Monday, April 30, 2007

Holiday Photos #24

While we were in Edinburgh we took the bus out to Rosslyn to see the Rosslyn Chapel, one of the settings for a scene in The Da Vinci Code. I think I mentioned before that the movie premiered while we were traveling. We actually saw it on opening night in London. Both of us had read the book and without intending to at first and then with more intention when we got toward the end of the trip, we were able to visit the settings of all the major scenes in the story.

I don't have any photos of the outside of the chapel because it was under renovations at the time. Even without, the chapel is enclosed by a wall and it would be hard to stand back and get a good photo of it. One thing we were able to do though is climb the scaffolding and get a closer look at the stone work from above. I was struck by the thought that in the U.S. they'd never let folks climb up on the scaffolding, liability and all that.

Here's William up on the very top.

Here's some of the beautiful detail, even up on the roof. I loved the "rose" colored stone.

I took a lot of photos inside and was frustrated that most of them turned out to be out of focus. Sigh. But even so, I had a lot of photos I wanted to share and I finally narrowed it down to a few, giving up on the idea of giving a complete overview. The entire chapel (chapel, not cathedral, it was quite small) was filled with columns. All of them were straight except this one, called The Apprentice Pillar, which is twisted.

Although this chapel is in Scotland, it's considered a French chapel, or French architecture. There are many stories and legends associated with it although it was fairly unknown until the movie put it in the limelight. I was interested in visiting it not for it's new celebrity status but for the multitude of unusual carvings, in particular the large number of green men. (none of my photos of them came out - ARGH!) Here is a pillar base wrapped with snakes eating their tails (Ouroboros), or maybe they're eating the tails of the of the snake in front of them, I didn't try to unravel the image.
No,wait. Here's one Greenman I managed to capture.

Here's the top of a pillar. Can you see the little skull nestled in at the bottom of the arch?

Although the floor of the chapel is not large, the ceiling is still far above. Each section is carved with different symbols, including stars, roses.... can't remember the others. Fleur de lis perhaps. Basically, EVERYTHING was carved. Without a bored teenager ("You've seen one greenman, you've seen them all.") and a last bus back, I could have spent a lot longer investigating all the nooks and crannies. If you want to see more of the carvings, there are pages of photos on the link to the chapel I included above.

For the sake of brevity (doesn't it seem like we've been in Edinburgh forever?) I left out more photos of carvings, effigies (or perhaps they were graves) of Knights Templar, masonry carvings on the basement walls (William couldn't be swayed from his argument that it was just graffiti that someone had scratched into it) , beautiful stained windows, the gardens..... there was a lot to see.

Here's one odd gravestone. Can you read below, it says "King of Terrors". It looks like a page from a children's storybook, doesn't it? Maybe an Alphabet Book. "R is for Roll and Rock, Read and Reaper."
I was really taken with the candles that were lit in every church we visited. I have fond memories of lighting candles in the Catholic church when I was growing up and although I'm no longer a member of the church, I still often use candles in prayer or spell work. Most of the places had votives. Here they were using these lovely tapers.

Okay, just one more photo. Since we started with a photo of William up high, we'll end with a photo down low. He is waiting for the bus here and he was really crabby. I was so angry with him that I went and stood about twenty feet away. We got along really well for most of the trip, as traveling companions and friends more than parent and child. But there were a few moments, fortunately a very few, where we reverted back to unreasonable kid and annoyed mom. This was one of them. Of course he was probably really tired too. Some days he was exhausted trying to keep up with my pace, other days I was exhausted trying to keep up with his.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Home and Garden Show

I went to a Home and Garden Show yesterday, put on by... the community?.... the local Chamber of Commerce?.....I don't know who organized it. It was at the county fair grounds. The hours were for one day only from 10 am to 4 pm, not a long time. I got there midafternoon and thought perhaps I might have to rush through things to see it all. But, sigh, this is a small town, small county (population small, not geographically small) and it took me only an hour and fifteen minutes from the time I parked to the time I drove off to go through the whole show. Twice.

There wasn't much too see. I bumped into people I knew and chatted. I filled in several dozen raffle tickets to win everything from a new barbeque grill to a box full of household emergency supplies. I stocked up on a new supply of free pens, magnets, bottled water, and candy.

What was the most interesting though, was wandering down to the other side of the fair grounds to take a look at the Livestock Pavillion. It had just made the front page of the local paper for obvious reasons.

It was arson. Some kids started it on purpose.

I've always been something of a fair junkie. Since moving to Susanville almost twelve years ago, I can't count the number of hours I've spent at our local fair grounds. So many memories came floating up when I walked around the burnt bones of this building. After numerous changes in staff and direction in the last several years, last year I made the decision not to do any volunteer work for the fair for the first time ever. It was the right decision, but a painful one. At least for last year.

Perhaps things will be different this summer, but I'm sort of thinking that I might have parted ways with this particular fair for good. At least in the ways I've been involved in the past. Looking at what was left of the building made me realize that even if I participate in some other way, it is truly the end of an era for me. No more kids to participate in 4-H. Most of the people we knew through the fair are gone or have moved on as well. Sigh. Well, out with the old only leaves room for the new, right?

Although I didn't find anything terribly inspiring at the show, I also went to a local antique shop a few days earlier and I found some new things for my home. Or rather, some old things for my home. Instead of posting the photos here, I thought they fell in the artsy category and I put them up at Laume's Studio. I do hope you'll pop on over and take a look at my new... er, old treasures.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Either/Or Meme

I haven't done a meme in a while and this one looked fast and fun.

james brown or marvin gaye? Hmmm, not sure I care enough to pick either of them. Slight preference for James Brown I guess.

chinese or indian takeout? Chinese is my only choice here. I love Indian too. But honestly, I'd order Thai instead. Alas, we don't have that here either, except a couple of curry options at a local Chinese take-out.

fleece or knitted blanket? Fleece. Even though I'm a natural fiber snob, I have an inordinate number of fleece blankets (if buying two and a half yards of fleece fabric at the store and straightening off the edges counts as as a blanket). They are truly warm in the winter and are easy peasy to wash frequently. Cat hair issues, y'know. Too, a knitted blanket is prone to getting caught by teen belt buckles and pet nails. I have some really gorgeous woven knits though.

girls with makeup or without? Less is more. I don't usually wear make up but I don't mind it on others as long as it only accents their unique and natural beauty instead of trying to cover it up or change it. The only place I think heavy make up belongs is in the stage.

costco or whole foods? By whole foods I assume you mean a natural food store? Because we don't have any chains called Whole Foods near us. I used to do a lot of Costco - with a family of seven - duh! But now I'd definitely rather shop at a large whole food store. Our nearest is a Wild Oats and a Trader Joes.

wildflowers or arrangements? Wildflowers.

tradition or shakeups? Hmmmm. I like some traditional things but I suspect shake up, whether it's clothing, gardens, or decor, would probably sing more to my artist's soul.

cello or trumpet? Cello.

watch-wearing or no? I have two or three of them but I never remember to wear them. I tried for awhile but now I have a cell phone so who needs a watch.

salt water or fresh (for swimming)? I prefer wading in salt water. Swimming in fresh or a pool, so that would be chlorinated water.

pants or shorts? I assume you mean for summer. Because in the mountains in winter, shorts? Only if you're my teenager. I am in shorts most of the summer and I wear them pretty short for my age since anything with any length make me look chopped off at the ankles because I'm so short. I think I still have pretty acceptable legs for someone my age, but I have to admit this is the first summer I've wondered if they might be better off in capris or long skirts.

chatspeak or absolutely NOT? Hardly ever - just a few of the more common ones like LOL.

digital camera or old-school? I HEART digital!!! Totally would grieve if I had to go back to film.

wireless or plugged in? Same thing as the last question - laptop has made my life so different it would be hard to go back. The only thing about my laptop that was a sacrifice is I don't get the same quality of images and it's hard to see the screen at all outside. So much for sitting in the hammock with my laptop. But no matter, hammocks go better with books anyway.

waltz or tango? I only know how to waltz in the broadest sense of the word "know", and I don't know how to tango at all. But tango seems like it has so much more energy and fun in it - so tango.

brian williams or anderson cooper? Jon Stewart.

time or newsweek? I don't read either but I guess I keep track of who's on the cover of Time at the market. Does that count as having an opinion?

waterbed or mattress? Mattress.

cream and sugar or not? Yes please to cream and sugar (or milk and sugar or soy milk and sugar, I'm not picky) in both my coffee and my hot tea. Iced tea I can take with or without sugar. Herb teas I usually take without anything extra.

CNN or BBC News? BBC

iTunes or something else? iTunes I guess. We have it and use it a lot to listen to things to see if we want to purchase them. Sometimes we download from iTunes and sometimes we wait and buy them at a store so we can have the art and lyrics of the CD case.

scented candles or unscented? Either, as long as it's not an overpowering and fake scent. My favorite is unscented candles made with real beeswax - they smell wonderful.

prairie or mountain? I'd pick agricultural, beach, forest, and even urban before I'd pick prairie or mountains. So, hmmmm. Ironicially I live in between the the mountains and chaparral (high prairie in a way) depending on whether I look to the east or west of my house. I guess mountains. Maybe. I like big sky too.

socks or barefoot? Barefoot, if those were my only choices. Otherwise shoes or flipflops.

matt damon or ben affleck? If we're talking about looks, Ben appeals to me more then Matt. As actors, I like them both. Preferable together. Like in Dogma.

brass or pewter? Brass.

wool or cotton? Cotton. I just use more of it year round. But I like wool too.

willow tree or pine? Willow. I love willow trees and the environments I'm most likely to find one in.

gerald ford or jimmy carter? Jimmy - my favorite prez

france or italy? France. I should probably go travel extensively in both countries so I can make a more informed decision. But if I had to choose, I'd go back to France. I'm totally enamored of all things French since going to Paris last year.

electric or gas stove? Gas. I hate cooking on electric.

thrift store or outlet? Thrift stores are much more fun. And unless we're talking honest-to-goodness REAL outlets (usually found in odd warehouses or inner cities) what people call outlets nowadays are just malls designed to make people THINK they're getting a bargain. I don't have much luck saving money at outlets.

japanese garden or english garden? English. But I like both.

sophia loren or liz taylor? Sophia I guess. If I were to pick an older actress as a role model, I'd think of Anjelica Huston or Katherine Hepburn or Angela Lansbury or Dianne Wiest or Helen Murrin....

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Renaissance Soul

Have you ever found a tangle of string or thread or yarn that looked hopelessly tangled and tried to wind it back into usable order again? Some people, perhaps most people, when faced with that sort of challenge would make the easy, practical choice and just chuck it in the garbage. Not me. I'm always determined to untangle and salvage that type of mess and most of the time my efforts are successful.

The last few months, it's been my thoughts that are so snarled and knotted and confusing that I just want to pull them from my brain and toss them into the nearest trash can. Alas, thoughts aren't as easy to dispose of as a tangled ball of yarn. Instead, I've been stuck. I am completely frustrated at the circles I seem to be wandering in but I haven't been able to move forward until I can find some way to work through the confusion that masquarades as thinking and that fills up most of my waking thoughts. And my dreaming thoughts as well.

And before your brain tilts (you have to be old enough to understand that last as a pinball reference - and if you're really young you are now asking "What's a pinball?") I'll explain that the confusion and circling all revolve around a few simple questions - Who am I now? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to go in my life? How do I get from here to there?

See, easy peasy! Nothing philosophical, important, deep, existential or anything!

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"” - Winnie the Pooh

That quote pretty much sums up how I've been handling it. I try to think and all that happens is my brain starts to hurt. So instead I tackle something easier like "Should I go out to lunch by myself or with a friend? Should I eat Mexican food or Chinese food? It turns out I'm very good at coming up with answers to this sort of question. It makes my brain happy. And my stomach too.

But not my heart. Not my soul. When I go to sleep at night, my brain tries to deal with the whole mess without me being awake and trying to be in charge of things. Every morning for weeks I have woken up to find a few remaining scenes from my dreams still lingering about. Recurring themes I have always used when what I'm really dreaming about is me or my life. I dream I'm in a big house that has rooms I've never been in, doors that I'm afraid to open, or I find big sections of it that need to be remodeled. Or I'm traveling, trying to find or reach a certain location. I drive from one place to another only to arrive and find out that I'm not where I'm supposed to be or I now want to be somewhere else. I refer to maps or see my progress as little lines moving about like the footsteps on Harry's Marauder's Map. (and speaking of Harry Potter, what I really need is the ability to take my thoughts out and put them in a pensieve, like Dumbledore's, so I can look at them more objectively. Wouldn't that be great!)

The good news is that in the last week, I'm finally making some sense of things. Somehow I found the two ends of the tangle and I've pulled the whole mess apart enough so I can see smaller, more manageable little knots instead of one overwhelming confusion without a name.

I won't try to explain how this happened, or why. I can't say that I even know myself or if I could explain it. I think sometimes given enough back and forth between gentle prodding and tugging, and letting things rest, things just finally fall into place. I mean, isn't how even scientists solve problems most of the time? They work and work and work but often the solution comes to them suddenly, in a dream, or while standing in line for a cup of coffee one afternoon.

All I know is that at last I've got a direction. Or rather, I finally feel like it's okay that I don't know what direction I'm headed or who I am at the moment. I no longer hear a giant clock ticking away the minutes to some unknown deadline. I'm not feeling like speed is of any particular concern or that hurrying is going to get me there (wherever there is, which I still don't know but now no longer feel is a real concern) any faster.

What I do know now, that I didn't know just a while ago, is how I want to answer all my questions. Not by thinking, not by forcing myself to choose a persona or a path or a point of view. Instead of worrying about thinking and narrowing, I realized that the way to find myself is to open myself up to more and wider choices and opportunities and, like when I am asleep, keep myself from getting in my own way.

This last week I've felt calm and hopeful after months of feeling what comes very close to being defined despair. I've felt a sense of impending discovery. I felt like it was "right there". If I turned my head quick enough I might see it. It might be just around the corner. It might be waiting for me in the next phone call I answered or the next web site I stumbled into or the next sign I read as I was driving down Main Street. And those discoveries did come, in a myriad of small ways that are too personal and hard to explain to bother going into here. The important thing is only that they came.

I knew I'd finally put it all together when I woke up a few days ago and grabbed hold of the last thread of that morning's dream. I had actually dreamed in puzzle form. The dream moved, I moved around in the dream, like you would see the image on a movie screen. But at the same time, the image was broken into puzzle pieces and from inside the image, I was both the actress and the director, literally putting the puzzle pieces together even as the story unfolded. I remembered the dream, not really what I was doing in it, but the puzzle solving part of it, and I felt happier than I have for a very long time.

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.” - Lewis Carroll

Yesterday I picked up a book that I'd ordered in an inter-library loan request at our local library. I stayed up late last night reading it, quietly but excitedly saying "yes, that's it exactly" and nodding my head to the concepts laid out within it's pages. It's called The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine. It definitely has a "self help" style to it, and I normally shy away from that sort of thing, but I am forgiving it it's stereotypical format because, as many pages as I've read so far, it's laying out in an orderly fashion what had just started to sort itself out in my head. It's one of my favorite experiences, where I discover information I already know but haven't yet been able to organize or put together in a way or from a perspective that made the information accessible or useful to me.

At this point some (most?) of you are reading along and puzzling to yourself "What did she just say?" or "So, what exactly is her plan now? Did she even say she had one?" Well, yes I do and no I don't. It's very exciting. "Huh? Did she just contradict herself?" Yes. I did. Isn't it wonderful. I'm completely happy about it too. Feel free to go lay down with a damp wash cloth on your forehead if I've made your brain hurt now. Sorry 'bout that. But now I must be off. Things to do. People to meet. Not sure what or who.

Like The Fool card. Doesn't matter. I'm open to whatever unfolds.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's the Buzz?

Look what turned up at my house unexpectedly - a swarm of very busy bees! So obviously my plans for the day are now postponed, including the long whiny post I'd originally planned. Don't worry, you're not safe from it yet. They're only here for one day, so tomorrow I can bore you.... er, WOW you with my deep philosophical angst. Get out the cheese.

And in other breaking news....

Look who's behind the wheel!

William got his required one hour of behind the wheel with the driving instructor today after school and so he can now drive the family car. We let him drive to the restaurant tonight. As you can see from the camera's perspective, I chose to let Jeff have shot gun while I sat in the back seat. Nervous? Who? ME? Nah.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Holiday Photos #23

I was shocked to discover that it's been two months since I've posted a Holiday Photos post. At this rate it will take ten years to get through even the few photos per day I've been sharing. I'm going to try to speed up and post them more frequently.

So, we're still in Edinburgh. I think what William and I enjoyed most were the ghost tours we took. The first one we took was with a company called Mercat Tours. We were taken into the vaults built underneath and covered by the South Bridge. We didn't know that's where we went at the time. In fact I just learned that interesting fact in a new History Channel series called Cities of the Underworld. It was the premiere episode in a new show and I really enjoyed it, all except the rather herky jerky camera technique. I'm sure it will show again if you're interested. I'll keep an eye out for future episodes.

Anyway, although for William's sake we chose the Ghost tours over the more educational history tours offered, we soon discovered that a lot of history was slipped in anyway and so we learned while having fun. Here's a picture I took with a flash, showing William checking out a sealed off corridor.

This is what it really looked like to stand there without the flash. Shi-i-i-i-verrrrr! It was a small group for this tour and we had a good time. We also had a couple of pretty convincing "psychic" experiences. I'll say no more. Mystery. WOooohoooOOoooh.

We went below and then we wandered a bit more above. Edinburgh was the only place where we happened to catch Evensong. We slipped into St. Giles Cathedral for it although William wasn't interested.

I thought this shell holding angel was beautiful. I wonder what the shell symbolized and what it was meant to hold. Holy water? Contributions to the church?

This next photo was the top of a tomb (is that what it's called - a marble coffin above ground? Not a mausoleum, that's the building that would hold a tomb/tombs, right?) - anyway, this was a real red rose wrapped in floral wrap and laid in the crook of the statue's arm. (Is it still a statue if it's horizontal?) Despite my confusion, and I have no idea who he was, it was very striking, very touching, in the dark corner of the church. I just wish my camera wasn't having all those low lighting/focus issues.

As you can see, William was ...... thrilled at this activity. I only made him sit through one song and then we slipped out quietly.

Back at our B&B, which was really more like a small hotel, this was the chandelier on the first floor landing. I can't remember the name of the hotel and I'm too tired to go look it up, but isn't this a cool chandelier? That pink tinge isn't just a trick of the light. The tear drop glass crystals were the palest pink.

And last but not least - look who was in town! Doctor Who!!!! I admit I wondered if they really still used the tardis.... er, I mean, the "Police Information Box" - hand quotes, wink, wink - or if they just left it there for sentimental purposes and so people like me could snap photos of it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A New Grandchild

Only a temporary one. Whew. This was William's daughter for the weekend. She's one of those Baby Think It Over dolls. For Freshman health class all students get a choice of the baby or a report. William chose the weekend of parenting. She's the Native American version. I thought William should name her Turtle after the character in The Bean Trees, one of our favorite books. Instead he named her Chief Grand Cherokee. (All e-mails about the political incorrectness of this name can be sent directly to my son at

It was an interesting experience. Fortunately the baby comes with a key that is tied with one of those hospital bracelet type things to the new parent's wrist. The parent has to key in before any caregiving, thus ensuring that the little bundle of joy can't be pawned off on an unsuspecting friend, enthusiastic younger sibling, or gullible parent. Hurray!

The baby sounds are remarkably realistic. It was hard to listen to her cry. So I was glad that William took good care of her even though he didn't treat her like a real baby. He refused to bundle her up in the cold since it meant unwrapping her to use the key each time. And her legs were stuck up in the air like that all weekend because it made her easier to "service" apparently, and less likely that her neck would break. And he used the trick his friends taught him to "feed" her. They discovered the computer accepted the recognition chip in the diaper and the bottle were interchangeable. So instead of having to hold the bottle to her mouth, he just draped the diaper over her head whenever she was hungry. It made me feel sad to see her like that. I had to keep reminding myself - "Not a REAL baby."

Fortunately I've seen him in action with his four nieces and nephews and he's quite adept at keeping real babies safe, happy, and entertained, often without even being asked to do so. I always thought it was a shame that William didn't have any experience with babies when he was a kid. My other children were all old enough to remember William as a baby, plus we had lots of friends with small children. But William didn't have many opportunities to deal with babies. The few times he did, his reaction was to go as still and quiet as a statue whenever a baby or toddler came near, as if it was some sort of dangerous creature and he was thinking "if I don't move, it might not attack." What I didn't realize would happen was that his older siblings would start having children of their own before William was grown. In the last three years he has spent quite a substantial amount of time with babies and surprisingly, he no longer seems at all intimidated by the little monsters. In fact he's often more attentive than the rest of us!

My favorite part of this weekend was when I took William out to lunch yesterday at the local coffee shop. The waitress was quite interested in the baby and so we were discussing how the baby care worked. I casually commented "At least this baby, unlike a real baby, let's him get a bit of sleep at night."

He replied -

"Sleep! Just because you can't hear her cry, doesn't mean I'm getting any sleep!"

He grabbed up the graph sheets that he was required to use to write down the time, length, and type of care he'd had to deliver.

"Let's see. I fed her from 11:30 to 11:47. Then I had to burp her for a half an hour. I got to sleep until 1:10 and she wanted to eat again. After that I had to rock her for forty five minutes. Then she needed her diaper changed! She only slept for fifteen minutes before she wanted to eat again! By then it was almost 3 o'clock in the morning. I didn't get to lay back down until after 3:30. And she got me up again at 4:23. I don't think I got to sleep a whole hour all night long!"

The longer he went on, the louder I laughed. He looked at me like I wasn't taking him seriously and I laughed some more. He got irate and I laughed until I was so weak I was laying sideways on the booth seat.

Ahhhhh. Payback is so sweet.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Blogger's Shower!

The family joke is that my son Joe married his mother because his wife Lisa and I are like two peas in a pod. Albeit she's a fresh young pea and I'm sort of a wrinkled middle aged pea. But we have a lot in common. We both love kids and make beautiful babies. We both quilt. We both love camping and nature. And shopping. And the beach. We both have no qualms about breaking into dance or song in public places. We both love gabbing late into the night. And lots of other things and of course most of all we both adore my lovable (if stubborn and sometimes irritating) son. We also have our differences of course, so that along with being buddies in many crimes, we also learn new bad habits and misadventures from each other.

But now we share something else in common. We're both bloggers!

So I've decided to throw her a New Blogger's Shower to start off her blogging adventures.

Please stop by (link at the bottom of this post) and in her comments leave her the gift of some blogging tip or advice. Or just a big hello. Or... well, I know all you creative people will think of something.

I'll let Lisa decorate. She's better at that sort of thing than I am. Or at least she's younger and has more energy for it. But I'll bring the refreshments.

Imagine I've slaved all day in the kitchen (Hey! Stop laughing! There was a time, long ago, when that woulda really happened!) and before you are: Tiny cucumber and hummus sandwiches. Homemade mango salsa with fresh, hot tortilla chips. A big tossed salad decorated with edible flowers. An old fashioned potato salad spiced up with sweet 'n spicy mustard. A huge plate full of crudités surrounding a homemade bowl of Tahini flavored dip. A basket of assorted whole grain breads and rolls with a plate of brie and spicy Sonoma Jack cheese accompanying it. A bowl full of fresh ripe strawberries with a fondue pot of dark, melted chocolate. (Please remember to use the skewers, don't want any burnt fingers.) Hot tea, cold tea, herbal tea and black teas. Big pots of good coffee both decaf and regular. An oversized bucket full of sodas. And several nice wines. Last but not least, a beautiful cake that I special ordered. Isn't it pretty decorated with iced yellow and pink roses around the edges and the words "Happy Posting Lisa" on the top!

And best of all, there will, of course, be lots of public singing and dancing! Meet you over there at her blog, Creative Slave.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

A blogging friend (as well as real life friend, if somewhat far away), Julie over at High Fiber Content was nice enough to tag me for a Thinking Blogger Award last weekend. How lovely is that! Thank you m'dear.

I was pleased about the award. I think all of us bloggers wonder some days if we're all wandering around the internet, like harmless but slightly crazy bag ladies, talking to ourselves. It's nice to know that we're making real connections on occasion.

Of course most of the time I'm very aware of how much I'm connected to other bloggers, how much I appreciate them putting a little bit of themselves out there on a regular basis, how much I appreciate the work and time that goes into making a blog worth visiting again and again.

The Thinking Blogger Award starts here. The originator was pondering things like "why do we blog", "why do we read other people's blogs", and "why do we meme." She (he? I couldn't tell) considered this Blogger Award a meme. I don't think I'd categorize it as a meme myself. But I don't know what I would call it, so I'll just leave that one alone. I will, however, take a moment to ponder those other points before moving on.

Why do I blog?

Easy. I am one of those odd people who has been writing and/or standing up in front of audiences on purpose since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Most folks would dread things like essay tests or speech class. Instead of dreading them, I'd clap my hands in glee and think "Ooooh, sounds like fun!" So, blogging is a good platform for someone like me. Although, to be honest, I'd probably still be blogging even if there was no audience at all. I might be sad and pathetic with no one to talk to, but I'd still blog. Writing my blog helps me sort out my thoughts.

Another reason I like blogging is that on the continuum of such activites as In person -> Telephone -> Letter Writing -> IM'ing -> Online Group -> Blogging -> Article or Essay Writing ..... It has the best combination of connection, anonymity, and convenience for me. Hmmmm, do I have to explain that more? Nah. I'll just leave it at that.

Last but not least, I blog because, and this may seem odd but, it makes my mother happy. I'm not much of a phone person and although I consider my relationship with my mom a good one, we don't talk on the phone much now that she lives far away. In many ways she gets to hear more of my original voice when she reads my blog than she does when we speak in person anyway, where we usually limit our conversations to things like weather, kids, and travel plans. So. Reading my blog seems to make my mom happy. And that makes me happy.

Why do I read other people's blogs?

Another easy question. Bottom line, I live in a small town isolated by weather, distance, mountains and the insular effect of local conservative thinking. If it wasn't for the like minded people that I have "met" online, I would battle feelings of isolation and frustration in this community. So, I read blogs for community and friendship.

I also read blogs to get a broader view of how people think. Having a "writer's" mind, I'm always fascinated with the rainbow of viewpoints that people have on the world.

Last but not least, I read blogs for information and ideas and creative inspiration, both visual and written.

Why do we meme?

I used to do more meme's then I do now. Honestly, I'm sort of bored with most of them. Every once in a while there's a new creative twist on one and I'm interested in reading how people answer them and I participate or, more often, tweak it to suit my own needs. Meme's are a form of networking, true. But I find I'm just as likely to find new and interesting blogs (or have people find me) by making the effort to introduce myself and comment and to follow the comments of other people back to their blogs in turn. There are just too many fascinating people out there and NOT ENOUGH TIME to enjoy them all.

That last sentence is an ironic comment when the next thing I say is that "I'm finding it hard to select blogs to pass the Thinking Bloggers Award on to next. In receiving the tag, I'm supposed to turn around and tag five other bloggers. I'm running into a number of problems.

Problem number one - a number of blogs that come to mind first have already been tagged. It's probably not in the spirit of the game to tag them and have the meme go around in circles. In fact, quite a few that I would have selected have been tagged over the last few days as I've procrastinated and considered my options. The ones I ultimately do tag, some of those will probably be tagged by the time I send this off.

Problem number two - a few of the blogs that I'd like to award are well known or are the blogs of people who I know are VERY BUSY or are blogs of people who don't know me at all. I feel intimidated or uncomfortable approaching them with an obligation. Sure, they can always choose not to participate, but I don't want an award to be met with an "Oh no, not another meme!" or a "Who IS this person!?"

And while we are on the subject, am I the only one who has a hard time trying to come up with the right terms for my relationships with other online people? Some I think of as acquaintances, others as social friends, still others, even if we've never met, as old and dear real friends. (My family is always interupting my stories to ask "Wait, is this a real friend or just someone you know online?" Which annoys me because sometimes they are one and the same.) But it's not always easy to figure out where to place everyone I "know" online. What about someone you think you know well because you read their blog but who might not have the same degree of connection to you in return? How long do you have to know the person before you can say you "know" them? At what point do you have the right to call someone a friend and say "I was talking to my friend Penelope...." I often find myself saying something like "My friend Emily... well, this woman I know online... well, I don't "know" her but I read her blog ..... but she did write me back that one time when I left a comment.... but it's not like I'm her best friend or anything ... but I think she knows my name but....." and that's usually when the person who I am talking to starts to tap their foot or I notice their eyes have glazed over.

But it's hard, isn't it? Or at least not as easy as in real life when you can say "Pam at the bank" or "Which Kathy? Kathy from Sonoma" or "The Richardsons that we sat by at football games last year". Those real life connections give a more visible picture of your relationship with someone. It's hard for some people to understand that although "Pam at the bank" has met me in person dozens of time, and we might even chat on occasion and she even remembers the names of my children, I don't feel I know her as well as someone online who has read some of my more intimate blog posts and who has also shared more of herself. It's hard for my family to grok that and I don't blame them. It's hard for me to figure out where to place people in my life sometimes too.

Problem number three - I read blogs for lots of reasons and not always because they make me think, in the sense that I assume the Thinking Blogger Award is suggesting. Sometimes I like someone's blog because it makes me laugh, or has beautiful art, or keeps me in touch with a certain interest or part of myself. I might not think of the blog as being particularly deep or philosophical or reflective - at least not on a regular basis, and not like some blogs tend to be. Of course, look at my blog. I've filled it up with rants and family photos lately - not a whole lot of deep thinking going on there. Maybe I'm just OVER thinking this whole idea, hmmm? That's a real possibility.

Problem number four - despite my comment about so many blogs, so little time, I actually read very few blogs regularly. In part because there are only so many hours in the day. And in part because, although my blog has been around for awhile, and I've known and read friend's blogs for years, I've only recently realized that there is a huge blogging community to connect to and mine for treasures. (Yeah, I'm a bit slow on the uptake. But hey, I have a non-cyberlife too!) Last fall I had quite a list of blog URL's to share and visit but somehow I lost them in a computer change and I can't seem to find my way back through numerous links to many of them. So except for those closest to me, in a lot of ways I'm starting over. I've been doing quite a bit of blog surfing lately in search of of regular blogging buddies, but it takes time to search and a degree of returns to turn a random hit into a new favorite place to visit.

And now that I've stretched this out and analyzed it and beat it with a stick far more than I should have (hey, Julie did say I made her think!), I'll tell you what I finally decided to do about passing this on.

1) I'm going to pass on any bloggers who have already been tagged.

2) I'm going to tag blogs that make me think even if the reasons they enrich me are personal and not necessarily transferable to someone else. I'm not even going to explain them because...well, honestly, because this post is already long enough. Hehe. With no further fuss and muss -

My nominees for the Thinking Blogger Award

Laura Florand's blog - Blame it On Paris
Kipling West's blog - four eyed bat
Madness Rivera's blog - Madorganica
Joshilyn Jackson's blog - Faster than Kudzu
Liz B's blog - A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

There. I did it. THAT WAS HARD!!!

Here are the rules that I'm to pass on to those I've tagged:

1. When you are tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,

3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Someone needs to get a life

The fire captain just stopped by. He's a friend of ours. He stopped as a favor to us to give us a heads up instead of going through official channels and writing a citation. Apparently someone called and complained about our yard. Not one of our neighbors. Just someone who lives nearby and drives down our street regularly. They complained that we had trash in the back of our pick up truck and trash in our driveway.

Yes. We have "trash" in our pick up truck. The pick up truck that is parked quietly under a tree in our side yard. It doesn't have garbage in it like bags of rotten kitchen trash or black plastic bags or anything. That goes in our garbage can and gets picked up weekly. It doesn't smell or collect flies. It has lawn and tree clippings and at the moment an old broken lawn chair. We fill it up and then we take it to the dump on a regular basis. We've been doing it for the twelve years we've lived here.

And our driveway has a few things stacked on the edge of the pavement up against a retaining wall. You can't even see it unless you look really fast between the time the car in the driveway blocks your view and the retaining wall on the other side blocks your view. And it's not garbage either. It's neatly stacked tiles and a small box of metal shelving bits and small metal shelf laying on it's side. I dragged a box of rags out of the garage a few weeks ago and that's sitting behind the car at the moment. But you can't see it and the plan wasn't to leave that out there for years. I took it out to get to something behind it and I keep forgetting it's there. BECAUSE I CAN'T FUCKING SEE IT! Jeff put a couple of flattened cardboard boxes out there by the trash can a few days ago. Those are visible to the street. It's to go in the recycling which hasn't come yet this week. I guess that was the last straw for someone, eh? A couple of flat cardboard boxes.

You have to understand that we don't live in one of those fancy tract neighborhoods with codes and covenants. I wouldn't be caught dead living in one of those sterile places!! But hey, if you want your neighborhood to look all cookie cutter perfect and boring, live someplace like that. More power to you. Or, if you're forced by circumstances to live in a place like that then, you have my sympathies. (Kristen - I LOVE YOU! I don't hold it against you that you live in a gated community. Honest!)

However, this is an old neighborhood that has a hodge podge of housing styles built over the last 100 years. No one has "landscaping". Instead, everyone has old lady wire fences and wooden gates that hang crooked and ancient fruit trees that drop fruit on the sidewalks and shade trees that are overgrown and too close to the house or the street. We have barky dogs and clotheslines and kids running around and riding bikes without helmets (while the police look the other way.) And gardens - real flower gardens and vegetable gardens in front yards and side yards. Instead of some pruned juniper or weed free patch of green, yards in our neighborhood have rows of garlic and overgrown rose bushes and hedges of lilacs and tomato vines in wire cages along the side of their house. People have woodstoves scenting the air and barrels that they burn stuff in the backyard in and pick up trucks and RV's parked in sight. They have odd add ons to their houses and woodpiles stacked high. People have whirligigs and Marine flags flying and arbors and garages painted a different color than their house. We have fake wooden wishing wells and windmills that clatter and and plastic deer and racks of antlers nailed above the garage door. And live deer that eat your plants. And quail that scurry and owls that hoot and songbirds that sing. We have sidewalks that stop and start and in a few places lurch and tilt and crumble. We have empty dirt lots and even a few cars parked in yards that clearly haven't run in years. This is not fucking Beverly Hills. And I love every odd, eclectic square foot of it.

Hey, if I wanted, I could walk down my street and find something to complain about in each and every yard I see. Well, except for our immediate neighbors George and Norma. Who have a beautiful, picture perfect yard. And are the sweetest neighbors ever. And they, of all people, would have the only legitimate reason to complain because their kitchen window looks directly into our backyard, which is often in a state of transistion and horrible disarray. But they don't say a thing, which is so completely gracious of them and wins them double karma points. And they love my big ol' dog even though he barks sometimes (though not a lot - and definitely not as much as a lot of other dogs on our street). And they bring me peaches from their tree. But I digress.

So. Jeff went out and covered the back of the pick up bed with a tarp. And he moved the cardboard. I'll move the tile and shelving into the back yard until I can install them in the garage where they're planned to be. But it pisses me off that someone will drive by and see the "mess" cleaned up and feel smug and vindicated. It bugs me that someone has so little to do with their life that they worry about our yard. As they're driving by.

The irony is that we get people all the time, complete strangers, who stop by to talk to me about the yard. At least a handful of folks each year stop and knock on our door just to say how much they love driving or walking by our house and how pretty all our flower gardens are and how much they enjoy seeing our family playing in the yard and even, though Jeff said it would be a bad thing, how much they like seeing the peace flag we have flying. (Had flying - it's disappeared - it ripped and I think it just finally blew away) So I know that we aren't offending the entire population of Susanville with our pick up truck full of tree branches and our evil cardboard. We're just offending one someone who has nothing better to do than worry and nitpick about something stupid. Fucking a-hole.

Sorry. It just bugged me. I'm done venting now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bob the Builder

Actually it's my son Sam the Builder. He's almost finished building his beautiful first home. Last fall when he broke ground on the project, he asked me if I would come help him when it came time to do the detail work. The detail work seemed a long, long way off last fall and so I said "Sure honey, I'll help." Well, it was finally time to follow through on my promise and so off I went to help Sam for the weekend.

For some reason the family thinks that I'm an expert on this type of thing. Believe me, I'm not. It's just that I'm pretty damn capable compared to my hubby, Mr. Which-End-of-the-Hammer-Do-You-Hold-Again-Honey? Alone, or using hubby and children as unwilling slaves in the process, I've managed to build fences, sheetrock and texture walls, create garden arbors, lay brick walkways, design gardens, tile showers, lay carpeting and linoleum, and paint what feels like hundreds of rooms. Probably some other things I'm not remembering at the moment. A modest list of accomplishments, but accomplishments nontheless.

Sam wanted me to tackle tiling the master bath shower. I arrived Friday evening and got a head start painting on this rather garish water sealant. (If you want to be amused by my small joke, take a small detour here to read today's Laume's Studio first, then come back and finish reading this post.)

The next thing that happened is Sam came back to measure the tiles so I'd know how to set them up. On the sides it worked out perfectly for four rows of tile, but on the back it worked out that there would be two tiny (less then 2") of cut tiles on each side necessary to make the rows balance out in the middle. I suggested we fix the problem by creating an offset and inset design with a contrasting tile. It would not only solve the math problem but would also add a little custom art to the bathroom without imposing anything too specific that someone would have to take into account when adding their own decorating style into the room. So Saturday morning we started out at the building supply store in search of some complimentary tiles.

I got a really good work out.

I had remembered to bring this old work shirt, but forgot to bring work pants. I got a few spots of pink on my good jeans the night before so in these photos I'm wearing an oversized pair of Sam's work pants. Here I am pushing the tile into the mastic.

And here I am bending for more spacers. You gotta use these little spacers. They're cute little things, like little rubbery Alphabet "X's". But after they fell out of their designated space, dropped into the mastic, sat forgotten on the floor when I was already up on top of the footstool - repeat these events a hundred times - I started to think of them as the "fucking little bastard's". Still, there's something appealing about them. I want a bowl of them around the house to play with. I want to make art with them. Hmmmm. Odd love/hate relationship going on here. Moving on...

And reaching. I didn't get a picture of me on the footstool working on those top rows of tile. (Anyone remember Miss Betty's song on Romper Room - "Bend and stretch, reach for the stars! Here comes Jupiter, there goes Mars! Bend and stretch, reason for the sky! Stand on tippy toes oh so high!" Yeah, I'm old. Some of you are now asking your monitors "What's Romper Room?")

Here I'm pointing to the small brown tiles and saying to the camera "My idea!".

It was a lot of work, physically demanding (I was really tickled that after ten hours of work, I was only mildly stiff yesterday - guess I'm not completely out of shape despite my habit of getting most of my exercise in the form of flexing my fingers on a keyboard). Although it was work, it was also kind fun and creative. It was a combination of painting, frosting a cake, calesthenics and a step workout, and quilting.

Sam and William were both suitable impressed with my efforts. Rosie, on the other hand, was not impressed at all. She just wanted me to stop and pick her up. Did I mention yet (too many times?) that having a chihuahua is like having a permanent toddler?

The last step was putting the curved edge tiles on. Unbeknownst to me there was exactly the right amount of edge tiles for the shower dimensions and not a tile more. So when I dropped one and it broke into a half dozen pieces....uhm.....oops. We ended up using cut pieces of the larger tiles for around the top and only used the curved tiles in the front.

Ultimately we decided it looked nicer like that than if we'd used the curved tiles all around because the curved tiles were a slightly different color, almost imperceptibly so, but still different. Since the shower doors will separate the front edge tiles from the rest of the shower, it's unlikely anyone will ever realize it. But cutting special pieces for the top, although extra work, ended up making a much more professional finished design.

I finished late Saturday night and debated staying to do more tile work on Sunday, but I had to get back for William to finish up a report for school and I wasn't sure I wanted to see what my muscles said about being used for two full days of physical labor. Too, my hands were burning and sore from working with the mastic. Gloves would have been horrible too though. I hate working in gloves. I was ready to scrub, soak, apply lotion, and give my skin a rest.

So - TA DA! Here it is. It's not grouted yet, and it's got all the little spacers sticking out of it, but I think it turned out really nice.

Sam didn't have any other work that we could do, so we packed up and left for home Saturday night. Starving, we stopped about twenty miles up the mountain at the last (and only) civilization on the 100 mile trip. It was so late that nothing was open except for a small country bar filled with colorful characters but no food. We went in anyway to use the bathroom. William was forced to stand in a corner as innocuously as possible for quite some time while I was in the bathroom trying to get mastic off my fingers. When we got back into the car William commented that he didn't think there could possibly be anything worse then a crowd of drunk rednecks dancing but he was wrong. There was. Drunk rednecks singing karoake and dancing.

Now we were not only hungry, and it turns out much tired than I thought I was, we were also drenched from running into the bar in the midst of a solid downpour. In the few miles we'd already driven we'd hit rain, fog, and wind gusts that pushed the little Subie around like a piece of paper. And cold. Getting colder by the minute. That meant only another few miles before that rain would turn into snow. We wisely gave up and went back to Redding and Sam's house where there was hot showers, food, and sleep. It was the right move. The next morning we drove home in dry sunny conditions but with evidence that lots of fresh snow had fallen at the higher peaks the night before. Spring traveling in Northern California is always such a crapshoot.

I wished we lived close enough for me to commit to going back and helping with the rest of the tile work. Hard work but fulfilling. Unlike dishes or laundry, it's the type of thing that once it's accomplished, it's done for good. But I probably won't get the chance to go over again. As I explained to Sam, it's April already and I still haven't started, much less finished, any of the projects I'd planned for myself for this year.

I am a complete pushover when it comes to getting pulled into helping other people, in particular, family people. I've decided (we'll see how successfully) to practice setting stronger limits to my availability. I'm trying to use the word "NO" with more conviction and less guilt. That's the first step. Freeing up my time. More specifically, freeing up larger chunks of time. I have time already but it's just chopped up into so many pieces that I find it hard to sustain my momentum and motivation. The second step, which theoretically starts just as soon as I've finished this post, is getting off my butt and making use of the time I've claimed. This couch I'm sitting on is comfy. Sigh. Give me a good shove, will ya.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Destined for the stage?

Lisa sent me these photos, complete with the captions. I know, she looks sooo sad but, scroll on...

What a drama queen!

"Wahhh, your not paying attention to me!"

"Oh look a camera."


Friday, April 13, 2007

Knock Knock...

Who's there? No one. I'm not here.

It's spring break at the high school and William has been over at his brother Sam's house since Wednesday evening. I thought it would be interesting, having "everyone" gone. And it was, for a brief period that only stretched yesterday from midafternoon until bedtime and then a couple hours this afternoon after hubby went back to work. But everyone wasn't really gone. Jeff was working a double shift at work but was home this morning. And of course I had the dogs and cats. And everyone calling on the phone. (Which reminds me, Joe called today to tell me he met Tiger Woods this morning. Very kewl. He always seems to be bumping into famous people - in the last year or so he's also met The Governator, Shaun White, Eva Longoria and the Wayan brothers to name those I can remember him mentioning.) But for those few hours, it was interesting, it felt odd, even though it mostly got filled up with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning though. And doing the taxes. Blech. And packing a bit just now.

And now it's time to drive to Sam's so I can help lay tile in his house tomorrow and then retrieve William and return home sometime midweekend.

Hope you are all doing something funner than (yes, I know, it's "more fun than" - but I like "funner" better, so Phhhbt!) taxes and tile laying and driving.

Later gators!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Guests, graves, and great tea

My friend Kathy and her son Alex came for a wonderful visit Tuesday and Wednesday. We tried to have Jeff take some photos of us, two moms with two sons. Only problem is that in most of the photos someone had their eyes closed and in all but one of the mosts William was making funny faces. So I used the photo that was the least bad of the three of us on the left and stuck William from another photo onto the right to get this sort of okay shot of the four of us.

Here's what the original photo looked like.

It was a bit of a trick to find activities (I first wrote "addictives" instead of "activities" - Freudian slip?) that would appeal to everyone - two women, a kid, and a teenager. Kathy wanted to go hiking but Alex was "hiked out" from stops they'd made in the mountains on the drive over. And then we got talking and sidetracked and it got towards dusk and it was too late to go hiking. We eventually settled on the local park so Alex could play. But Alex is ten, going on eleven, that hard age when they think they want to play on the playground equipment but after a couple of minutes realize that it's not quite the same anymore. So after about fifteen minutes, we were ready to leave the park.

I suggested we could go to the local pioneer cemetery. Kathy thought that was a hilarious idea. Like I'd just offered to take them to the local water treatment plant or the police station or some other odd place. William and I thought it was a completely reasonable suggestion. We love going to old cemeteries. There's history, there's art, there's natural beauty. Despite Kathy thinking we were nuts, Alex was now intrigued, so off we went.

When we got there I whispered to William that I thought Alex was the type of kid who might be easily frightened so please don't try to scare him. He behaved himself but Kathy jumped out at her son and shouted "BOO!". Alex did indeed get frightened and William protested that I had told HIM not to do that! Kathy had one of those mothering moments when you feel guilty but you still can't stop laughing at your kid. Fortunately Alex recovered quickly and we actually had a pretty nice time wandering about.

This gravestone broke so that it simply said "Frederick Bacon died". Thinking out loud I commented "Well, obviously." For some reason we couldn't stop laughing about that for awhile.

I didn't mean for this photo to be slightly out of focus. I think it's because the camera tried to split the difference between the tree in the foreground and the background. But I kinda like it. With the colors of his clothing and the way he's lined up with the background, he sort of looks like a ghost, or a tree spirit.

This broken winged angel is my favorite thing in the whole cemetery.

We had a good time together, the first in a year. What with phone calls and e-mailing photos, sometimes we forget how much time passes in between visits. Kathy and I stayed up most of the night talking, but it was worth the lost sleep. Which, speaking of lost sleep, between pets and phone calls and crashes in night and all manner of small things, I haven't had a full night's sleep in about four nights. I tried to catch up last night but we just advertised that we had a woodstove for sale this morning folks started calling us about it bright and early. Grrrr. Argh. I want the sleep but I also really want to sell the woodstove so I can get it out of here and start shuffling things around into the place it's now occupying.

The new tea room in town, Coventry Gardens, opened up this week. Everyone is all a-buzz about it, all positive reviews. Since it was our last chance before Jeff went back to work for the week, the three of us went there for lunch yesterday. I was happy to see that they are heavy on the tea room and light on the gift shop aspect, making it a real place to frequent instead of simply a place to buy something on occasion. We went in the late afternoon when it had quieted down a bit and chatted with the owners at some length.

They commented in particular that they were pleased to see both my husband and son. They said they had made an effort not to make the place too "frou frou" so that men would feel as comfortable there as women. I like this picture of the gangly teen in the band shirt sitting with his cuppa tea.

The service was great, the food was great, the ambience was great, and last but not least, the tea was great. The boys had sandwiches but I had this great mango salad with a savory scone. We ordered a never ending pot of Earl Grey Lavender. I couldn't decide whether the flavor or the smell was the most heavenly and I'm going to have a hard time not ordering it again. But I do want to make an effort to try all their teas before I settle on a favorite. I can hardly wait to go back again. Do you think today might be too soon for a repeat visit?

If you want to read more about my burning desire to make a tea cozy, go on over to Laume's Studio today.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


One of my favorite haunts when I used to live down in San Diego county was a place called Summers Past Farms. I won't go on about it in detail, you can go to their website and see all the multi-faceted events and shops they have there.

What I will point out is that I've introduced my daughter-in-law Lisa to the place and she loves it as much as I do, so we made a point of spending an afternoon there while I was down in San Diego last month. We wandered through the shops and gardens. We relaxed in the outdoor coffee bar area sipping multiple mango ice teas. We chatted with the owners - nice people - and I discovered that they were originally from up here in Lassen County! Small world!

And we took lots of photos. I'm sharing just a few of the fairy photos. (Remember you can click on the photos to enlarge them and see more details.)

All over the gardens tiny fairy vignettes are nestled in baskets, wheelbarrows, or hidden corners. Here's a little fairy enjoying her own tiny courtyard, complete with a tiny fountain.

This tall blue fairy sculpture is a relatively new addition. I mean, it wasn't there when we visited a year or so ago. Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about her. She's a streamlined, silvery blue fairy with a sort of punk Jetson outfit and hairdo and I'm not sure if she fits the more whimsical,earthy style of the garden.

I caught this fairy dancing.

And more dancing! Fairies sure love to dance!

This one isn't dancing, she's doing something outside her tiny cottage. I think she might be trying to mend, or perhaps clear away the cobweb that's fallen across her entryway.

And here's the cutest of them all - a drooling baby fairy!