Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You just never know . . .

. . . what the universe has in store for you. It's supposed to be the last decent beach day of your visit, by normal peoples' standards anyway. So you carry your chair out the boardwalk and arrange it in the sand. You've got your towel, your book, the camera and a couple of beverages. You read a bit and then take a walk up and down the beach to pick up some shells. You settle back into your chair and decide to amuse yourself taking photos of the beggar who's hanging around waiting for a morsel to come his way.

You vaguely take notice of a couple of young women who've appeared up the beach with a handful of small children. Soon they are joined by another young mom with her son and his grandpa. Interesting . . . they're not dressed for the beach and they've brought no chairs, no towels, no coolers. They're just watching the water.

Your attention diverted by watching the humans, you don't notice this until it is right in front of you. A Coast Guard cutter. With a big gun. Cool!

Soon another Coast Guard vessel follows along behind the first.

Hey, wait a minute! What's this? Looks kinda military, eh?

Whoa! Isn't that -- why, yes it is! A submarine!

Do you believe how close they are to the beach?

Incredible, eh? A once-in-a-lifetime happening, I'm thinking. All because we decided to skip doing errands and go to the beach.

You can read more about it on the Military Sealift Command website. Oh, yeah -- the small group of women, kids and the grandpa? Their husbands, dads and son-in-law are on the sub.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A visit from the Keenan boys . . .

. . . is always welcome. We think the boys welcomed the diversion as well since Mom was in Zambia working on her A to Z Literacy mission. On Saturday morning we walked through the riverfront farmer's market where Cole brushed up on his hula hoop skills; we left with a bag of fresh, ripe and yummy tomatoes -- the kind that actually taste like tomatoes.Following lunch at Old Chicago, the boys opted to visit the Lakeview Museum to view the current exhibit, The Art of the Brick. Go to the website of the artist, Nathan Sawaya, for info on what this former lawyer does with legos!
Of course I forgot the camera and the photo of Cole (above) was the only one good enough to post. Sorry Cade!

After the museum we went to the pool to relax for a bit and then home to cook dinner on the grill.
After dinner we settled down with some icy treats and watched "The Tooth Fairy."

Did I mention there was work on an art project? Much as I'd like to show photos of the resulting masterpieces here, they are hidden away until Mom's birthday.

Thanks, guys, for visiting!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's been raining Legos . . .

. . . or so it would seem. Earlier this week I posted a comment on Facebook noting that Lego now makes cool board games which you first build, then play. Of course we had to get one! Blake and Taylor have spent HOURS during their visit playing with vintage Legos courtesy of Denise (thanks again!).Coincidentally, our local Lakeview Museum is currently exhibiting Lego art so we thought we'd take a trip over there yesterday. Here are Taylor and Blake at the museum:

The exhibit is called "The Art of the Brick" by a talented, full-time artist named Nathan Sawaya.

This is entirely made of Legos, including the reflection in the "mirror."
It was difficult to capture in my photo that this dude's head is separated entirely from his neck.
Everything in this photos is made of legos. Yes, even the floor, cabinet and easel.
After viewing the Lego exhibit, we had just a bit more fun at the museum.

Yours truly. Have I ever looked better?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rhapsody in Bloom . . .

. . . was the title of the art fest held at our local Luthy Botanical Garden this past weekend. Close to 50 artists exhibited their creations including jewelry, garden sculptures, pottery and many other items. It was hot, hot, hot! Nevertheless, it was a great show where we met lots of nice people, received many compliments and much of our jewelry inventory found new homes. Here's a pretty necklace my sister snagged from Janet of Free to Bead:
Beautiful, eh?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"And all the monkeys aren't in the zoo . . .

. . . every day you see quite a few." Here are my two visiting monkeys, Blake and Taylor. As a reward for outstanding final report cards, each child was granted his/her own special day. Taylor chose a "pajama day," one of my personal favorites. Together we made jewelry and played Dino-opoly while Blake played "couch potato." Blake chose a visit to the Peoria Zoo on his special day. Here are a few photos!

Who doesn't love an elephant nosed shrew?
Last, but not least, always my favorite -- the meerkat.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More visitors . . .

. . . during this busy time! Our friends Blake and Taylor are visiting from the Indianapolis area. Since they are used to visiting at our former home in Tampa, it is somewhat challenging to replace the instant gratification we had there of stepping out the door and into our pool. This morning we took a walk to a nearby park and found this cool fort to play in. Unfortunately play was cut short after Blake and a muddy puddle collided; we had to return home to wash everything, including his shoes, and send him to the shower.Later this afternoon Taylor and I spent some time making jewelry. I think she is a natural! She instantly grasped the purpose of different components, i.e. wire guards, crimps, crimp covers, etc.
Here are her first creations. I see more jewelry making in Taylor's future!

Monday, May 31, 2010

On Memorial Day weekend . . .

. . . we had a visit from kids Kris and Jon (center), Kris' hubby Dave (left), and grandsons Cade and Cole. Hey, no pictures of the boys? Oops!We took a trip to Wildlife Prairie State Park in Peoria, Illinois. This was the first time I've ever been so close to the very majestic bald eagles. Don't they look wise? Maybe like they should be old Supreme Court judges . . .
Among the animals living in the park was a grey wolf pack. Personally, I wish they could roam free. Nevertheless, it was good to see them.
We closed out our trip to the park with a train ride and then it was on to One World for lunch amidst the glorious air conditioning!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's not often . . .

. . . that I blog about food, but here's a quick one. Mmmm, strawberry shortcake for dessert tonight.And have you seen this? I picked this up at our local Kroger. McCormick has pre-measured the spices needed for Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes. On the back is a a tear-off recipe card with instructions and a list of other items you'll need, in this case just olive oil, salt, chicken and potatoes.
Bon appetit!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is there anything . . .

. . . more joyous than a healthy, new baby? We can't help but smile and be SO happy for our dear friends, Alice and Bob, on the birth of their beautiful baby grand-daughter, Nora, shown here partying down on her one month's birthday.Have you ever seen a prouder Grandpa? I have to believe Nora's birth has opened a chapter in Bob's life that he never expected. That often happens to men who were BUSY, BUSY, BUSY during the birth and childhood of their own kids.
Nora completes (at least for now) the wonderful family of Stacy, Geoffrey and Murray (the dog). We wish every good thing and happiness for all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring has been . . .

. . .springing up all over the place! Our first look at this 1925 house we bought was last November, long after most blooming had stopped. We didn't really know what we had in the way of landscape plants till recently. Perhaps the best of what we inherited are the magnificent peonies. I have loved them all my life but haven't lived with them in my yard since childhood. Here's what we've got:

The lovely lilacs came from the neighbor's yard.

Here are a couple we've picked up at the nursery: good old standard petunias;

weigela, Jim's favorite flowering shrub;

and a hanging fuschia. Have you ever seen one so beautiful?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The quest . . .

. . . for serenity has been a recurring theme in my life for these past fifteen years or so. Sometimes the need for a bit of peace escalates and makes me want to throw my arms up over my head and yell "Serenity NOW!"

who have hobbies may have a better way to settle their souls and I think that's what jewelry making does for me; it puts me in a 'zen' kind of place. Yesterday was that kind of a day and here is the result:
Wire wrapping each bead to form the chain, hand forging the clasp, making the charm holder and coiling wire around it, stamping SERENITY on the flat piece of silver -- yes, all of this takes time. It's worth it, though, because the work helps me get to my "happy place" and when I'm finished for the day I have created something that I hope will bring calm and solace to the person who will wear it. I've invested my own energy, my serenity, into each piece.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A slow, sputtering start . . .

. . . just like the neighbor's car I hear being worked on each day. With our vagabond lifestyle of the past few years now over (hopefully) it is time to settle in and get back to reoring balance to our lives. My etsy shop has been "on vacation" for a while now and although I've produced a couple of new pieces, the lovely ladies of our local Moondancer boutique (formerly Simply Everything Boutique) have very kindly allowed me to exhibit them in their wonderful shop and poor little etsy remains empty for now. Please pardon the photography, my "model" needs a new shirt . . .When you're off to a slow start, there's nothing slower than hand knotting. The three-strand necklace above includes peridot, rainbow moonstone, freshwater pearls and 24k gold plated Czech glass all hand-knotted on silk. Combined with gunmetal chains and a sterling silver dragonfly, it's romantic, don't you think?

Here's one I made just for me. I have been hoarding the antique key with lampwork for some time now. Happily, the universe has worked as it always does, on its own time. It sent Heather to me with gorgeous faceted citrine nuggets, answering my need for something special to go along with the key. Like it? Too bad, it is mine, all mine.

And back again to the hand knotting, here are some big, juicy, faceted blueberry pearls knotted on silk along with Swarovski crystals. I've added my handmade gunmetal chain with sparkling midnight blue crystals.

Sputtering and slow maybe, but it's a start, right?