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I decided I needed to expand on a theme in cosplay. I have this bow and quiver I put together for Faerieworlds a couple of years ago. Somehow, it is lacking a – helmet.

Yes, I think it is lacking a helmet. A Dragon Hunter helmet.

And the minute I think that, the wheels in my brain start turning.

My father’s U.S. Forest Service fire fighting helmet, a broken potato peeler/shredder (vintage). aluminum foil, some cutting implements, silver Duck™ Tape, styrofoam cones for flower arrangement. I used the grater to shape the styrofoam cones, and the knife to create a convex shape in the cone. These are going to be the horns. Yes – horns.

After I shaped the cones, I coated them in plastic wood. Two coats, actually. Then I sanded them down and applied acrylic paint. I sanded them again. Last, I coated them with polyurethane.

I covered Dad’s helmet with aluminum foil so as to not destroy the sentimental value of the helmet (his name and the USFS stickers). Then, I covered the aluminum foil with the silver Duck™ Tape. I applied black acrylic paint to give it some depth, and create something of a “dented” helmet factor. Then came the adornments.

I have tons of “adornments” and this is such a small sampling of little odds and ends I *just know* I will use “sometime”. The chain, the wolf/fox face, and the arrowhead have been in my collection since I do not know when. I’ve never found a good use for that chain, which is a fascinating piece of work. And the wolf/fox head! The bird “skull” is a recent purchase but matches one I used on the bow I carried to Faerieworlds two years ago.

The leather strap came out of my mother’s junk, and with a little cutting and sewing, it made the crown piece for the helmet.

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I used Gorilla™ glue to glue the “horns” down, and then taped them down with the same Duck™ tape. and burnished with acrylic paint.

And. last, I enlisted my reluctant husband (who dos not do cosplay and who does not understand my weird artistic bents) to take a final photo:

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My hair is a mess & I’m not in costume, but this is a freaking awesome helmet.

Many thanks to my father, who left me his helmet. And my husband, who just doesn’t get it, but who played along and took the photo, anyway.

I have already updated the status of my dog, Harvey, on several social media sites (he has his own FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Harveyalbertpresley/), but I feel the need to follow-up here, too. He’s Okay. He has doggy bronchitis and he is on antibiotics. We didn’t do an x-ray of his heart, because it didn’t seem necessary. His heart sounds good and healthy. He’s been on antibiotics for two days now, and his coughing has noticeably slowed down. He does, however, need to lose the ten pounds he gained since I broke my foot last June, therefore, he is on reduced caloric intake.

I am working hard on photos for the applications I need to make for two art shows this summer. The photos are the hardest part: I need them to look professional. Unfortunately, I could not take anything outside and photograph in the shade this weekend: we’re in a monsoon. I do have some good photos, but I would like more to choose from, and of different media and size art work. I think I have a work-around: take the art to work with an easel & take photos during my lunch hour in the large conference room. Lots of natural lighting & no need for a flash.

I am working on a list of things I need to set up a NICE display, from the pop-up (I can borrow a 10×10′ one) to tables and frames and pegboard. I haven’t done an art show since the 1970’s, and that wasn’t juried. I sold three art pieces, all to the same person. One was a commissioned piece that I painted after the show. I probably have photos of those pieces in my 35mm files (pre DSLR days), but they aren’t relevant to the now.

I know I can do this, and I appreciate the Facebook comments and encouragements. I actually have a very strong ego, and while I am momentarily intimidated by something, I can usually plow through (after venting, of course). As an introvert, venting by writing is the way I roll. Being able to vent publicly  on a blog is sort of a plus: you find out there are people just like you out there. 🙂

I do want to paint more than just the minis I am currently working on (see my website), but I have to concentrate on this summer and the art shows, and the very limited amount of time I have to paint (especially with summer coming, and my other passion – gardening – competing for my weekend and evening time).

Several people have asked me to join their cause. I need to state this now: my cause is animals. I am not an “animal rights” person, because animals are considerably more complicated than that. They don’t afford rights to each other, and neither should I afford ‘rights’ to animals. However, I am a conservationist. I am not anti-hunting, but I am anti-trophy hunting: if you are not hunting to feed your family – get a good camera and take photographs. We are in an extinction crisis.

I told my husband that I am learning more about Class-Family-Genus-Whatever than I ever learned in science (I flunked biology in high school, dashing my dreams of becoming a veterinarian). I told him how I cannot believe how many antelope species there are, how some animals seem to cross Family boundaries, and then there are rodents. He said (casually), “I am surprised you haven’t gotten into lagomorphs.”

For the first time in my life, I actually understood that. I replied that, “Oh, yes. I have discovered lagomorphs.” Hares and rabbits are fascinating.

Taking a deep breath. I have a lot of work to do this week: photos, applications, lists of things I need, setting up the Etsy shop, business cards. And that’s outside of the 40 hour work week and house work and car maintenance and relationship maintenance.

P.S. _ I get that this blog does not follow traditional news: WWWWW and H

 

Politics aside. Real life begins. What I am up to. PANIC.

No, I kid you not. My mentor is turning me loose with my own art booth this summer and I am in Full.Panic.Mode. She probably guessed that because I was really, really, really quiet at her house yesterday. Or maybe not, because I am always really quiet.

I have 88 pieces of art. I need 100 by June. I need quality photos so I can apply for my first solo art show in June (first weekend). I need display boards. business cards, postcards, a pop-up (I can borrow one), a banner (I have a friend…), and all the muster I can come up with. And a boothie, possibly (I have an idea or two). I need to breathe.

I need to get juried.

That’s just one thing.

Mr. Harvey has been coughing.

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I searched his cough on line and I came up with really dire information: he has heartworm, it’s going to cost me thousands of dollars just to get him diagnosed, and I have to keep him *absolutely still* during treatment. He’s a freaking BIRD DOG and you do NOT keep them still.

Called the vet today and confessed that I am an old-school owner who only visits the vet when the pet is actually sick or needs to be licensed. And admitted that the Harvemeister is overweight sue to my breaking my foot last summer and the lack of regular exercise for the past 8 months. And asked how much this was going to cost us, because – you know – money vs. pet. It’s the saddest of all debates.

  1. It’s probably *not* heartworms, because we don’t have that in our area, and Harvey hasn’t been out of state since 2011.
  2. Exam is around $48. If they think it is heartworms, two tests are around $58. However, it is most likely a heart problem and they’ll want to x-ray the heart for $88. Seriously, nowhere near the thousands of dollars the Internet promised me. I can afford this.
  3. He already has a spinal column issue and he’s 8 years old and not crippled. He’s a charmed dog. He still climbs stairs and descends them with no issue (just a little pain, but we can manage that).
  4. He is obese, but I can walk again. And if he doesn’t have heartworms, WE can exercise again.
  5. This guy is my world. He’s not a cat or a horse, but he’s my dog. He slept with me on my dad’s floor when Dad died in 2011. He’s my Best Bud. I am so relieved the Vet Tech told me all of this in advance. I love Vet Techs!!
  6. I love our vet. He’s old school, like me. He’s not quite on the level of the vet I grew up with (who was quite terse), but he understands those of us from a different generation who relegate pets to a different status than humans. And she sat with us when we had to euthanize Sadie, and cried with us. You don’t get vets any better than that. (And he sewed Sadie up on a major holiday, when she sliced herself open on barbed wire and we had to drive 1.5 hours back to Oregon City to save her. Sadie is another story – she lived another 7 years after that.)

Mostly, I am up to the art show panic. Once I get past Harvey’crisis, and I can concentrate on applying for the art show… I will be in total INFJ panic.

I will survive.

Deep breaths.

And, if you follow my blog, good thoughts/prayers for the Harvemeister. Harvey Albert. My purebred rescue English Setter. Love my Harvey, my Pooka.

 

We are in uncertain times. I am an HSP, and an Empath, and an INFJ. (I’ll let you do the research on the acronyms and on what an Empath is – I haven’t got the energy or emotional strength to do it for you). I feel what is in the air ten times more strongly than anyone who is not any of the above, times three.In other words, I am currently a hyper-ventilating, panic-stricken, soul. And it isn’t necessarily my own fears, but it is the fear that is in the air.

What I am going to suggest is going to fly in the face of everyone who wants to get out there and do something now.

Wait. Just wait.

I think we are dealing with a sleight-of-hand, and we need to back up a little bit. We’re being stirred up into a frenzy: right against left, son against mother, husband against wife, friend against friend. No one knows for certain what is being played out in front of them: we’re being gas-lighted, but by whom?

Save your energy. They – whoever ‘they’ are – are trying to distract us, wear us down, and divide us. It is in our best interests, whether we are on the right, left, or middle, to wait a few. Breathe. Weigh the question of the timing of the event we’re ready to pounce on and jump on.

Listen. Really, really, really listen. With our hearts, souls, spirits. Do we really want to go down this path of divisiveness?

We need to pause and consider our own words and convictions, away from the Party lines. Do we really want to alienate our family? Our friends?

I am speaking from the place of being the Odd One Out in a family of Republicans. I have often been the Odd One Out, since I was 16 and I voted for George McGovern in a mock election at high school. (Sometimes, I have voted for the Republican. Confession for the ones who think I am completely Left. I’m not.)

When you are the Odd One Out, you listen a lot. At least I do. It’s easier than arguing my point against people who have already formed their opinions. Besides, I have always believed that we must listen to our opponent in order to 1) understand and 2) learn. Sometimes, we change our opinion, and despite the current philosophy that considers such a switch as hypocrisy, sometimes it comes because you listened and learned something you did not consider before.

Listening and weighing the words of the opposition can cause you to change your mind. I know – that’s pretty much heresy in these days: to admit that maybe (just “maybe”) you were wrong. Or judgmental.

I used to be a Gung-ho Pentecostal evangelical Christian. Turn or Burn. No middle ground. Sex outside of the marriage was unforgivable unless you got married (which I did). Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Transgender=sin. Don’t tithe exactly 10% and give more=heretical. Be friends with non-believers=pathway to sin. Prayers aren’t answered? Question your actions (faith based on works).

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. I started to question it all when I gave flowers to my first lesbian friend, Ellen, upon the occasion of her legal marriage to her long-time lover. Ellen died of ovarian cancer. I was one of the last people to see Ellen alive. She was one of my very best friends. I miss her every day. I believe Jesus met Ellen with open arms. End of story.

That ten percent didn’t help my family so much. Don’t ask.

Late events have driven me back to the first scriptures I ever memorized as a Rainbow Girl, which is a sub-division of the Masons, and considered “demonic” by the “church”. Here are those verses:

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” James 1:27 KJV

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Right now, we need to rock back on our heels and wait. Put love in our hearts and wait. Listen, but not to the media – listen to something deeper and more spiritual – listen to our inner voice in a long moment of silence. Listen. Do we really want to go down this path and buy into the media hype and the government spin?

Take a breath. Look around you. Decide to be a friend. Decide to help, give aid, open your door as needed. Decide to support our troops.

Mostly, I implore you: back off and wait for the important issues. What has happened so far is a smoke screen. Wait for the real show.

 

 

I confess to breezing through these two books, both in satisfactory condition, and from my mother’s childhood book collection (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – only I kept every damn book, and she just kept her favorite childhood ones).

The first was written by a very familiar author, L.M. Montgomery: “Magic for Marigold”.

First Editions go for a nice $60-$75, in good condition. This is a second edition, printed in 1929. I am not a good judge of this book: I read “Anne of Green Gables in junior high, and I am one the very few young girls who did not fall in love with Anne, and Lucy Maud Montgomery. I do read fan fiction by authors who love her works, but it’s really not my genre.

Marigold is engaging in the first chapter, and quite funny. I fell in love with the cats, Lucifer and The Witch of Endor. Marigold never trusted the pair, but she loved all the kittens. And that’s really all I have to say about it, because that is all that engaged me. A true romantic would have been in love with the book. A true fan would love the book. Sadly, I am neither.

My first thought was, “You’re not serious? Isn’t this a comic strip?” Then I wondered who June Gueldner was. The book was published in 1943 and is worth only a few dollars, even in Vintage condition: too many were published, too many survive, and Brenda Starr only retired a few years ago, after 71 years in the comic strip business.

Still, this is an original by the original comic strip artist, Dale Messick. And it is rife with 1940’s clichés about working women. Oy vey. No wonder my mom was a feminist ahead of her time.She knew Brenda Starr was a romantic farce.

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Yeah. Pretty much. It’s about a smart girl who becomes a damsel in distress and is rescued by someone tall, blonde, and handsome. We should all sigh collectively.

I do think Brenda evolved into a feminist after Dale Messick retired and other artists took over the trade. She stayed in her twenties throughout her entire life. And, truthfully, she paved the way for a lot of us feminists by being a Girl Reporter and getting the job done. Instead of mocking her, I should be thanking her.

Thank you, Brenda, for paving the way for women in the news business. Brenda had “moxie”, and a lot of it.

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Yeah. I do not make this stuff up.

Fortunately, the last person to wear that hideous outfit was Pesky, that freckled guy on the left. The clam shells looked better on him in cartoon.

So — on to the next reading adventure!!

Just kidding. You’d think that, if you only listened to Portland-area newscasters. Yes, the city is pretty much shut down. Yes, there are people still going out there and attempting to drive without traction devices. Yes, the entire trucking community is at a standstill because of a few who didn’t chain up.

And, yes, I made the call to close the office today and take a snow day. My job is a “non-essential” position and there’s no reason to go out, and chain up to drive three miles to sit in an office that noone is going to come to. Instead, I laced up my snow boots and grabbed my camera, and took a ton of fun photos to commemorate The Great Snow Fall of 2017 (which isn’t nearly as deep as other snow falls we’ve had at this address, but because it fell on January 11, sets a new record). For the date.

We had 12 inches one snowfall somewhere in the realm of 8-10 years ago. 18″ in February of 1996. Today, we got 6″. (Portland got more.)

If I wasn’t battling bronchitis, I’d wish I still had my x-c skis. As it was, it nearly kilt me to shovel the front walk & clear off my car (hubby did the back and cleared off several bushes as well).

Anyway – here’s my gallery of fun (often photo-shopped) snow pictures. I love snow. I’d probably hate it if I still lived in snow country, where it’s as common as fleas are in this country.

Happy January!!

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This is how I feel about 2017. I should be enthusiastically preparing new goals, tossing out old ones, and starting off on a good foot. I’m not.

I’m on the tail end of a nasty winter cold that kicked my butt and kept me out of the office a total of 13 hours last week. I’m coughing less and it hasn’t degraded into bronchitis, but I still lack energy and motivation. Today is the first day that I have done anything besides occupy space (I mean, aside from the daily living stuff we all do, like work, sleep, watch t.v., buy groceries and dog food, and watch it snow).

My brain is stuck somewhere on the long flight back from Georgia to Portland, just a week ago. We’d gone down to St. Augustine, Florida, on the Friday before: toured the old fort, wandered the “Colonial district”, drank beer at an Irish pub and a British pub, and spent the night in a motel. In the morning, we toured the lighthouse, and made the drive back to Georgia. My daughter-in-law took me to the airport in Savannah, and I began the long flight home. I didn’t sleep much.

The Irish pub was in the Colonial district and our beer maid was a gal from Beaverton, Oregon. They had great micro-brews on tap.

The British pub was a karaoke dive where the bartender occasionally neglected his duties to sing. We bought bottled beer because what was on tap was so… normal. And we laughed and laughed and laughed. Then we went to a pizza place and split a shot of Jamesons’ whiskey to the Irish in all of us.

I made a lot of flight observations.

On the way out of Portland to DFW, I waited in the gate near a woman who was glued to her cell phone. You could hear her entire conversation. She never looked around, just talked into that damn phone the hour we sat at the gate waiting. And she followed me when we started to queue up to board, still talking on the damn phone. Worse, she was my seat mate, but by then she’d put down the phone and pulled out a lap-top that she remained glued to for the entire flight.

Me, I like to people watch. I observe. I listen. Little kids wandering away from parents. People plugging into their electronics and texting or reading. The way people avoid eye contact. People who make eye contact and manage a small smile. Anyone looking shifty. The woman who walks away from her luggage and returns a few minutes later. The number of dogs in the airport. The stewardesses and the gate crew. The clothes people wear.

I am the person who will see it coming: the guy with the gun or whatever. These people glued to their electronics? They’ll never see it coming. Can’t say if I’d survive, but I think I have a better chance than the clueless.

I checked my luggage through to Savannah because the flight was full. Carry-on, checked voluntarily = free checked bag. Remember that. I try not to check my luggage, but it felt right on Christmas eve.

Coming home, I met the only bigot on the entire trip. He really didn’t have any place to complain (he was “group 3”) but he was upset because a Ukraine ex-pat edged her way in front of him in line and he had to move to a slot behind me. I was in “group 2” with the woman from the Ukraine. But he still had to rant loudly that she should “go back to Russia. Go back to the Ukraine. Go back wherever she came from”.

I want to say that everyone turned to him and told him to shut up. I want to say that someone else stood up to him. I wanted to shut him out and ignore him, but he was in line right behind me, and still ranting. So I shut him up. “Really? Are we going to do that now?” Meaning: it’s New Year’s Eve, and we all want to go home. Just shut up and be patient.” Oh, and “You’re an asshole.” It shut him up.

Then I was on the airplane, next to a sullen-looking woman of about my age, and an empty middle seat. She slept; I stared out the window. New Year’s Eve turned to New Year’s Day somewhere along the flight, and I saw fireworks. But it was still 2016 when I landed and still 2016 when my girlfriend dropped me off at home.

Then it was 2017 and I was sick. And it was cold. And we had a snow/ice storm. And I am just simply not ready for it to be 2017. The year is more than a week old, and I am just catching up to the fact that the date changed. Oy vey.

Can I go back to Georgia now?