Beading in the Rain

In my little part of the world, we’ve had nothing but rain for days on end.

Downpours. Cold. Wind. Thunderstorms.

But I’m not asking for sympathy. No siree. When the weather gets bad, some people read; others sleep.

I bead.

And since I had to attend a special dinner on Saturday evening with Mom, I used that morning to whip up a new pair of earrings to match the outfit I was planning on wearing.

Here’s what I came up with:

Earrings by me

You can’t see the pretty detail from this picture (blame the cloudy skies and the flash on my camera insisting on leaving a gaudy white spot on the black background). But they perfectly matched the color in my top. . . .Wait, I have a better idea! I’ll write a fancy sales copy paragraph describing them.

Simple and elegant — The bottom half of this handmade pair of beaded dangling earrings features five matching, 5 mm round, pink pearls separated by a 1/8-inch ornate silver tube bead. A figure 8 connector attaches the bottom portion to a half-inch long antique silver tube bead. Silver leverback findings provide an easy and secure on/off. Perfect for dress occasions! Flirty and attractive, just in time for summer!

No, I don’t sell my jewelry online — yet. I’ve been told I should, but as it is, I have more than enough on my plate running a business and writing. And the thought of taking every single piece I’ve made out of its protective bag, photographing it in the best possible light, writing sales copy, designing a Website, and placing all those items on it — not to mention the actual selling of the pieces, boxing them up, shipping them, etc. — just makes me weary.

So, for now at least, I’ll just continue to love beading. It’s relaxing, and there’s something that satisfies me to the core in selecting beads, playing with colors and textures, molding them together, and rejoicing in the pleasure of being creative.

Is it wrong to love doing something, just for yourself?

Sharing Secrets

When you work for yourself like I do, it’s sometimes tempting to skip the makeup and dressing routine.

After all, who sees you except your trusty computer? And it doesn’t judge.

But I’ve never given in to that temptation. Every morning, rain or shine, outside appointment or not, I “do” my face and put on something other than PJs.

Why? Is it vanity? Or habit? Or fear of scaring people who might show up at my door? Or some combination of all that?

I had an aunt (she divorced my uncle, so I guess she’s technically not still my aunt) who used to get up WAY before her husband and kids. Just so she could “put her face on” and they wouldn’t have to see her au naturel.

I used to think that was a bit radical. I mean, did she expect them to love her any less in her bare face than in her made-up face?

Or maybe she just couldn’t stand the thought of accidentally seeing her own nude face reflected in a mirror?

Anyway, that’s not my concern. I’m taking notes from my computer and refusing to judge.

Some women have gorgeous skin and need very little touching up to keep it that way. Lucky them!

Others have issues. Sun damage, acne or its scars, wrinkles or blotchiness.

I happen to have Rosacea.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? A rosy complexion.

But who wants to look like they’re blushing all day every day? Or like they’re an alcoholic? When they’re NOT!

As a child, I had a peaches-and-cream complexion with light blonde hair (typical Rosacea appearance, thanks in part to my Irish heritage). Shortly after I turned 30, I noticed a persistent pinkness on my cheeks that showed up when I blushed but didn’t go away after the blush should have been over.

People, even doctors, pointed out that I must have been in too much sun. But I haven’t consciously let the sun touch my face in many years; rather, I douse my skin in sunscreen and often wear a brimmed hat.

Finally, I found a dermatologist who diagnosed my Rosacea and put me on medication. No, it’s not curable, but how many obituaries have you read where the person died from Rosacea?

And I’m in good company — former President Bill Clinton, J.P. Morgan, and Mariah Carey all had/have Rosacea. So did W.C. Fields.

But I’m one of the lucky ones. I caught it early, before the symptoms could worsen and involve more than just my face. In fact, most people I know never would guess I have it!

So, there you have my rationale for makeup. To cover my red face.

Is it vanity? Perhaps, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Any secrets you’d care to share?

Bunny Tales (or should I say, Tails?)

I hate to say this, but when God was handing out brains, rabbits were in another line.

Oh, they’re cute, all right. And they can hop and run fast. And I’ve never heard of one attacking anything (except, perhaps a veggie garden!)

But why are mama rabbits so dumb?

I mean, we have a large, fenced backyard, perfect for the Sheltie to run. We have trees and bushes, where the Sheltie can lounge or play hide-and-seek.

It’s not a yard where anybody would be dumb enough to drop their litter of babies, then run off and ignore them for hours on end.

Backyard bunny nest

But leave it to an as-yet-unseen Mama Bunny — that’s just what she did.

The other day, I watched from a window while the Sheltie went out to potty. He doesn’t get a cookie reward unless he accomplishes something, and I’ve known him to fib!

Well, he kept nosing around this one spot, circling it, examining it, curiosity written all over his furry face.

He’d found something.

Having just proofed an article on rabies in wildlife that a friend had penned for the local newspaper, I feared the worst.

A dead animal. With rabies.

So I braved the outdoors to check. What I saw was a patch of rabbit’s fur on the ground, and the fur was moving!

Mama Bunny had thrown caution to the wind and dropped her babies right in my backyard. Right where the Sheltie could get at them, if he was so inclined.

Now every time he goes out, I’m having to remind him to keep away from that bunny hole. So far, he seems to understand.

But he’s mighty curious. And every time the door opens, he high-tails it outside, right to THE SPOT.

Where he watches. And listens. And sniffs.

I can only hold him off so long. When those babies pop out of that hole, he’s going to have a field day herding them around the yard!

If the neighbor’s cats don’t get them first.

Another “Fad” Diet?

I was minding my own business when something caught my attention on Good Morning America today.

It seems that some new brides, fearing they won’t look PERFECT on their wedding day, are taking to a drastic means of shedding excess pounds.

Yes, there’s a doctor who has found that inserting a feeding tube into the poor dear’s nose for a 10-day period can help banish unwanted weight without side effects.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

The K-E Diet promises to rid you of 20 excess pounds in 10 days. You exist on basically 800 calories a day, supposedly aren’t hungry for the entire 10-day period, and are under a doctor’s supervision but not hospitalization.

The Florida doctor promoting it says the only side effects are a bit of constipation and bad breath.

Oh, and you have to carry your “food” around with you in a purse-like bag and keep the nose tube in place.

Hmmm.

I think the bigger quandary is why a bride figures she has to be perfect in the first place.

I mean, suppose this diet works and she loses the pounds. Isn’t it likely she’ll gain them back on her honeymoon or during her marriage?

And, if a bride has to be perfect, shouldn’t her husband be perfect, too? He’s probably carrying a pound or two extra, so maybe they can do the diet together.

Wouldn’t that be cute?

I can just hear the pundits now. The couple who diets together, stays together.

Really? They probably just stay angry together and wolf down everything in sight once the fast is over!

The K-E Diet only recently came to the U.S. from Europe. I’d love to hear if it worked there and if the pounds truly stay off, or if it’s just another American fascination with anything foreign and exotic.

And the diet doesn’t come cheap. The doctor’s going price is $1,500 for the 10-day treatment (questionable whether insurance will cover it).

So what do you think? Would you be willing to try the K-E Diet?

Easter Egg Hunting

Sad to say, My Favorite Domer learned from an early age that Easter Egg hunts aren’t as much fun as they’re cracked up to be.

When he was but a young’un, Domer signed up to participate in the annual YMCA egg hunt.

There would be prizes. And candy. And a visit from the Easter Bunny. And fun.

Or so we thought.

The day of the hunt dawned cold (typical Midwest weather). We arrived at the park, registered, and were shown which fenced-off area the kids in his age group would comb.

So far, so good.

When the whistle blew, the kids were off. Problem was, so were the parents.

Yep, the adults got involved in a kids’ Easter Egg hunt. They mowed down the fence and muscled their way toward the hidden eggs, knocking down little kids right and left.

Kids were crying and screaming; other parents were hollering.

Nobody had much fun.

Especially Domer, who, like his mom, doesn’t particularly like crowds.

Or aggression.

Our Easter Egg hunts then became more tandem affairs. I’d hide the eggs; he’d find them. When he got older, he’d hide the eggs and let me look for them (but mostly, he just couldn’t stand not telling me where each one was!)

Fast-forward a few years. Domer was fifteen when a darling Sheltie came to live with us.

Too old for egg hunts.

So we decided to hold an egg hunt for the dog.

We took some treats (broken bits of Pupperoni work especially well!) and inserted them into plastic eggs. One of us went outside with the dog while the other hid the eggs in plain sight inside.

With the hiding completed, we let the Sheltie inside to search.

He LOVED it! Amid much clapping and laughing and encouragement from us, he raced around the house looking for the eggs with the treats. Finding one, he’d bust it open and scarf down the tidbit.

So that’s become our Easter tradition — a dog’s egg hunt.

No pushing, no shoving, no screaming. Everybody has fun, and isn’t that what Easter Egg hunts are supposed to be like? Here, take a look at a few of this year’s hunting photos:

Finding a pink egg

Finding a yellow egg

Domer helps with the blue egg

Happy Easter!

I’ve got a case of the lazies right now (let’s just call it Spring Fever!). It’s hard to be inside working when the sunshine is calling, birds are chirping, and nature beckons.

Anyway, with Domer home for a short spell and all the church obligations I need to participate in over the weekend, I decided I’d take the easy way out and post some spring pictures. You enjoy pretty pictures now and then, don’t you?

Here’s hoping everyone has a beautiful Easter!

Pair of pink tulips

I think this is a rhododendron

No clue what this is, but it's a mass of lilac-colored blooms!

Pink azalea

Dogwood blossoms

Lady Bears Beat Lady Irish

History was made last night in Denver during the NCAA women’s basketball championship game.

I won’t bore you with the statistics, which I never remember anyway, but the Lady Bears from Baylor University demolished the Lady Irish from Notre Dame 80-61.

The Lady Bears became the first team ever to go 40 wins and no losses during a season; this was their second national title.

While it’s kind of exciting to witness history in the making, my heart aches for the Irish. Bringing a 35-3 record into the final (and besting a scrappy UConn team in the semifinals), the Lady Irish were hoping for a victory to ease the disappointment of losing last year’s championship to Texas A&M. A win also would have been their second championship (the first was in 2001).

It wasn’t to be.

Early in the game, the Irish led by a couple of points and was only down six at halftime. Typically, after a hesitant first half, they come out blazing for the second half.

Not last night.

They ran into foul trouble, their shots turned ice-cold, and their ability to grab rebounds proved nonexistent.

No wonder.

They were up against Baylor’s Brittney Griner, who stands 6’8″.

That’s six feet, eight inches!

Now everybody expects good basketball players to be tall, but Brittney is taller than the average male in the U.S. (5’9.4″).

She’s also GOOD.

She scored points from the floor, snatched rebounds, blocked Irish shots — in short, everything asked of her to bring her ‘A game’ to the finale.

And she did it with class. No trash-talk. No super-sized ego. Just praise for her teammates and Coach Kim Mulkey.

So, while it’s disappointing to lose — especially a national championship, especially for Notre Dame’s graduating seniors — if you have to lose, it’s palatable to lose to a team like the Lady Bears.

After all, I seriously doubt whether any team, men’s or women’s, could have bested them last night!

Palm-Weaving

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. The people welcomed Him by laying palm branches (a symbol of victory) along the street and singing songs of joy.

Less than a week later, He would be crucified.

Christians the world over continue to celebrate Palm Sunday, with church-goers receiving blessed palms.

But what can you do with a palm leaf once Palm Sunday is over? I mean, you can’t just throw it away because it’s a “sacramental” and reminds us of Christ’s resurrection. It also points to the multitude of saints in Heaven “wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.” (Rev. 7:9)

Traditionally, some people return home with their palms and place them behind a crucifix or a religious picture. I’m told that farmers often bury them in the corners of their fields. Many parishes re-collect the dried palms before Ash Wednesday and burn them, using the ashes for that liturgy.

Another custom, particularly among Italian and Polish peoples, involves palm-weaving.

To weave palms, you take the frond (leaf) and transform it into a new shape by bending, cutting, and folding. Some of the more popular shapes include crosses, crowns of thorns, roses, and various animals, including fish.

Perhaps because the Palm Sunday readings are longer than those on other Sundays, I usually find myself weaving a cross out of my palm. I assumed some of my Italian forebears did likewise, but when I asked Mom which of her relatives passed this custom down, she didn’t remember any of them doing that.

As I thought about it longer, I realized the first time I made a palm cross was when Domer was little. An older woman sitting nearby was calmly folding and bending her palm frond into a beautiful shape, and Domer was fascinated.

Quiet, too, which is saying something for a small child in a long church service!

Anyway, Domer watched this weaving and promptly mimicked it with his own palm leaf. He silently walked me through the process, which, by the way, is easier than it looks online.

We still weave our palm fronds into crosses, but some of those other patterns look interesting. Do you weave palms, too?