Sunday, August 31, 2008

Headwaters Park

This is a favorite outing for us - a nice, peaceful park near a reservoir, where we can observe and relax. It's a source of water for the city of Akron (which I don't understand...) and was originally part of the East Branch of the Cuyhoga River (if I read the information correctly).

Anyway, it's a peaceful little respite, a nice thing for my Oldtimer and me to do when we don't feel like starting our Saturday morning chores. Here are just a few of the shots we took yesterday:

Diva Doll - in progress

I've been stewing about this doll for a couple of months. I recently joined a local doll club, and we are supposed to make a diva doll for the next meeting. I had started this stump doll with the fabric for this year's Hoffman Challenge, even though I didn't get anything done on time to enter.

Finally, tonight, I got the inspiration! She's a rags-to-riches diva doll - and though I think she strongly resembles Stockard Channing, you should think of Griselda, in "Cats." She was fabulous once, but she's tattered now.

As you can see, the pieces are just pinned together, and I'm waiting for her hair/glue to dry, and I can't do another thing till that happens. Why does my muse visit at 2 AM and leave a trail of wet glue when I want to do more??
Other things that wander through my brain in the middle of the night:
*What is Buddy dreaming about when he makes those little puppy yips in his sleep?
*Why is Pepto Bismol such a dreadful color?
*When did my hip stop hurting and become flexible again?
*Why am I not in bed??

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Morning Birds

One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning is to rise early, sit at the table on the deck with a fresh cup of coffee, a home decor magazine, and simply enjoy the tranquility of the morning.

I love early morning - I love the relative quiet, the hope and promise of a day not yet started, birdsong, first light...all of it. Just as Spring is my favorite season, early morning is my favorite time of day - especially when I'm allowed to just enjoy it.
Today I woke before my Oldtimer. (Well, technically, that's not true. He was up about 3 AM because the dogs were barking like madmen, and he decided to take advantage of the hour and watch the US/Spain Olympic basketball game - but he was back in bed by 6:15 when I rose.) I took my fresh cup of coffee to the deck (have I mentioned yet how much I love this Keurig coffee maker?) and soaked in the morning.

The birds have been incredibly busy and noisy the last week or so. Maybe they know that fall, and then winter, aren't too far away. Maybe this year's hatchlings are now adults, and we simply have more birds. Maybe our old dogs and cat have slowed down and the birds are just bolder. Whatever it is, I love the morning birdsong.

The Northwest end of our deck is over-shadowed by a huge old pine tree. It seems to house any number of different birds, plus the occasional chittering squirrel. Today, the bluejays were particularly raucous, bringing things to the branches and beating them open. Bluejays have two distinct calls - their shrill "Thief! Thief!" sound (which Lolo always said was a diversionary tactic, since they are often the thief), and the other odd but rhythmic sound which, to my ears, is the sound of a squeaky old pump handle, being worked to bring up water.

While sitting at the table, the wonderful scent of butterfly bush kept wafting around the corner. I can't see it from my favorite morning spot, and I'm surprised it's not all blossomed out for the year, but just a few remaining blossoms put the lovely scent on the air.

Before I had the sense to get a camera, I heard a loud whirring sound, and saw the iridescent green hummingbird just off my left shoulder. He drank from the jasmine, and then the purple petunias, before darting off over the roof. There was also a charming nuthatch, which never returned once I picked up the camera, nor did the goldfinch.
My dad (Hawkshaw, to many) loved the sound of the Red Wing Blackbird. They would perch on the cattails and tall weeds around a pond, and I always thought their sound was that of a wind-up toy. I was surprised to see a couple working the ground this morning.

Some flocks of birds are feeding in the grass. My guess is that it's harvest season, and even lawn grass is trying to put out seeds when it can.

Worked on a "diva doll" yesterday. So far, she's not looking much like a diva - but she sure is acting like one!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feeding Fish

Every evening, between about 6:30 and 7:30, we go to the pond and feed the fish. We have "naturals" and goldfish, and some that appear to be a cross between the two. We have at least two large fish, who really can't be much more than a year old, but huge compared to the others.

I think I could stand there for hours, tossing floating pellets on the water and watching them gulp and nibble - it's almost meditative for me. I find it fascinating to watch for the "east end lunker," who simply moves to the surface, opens his mouth, and the pellets flow in, as though drawn to the vortex. Then there are the little minnows near the pond edge...brave little things, valiantly working on a pellet that is nearly the same size as they are! You see them bump and nibble, and at times look as though they have it trapped in their mouths. They work and work at those pellets, never giving up. Sometimes a big turtle passes through, but he's shy. The most we'll see is a head that peers over the ripples at us, and then drops back down. We've had both great blue and green herons this year, but I'm not ready to share my fish with them yet. I walk down with the camera, and being the camera shy birds they are, they flap away.

I know the time isn't far off when the pond will be iced over, and my evening ritual will evolve to something other than fish observation and feeding. For now, however, it makes my day.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Hardest Working Man in Cleveland...

...maybe in Ohio! Maybe beyond. Can you tell I'm feeling a bit guilty? I took some "me" time this weekend, I really felt I needed it. Oldtimer calls it "soul trips." So, while he set his sights on completed yardwork, and weed-free gardens, I did things like talk on the phone, take a trip to an antique shop, and specialty grocery shopping.

So here he is - 8:30 pm, and still working away...

And really, I did do some chores, like water plants, sweep cobwebs out of both porches, laundry, and dust & rearrange some decor elements, I didn't do nearly the things Oldtimer did. I did, however, get this sweet little blue pitcher...

and this nice soft blue footed dish...

I did fix a really nice dinner last night - and brought home candy. Life requires flowers, too, don't you think?

PS - For those who asked, our cocker spaniel, Buddy, had his surgery last Monday and came through just fine. We found out on Thursday that the tumor was benign. He is as wriggly and happy as ever, and the fur has already started to grow back on his bottom!

Friday, August 01, 2008

The First Pink Day

Love Squared
Today's the kick-off party for Love Squared - The Pink Artist Project. In honor of the first day, I'm going to do a re-post of what it meant to me to participate in this project.


In what I believe must be record time, the incredible Monica Magness (Girl-Gone-Thread-Wild) conceived a beautiful and loving project, gathered little pieces of art from an amazing number of artists, put it all together in a fabulous, fabulous doll called Love Squared, which will soon be raffled to raise money for breast cancer research. Here’s a view of the back of the now complete doll:

Monica asked those of us who participated to make a dedication for our part in the doll. If I can write this without breaking down in tears too many times, I’d like to say…
My dedication is to the grandmother I never knew, who lost her battle to cancer before I was born. She gave birth to 10 incredible individuals, giving me my mother, 7 aunts, and 2 uncles. Those aunts (two of whom have already lost a battle to cancer, one of whom is battling - again - right now) and uncles were a daily part of my life, giving me the richest and most unique childhood one could ask for.

My dedication extends further to my younger cousin Denys, daughter of one of those glorious aunts, who is a breast cancer survivor and still with us to raise her beautiful daughters.

And a dedication to my sweet daughter Genevieve, who began doing the Walk for the Cure last year, because she feels things so deeply.

And finally, to my friend Phyllis, also a survivor, an inspiration, and the one who alerted me to the project. Thanks for your friendship, Phyl.

Monica gave us permission to lift the photos and share our contributions on our blog. I’ve done so above, but I have to tell you, my submission is such a small part of it all - the synergy of all those who worked together, and the impact of Monica’s vision is the real story here. Bless you, Monica, for making all our lives so much richer.

Please go to Monica’s blog and see more details of the doll, other prizes, and how to enter the drawing. Prepare to be awestruck. (And might I suggest you prepare to open your hearts and wallets?) Thank you.