked politely (a lot)...about the properties of different wires, and what would happen if I sanded this wire and threw it into Liver of Sulfur, and what that gizmo does, and could they sharpen this cutter for me...and pretty soon they just started giving me copies of jewelry mags to keep me busy and out of their hair (and probably also to cause me to have more ideas so I would buy more things.)

That was a long time ago. Since then, I retired from office work, and now bend and hammer and stretch and coerce wire (and a few other media) into adornments; for sale at shows, shops, and via the Internet. I am still amazed and fascinated by the infinite possibilities of wire. The highlights and lowlights of oxidization. The delicate whisper of texture when I wrap a chunky, hammered 12 gauge bracelet in smooth, round 24 gauge wire.

In a lot of ways, I'm still that little girl bending paper clips. Thank you. {{Sits down.}}

Is this "Why"? I don't know. But I passed muster.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Teflon Man And the Blizzard

It's no secret that I'm Not Wild About Harry. But I've got to give credit where credit is due (although someone clearly gave him credit once, when it wasn't due. To "buy" a house that he prefers to merely inhabit; rather than to purchase.) Harry can go with the flow.

We had a Significant Weather Event here in the A-T-L yesterday. Five plus inches of wet, wet snow; late in the day. A bunch of melting because the roads were warmish. Then overnite temps in the low twenties...frozen slush. Thick, frozen slush.

A flurry (oh, I crack me up) of discussion among rational Atlantans, regarding dinner plans. Son Two canceled a dinner event, after a power outage. This was a serious culinary blow to me, because I had to eat leftover spaghetti; instead of the deliciousness that Son and Wife are famous for.

You might recall that many of us here in the Deep South are not genetically blessed with the Weathering Winter Weather Well Gene. So even when we have INsignificant Weather Events, the transplanted Michiganders and Upstate New Yorkers stay off the road because we are dangers to ourselves and others. So the only people on the road in foul weather are people who have no clue how to drive in it. Go ahead, conjure any manner of slippery-slidey-seriously stupid scenarios, and it happened last night.

(Scene set, segue somehow to Harry.)

Harry enjoys the odd Adult Beverage on his patio. And the even ones at Clubs of Questionable Repute. Patio imbibing was pretty much out of the question yesterday, so Harry had no choice but to head out about midnight, in his Fancy Ride which still sports its dealer drive off tag a year after acquisition. Car windows down, radio bass up. And then to return around 3 AM, windows down, bass up; refreshed, but unable to locate the door handle to exit the vehicle...for 40 minutes.

Please, someone, 'splain Harry to me. I'm pretty sure he's not protected by angels for living right. Superhero powers? The Amazing Teflon Man! (But is he a Good Guy or a Bad Guy?) Maybe he's got the Verizon Network. They look pretty resourceful on the commercials.

Whatever. Harry can go with the flow.