May 31, 2010


Now, she is at peace.
May ??, 2007 - May 30, 2010
(photo taken soon after we brought Butters and Pandora home) We went shopping to the hardware store, decided to stop in the pet store, and came home with two cats instead!! We don't regret our decision to bring them home at all; I just wish we would have had more time with her. After the vet examined her again, the concensus was that she wasn't improving, and that one of her kidneys was very much enlarged, most likely due to lymphoma. Our sincere thanks to the staff at Maricopa Wells Veterinary Hospital: Debbie and Donna, for fielding my many phone calls; all the wonderful vet techs who helped us out along the way; and Dr. K and Dr. V-- especially Dr. V, who told me the truth, agreed that is just isn't fair, and cried with me when she was gone.

May 29, 2010

3-Day Saturday

...subtitle: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (not necessarily in that order.)

I think I should abandon the "3-Day Thursday" concept altogether, don't you? Trying to blog on a specific day takes the spontaneity (that word looks wrong, but I looked it up and I did spell it right, amazingly enough!) out of the whole blogging thing-- I just don't have the discipline to blog according to a specific schedule.

Anyway, I'll start off with "The Ugly" picture, to get it out of the way:

This is what my right heel looks like. It's pretty ugly, isn't it?? It's my own fault, though... I've tried out my new running shoes a couple times now, and I think they feel pretty good. So this morning, I decided to get up early- well, the dogs get us up early every day: their stomachs ring the breakfast alarm at 5 am- but I decided to stay up after feeding them and go walking. I set out to do 8 miles with a potty break in between, to give myself a more realistic idea of what I'm getting into when actually walking the 3-Day. Above is what my heel looked like after I finished. I knew the right heel rubbed a bit, but I don't have any moleskin (yet!), so I just decided to go for it. {now for a total aside: Tom took this picture-- he said (rightfully so) that only someone who loves you will take a picture of your blistered foot just so you can document the experience for posterity --any other bloggers out there have similar experiences??}

When I stopped back at home for my potty and snack break, I put more anti-friction powder in my socks and taped up my heel with some duct tape (I read on the internet about using it in a pinch if you don't have moleskin). About mile 4.05 (right after I left the house for the second loop around the neighborhood, actually), my heel started smarting, and my calves and legs started protesting loudly.

The Bad: a) I didn't put sunscreen on beforehand-- so, I have a bit of a burn. It was pretty pleasant outside when I started out, and for some reason I associate needing sunscreen more with the temperature than the amount of sun that's shining. Maybe it comes from all those years of living somewhere (the Midwest) with months of gray, overcast skies?

b) also bad, my attitude- I think I must have wanted to give up at least 6 times on the second loop around the neighborhood: thoughts like, "am I really sure I want to do this?" and "there's no way I can do this" were pretty persuasive, along with the nagging shooting pains from my heel.

The Good: a) I actually pushed through it, and I finished!! (I even jogged a couple times, although my overall walking pace was a lot slower the second time around.) I didn't even take any shortcuts through the neighboorhood- I did the entire 4 mile loop! I know I have a long ways to go to build up my endurance for 3 days of 20 miles each, but for me, this is going to be a lot more of a mental thing than a physical thing, for sure.

b) even greater: when I got home and took off my shoes and socks, I turned on the computer to check my mail-- just the normal check for emails from my Yahoo groups, the comic strip I have delivered to my mailbox-- nothing special. I had a very unexpected message in my inbox: I had sent a donation request letter (asking for a donation of goods for our raffle fundraiser) to one of the local stores we shop in. I was going to give it a few days and call them back next week, but the manager beat me to it: he said not only would they be glad to donate $100 in merchandise (way more than I had anticipated) for the raffle, but they're also going to donate to my fundraising campaign, too!! (woo-hoo!!!) I was TOTALLY not expecting that!! So, maybe this pain and suffering is worth it, after all...?? I definitely know it is; it's just easy to forget. (the store is the wonderfully helpful Maricopa Ace Hardware, by the way-- a really nice neighborhood store where they're glad to help you with whatever you need, and they make fresh popcorn in the afternoons.)

For me, this walk is turning out to be so much more than just a "walk." It's turned into lessons in finding out that sometimes the answer is "yes" when you ask for something. (If you don't ask at all, then you for sure won't get what you want, right? And if the answer IS no, then you just come up with plan B, because it's an important enough goal to keep on asking.) Also perseverence, and believing in myself (this one is a hard one for me, but on November 15th when I've walked 60 miles after having raised at least $3500, then hopefully I will have learned- a little, anyway).

you all have a good rest of your holiday weekend, and I'll do the same (wearing my flip-flops!!).

May 25, 2010

look-- I got Pearls! (sort of a 3-Day Tuesday post)

but first, more domino pendants in progress... it's a challenging size, that's for sure! I don't hae a lot of patterned paper where the patterns are small enough to be recognizeable in a 1 x 2 inch space... but, that's what's fun about it, too. I love that Martha Stewart brand butterfly punch-- the vintage novel letters that spell the word "Fly" were definitely a pain in the neck, but I really like how these have turned out. The other day, I remembered I had some glass flat-back marbles, and made a pendant using one of those. Which I love, too, because it magnifies the paper underneath. So, my birthday is later this week. I've never been big on birthday celebrations, so it's not that I'm really looking forward to it, but I know I have some birthday money coming... My first two thoughts when I get "free money" are always "art supplies" and "books," not necessarily in that order- LOL!! But, then I thought again. I have sooo many art supplies and books already, did I really want more, when I don't have enough time to use the supplies and try all the ideas I already have?? And, add to that the fact that I did a 4.25 mile 3-Day training walk on Sunday morning in the wrong pair of shoes... I wore the shoes I wear for "everyday," and they are definitely not up to "walking" standards. (not a good idea, I know, but for some reason that fact didn't dawn on me till the next day, when I was trying to figure out why my feet hurt so much-- then, it was like, Duh!!) And, I know I need to buy "real" shoes that will be up to the challenge of 60 miles... Anyway, long story short, I decided to use my birthday money for a pair of running shoes, which is soooo not like me, since anyone who knows me knows that I am so much more about relaxing on the couch reading a book than being outdoors walking, but as soon as I made the decision, it just felt right. (weird, but true.)
Here they are!! (the brand is Pearl Izumi- never heard of it, but apparently they are a pretty good-quality running shoe.) They look much high-tech up close, believe me!! I might not be able to recognize my feet when I have them on-- LOL! I haven't been this excited about a pair of athletic shoes in I-don't-know-how long (like, probably never). Thank goodness I went to a running store; the sales associate was so helpful, I didn't feel embarrassed about my clueless-ness at all. She analyzed my gait using a camera, then brought out pair after pair of shoes for me to try on. I asked her, "how will I know which ones are best?" and she answered, "just walk in them- you'll get a feel for it." and I did, amazingly enough... these feel great on, even though my feet still kinda hurt from Sunday. Then, we went on to have "the sock talk;" where I learned all about moisture-wicking fabrics, and toe-socks. We stopped there, although I know there's more stuff I need to know about, and I will, of course, buy pink shoelaces at some point. (there's lots more to running and long-distance walking than I ever would have thought!!) Now, I just have to wait till Thursday, when I will have time to test them out- I'll let you know how they work!

May 24, 2010

weird food link, and other randomness

There's a lot of weird food out there, and thankfully, there are people who will try it and let the rest of us know how it is. Go here to see for yourself. (maybe not while you're eating your lunch, though...)

in other news:

my feet hurt from the 4.25 mile training walk I did yesterday... yay! for training walks (and for the gorgeous weather we've had lately!), boo! for my feet hurting- I know it's because I need a new pair of shoes, though... just have to get fitted and buy them. My shoulders also hurt after, and that one will be harder to correct- I find myself tensing up while I walk, and have to consciously think to relax.

our calico kitty Pandora is doing okay with her meds-- she's letting us give her the fluids (yay!) and she only hacked up her antibiotic pill once so far. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how much of her food she's actually eating. (she licks the gravy off the canned food, but I never see her eat very much of it.) I'm going to take her into the vet's office at the end of the week, to find out if she's gained any weight at all (cross your fingers!!)

May 18, 2010

random ART (mostly) photo catchup (edited to add a couple details)

more pics, this time of some of my latest art projects: the fruits of my first foray into encaustics, which is painting with colored/melted wax. I got to try it at AZ Art Supply in Phoenix, as part of the May ATC exchange event. I've seen some gorgeous pieces using this medium, and of course, what I came up with looks nothing like anything recognizable! It was difficult to control the melted wax on the iron, and I ended up overmixing some of the colors, so ended up with "mud." After that, I decided to go for an abstract look! Not sure what I'll do with these, but it was fun to try out. (I think I'll stick with paper, paint and glue for the time being.)
Not an art project, but I had to get a pic of Pandora in here... it's hard to see in this pic,but she is a bit lumpy, with water under her shoulder after getting an injection of fluids at the vet's office. She's been losing weight (a LOT of weight) for a few weeks now (she's down to 6 3/4 lb currently), and is now being treated for a kidney infection with a 6-week course of antibiotics and fluids, which will hopefully help her stay hydrated, flush some of the toxins out of her system, and tackle the infection. This afternoon, the techs at the vet's office showed us how to administer the sub-cutaneous fluids so we can do it ourselves at home. (wish us luck, because we might need it, knowing her calico anti-social personality!)
I've been making pendants to sell at our 3-Day for the Cure fundraising event in June. I have wanted to make these for a while, but didn't really have any reason before, and decided this was the perfect time! The larger ones are collaged paper on dominoes (dominos?? this is one of those words I can never spell-- neither looks right, and I don't feel like looking it up), and the smaller ones are scrabble tiles. Top, L-R: a stamped and colored image right on the domino, hand-marbled paper (made using shaving cream, if you can believe that!), and a collaged napkin. Bottom, L-R: collaged paper with rhinestones, 3 scrabble tiles with scrapbooking paper, and a gorgeous patterned Japanese paper. I bought individual scrabble tiles at Frenzy Stamper, but I am scouting out a Scrabble game from the local Goodwill to make more...
This is an 8x10 canvas experiment... Edited to add: this experiment was inspired by some of the techniques in the book Mixed Emulsions, by Angela Cartwright. I painted the background last month at our Mixed Media group meeting, but couldn't decide exactly what to do with it. I just started experimenting with digital images (and I would love to try Photoshop) but this one was done using Picasa, which is a free photo-editing software. It's a double exposure using two photos: the first is lawn chairs in front of my sister's little pink house, and the second is a texture photo of cracked cement (borrowed from this Flickr user- I believe I used this texture), overlaid on top and printed as one photo. I added some original "poetry" text, and lots of layered paint. I think it still needs something more in the upper right corner, though... I'm not sure what yet, but it'll come to me. Oh, and I've also been doing some more sewing using my sewing machine... I really think I must have Crafter's ADHD!!

May 17, 2010

random photo catch up

the contrast in most of these photos is horrible since they had to be taken during the day in really bright sun; I apologize in advance... these gorgeous flowers were on one of our newest cacti, a cholla (jumping cactus). I can't remember which variety just now, but the flowers were totally unexpected, since it's still small, and we only planted it last fall. They are called jumping cactus because they have a reputation for doing just that-- not literally, of course, but the segments break off easily, so they seem to "jump" at you.
here's what the entire thing looks like-- it's about 1 1/2 feet tall, and should get to be 4-5 feet tall eventually.
This gorgeous peachy-yellow flower is from the prickly pear... it was transplanted to this spot last summer, and has gone gangbusters ever since. If it keeps growing at this pace, it will need to be pruned back eventually, but for now, we're letting it grow.
This shot is the entire prickly pear-- I tried to count the flower buds, but lost count around 39 or 40. They open for a day or two, only a couple at a time... there will be a lot of fruits on it this year! (and no, I'm not going to try to make prickly pear candy with it... I'll leave that to the experts.)
This pic is a closeup of the sculpture below. It is outside our local casino (Harrah's AkChin; we went there last Friday for dinner), and is quite impressive- It's called "Desert Oasis" and is by the same sculptor (Snell Johnson is his name- I can't find much about him, though) who did the huge lions outside the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. The statue is really impressive. (the dinner buffet was pretty good, too!)
It depicts the harvest of the saguaro fruit, which is what the woman in the foreground is doing, with the long pole/hook (click on the photo to see it larger). And darn it, I know I read a story about this sculpture somewhere, but now I can't find it again! I'll let you know if I do. (sorry, it was getting dark when I took it.)
this just made me laugh-- he's waiting to go for a ride, I think! It was taken outside Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale last Saturday. There was a class going on, and the little paperclay creatures were drying out in the sun.
and this fellow was on the sidewalk down the street from the store... he made me laugh, too, for two reasons: 1) because he's sitting on one of those resin lawnchairs, and 2) because he looks like he has a bit of indigestion! Just goes to show that I never know what I'll see when I'm out and about! --or maybe it shows I have a warped sense of humor?? :D