Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gourmet Rodents…

When we first got the snake, our breeder gave us a supply of frozen pinkie mice to feed her. Well, we went through them a little quicker than anticipated with setting traps for the snake who’s currently at large, and then with trying to get the other snake to eat. So John had to run to the pet store and get some frozen pinkies the other night.

Purchasing frozen mice is a first for our family, didn’t even know they were available until I got a snake. I didn’t know how they would be packaged, if they would be in a freezer where you could just grab them, or if employee assistance would be required in obtaining them.

So I sent John to the store with instructions to “Just ask someone who works there” and this is what he brought home:

5 individually packaged “Gourmet Rodents.”

My knee jerk reaction was to say “Hunny, you didn’t have to spend the extra money to get gourmet food, she’s a snake and doesn’t even chew. How refined can her palate be?” But I suppressed the impulse.

Gourmet Rodents… Perhaps I’m missing something, and people are dining in fancy French restaurants eating frog’s legs, snails and pinkie mice. It seems to be an oxymoron though, along the lines of “Military Intelligence,” and “Jumbo Shrimp.”
Ok now, apart from the fact that it’s rather amusing, I think it’s a little scary that manufactures of pet products feel the need to brand their items to appeal to the pet owners. They put food coloring in cat and dog foods, not so that the cat or dog will think it’s more appetizing, they can’t see in color, but so the human on the other end of the leash will think it looks good. I had a cat once that was allergic to the red dye added to most cat foods, he would yak any food products that contained it immediately after eating. Do you know how difficult (and expensive) it was to find food without this non-essential ingredient?

So, let me clue you in here Mr. or Ms. Pet food maker (like any one who could make a difference is reading this); no matter what you call it, a dead, frozen hairless mouse in not going to be appealing to me in any way, shape, or form! My snake needs it to live; I’m going to buy it no matter how it’s packaged or what it’s named.
What I find even scarier however, is the little note on the back of the package of Gourmet Rodents:

Need I say more?

Ok, off my soapbox!
Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Just a day in the life...

I have some pictures to share… These are the pictures that I’ll use on the scrapbook page I talked about the other day.

Corydon W. S.

Corydon J. M.
With a 1937 Supercharged Convertible Cord

I don’t have too many pictures of Cord (the elder); this is one my mom gave me after CJ was born. Yes, there’s someone else in the picture with him. That’s Irene, his wife, and I’ll talk about her some other time I’m sure.

So, on to more mundane things…
I tried feeding the snake again last night, after two days of leaving her in solitude, but she’s still not going for it. I almost had her at one point, but she was distracted by something and shied away. I’ll leave her alone for a couple more days now and then try again.

I don’t know what I have planned for today. I should clean the house, but what fun is that. Perhaps some stamping instead. I need to make projects for a workshop next month. The last couple of workshops I’ve had, I waited until the last minute to put the projects together, and that’s a bad habit to get into. So I should really make an effort to get my act together. I want to make some Halloween things using the October Stamp of the Month, which is too cute for words, but I’m not quite sure what to do yet. Maybe some treat bags or something. I’ll have to look around and see if there’s anything fun I can case.

I did make a card yesterday. I was trying to come up with a card for a swap I’m in. I think the card turned out pretty good, but it has paper pieced letters in it, and the thought of cutting out 100 letters for a swap made me want to go play in traffic, so I’ll have to come up with something else. I’m just not good at making quick and easy cards, which means I’m also not good at big swaps. That’s why I usually only do 5 for 5 swaps.

Do you love those letters? I just got that set thanks to a fellow Angel, and I’m totally in love! I’d marry it and have its lowercase babies if I hadn’t already found the perfect man.

I’ve noticed that there are two kinds of sets I buy… There are the sets that I see and I like the design so I get them, but then once they get here I’m not quite sure what to do with them. I cut them out and look at them for awhile, and then I put them away and forget I have them. Sometimes they make it back out onto my desk and get used, but I’ll admit to having plenty of sets that have never seen an ink pad.

Then there are the sets that leap right off the page, grab me, and shake me. As soon as I see that black and white line drawing, pictures of completed projects start parading through my head. The Alpha Grunge set is one of those. This set is perfect for so many things… Scrapbook titles, monogram cards, it’s a great set for paper piecing, or just doodling on the insides of the letters.

Ok, I need to go get something done. John’s on the road today, so we can’t IM each other. That means I need to take a computer free day and catch up on the rest of my life.

Have a good one!

Monday, September 25, 2006

What's in a name...

My son and I are making a scrapbook of our recent trip to Auburn Indiana. He’s taken up a recent interest in stamping, and since I don’t find stamping a more feminine art than oil painting, I’m encouraging his new hobby. Since scrap booking and stamping walk hand in hand, it’s only natural that one would follow the other.

He’s asked that I assemble the scrapbook with his advice and consultation on colors and layouts. He wants the book to be something he’ll cherish for the rest of his life, not an amateur first attempt, so the two of us will create it together.

Before I move on, let me give you a brief synopsis of our trip and the reason we embarked on it. CJ’s given name is Corydon (core-ah-dun), and sometimes he’s also called Cord. The name has a special meaning for me, but as of yet he’s been unable to relate to it. Until recently that is, when he discovered there was a car made many, many years ago called a Cord. The factory that made these cars was located in Auburn Indiana, and you can still visit there and see the antique Cords, Auburns, and Dussenburgs that were made in that very building.

Every year there’s a big festival and auto show on Labor Day weekend, which is also (often) CJ’s birthday. So this year we took a trip and spent a weekend attaching some history and meaning to CJ’s name. He bought a shirt that said “Cord” over the pocket, talked to the owners of countless antique autos, and developed a sense of pride in a name that had never meant anything to him until now. So it was a good and memorable trip, and also one that will probably become a family tradition in the future.

So now back to the scrapbook… As I said before, the name Corydon has a special meaning for me. It’s not the name of a car, but of a person; a man who had a significant impact on my life. I’m hoping that CJ may allow me to hijack a page of his scrapbook to say a few words of my own. I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to say, forming the story in my mind over the last few days, and I’d like to share it here… Just in case it never makes it into the book…

Corydon… There are few names that warm my heart like the sound of that one, and none that fill my soul with the same flood of memories that cannot be channeled, but must be left to overflow the dam like the force of nature they are. The name brings back the sound of a robin singing on a warm summer day, the smell of Lilies of the Valley, the feel of the bark from a crabapple tree under my palms, and the sight of an old weathered face filled with kindness.

He was everything a grandfather should be, for none of the same reasons. He didn’t love me out of some sense of family obligation, or shared DNA. He loved me because I was me, and that was the only reason he needed. I once wistfully voiced the wish that he was my grandpa, and he told me that what we had was better, because we chose to love one another.

He was just the old man across the street, but you already know that. You’ve seen the house I grew up in, as well as the house across the gravelly street that I crossed every day for the first ten years of my life. I crossed in bare feet when it was baking hot in the summer, in snow boots when it was slippery with ice; I crossed it every day to spend my time with an old man who loved me just because I was me.

Never once did he ever turn me away, he was never too busy, too tired, or too important to spend his time with a little girl. He was kind when I was obnoxious and patient when I was slow. He allowed me to be myself when I was with him, and helped me to grow and learn about life, nature, and the world around me.

He never turned a stern word toward me, even when I deserved it. I remember once when I tried to ride my brother’s ten speed bike… It was so large I could barely touch the pedals, and I had to balance against the side of my house to get going. I rode up into Cord’s driveway, a big smile on my face, proud to show him what I had accomplished. He had already anticipated what I had yet to fathom, I couldn’t stop the bike. He positioned himself ready to catch me, a man already in his eighties, but I veered away not wanting to hurt him, and ran into his parked car instead. I left a scratch on the side, and I think I may have cracked a taillight. I turned, ashamed of what I’d done, only to see fear in his eyes. He wasn’t looking at the car, but at a scrape on my hand where I’d peeled the skin off to the muscle underneath.

He wasn’t rich, not by any means, living on a fixed income, but I never heard a word about the damage to his car. He never admonished me for trying something that even I knew was stupid by then. He only cared for my hand, rushing me to my mother’s side, his lips white with tension and fear.
I could tell you stories about this man for years, but I know that you’ll never really understand how dear he was to me. I’d never be able to recapture the relationship I shared with him, and you’ll never really understand why I gave you his antique for a name. Maybe this simple explanation will suffice… You’ll find in your life that unconditional love is a rare and beautiful thing. Once you have it, you’ll do whatever it takes to hold onto the spirit of that love. So I gave all of the love that Cord had for me, to you. Your name sums up everything from my childhood that I hold dear, and I cherish it, as I cherish you.

So be it man, car, or a young man standing on the brink of a new adventure into life… It’s a good name, it’s your name, make your mark on the world, and wear it proudly.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just one of those mornings...

I woke up this morning to John's sonorous voice hollering "Oh sh**!" I opened my eyes to see the clock and find that we should have left the house fifteen minutes earlier…

Don’t you just love it when your morning starts out like that?

All in all, it could have been worse. We were only about 20 minutes late and still early enough that we had some time to relax before we had to start playing. It all went well, my voice didn’t get as torn up as I thought it would, and people seemed to appreciate the noise we were making. I was a little worried about what we were going to do with the girls while we were playing, but they ended up earning their keep by helping pass out water bottles to the participants.

We also got a really nice sign that says “ABS Blues Band” out of the deal. I’m sure I’ll find a good use for it.

Ok, so… It’s time for a snakey-poo update.

No, she still doesn’t have a name. I have a couple of ideas, but I want to run them by the two oldest kids to get their thoughts first. They come back home tomorrow, so maybe she’ll have a name by tomorrow night. Notice I say maybe… I have no faith in our ability to agree on anything. I attempted to feed her last night, but she refused it. I’m thinking (hoping) that she’s still stressed out from the move. We’re leaving her alone for awhile, and then we’ll try again. If some solitude doesn’t do the trick, I’ll have to give the breeder a call and see what he recommends. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that though, he’s going to think I’m an idiot pretty soon if I keep having all of these problems. I’m not, I swear I’m not! I’ve raised four kids and haven’t had a single one escape their cage.*

*Disclaimer - I’m just kidding, no need to call DCFS.

I didn’t get any stamping done yesterday like I’d planned. I did get to go to the JoAnn Superstore though. I’m much better at accumulating papercrafting supplies than I am at using them anyway. I got a new Sizzix die. *Yay* I bought the slide mount die I’ve been wanting for awhile. I think it will be cool to cut them from chipboard and alter them. I also ordered the Ransom Doodle Bar set from the Sizzix web page last week (at 70% off on clearance *WooHoo*). They’re coming out with some really cute new dies now, and I, of course, want them all!

I also found the cutest Frankenstein dollar stamp there. I didn’t know JoAnn’s had dollar stamps, but I don’t get to the superstore that often. When I went to make some Halloween projects a couple of weeks ago, I found that I was seriously lacking in Halloween stamps, so now I’m doing my best to fill that hole. I’ve since gotten 3 Halloween sets from The Angel Company, along with a bunch of dollar stamps from Michael’s and now JoAnn’s.

*One of my projects made without a Halloween stamp.
It uses the Creepy Crawlies set from TAC.

I should be good for awhile now… Maybe… Though there is another TAC set that I’ve had my eye on…

John’s outside patching the front walk. We have to fill the big hole before it freezes or they won’t deliver our mail anymore (we nothing, make that He). I don’t hear him swearing yet, so it must be going ok, though he has had to make at least one trip to the hardware store for extra cement, and I see another in his future.

I should go take a picture before he gets mad so I can scrapbook the event.
Have a great day!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Better Photo

Better Photo

I had Ms. Snake out last night, so I finally got a photo of her entire body.

She's still pretty small, but she's only a month old.

This evening she gets to have her first meal here, and then we have to leave her alone for a few days while she digests. I expect her first feeding will go well; she seems to be settling in to her new environment, so hopefully she won't have any problems.

I submitted the photo of her poking her head out of the bedding to Stock Exchange, but it was rejected due to the subject being too small in the picture. I could crop it down which would probably make it more acceptable as stock art, but then the photo loses the depth of field and I think it compromises the composition. I'm not too terribly upset about the rejection; I think it's a good photo, just not what they look for in their stock art. Or maybe I'm just getting used to rejection.

I have a couple that I'm going to submit after some editing. I'm going to crop out the background entirely so that the subject becomes a photo object (just an item with a white background). Those might fly a little better, but we'll wait and see.

We had band practice today...

We're playing tomorrow at the Breast Cancer Walk and Run in Milwaukee. The only problem is we learned last week that we wouldn't have access to any electricity for the show. We debated renting a generator, but the expense was just too high for a gig we're volunteering for, so we decided to put together an acoustic show instead.

We ran the material today, and it sounds pretty good. My voice is going to be torn up by the end of the set though. I wish I could at least have a mike, but it's not going to happen. I'm just going to have to rely on my old opera training and project over the band. I've been using a mike for too long, and I'm not used to working that hard when I sing anymore.

I'm sure it will all be fine, and it's not like people are going to be hanging around to listen to us, they'll just be walking by and will only hear us for a few minutes.

Next week we'll start getting ready for the showcase gig in October. One set of our best material; those are the shows I like!

I think I'm going to do a spot of stamping today. I just got my new Halloween sets so I want to play. John's not feeling so hot, and Jenna woke him up early this morning, so he's taking a little nap. When he gets up we're going to run to the Guitar Center to get him some new strings for his acoustic. Until then, I have about 2 hours to play with my new sets. So I'm off! If I make anything good, I'll be sure to let you know!

Have a good one

Friday, September 22, 2006

Giving this a try...

Giving this a try...

We've talked about adding blogs to
A Shade of Blue, so I thought maybe I should give one a try so that I know what we're getting into. I'm not much of a journaler or diary writer though, so I don't know how well this will fly.

I won't go into a long drawn out introduction... If you're here, you already know me. It's not like anyone out there who doesn't know me will care what I have to say... Heck, most of the people who do know me probably don't care either.

So we got a new snake (that's her in the picture up there). This is my second snake in two weeks now. I lost the first one; she got out of her cage while we were all peacefully sleeping right after we brought her home, and we haven't seen her since. I'm sure she's living in the vents of our house now, happily munching on spiders and centipedes. They keep telling me that she might show up someday, but I'm not keeping my hopes up. Let's face it, if you had the choice between living in a ten gallon fish tank or making a break for the vast subterranean ventilation system, which would you choose?

So John brought me a home a new reptile friend, and I promptly went out and got a tank with a locking lid (I might be a fool but I'm no idiot). She's very pretty, but we haven't seen a whole lot of her yet. She's been hiding in the bedding since she got here.

She needs a name... I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that's why the last snake ran away. We'd had her for three days and hadn't named her yet. I'd be mad too... Alexi keeps suggesting these weird mythological names, Tiana is demanding we call her Fluffy, and Jenna tells us that no matter what we name the snake, she is going to call her Puppy. Is it just me or is there something wrong with my kids? CJ is the only one supporting the nearly normal name of Lilith. I'll let you know when a final decision is reached.

So I guess that's it for now. John and I have a babysitter scheduled for tonight, which means I have to clean the house. Perhaps I'll come back later and procrastinate a little longer. They say that writing is therapeutic, and this hasn't been too terrible. We'll just wait and see if I can keep up with it.

Happy Friday!