I meant to do this when I arrived home from Nevada in May. Well, I started to do this in June. Between the books, the clocks, and the myriad of little items, Mom’s jewelry box kept getting shoved aside. Then I broke my foot on the first day of summer, and I haven’t even looked at the books, clocks, or anything else (except to read some of the books – I have done a LOT of reading this summer).

This evening, I tackled the jewelry box. I sorted everything: broken jewelry (beads I can reuse), trash, odd items I can glue onto my Art Deco Horse (sorry, I don’t have a pic, just trust me on this – I’m gluing odd items onto an abandoned American Girls™ horse), costume jewelry to give away/sell, and stuff I want to keep. There are a lot of photos to follow. I did not take pics of everything, only the items that fall under costume jewelry to give away/sell and stuff to keep – and not even all of that. Just the more interesting or collectible items.


029 028

Four pairs of earrings to convert to pierced earrings. My mother never had her ears pierced; I could never stand to wear clip-ons. I pierced my ears when I was 23 and have never regretted it. The above earrings should be an easy conversion.


No, I have no idea where this souvenir came from. Someone went to Paris and sent it back home, and it ended up in my mother’s jewelry box. The photos have come loose. It’s meant to wear on a chain. It is silver, and I found one like it on eBay for $59 (starting bid). Vintage 1920’s or ’30’s. No, I won’t sell it.

026027I *love* brooches. Some of the pins are just fun – others I got rid of (not pictured). I adore the enameled animal cracker (the lion, in case you don’t quite understand, was once an edible animal cracker. It is now an enameled brooch). The bumblebee thingie is not a brooch, but it’s just odd enough that I want it.

057 058

SO Vintage 1950’s! Have a nice, white, pressed shirt? Want to look highly professional with these collar pins? Not worth a whole lot of money, but certainly very unique!


Vintage! Vintage Avon! My mother was known as “The Avon Lady” to many of her contemporaries in 1960’s Winnemucca, Nevada. She only sold Avon for a couple of years before she moved into reception and secretary work, but her Avon collection is “too die for”. That white necklace with matching earrings? Of, the memories!! Avon.


This photo didn’t come out as I quite hoped it would, but: I believe all of these earrings are vintage Avon. Not so certain about the collar pin with chain. The photo doesn’t do any justice to the navy blue earrings on the bottom there.


More items I am not keeping – I had to untangle all of these chains, plus several more chains that had nothing attached to them. Oy. I probably won’t wear any of these. The bottom one is actually a tie slide? It works like a slide. You can move it along the two chains that go through it. Vintage, of course. Eventually, for sale on whatever website I decide to sell this stuff on.

030My mother loved to stop and buy things from the local women who sold jewelry along side the roads in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. This is a beautiful juniper berry and yellow bead necklace my dad bought her in 1977 from a Navajo woman in Monument Valley, AZ. It held some sentimental value to him as he labeled it for posterity. I kind of wished he’d kept the woman’s business card, but maybe she didn’t have one.

One of my girls will get this. Yellow is a color that hates me (and I hate it right back), so I’d never wear it. Then, again, maybe it isn’t meant to be worn, but to be preserved as a relic of roadside artists in the southwest?

061 062

Not sure the photo does justice to this bulky bracelet with blue glass. Top is the side you see, bottom is the interesting way it is put together. Again, vintage. And bulky, but cool.


Not sure what these are: melted glass? Old bottles that made it through a fire? Something my sister created? I’ll take them in to a jeweler for an opinion. I have six and two chains.

015016These items fall under “I don’t know” and “They need cleaned”. The ring is 10 carat gold, so the stone can’t just be paste, but it is in rough shape. The green “stone” looks like melted glass. I have NO idea. Another item to take to a jeweler.

017I could easily dismiss this as “just”rhinestones. But something niggles at the back of my mine and says not to jump so easily to a conclusion. Another one for a jeweler to tell me it is/is not worth anything. (I’m pretty certain it is rhinestones – and not a single one missing!)

031Sigh. I did not get a great photo of this plastic bracelet. Doesn’t matter: I am keeping this.

063But I am not keeping this bracelet.

034035Poignant items. My father took the time to label these: he gave them to my sister. Black Hills gold. I will pass them on to either Chrystal (first) or her little sister, Jessi (second). They are not mine.

033 032More of my sister’s jewelry in my mother’s box. Chrystal has first choice, and what she does not take, I will send to Jessi. There are two spoon rings – my sister made those. She loved silver and turquoise.

038 039These were in a little box together, but they don’t actually go together. I have not opened the iodine swab container. The other item I take to be a screwdriver for eye glasses, but that’s a rather pointed blade.

040 This item is a vintage abalone tatting shuttle (thread is still on it). I’m pretty certain the little felt pouch belonged to a fancy cigarette lighter (dead giveaway: “Ronson” embossed on the bottom). My mother was quite the smoker. Fortunately, these items have been away from cigarette smoke since she died in 1995, and there’s not even a trace of odor on them. Some of the print items I inherited from her still have a bit of a musty cigarette smell to them.

042 043Gold and garnets! These are just beautiful. Brooch, necklace, adjustable ring, bracelet. Not for sale – definitely a keeper!

052Yet another pocket knife from the estate! This one has my mother’s initials crudely etched into the side. There’s only the two blades. I left my lens cap in the photo for size comparison.

053I smiled when I saw that. If I had known it was in the jewelry box before I brought it out of the house, I would have left it with its rightful owner: my nephew, Johnathon. I’ll mail it to him (sometime this year)…

054I’m stumped. There are two, both plastic. The back sides are identical. The fronts are identical. Who sews or is into antique buttons and such? What are these for? They’re about the size of my lens cap – say 2″? My husband couldn’t figure them out, either.

048Just some quartz crystals: two very clear ones that are less than half an inch in length and one amber colored one. It isn’t like *I* don’t have a similar collection of quartz crystals somewhere in this house!

066070This lovely fresh water pearl choker necklace is very vintage! I’m surprised it is still intact. It is on a very fine fishing line.It’s one of my favorite items, but I’d never wear it or I’d worry all the time about breaking it. If my girls don’t want it, I have someone in mind who I think would totally rock my mother’s vintage style.

Last – and definitely the least! – is the little round cup full of…

050ROCKS! I am so “my mother’s daughter”: I pick up rocks all the time and slip them into my pocket, drop them into a jar or a box or an old unused ash tray (I don’t smoke, so what else are ashtrays for?). My mother must have liked these tiny, flat, stones in particular, for she kept them in her jewelry box.

This post is long as there are a lot of photos -and I really only showed you some of the items in the jewelry box. There were broken necklaces, loose beads, single earrings, and odd buttons of no value. Several gold chains that are no more than ornamental gold chain necklaces. I have a bag of items to look into selling or giving to certain children or a close friend into that sort of jewelry. I’m pretty certain the rocks – along with the tons of rocks already inside my house! – will make it back to the outside world, to be buried in the soil and loam and eventually resurface again to the joy of another rock collector (not rock hound).




I had a lovely encounter with someone the other day that reminded me of People I Can Live Without.

She’s a bit of a Type A personality, and rather ADHD. On the surface, I rather like her: she has a lot of energy that I don’t have, and she’s very up-beat. I like upbeat people, and I don’t mind energetic people. But along came the conversation about retirement… and I divulged my plan to create a niche for myself in art and sell my artwork as a retirement plan.

She had the canned response we all know by now: “Oh, so-and-so did that! They always dreamed of selling their art, so when they retired…” And then she added the caveat: “But they’re high-end.”

You know. They are high-end. YOU are not, implied. Sight unseen. Judged on my current laid-back office position in a small office.

I really have no desire to *be* “high end”. I like laid-back, Bohemian, hippie, different. I have a very successful friend who does sell “high end” art work. I have another friend who successfully teaches and sells in galleries. Another who works with beads and does what I would consider excellent to high end jewelry. I’m immersed in art. What *I* want to do is create a niche that pays the bills, makes people happy, and satisfies my need to create.

What I do not want is to be classified as “not” something or other, especially if you have never seen my artwork. Thank you very much. After you see it, you can judge. I’m cool with that. Because it isn’t “high end”.

I can live without people like that and as soon as she was out of my presence I rolled my eyes and flipped her off. Because I don’t need her approval.

People who manipulate you by subtle criticism are people you can delete from your friend list. You may still have to interact with them, but you don’t have to like them or take their words to heart.

That woman who criticizes your bra size? She has a problem, not you. (In my case, I’m rather flat chested. The “she” I refer to criticized the fact that I had done nothing to “improve” upon that. Read: implants or padded bras. It could go the other way, however.) Really? Really??? My husband married me, knowing I’m flat-chested, and I bore him two children. If it doesn’t bother him, why should I care???

She made a few other “suggestions” about my dress, my hair style, and so on. I don’t need her approval. She’s also a Type A personality, very driven to “succeed”, have lots of money and “nice” things, and so on. She uses massive amounts of make-up to cover her facial flaws.

Me, I have puffy moles and facial hair, and expressions that Ruth Buzzi and Lily Tomlin would love. If I was an actress, I’d be a character actress with a specific genre to appeal to. I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be me.

Then there was my orthodontist. My last visit in her office, after I got my braces removed, was a high-pitched sales offer to bleach my teeth. I drink coffee, so my teeth tend to the yellow. I brush and floss and take care of my teeth – that’s not an issue. The braces were to fix a problem that was affecting my health, not to fix a smile. I rather liked my (old) crooked teeth, but they were affecting my overall health, and so I capitulated to braces late in life.

So – the whole “bleach your teeth” sales pitch came on and I calmly said, “NO.”

But “why not?”

“Because I am in my fifties, married, not in the dating pool, and I AM HAPPY WITH MY APPEARANCE.” You can bleach my teeth to hell and back and I am still going to have my father’s face, thinning hair, moles, and old skin.

I’ve never been back to that orthodontist. I don’t need her approval.

I have a pretty good ego. I have a great self-image. I intend to build on the Bohemian side of me as I retire. I don’t need anyone’s approval.

Just so you all know.

Oh. And here’s a sketch I did today that needs some work, but… I DO need your approval on. Gomer Camel.

001He has my teeth before I got braces on… And, yes, I know I need to get rid of the tree in the background.

Have a great day.

I spent much of this weekend sitting in a lawn chair with my right foot propped up. I managed to re-hurt it a week ago (not re-break, thankfully), and I have been – again – confined to the lower half of the house. I’ve made a couple trips up the daunting stairs over the weekend: once to pay bills online and once to grab some art supplies so I’d have something TO DO while sitting around. (Okay, we own two very large dogs. Usually, we leave a light on in the bathroom to illuminate the hallway at night. We neglected to do so last Sunday evening. My booted foot collided with a ninety pound English Setter in the dark. The resultant collision probably bruised the dog, definitely turned the air blue, and sent a shock wave down the length of my foot that confined me to bed for the following two days. I’m finally past that and am back upstairs, blogging. Now you know.)

The weather has been cooler than I prefer (read: “a perfect Oregon Summer” to the Natives). Every day has been breezy. Even those days which have achieved what *I* consider “perfect” (89 degrees or above) have been chilled by the west wind, and I find myself resorting to long sleeved shirts. Since I have been relegated to light walking and waiting for the pain of the most recent sprain to abate… I wondered how I would draw the summer breeze?

I stretched out under the perfect blue canopy that matches the perfect blue summer sky, and felt the breeze chill my arms and cool my feet. I began to doodle with my colored pencils. My first doodle is reminiscent of the stuff I produced when I was still under the age of thirty. I started with hanging vegetation, then curling hair, eyelashes… The finished 8×10″ is not my favorite:



But run it through a photoshop program, and I *love* the “chrome” version of the same:

012 chrome


Today, I was a bit more pragmatic. I started with the stereotype of wind: a puffing cloud face. I left off the actual face. The breeze is capricious, so the lines had to be capricious as well. There needed to be moving grass along the bottom of the doodle. And a leaf, dancing in the wind, but not an autumn leaf: a summer leaf. The clouds needed to be moving in.


Summer Breeze Original

This one was much more fun to play with in photoshop. How about chrome?

013 chrome


Not bad, not bad.

How about “colored edges”?

013 colored edges

Colored Edges

Or “colored foil”?

013 colored foil

Colored Foil

What a fun version!

013 glowing edges

Glowing Edges

Which one do you like?

I grew up with Will James. His artwork and his best-seller, Smoky the Cowhorse, tucked under my pillow at night. I dreamt of that horse, so unlike other horses: blue roan, wild, and loyal to one man. But it wasn’t really *that* Smoky that I imagined. It was the Smoky of my childhood that tracked through those dreams.


I first saw him when I was but a toddler, and my dad was stationed at Pole Creek Ranger Station in the Jarbidge District of Humboldt National Forest. He stood 17 hands and was a blue roan, wild as the high desert around him – and my father’s favorite horse of all the US Forest Service animals.

My mother feared him.

Smoky could escape any enclosure less than six feet tall. If he couldn’t jump it, he merely broke his way out. He was more than half-wild, a mustang rounded up for use by the Forest Service, and duly branded as such. he was never truly tame.

Nearly 60 years later, looking at his photograph, I can see the Quarterhorse lines through this horse. Someone left him out on National Forest land and lost a truly beautiful stud (that the USFS acquired and gelded). That’s a horse with amazing conformation and bloodlines.

I own the bridle and bit he wore – he was not a small horse.

Dad told me that he would take Smoky out and the first mile or two, Smoky bucked, crowhopped, and kicked. After that, he settled down into a long and steady gait. He was trustworthy in the worst of conditions, but when my dad made camp, Smoky has to be double-hobbled: hobbles on the front and rear. In the morning, despite the double hobbles, they had to hunt down Smoky. He was too wild to tame, and too crazy to know it.

I knew Smoky vaguely as a toddler. The photo above is of him in a corral at Pole Creek RS in the Jarbidge District of Humboldt National Forest.

002The color photo is faded with time. Same place. Smoky, saddled and ready to go. Alert and fiesty.

The last time I saw Smoky was when I was about 11. He was confined in the cement-and-brick water pool of Paradise Station in Paradise, Nevada. The hole was supposed to be a water container for fires seasons, but they had this especially crazy USFS saddle horse to contain, one that defeated all wood fences – even at his old age, which must have been 14 or 16 at the time.

My father kindly never told me when Smoky died, or how. What remains in my head and heart is a picture of a blue roan with a wild spirit – and impeccable Quarterhorse conformation.

I wonder what idiot rancher let this animal trespass the USFS so that they claimed him as their own? And I thank Smoky, because he has infused all my dreams of the perfect horse with images of roans. Blue and red and… Because roans are the most beautiful horses, ever.

Since gardening is pretty much out of the question, I played with my camera.

025I’d just cleared and seeded this patch next to the handicap ramp the week before I broke my foot. It was just a useless spot of grass, but is now awash with color.

012Most of the color comes from the Clarkia growing there: mauve, pink, white. There are some other delicate flowers in blue, white, and pink as well, and some bachelor buttons just beginning to open.

028The delicate Clarkia.

027A Bachelor Button.

032The evening primroses self-seeded in my yard from someone else’s garden. They remind me of my childhood, and I’ve allowed them to take up quite a bit of garden space.

026The little sidewalk that just ends points toward my burgeoning blackcap raspberry plant. Last year, I trained it the other direction. This year, it is being trained toward the east. I had a banner crop, but they ripened right around the first day of summer, and so I let the birds eat them. It was a hard thing to do – I love wild blackcaps (but I hate the thorns!)! Shasta Daisies are in bloom now, with the foxgloves faded.

A hint on growing blackcaps – you need to alternate the direction of the canes every year. I’ll cut the old west-pointing canes this fall and dispose of them. I can promise that there will be cuts and scrapes – blackcaps are more dangerous than Himalayan blackberry vines. Next spring, the blossoms and berries will grow on the eastern canes and I will train the new canes up to the west. It makes the disposal of the old canes much easier every autumn.

013Yellow evening primroses and yellow curry flowers frame the light purple of oregano. The honeybees LOVE oregano!

(The chair is support for my rosemary)

023Looking back: the white chair holds up my Russian sage. The yellow is the curry. Rosemary is where the green chair is. Bumblebees LOVE the Russian sage!

021The north flower bed is always the showiest with crocosmia lucifer, gladiolas, Bishop’s weed, pearly everlasting, black eyed susans, and Jacob’s ladder in bloom right now. Earlier, it was a show of peonies and irises. Later, the aster will add to the color.

finch1I caught this female house finch enjoying one of my birdbaths.

I really miss my garden and being able to navigate the uneven ground of our yard with ease. But I have my camera!!



It has been a week, to the date, since I have attempted to climb the stairs to the loft where my computer is. I probably should not have, but there you go. I do a lot of things I probably should *not* do.

A “for example” would be wrestling with a chair. I took two or three steps and collided with a chair. I don’t know which toes wrapped around the chair leg: either the fourth or fifth on my right foot. I did a rather quick pirouette that my childhood ballet instructor, Mrs. Bosch, would have been proud of, except that I landed on my tush and banged my head on the empty dog crate under the stair well. I think I may have said, “Oh Shit!” or “Oh Jesus!”.


The offending chair leg


My husband rushed from the living room to find me heaped upon the floor. Graciously, he helped me up onto the bed and I weakly asked for two things: an ice pack and a shot of whiskey. I skooted back as best I could and stuffed a pillow under my right leg, applied the ice, and attempted to drink the whiskey.

The next morning, after a failed attempt to crawl to the bathroom (my husband carried me back to bed), I did three things: I remembered I had a set of cructhes left over from knee surgery 8 years ago, I reluctantly called in sick to work, and I reluctantly called the advice nurse. Please, God, let her say it’s just a bad sprain and I just need ice…

She didn’t. She made an appointment for me, and then told me I just needed ice and elevation. Gee, thanks.


See those pens? They represent my fourth metatarsal bone in my right foot. I didn’t take a photo of the x-ray, so you just have to use your imagination. The fifth metatarsal (instep bone leading to the little toe) is also cracked, but not split in two like the fourth. I spent the better part of Tuesday hobbling from regular clinic to orthopedic clinic and home again.


The ortho gave me this really cool Storm Trooper™ boot. My grandsons will be jealous. Unfortunately (or, rather – fortunately), I only have one boot, not a matched set. I have orders to try to keep it elevated, and to try to stay off of it. No pins, no resetting the bone (“it will grow back together”), and follow-up in 6 weeks. He gave me a three month window to heal.

In other words: my summer of gardening, going to yard sales, and getting in those long walks with my dog are toast.

But I got the really cool boot.

Today was my first day back at work. I worked the full 8 hours. I could only do so because for $139, I got this super-duper awesome scooter.


I could have rented one, but the rental places wanted $100/week for a minimum of four weeks, and I could pick this up off of Amazon for … well. The thing glides. It’s got speed. It’s rocking my crippled world! My husband keeps threatening to add plastic flowers to the basket, a bell or horn, and streamers from the handles. My grandchildren are drooling.

So – I may not climb the stairs again for a few days, at least not to post here.

Oh – and I will be having a bone density test because, as the ortho said, “You’re a lady, you live in the Pacific Northwest, and we’re calcium deficient by default.”


The wee hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, erupted in a fusillade of gunfire inside a popular dance bar in Orlando, Florida. A deranged individual, un-medicated and delusional in his devotion to a radical Islamic band of murderers and rapists turned a semi-auto rifle onto a crowd. he had to pull the trigger every single time, reinforcing his hatred of others and his disdain for the sanctity of life more than one hundred times, and probably closer to three hundred times. He had to pause and change clips repeatedly. He should have been on the FBI’s “watch list” but he managed to keep his head low and so was able to legally purchase the weapons needed for the killing spree.

In the wake of this rampage, were the names of the victims or the pictures of their grieving loved ones tossed out onto social media in sympathy and mourning?

We began to blame, one finger pointed out from us, four fingers pointing back at us. Ban Guns. Ban Muslims. Blame the Christians. Blame the Republicans. Call the President of the US names. Argue about the caliber and type of rifle(s) used. Promote bad news media coverage. Ban all AR-15s (one was not used at Sandy Hook, by the way. The killer used a .223 deer rifle and a handgun). Oh, heck, get vile with our words and fling accusatory and inflammatory phrases around.

I got swept up into this when I innocently asked an acquaintance if she really meant “ban all guns”? That just seemed rather extreme, even for her. Yes, she meant ALL guns, even those used for hunting or sport. She meant my guns, and intimated that I was as much to blame for the murders as I owned guns. I reacted in hurt and anger, and unfriended her (I have since apologized for my rash actions, and been forgiven, but we will never be friends again. I don’t particularly want to, and I doubt she does, either).

I repent from that and have refrained from diving into discussions that are heated and unfriendly.

I have checked CNN several times, reading the stories of the beautiful lives lost: the promises, the smiles, the friendships, the brilliant minds. I am a Christian. I have very dear friends in the LBGT community – and very dear friends who are parents of young adults in the LBGT community. I don’t buy the turn-or-burn preaching. I believe in love, the kind of love that lays itself down not only for a friend, but for a complete and utter stranger – even a stranger who might hate you.

I was that Christian, once, long ago. I was in the passion of having just recognized Jesus as the very individual Who did give His life for people who hated Him, and did so willingly and lovingly. I didn’t recognize my hate for being the opposite of His love – that came later, as I aged, experienced, and as I realized that we’re all pretty faulty humans – me, especially. I have no grounds to judge any other person on what I may (or may not) consider sin: if we are judged by the sins in our dreams, then I have committed all sins.

What happened in Orlando was a travesty. Did the gun do it? Would strong background checks have prevented it? No, and maybe. The gun itself (a rifle, actually) is only a tool much like a sword, a seax, a spear, a cleaver, or whatever other weapon mankind has raised against mankind over the ages. The violence would have happened without the gun. Suicide bombing, or a bomb like the one Timothy McVey made out of fertilizer, arson, poison gas. For a depraved mind, the options are endless. Where there’s a desire to murder, there is a way. Murder is committed in the middle east with suicide bombs, often reaping more than fifty souls in one act.

Is it Islam? Some I know would strongly argue that it is, but I have read Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. I have friends who profess faiths other than my own, and I know in my heart of hearts that these friends would in no wise raise their hand in murder, or condone it. I don’t have to read the Quran to know that verses can be taken out of context and skewed to support someone’s deranged agenda: I have the Bible.

The Bible has been used to justify murder and slavery. Those adherents to the KKK can probably quote the Bible better than I can, but that doesn’t make them any more right than I am. Just read Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Twelve Years A Slave (seriously, The Help is drivel compared to those novels, albeit humorous drivel – we all want to be Minny delivering The Pie). And those are all “tame” books on slavery.

The issues we don’t want to discuss have always been with us: human trafficking, flesh slavery, rape, torture, murder. I just finished a five book series by Octavia Randolph on the Danish conquest of the Angles and Saxons in the late 9th century. Mass murders and rape, all accomplished without gunpowder. Our human history is littered with the tales: the Khans, who left piles of human skulls behind. Tribal warfare in Africa and the Americas. Chinese and Japanese enmities over centuries, including soirees into the other’s territory and the rape and murders of the humans in the way.

This is what we forget: that as human beings, as races, clans, and nations – we war. We rape, pillage, murder. We attempt to annihilate people: Wounded Knee, World War 2. We try to annihilate religions: Judaism, Christianity, Paganism, Wiccan. It’s all about force.

Rape women, you can force them to submit and bear the children of the victor (even if the victor will not support the bastard children).

Force a people to give up their gods, but neglect to tell them why your God is better (i.e., He loves them and died for them while you killed them).

Blame the weapons: swords, spears, rocks, razors, maces, arrows, explosives, AR-15s.

Meanwhile, the victim’s names and lives pile up and we are too involved in our arguments to pay attention to who we have lost – or what talent. Take a long look at each person. This isn’t an argument about YOUR ideology, it is about THEIR lost lives. We’ll talk gun control on another day, when the air is clear enough for you to rant.

The Victims.




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