Monday, December 15, 2008

What is more important ...

What is more important :

Unity or Truth?


Friday, November 7, 2008

Climbing over the hump

I can get all of my studio rebuilt (which I have done).
I can get all of my canvases and paints and tools ready.
And then...there is the black hole...the void...the hump...the wall that I can't get past.
It sends me to do other chores, laundry, dishes, bills what ever, block me from actually sitting down and doing the act of painting. Of sitting down and actually applying the paint, stroke by stroke.

Miraculously, once I sit down and begin to apply paint, I begin to see the next step that the piece or painting must take. I could not see that step until I had begun the first step of the "journey". Until I engaged in the project. Then it unfolded to me. In the quietness of painting, my thoughts expand and contract and see in new ways, and there is peace and communion with Almighty God - this moment is where I am most myself, with as much of His presence as I can receive, comprehend or stand.

It occurs to me that this preparation, and subsequent block/wall to doing the actual sitting down and painting, is very similar to our relationship with God. We cannot see the whole picture, but when we settle ourselves down to do His way, or to seek Him, and NOT religion for it's own sake, that He reveals Himself and His plan step by step, in a way that each individual of us might receive, process and comprehend it.

I think painting is my meditation.
It is my devotional time, with the Creator of the Universe; the Creator of myself, as I am.
It is then that I realise, He is indeed fully pleased with me - even more - He not only loves me, He LIKES me.

And yet, there is this hump, wall or stumbling block that keeps me from sitting down and painting - engaging in that humble, naked moment before Him, in quietness, when I am only myself = which is not enough for the world, but is exactly enough for Him who has created me to be this way.

Monday, November 3, 2008

observation by Stu

So Stu said he noticed how dad never knocks on the door but just tried to wrestle it open and walk right in. He noticed that, if the door is locked, that my dad, instead of knocking, will stomp around on the porch and bang his cane down really hard on the porch to get our attention, but he refuses to knock.
Something about Stu's observation suddenly cracks me up, because it validated what I have been thinking: the old man is so dang controlling that he can't bring himself to even knock on the door, because to knock is too humbling an experience for him.

It makes me laff for a minute and feel like I am not the one who is crazy here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quote of the day

"Joe thinks that Obama is an overconfident imbecile for believing his diplomatic approach to the Middle East would ever yield success.

- Joe Mantecon. Artist and Marine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blake has a new song

ok so my son has gone off to PDx to college and he and David have given birth to a new song. I am sure BlanDrew video will follow during the upcoming year.
Anyway, the link to their new song is here.

Un-Opened Letter is my favorite for obvious reasons.

Kitchy Curio Shop

The store where I work is referred to in polite circles as a "Vendor Mall". It is a place where any one can rent a booth space and hawk their taudry wares as they see fit.

It is a wondrously kitchy, educational and inspiring place to work for 2 days each week.

Here is a sample of some of more interesting "taudry wares" being marketed there.
(You will need to click on the photo to see the proper enlarged version of the photo.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama's Health Care Notion would not work for my family

He would REQUIRE children to be insured?

In reality, I think this should be mandated but only until about 5 or 6 years of age after which time, the only things that kids need hospitlization for is a broken bone, an appendectomy, tonsillectomy, eartubes etc. (-and this is a GENERAL STATEMENT that applies to the AVEREAGE family - not those battling childhood cancers and similar extreme deadly illnesses, etc)

Under the guise of presenting himself as noble by taking the "Children first" tack with regard to emotional wording, he managed to avoid providing for the most expensive and at risk group : The Middle Aged American.
We are now the people who are the ones without health care.

We will take care of our kids first.
I will take my kids to the Dr at the first sign that a cold/flu is going bacterial.
But there comes a time when kids injuries are payable, even after a few years of making payments, which I have done.

It is MY age group that his plan shuffles off under the rug because our health risks are MORE expensive and our health insurance is more expensive because of it.

It is MY age group that dies prematurely of simple stuff - heart attack, diabetes complications, cholesterol, cancers etc because we cannot take food out of our kids mouths to go get checked out.

Obama mandating that Employers provide
Insurance/help with insurance:

Well that's already what we have now, and his plan for this is not sounding all that different.

If I am unemployed - then I have no employer to "Help" pay in for my health care.
If I am unemployed because I am a stay at home mom, then odds are we can't afford to pay into the health care package provided by my spouses employer, because we are not making enough to pay that extra amount, since there is only ONE salary coming into the household.

Kids are eligible for free clinics more often than their parents.
I know because I have had to participate in the Oregon Health Plan from time to time while raising my 3 kids. Now that plan has gone belly-up and can no longer provide services. It was a great experiment that died.

I still say that McCains health care plan is the one that would best fit our families needs.

My kids health care needs after the ages of 6 went down enourmously. Mine and my husbands went up. Kid injuries like the common ones I listed above are relatively inexpensive by comparison, and can be paid off within the course of 1-2 years. I know I have done it many times.

If I get cancer, there is NO treatment for me.
We make too much to be seen by free clinics, and we don't make enough to pay for health care, send our kids to college and food and basics are often a struggle. If I get a cold/fly that appears to be going bacterial, I do not go to the Dr. I try to see if I can ride it out. I just can't afford the expense. If John McCains plan went through, you bet I would have a physical, get a mammogram, a PAP (none of these have I had in 9 years or more.) I would get my blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring taken care of, and have my blood sugar monitored.

That right there is about $1000 worth of diagnostics, and the meds would be about $150 per month. But ieven for a little while, it would go a LOOOOONG way to extending my life span without putting my family at a bigger financial risk.

What gets me as I watch this, is that Obama represents himself, his experiences and that of his family as a connecting point with the viewer. He assumes that we are all like him, for the most part. but we aren't. He has everything. And if his health care plan went through, the gov't would save alot of money by dodging having to include my generation in its "mandated" health care plans.

Additional comment from Pam at FaceBook
(We'll call her Pam 1):

I might add to that by saying, just one blood sugar poke is a dollar per glucose stick (if done at home), that is not including the achohol swab and the actual lancet. If you need insulin, depending on the dosage it is 75.00 per vial and some use 4 vials a month. 8 sticks a day adds up too! Some people like myself pay 2000.00 a month on just meds alone. We for one... Can NOT AFFORD it!!! So... I vote McCain/Palin!!
Help in health care greatly needed for the middle aged!!!
Thanks Michelle for your thoughts and for taking time to post them.

A comment from ANNE at FaceBook:
Hi Michelle! Hey, I agree with you too. Except, I've never really liked him. Beyond the partial birth abortion support, you know what else he supports? If a woman is having an abortion and it is botched and the baby acually, gasp-heaven forbid!, lives...he supports just putting it in a prettily decorated "comfort room" and leaving it to die. Read this in an Oregon Right to Life paper. Anyone who supports that has no soul in my humble opinion. He is eloquent and smooth and does have some good ideas but I think he's a total wolf in sheeps clothing. If he's elected, I think it would be fine for the first year or so and then I think America would start seeing his true colors and they'd be in for way more than they bargained for...

And a comment from a Different Pam at FaceBook
(We'll call her Pam 2:

I can't feel any hope from a man that 8 years ago did not stay a Maverick for the things that mattered. He (McCain) speaks clearly of embracing Adam Smith Economic principals of capitalism that believes that an invisible arm will correct any problems in the economy.(He said this early in his campaign and it seemed to me to sound like something to placate the far right of the spectrum with.) Then Enron, Housing Market,desire to build more Nuclear Power Plants, Bale Out of the Banks and AIG,jobs being lost by big companies going overseas where there is precious little oversight, and our need for medical insurance and McCain is acting like he has consistently really backed these issue for the people. As we have already had 8 years of very little checks and balances I could not endorse this continued direction. But then I am just in the poorest, largest, school district in the state and work with students and families that aren't making $200,000/yr. Habitat for Humanity come in ...

And then Mih Wrote:

Well I don't make 200,000 are year either.

Something that Obama said back a few months ago really got my attention.
He said " America, we are the solution to our own problems."
That is pretty danged humanistic.
Granted I am not one for sitting on my butt and not being proactive, but I also know that human kind has limits that it often does not recognise.

I also think that this statement of his declares more about his inner perspective than he is confessing. After watching him, I believe he is a Godless man, despite all of his wacky-church affiliation. I think that mankind is his god.
As far as economical stuff, I don't think McCain has indicated that he will be staying the current course with regard to the economy. I have a huge stake in AIG. Frankly, I am appalled at teh folderol that would threaten my dads livelihood in his declining years,an I will take an appropriate course of action by the end of this week, but I think McCain will tackle that head to head. And I think he has indicated as much. And while nobody is perfect, I am thinking that McCain is a far better choice than Obama at this point. I find Obama to be slickly skirting the issues, and using culturally pleasing metaphors and language to tickle people ears. I have to agree with what Anne said earlier, in that he is certainly starting to appear like a wolf in sheeps clothing.

As far as an "invisible Arm" I am not sure what all that is about but I know that God has long intervened on the behalf of Israel, through the existence of America.

America, (while chasing after the fate of Rome at a galloping run it would seem,) will continue to exist until such time as God is through with us.
But we are going the route of Rome to be sure.
I do NOT believe for one minute that America will always exist.

God says He will not strive with man forever.
His strivings with Americans and their self absorbed debauchery and self love have gone on for very very long. And while we race along toward our own destruction, when compared with the self righteous and behaviours of other world cultures and nations, we are still considered a "Christian Nation," (which defies comprehension when you think about how ungodly even we, the Church have become).
We are the ones in Iraq.
Let the media krap all over that situation but you talk to a soldier.
The people of Iraq are GLAD we are there.
I hate that my friends relatives have died in a stinking war!
But these same soldiers bring gifts that have been donated by average Americans. My town alone collects school supplies and ships them directly to soldiers who give them to families with children in Iraq. This is not a gov't sponsored activity. This is a community that says "This is the right thing to do."
We love those who would normally be called our enemies.

We send a poop load of aid to Pakistan when it has horrific earthquakes that devour its people by the thousands.
You didn't see Pakistans neighbors rushing to their aid.
And Pakistan STILL harbours Taliban extremists.

So when you mention an invisible arm, yeah. I think there is one.
We deserve hell and death.
We have better.
Not because we are good.
Because God is.

JASON at FaceBook Writes:

"I agree, too, actually, that Obama's plans regarding health care have been rather vague. And while I think he is a great public speaker, which would give him an advantage as a leader, his tone has been rather condescending at times. He needs to bury his ego a little bit and stop trying to distance himself from the wealthy, which he now is.

To be fair, Obama had to work pretty hard to get where he is at, while John Sidney McCain III is, like George W Bush, the third generation of an American dynasty. Both rebelled against their expectations into mediocrity as kids. Both try to shed skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

As for abortion, neither McCain or Obama will make the issue go away. The Supreme Court made their ruling, and frankly, when our government decides for us what morality is, I don't think we're free.

But! As much as we may dislike personal qualities of each person (or their VP choices), that shouldn't affect how we judge them as politicians. I wish I had more time to get into that aspect of it..."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A middle American womans thots on the VP Debate

My blow by blow take on the VP debates as carried out via my Face Book Status updates and comments from friends:

...I have to agree with Biden that Drilling is not necessarily the solution. 6:34pm

... how can coal be "clean?" It defies the essence of coal burning. 6:36pm

...disagree with Biden. In the sense of marriage, marriageis a BIBLICAL institution and therefor Christian. There is no such thing as Same Sex Marriage. 6:38pm

...There is no sense in "talking" with Iran, or North Korea or Cuba. I agree with Palin on this point. 6:51pm

...look at Bidens eyes..he's playing to the camera. When Palin addresses him, she is looking at him, no tthe camera. Interesting. 7:02pm

...he' still not addressing her, he is still adressing the camera. weirdness. 7:12pm - CommentWrite a comment... hmmm...Palin has repeatedly declared her respect for Biden on mutually recognised issues. He has not done likewise. 7:06pm

...on the role of VP - that was good, Biden was more engaging and humble addressing both Palin and plain speaking his ideas to the nation. 7:16pm

And the health care debate:
mih is thinking that McCains Health Care proposal would work for me. Obama's wouldn't. Frankly, i would LIKE some health care.

Kimberly Wilson at 6:29pm October 2 wrote:
What makes you think that McCain's would work for you and Obama's wouldn't?

mih- because $5000 allocated to our family would make it possible for me to decide how to use it. As opposed to Obama/gov't deciding what plan I could have which would cover this or that. I would decide. Not the gov't, how to use my allocation. I can't access OR Health Plan. I can't access free clinics. I have real medical needs that go unaddressed - ... high blood pressure, weird tissue growths, heart murmur and potential diabetes. Dental and vision needs go un-met because the current gov't decides what is needful and what isn't for my quality of life.

PS - Blake, dion't freak out. God is big. He is the one who keeps me alive. Although it WOULD be nice to have SOME medical care.

Kimberly Wilson at 7:22pm October 2
Thanks for the answer! I appreciate it! Mih Ehr at 7:23pm October 2

Mih Ehr at 7:29pm October 2
Look around you America. Half of the people you pass on the street are like me. We have REAL health needs. We have NO health support. We don't talk about it because it would alarm our loved ones.But Obama is waaaayyyy too glossy. The current govts health system does NOT work either.A mandated health plan is not the answer because it just takes away what I need to pay for groceries for my family and forces me to submit to a mandated health plan that doens't even meet our needs.
In the end, if Obama had his way, I would be out the premium $ to pay for the mandated health care plan, and it wouldn't even meet my needs. So I would pay the premiums demanded by the gov't and lose out on the medical care it is SUPPOSED to provide AND in the procress the gov't would rob me of the $ to pay for groceries.I cannot support this idea.

mih is now officially riled up about health care. Obama sucks. (Read comments) Thank you Kimberly for bringing it out. you are awesome! :o). 7:31pm - Comment

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And so I did see with New Eyes

So instead of giving in to frustration - the inspiration that arrived on the heels of a mundane and slow work day, I chose to look upon my surroundings with new eyes.

I work in a vendor mall , with 60 different vendors each stocking their own individual booths with their own individual products ranging from the antique to the kitchy. From the random and indescribable to the downright ugly. Its all here. So I gazed with new inspiration on elderly chairs, and dead-eyed dolls. On a cast iron Mr Peanut and an old chrome icebucket with a lucite handle from the 1950's.

I looked on these sorts of things, and tried to imagine how I would arrange them in a shoot.

It was a good way to spend an otherwise slow day in the curio-shop.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Inspiration comes at goofy times

Why is it that inspiration comes right before some other required task? Right before I have to spend days at work focusing on the mundane for the sake of duty>

This post is in reference to the amazing body of work that is always cropping up courtesy of photographer and boy genius Jason Rydquist (Aka Heinrick, Aka Fahrmboy).

This guy's work inspires me like few others.

He has an amazing ability to communicate thoguhts and emotions using sometimes the barest images and at other times he has the gaul to stage a shoot using props, lighting, anything at his disposal that will leave the viewer with a reaction.

This is the sort of person I aspire to be.

And yet, at the end of the day, I am only myself.
And I think, "therefore, how has God gifted and enlightened me to be on this day?"
How will I follow through with that tomorrow.
Now while Mister Rydquist is not necessarily interested in the things of God always, I still see God's handprint all over him.
As for me, God uses Jason to remind me that I too ave gifts. Very different than Jasons, but I can aspire to be myself, as Jason aspires to be his ownself.

These things we can learn from observing each other.

Please buy this guys prints.
Please some one, bankroll the publishing of his coffee table books and calendars.

And my sincere prayer is that he will never become a collossal a-hole after the caliber of Thomas Kinkade, once he finds his niche and makes his millions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yay! No more PBD Layout!

I am so glad I got rid of the PBD layout (Push the Button Dumbie) and was able to revert to the old manual template editor.

I think I will work on finding a way to add a slide show.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I really hate the PBD layout

I liked the old template editing options best and once I get a minute I am SO reworking this thing so that I can go back to editing it the OLD way.


Facebook must be the greatest timewaster on the face of the planet.
It is so easy to get sucked into doing al of yoru communicating and messing about there that you turn around and look at the clock and a whole hour has gone by, when really, all you meant to do in the first place is check in with your kids and update your status.

While there are many fun features at FAcebook, they aren't necessarily the ones I want, but they suck me in to wasting time.
Like Food Fling.
How horribly addicting.
I don't know why maybe it has something to do with the fact that you can fling the most retarded food items such as "Rice Gruel" at people.

Anyway, I need to refocus what I want to do with my time.

I have not mastered updating my proper website at michelle ehr dot com, and while there is a gorgeous front page ready for my use at redIgallery, I haven't managed to conquer uploading even my front page to that site, so for now, my default teporary site is back here a blogspot until such time as I figure it out. In the meantime likewise, my gallery will remain housed at DevArt because it is a screamin free service.
I just hate the slutty ad bars.

Anyway so now I am off to work at the antique/vendor mall.
I will maybe post some images fro the store of what it is like.
Its a fun and kitchy place, housing all manner of retro stuff to crafty quilty things and everything in between. It is quiet. The tourists that come in are nice, not demanding, they are just happy to be on vacation. It is a place that suits me. (now if only I could figure out how to get an internet connection there.) ;o)

Have agood day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Winter Shoes for Work

So I took my reward points that I have saved up from two years worth of airline tix purchases to and from Rhode Island and got my self some work shoes for winter.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What I like

If anybody ever wondered.
These are the kinds of garments and fabrics that I love.
I confess.
I am a freak.
I would indeed wear any and all of these things to work. (The fact that I work at an antique shop helps.)

This is probably about 2-3 years of saving and making purchases.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have been watching the NBC series entitled "Heroes."
Typically I detest watching broadcast tv, considering it to be a colossal waste of time, however this new series has intrigued me, as I think it has good writing. I think the writing is so good that not only does it cause the viewer to wonder what will happen next, I think in some cases that it causes the viewer to exercise their own imaginations as to what COULD possibly happen next.
So as I was doing this very thing one day, I thought to myself, "Michelle, if you could have a power or 'ability' what would it be? "
No matter what power I opted for, I came to the conclusion that it was one I already posessed - through the power of Jesus Christ.
It was an inspiring communion moment between God and I.
Yes, I "had Power," but also, am I truly USING that power? As He intends me to use it? Conviction sets in at this point.
One of the show's characters, Hiro Nakamura, makes the statement early in the first season saying , "A Hero who does not use his power does not deserve to have it."
Decidedly so.
And yet God is so gracious to let us exist, even while we are failing Him all the day. Such is the power of His matchless grace and love.

British man says he invented the iPod back in 1979...


British man claims that he invented the iPod back in 1979.
Original artwork may prove his claim?

Thanks for the tip on this Andrew Wilson.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Alaska's full of Creative Thinkers

When Stu and I were working with Native North Americans the organization we worked with had a base in Alaska.
In the Matanuska-Susitna Valley area.
We had co-workers who were from Wasilla.

Alaska is amazing.
A Brief (-ish) History and/or Theory for my personal opinion:
As people migrated west, from the east, they exhibited a spirit of independence.
As I have spent time in the last few years, having family in the Extreme East, and having grown up in the Extreme West, I can say that I can see the outcomes of that "Pioneering Spirit."
Comparing East -vs- West, the West coast exhibits an independent mind set, -vs- an INTER dependent one (such as one might find on the East Coast where people actually KNOW their neighbors and their neighbors kids and what not. My eastern family would be appalled that we in the west can live next door to someone for 10 years and only say "hi" to them and not have any problem with that, whereas people in the East seem to build relationships more readily with those around them. The west is more independent as opposed to inter-dependent - this is a broad statement of course and I realise, there are a multitude of exceptions, but for the most part, these are differences I have noted in my own families.)
This independent, "Pioneering Spirit" finds its culimation in Alaska I think. The furthest west, the last frontier.
People from Alaska are strong.
They are creative (sometimes unorthodox) problem solvers.
(Unorthodox as compared with what might be considered typical behaviour using typical resources.)
Alaskans will dare to try new things in order to solve a problem.
They are amazing people.
They can figure out how to do things on their own without needing input from other humans, although when such input presents itself they are not averse to it necessarily.
Alaska is a hard place.
Only the creative thinker and hardy individual can thrive there.
I never would have imagined McCain would have chosen Palin as a running mate, but not only does it seem fitting right now - in these days of people crying "Change! Change!" It is a wildly creative solution on the part of McCain.
Maybe he has some Alaskan history himself?
I'm just saying, I support her with a fuller heart than I have supported any presidents/candidates in the last few decades.
Palin is a true hope for positive change, imho.
I don't know that I would vote for her as President...yet...but she is going to make a screamin' VP.
Just my two cents on this one.
Since I rarely have a real political opinion.
You should check out Alaskans.
They are awesome and wacky all at the same time.
Reading the poetry of Robert Service would also not be amiss here.
("The Cremation of Sam Magee" has long been a favorite shared at our family's table after a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner before the whole family.)
It sounds crazy I know...but it works.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Heroes Countdown

I really like this show in a way that I have NEVER liked TV shows at all.
Same as I pretty much HATE to listen to the radio.

But this show, "Heroes" is so well written in my opinion. I think it causes the viewer not only to be curious about what happens next, it gives the viewer the impetus to use their own imagination as to the upcoming plot. What twists? What turns? How does/did Sylar gain people's abilities? Does he eat their brains? (ewww!) How does he work? And Where is Elle's mom? What is Angela Petrelli's ability? What was her husbands ability. And what about West? Are his parents even alive and whoch one of them or both have abilities and what are those? Will Adam/Kensei escape? What/who will he do when he does?

The possibilities boggle the mind.

Anyway, I never really did like to watch TV.

Not until this show came out.

So anyway, that is why you see the Season 3 countdown clock widget for the moment.

There is just enought time to rent Season 1 and the abbreviated Season 2 (due to the writers strike).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yeah well I am back here for now.

For now anyway I am back here until I can hool up a new blog at my new website.
I got REALLY tired of yahoo shenanigans - they just raised my rates.
poop heads! so I canxed my account - hence the reason why soylent media's webstie went Jack Benny. Fortunately, and strangely before this missive came down from Yahoo I had already been working with good long time friend Blue Max to procure web hosting services, so when Yahoo sent me the upgraded costs, I said "piss off!" basically.

B Max has been VERY helpful to educate me in areas where I am woefully inept. And I have decided that it is unwise to contradict a WINNER OF THE EDWARD R MURROW AWARd when he advises you.


So for today I am here, but I look toward the day when blog, and galleries are housed solely at my own " and redIgallery" under the tuteledge of Monsieur Le Max Bleu go online permanently.

So for now, I am busy here and at Facebok because my kids and their homies are there.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More from the Highschool Photo Shoot

After culling through 400 odd photos, I have updated the website with most of them.
There is still a 4o image project I need to create with the last of the photos, but that will have to wait until maybe next month or something.
For now, the the next set of images is located here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alliance Highschool Class Foto

(Click the image for a proper view)

This is the combined Freshman and Sophomore class of the new Christian highschool in town.
The class foto theme was the brain-child of the students themselves, and I was priviledged to be allowed to be one of the shooters to help facilitate their vision.

This is one of the first pics out of my camera.
I look at them and I weep.
Because having a son who is graduating this year with all of his friends whom I have known since their 5th grade year, it is a melancholy time. I am saying goodbye to a generation of kids that I have grown to love. I realise in a new way, how fleeting are the years that we get to have our kids living at home with us. To have the pleasure of their company and that of their friends as well.

And so...I look at this next group of highschoolers - my daughters class - whom I have known many of them since their first grade years. How much more intense will my emotion be when they achieve their highschool graduation? I dare not ponder it.

It is a thing to hold dear in ones heart. A thing to memorise - each face - each smile - each sense of humour, and commit to memory.

Time is fleeting.
Love is eternal.

BlanDrew's Newest Performance

So the boys performed at a Benefit at Shevlin Park Friday night, but I didn't go because tixx were $40 a pop. Instead I waited for the one that was at The Hangar last night. THey opened for Heath McNease who is really awesome. Anyway, they are always tardy in giving me copies of their work for archival purposes, so I have taken to collecting my own, using the video function on my still cam.

Anyway, the following is one of three entries from The Lumber Jack Concert at The Hangar.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Hammered Dulcimer builder

Hey Rick Fogel, builder of fine folk instruments, including my signed, numbered one of a kind hammered dulcimer has a video posted on YouTube.
Each instrument he builds is unique, and a work of art in itself. The sound/tonal quality - which is already fabulous - improves each year as the instrument ages and is played.

This is truly a master Craftsman.

I hope you enjoy his video.

Richard Condies "the Apprentice"


Yet more from Richard Condie..

Canadian customs and what not....

More Richard Condie Animation...

...anyone who has ever played an instrument or had to spend any time practicing or preparing for anything can appreciate the sentiments in this animated short film by Richard COndie entitled "Getting Started."


Part 1 :

Part 2 :

Richard Condie's "THE BIG SNIT."

Richard Condie is one of my hero's in the world of animation.
He heads up a remarkable crew of twisted creative minds - rightfully Canadian - and I am pleased to post the first one I ever saw here at my blog.

I saw this back in the late '80's and it is still amusing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nostalgia #12

Ok, in further revisiting the Age known as "Blog Biscuit", I also stumbled upon this miraculous sculpture whihc certainly bears remembering.

See JonBienarts "Scorpie Toddlerpede."

It is miraculous.

In a twisted kind of way.

Aquil-ism #162

I ran across this comment James left on a blog post of mine a number of years ago.
It was during a time when I was contemplating leaving my secretarial job after 3.5 years.

The subject of the post, "Creative ways to become unemployed...", was left open to suggestion from the public in the form of comments.

James's comment:
"Go to work dressed in a bathrobe, a shower cap, and fuzzy slippers. At lunch.. whip out a bag of charcoal and a Hibachi...Then announce: "The Lunch Kabobs are on me!"

After eating the Kabobs... Pick your teeth with the bamboo skewers, all the time singing... "I love a parade".


I am so glad I stumbled upon these things.
It reminds me of his style of humour.

He is SUCH a knucklehead!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Turkish Groove

Its kind of a fun CD.
It's put out on the Putamayo Label.
So far, Bendeniz's "Kyrmyzy Biber" is the best song on the album wiht a screamin' drum track and a combination of tradional middle eastern and Turkish instruments as well as modern electronic elements. One of the thngs that makes this sort of music so cool (imho) is the use of 1/4 steps - you know...on the piano you have the white keys and the black keys? From one white to the next black key is a 1/2 step. Middle Eastern music also uses 1/4 steps, which gives it it's unique "flavour."

Anyway, the video is posted here, and the lyrics pasted below.


Telaþýmý var acelesi mi var
Kýsa bir öpücük çok iþime yarar
Allah'ým bana ne oldu bu defa
Devam ediyor bak oyunlarýna

Kuytularýmý kokularýmý
Unuttun mu sen o ayýplarýný
Zaten ne kadar aklýn vardý
Onu da bana ver seviþmek ne güzel

Bastým mühürü görecek gününü
Arayýp soracak tek tek bakacak
Evirip çevirip düþecek elime

Canýný yakarým hadi gör bakalým
Bal döken diline "kýrmýzý biberi"
Sürmedim ama sürerim bu defa

Ben kimdim ben uçup gittim ellerinden
Neydi inkar ettiðin bu çýlgýnlýk içinden
Zarardayým senin yasaklý þeytan yüzünden
Öldürüyor bu hali nasýl çýldýrttý bilmiyor

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sitting and sitting.

So, in order to get my foot to heal, I have to be sedentary.
The sun is shining, there is a mountain of dishes in the sink. (Mainly because I have to keep my foot propped up and nobody is doing them.) I have a buh-zilllion things to do.
But I sit.
So I have been updating my website, uploading the family photos, cleaning out my computer and backing up docs and files and stuff, watching Season 1 of Heros, getting ready to watch Season 1 of Jericho, and playing Uru.

I am going stir crazy from sitting.
I don't like to sit.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Foot burn for eternity

Ok so, apparently I have what is called a "2nd degree" burn, the likes of which can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to heal.
This is really bad.
I don't have time for this.
I wrestle between frustration at what I see all around me that needs doing, goals set now left un-met, and the deeper notion that, to be fully productive, I need to accept this temporary condition and work within the confines of the situation - doing what can be done from a sitting and sedentary state.

But the very notion sits ill on my shoulders.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Scalded that fractured foot.

for dinner I prepared chicken breasts in Cream-of-mushroom soup for dinner.
After baking the dish for 45 minutes I attempted to remove the dinner from the oven, but I did not have a good grip on the dish and it came crashing down on my foot, scalding and blistering my the skin all around. I haven't thought about writhing since the time I had a gall-bladder attack. I writhed really good tonight. For about an hour after I got done soaking my foot. I got real smart, real quick and put my dang foot BACK in the ice water and there it will stay until at least tomorrow morning. I find that keeping my foot submerged in the ice water keeps the pain level down.

This is crazy.

I don't have time for this.

Dear Lord God,
Will you please heal this soon-ish?


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Beach days

So Kenz and I had a beach day ourselves, here at the finish of Spring Break.

My MSword was being all funky so I ended up unloading it and reloading it again and lo and behold...Outlook actually loaded. After it died a year or so ago I lost access to it permanently, for reasons I could not fathom, but now its back. Yay! I prefer it to OE anyway.

Dumped the Windows Live messenger as it was too invasive...gee a Microsoft Product being invasive...imagine THAT! I also dumped Gmail Talk - or Google Talk - whatever the heck it is, for similar reasons.

Sat in church today and got inspired to create kind of a cool, LARGE sculpture.
That is one thing I love about God.
He is soooo unconventional.

It was kind of a busy day inside my head during church today.
Not only got the sculpture image, but became seriously burdened in my heart for a kid I barely know and who doesn't even go to my church. So I prayed that God would encourage him and show him light at the end of the tunnel. I am still praying, but the burden was soo sudden and unexpected...I am not traditionally one of those people who would label themselves as having the "spiritual gift" of intercessory prayer. I mean, yeah, I pray for people, but having that as a unique gift is different. It's intense and dangerous at times. Anyway this experience was similar to that. I was unnerved and thankful for the opportunity that God sent me something to pray about for some one I probably will never really interact with on a deep level. It was pleasing to know that I could encourage them, by talking directly to God on their behalf. So I prayed for Joy for him. Joy in every sense of the word.

While this was going on, I was trying to process the sermon I was hearing, as well as get the details on this image God was showing to me - the sculpture thingy.

Again, it was a busy day in my head.

I know this probably sounds all loopy and what not, but I have been learning to listen more to God and to what He says in the bible, literally, instead of listening so much to what other humans tell me. This is not to say I don't listen to and consider wise counsel and advice, its just that I am filtering it more through the Bible, and what He says to me through it.

I began to take a sketch book to church instead of a notebook a couple of years ago.
I find that many inspirations come from elements in the sermons, or prayers that God morphs in my head into images, usually abstract but not without symbolic meaning. When I say meaning, and that I am "getting" these images from God, I mean to say that the symbolism is mainly for me. The messages are from God to me personally. To most people they are mostly abstract, and in rare cases, mildly engaging. To me each one is a reminder of His plan for me through out my life and how we are "on the road together" He and I. Since I began to sketch in church, I am "getting" more and more images, usually as an ebb and flow through out the year.

Today was like taking a drink from a fire hose.

I was exhausted and exhilirated simultaneously, by the end of the church service.

And now, at the end of the day, when I was expecting my daughter who has been gone now for 3 THREE!!!) weeks to come home, I get a call saying they got a late start and that they are going to stop to rest this evening before making the rest of the drive home.

I am glad for their prudence...but we miss our daughter/sister.


Oh and I also broke my foot.
Hairline fracture.
I fell off the edge of the doormat.

No lie.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

California Spring Break

Well Scoutie is having a wonderful time with some good family friends who hail from La Jolla (pronounced La-hoya). She is getting a tour of California that we could NEVER have given her becasue it is not our home state. The Francii know the good parts like the back of their hands and so Scout is having a once in a life time trip.

She has been gone for two weeks solid now and will not return until late late Sunday night.
We miss her dreadfully.

They send me photos every day, which are available HERE

One of the high lights of trip was a visit to the one and only REAL wardrobe, which belonged to C.S. Lewis and is actually referred to in the Narnia Books. (The wardrobe at Wheaton, while owned my Mr Lewis, does not fit the description of the one true wardrobe listed in the books.)
The images of this find are located HERE.

Kinda cool, huh?

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24 Minutae

1: How I detest Microsoft and yet they temporarily have me by the throat. (Vista and IE7 are the driving forces behind my new desire to make the uber-expensive switch to Mac.

2: I am experiencing such depression regarding the lack of relationship between Adobe's Creative Suite 3 and Vista. After our homeschool group ponied up $2000 for 10 licenses, 7 out of 10 of them have stopped loading, refuse to completely un-install, making it impossible to re-install. When many of us called Microsoft, we were either re-routed and our calls never picked up (I personally sat there for 45 minutes with not even a "sorry please continue to hold" message) or we were told that we had pirated versions. After one parent spent hours researching the dilemma, he discovered that ours is not an isolated incident. There are many blogs and forums with many entries from small companies and folks like us. All who have legally purchased licenses, and who are running Vista. The gist (fomr what I understand) of the problem appears to be that Vista/Adobe is not recognising the licenses and neither company is offering support. So our tiny school is out $2000 and has to resort to other substandard programs to complete the media arts program.
one gentleman offered the idea that it is when other programs/hardware are introduced into the system that conflicts arise. I can argue that. My daughter's CS3 on her Vista box was one of the first to crash and she is technophobic so she does not load anything on her computer. There are no printers installed, no scanners no other peripheral harware installed that could compete. Her CS3 ran for two months and then cacked.

Big reason for me to stick with my beloved XP for now, and keep running my old CS2.


Had a great Easter. Went to brunch at Pleaides restaurant which just opened here. We had a gift certificate so decided to go and enjoy it. It was absolutely perfect. I have never had a perfect filet mignon. I like it med well. Not Med Rare. Not Well. Medium Well. This one was perfect.
Add in the mimosas and a crab martini and it was a nice afternoon.
We all went home after the meal and took a nap.


MacKenzie made a tentative trip to the theatre to see Horton Hears a Who.
She was not sure she was going to like it, but ended up enjoying it, and going back a second time to see it.

The local video store owner managed to procure a copy of an old Tony Randall movie : "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao" (pronounced Dr. "low")
It is a fantasy film that is certainly fit for the entire family.

So anyway, I rented that today and can't wait to get it on my faux pod.

So much for today's minutae.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Horizons?

It's no secret that for about 3 years we have been researching the potential of our family temporarily moving to our beloved and ever-beckoning U.K.

Speaking with friends regarding the costs of living in both England and Scotland (not really checked out Ireland) we have been warching and waiting.

Now, that our eldest is graduating highschool (its freaky and melancholy) there is new potential for relocating. neither of the girls is really "married to this town" or the friends they have here.
And so a new, more economically friendly option is being bantered about :
Hypothetically: Rosarita.

Amenities: Beach, sun, the mission "San Vincent Geurerro" is nearby where we could help out regularly at the orphanage. Did I mention this is also a killer place to learn to surf?

Anyway, that is the new idea.

But still.... our hearts hear and desire to heed the call of the "old land."
The land of kilts.
The land of languages that know no vowels.
The land of great literature, Monty Python, Haggis, and "the nation the sent God's truly GOOD news to the entire globe."

but sojourn in baja wouldn't be so bad?
for a little while?
no habla.
Je parle la belle langue.


Time will tell.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

St Pat's Super Mom Potato Soup

In honour of our favorite holiday (next to Christmas) there is a new exciting fun and cheap recipe tht any imbecile can create with even the meanest budget.

Go to "Eating Plebian" to chek out the latest recipe.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Baldric, the Bald Eagle

This is "Baldric"

The Eagles have come down closer to town for some reason.

The local naturalists have been watching them. They were unaware that they had come so close into town though, which was kinda fun for me, because I got to be the one to make the discoveries - along with Scout. I saw him the first time on Feb 23 right behind one of the motels that borders BLM land. The very next day, we (Scout and I) saw him in the same place, but this time with a juvenile. (Young Bald Eagles are often mottled gold and brown and white colours and are often mistaken for golden eagles.) So anyway...Scout and I have named him "Baldric" and the youth we have named "Henri."

We have collectively seen Baldric in this neighborhood 5 days out of 9.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cittern Player

Ok this guy is a really good CITTERN PLAYER

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I have been searching for this...

Today I found it at Dusty Strings in Seattle.

I am so getting one!

The cittern comes from an ancient family of Western European and British Isles instruments, having in common a teardrop shaped body, wire strings typically grouped in pairs and a flat or slightly curved back.

The cittern is typically played with a pick, although there certainly isn’t a rulebook stating that it always must be done so. The whole range of ornaments used in guitar and mandolin apply, including hammer-ons, pull-offs, triplets and even adopted piping tricks such as ‘cranning’.

Semi-open tunings maintain most of the drone effects and easy melodic playing available with completely open tunings, but increase chordal possibilities.
D - A - E - A - E
The high range is open, but a four chord is a lot easier (and better sounding).
D - G - D - A - D

There are two general approaches to stringing the cittern. The first is to use matched pairs (or courses) of strings. Each pair is tuned in unison, as is done with familiar mandolin-family instruments.

A second approach is suggested by historical citterns or by the twelve-string guitar, in which a lighter-gauge string is paired with a heavier to sound the same note an octave apart. This results in a complex, chiming sound with lower string tension and easier possibilities of ornamentation, fast play etc. This setup also shifts the instrument's sound more towards delicacy and treble.

I love how these things sound!

I have no idea yet, what they cost, but I am saving already!