Monday, March 30, 2009

Illuminating Mystery

It's been Spring for a couple of weeks now. YAY!!

In the overall picture of the year, Springtime represents new growth. Rebirth. Perhaps a re-awakening and/ or re-dedication to habits or practices that are still a little sleepy from a long and very cold Winter, things that might still be in bed, bundled up under a blanket (or is that just a cat?).
In other words:
Springtime = Creativity!!

Of course, Spring also equals Gnomes starting to do their yard work (or "work" as we refer to it, as it seems to mostly consist of looking busy. Though, perhaps our yard Gnomes are just lazier than others.)

This Gnome is bringing flowers to distract you from his laziness.
Not a bad tactic. I could almost forget that he's supposed to be cleaning
garden beds with his tiny wheelbarrow, couldn't you?

Of course, I'd be remiss, too, if I didn't mention the
Importance of Rabbits to the Springtime.
"Rabbits are Important to every season, really," adds Miss Zoe.

But, back to the Idea of Creativity.

Last Summer, through the Magic that is Blisschick, we came in contact with a person we now refer to as Abbey-Of-The-Arts-Christine (to distinguish her, of course, from Blisschick-Christine). A-O-T-A-Christine was a reader of and commenter on Blisschick. And, at some point, she wrote to say she liked my Art, which the Blisschick so nicely displays and links to at every opportunity.

We began to read Abbey of the Arts, (A-O-T-A-Christine's blog). Then, Christine asked me to paint her beautiful dogs, Abbess Petunia and the former Abbott Duke. She commissioned a triptych, with one of her dogs on either side and a Tree of Life on the center panel.

That's Petunia on the left of panel of the triptych, and Duke on the right.

It was an honor to paint such wonderful souls.

And then, soon after that was finished and off in the mail to its new home, Christine contacted me again. This time to ask if I would like to be a part of her next Reflective Art Journal, due out in the Spring (which would be now).

Well, that was a no-brainer!! Of course I wanted to participate.

And then, last week, Mailman Rick delivered this lovely publication!!

Illuminating Mystery: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice
Reflections in Word and Image by Christine Valters Paintner, PhD
and a wonderful gathering of sacred artists
(Gnome sold separately)

This issue is based on Christine's Sacred Artist Interviews, a feature of her Abbey of the Arts blog. It is full of excerpts from the Artist Interviews along with questions from Christine to inspire you to think about your own Creativity and Creative practices.

In addition to questions, Christine has interspersed into these excerpts and questions some poetically and eloquently written reflections on Creativity: its role in our lives, its Importance to our Spirituality, and also the role Creativity plays in making us whole and alive, and in making us "artists of the inner life."

I am extremely proud to be a featured artist in this issue of the Abbey of the Arts Reflective Art Journal. It is a beautifully made full-color, glossy paged little powerhouse of a book that is perfect for anyone in your life who needs a little kick in their Creative Pants!! (see here for a more extensive view of Illuminating Mystery on A-O-T-A-Christine's blog.)

If you'd like to purchase your own copy, you can do so here (you can also find her past publications here as well).

And one of the coolest parts is that all proceeds from your purchase will go to Christine's non-profit, Abbey of the Arts Fund for Scholarships and Outreach Programs. AWESOME!! You just can't go wrong.

And, the Journal's back cover-- this is one
of my favorite paintings featured in this issue:
"I Create" by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Thank you to Christine for asking me to be a part of this and of her world in general. It's been a pleasure.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flip Friday

But, please -- don't Flip me too much.

You see, due to a little something called Weather, I have this dizzy thing happening this week.

The main problem with this, of course, isn't that I feel a little woozy.

It's not even that I had to come home from work yesterday because I almost fell out of my office chair.

No, the main problem with this dizzy thing is that Zoe and I got an early gift from the Easter Bunny in the mail and we want to PLAY, goshdarnit!!

And, what, you may ask, did the Easter Bunny bring?

"Yes, it's true.
I do know the Easter Bunny personally.
I'm THAT kind of rabbit."

The Flip.


I know, it's way cool.

Zoe and I are WAY COOL. (At least we will be when we can really get going.)

For now, we are kicking off Flip Friday with, what else...

A New Zoe video: Zoe and the Fellowship of the (Willow) Ring.

It's geeky, it's rabbity, and besides starring Zoe, it also stars The Willow Ring, the distant cousin of Zoe's favorite toy, The Willow Ball.

She's out of Willow Balls, of course, because she eats through them quickly, and so she's stuck with what she sees as Willow Ball's substandard cousin, Willow Ring.

But, it will do, apparently.

I don't think it's going to win any Oscars, but Zoe said it might Win the Dizzy Drama Award.

Is that really an award, or did Zoe just make that up? Hmmmmm....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Big Rabbit is Watching...

When I was younger, I always used to participate in sports. Basketball, softball, soccer, track. Which sport I was playing at any given time was how I kept track of the wheel of the year.

(Don't worry-- I was also a complete and total band geek and a choir geek, as well as many other types of geek, known and unknown.)

Let me say that the point of sports for me was not so much the sport itself-- I am not competitive in the least, and I could care less about winning in most circumstances. (The notable exception, of course, being that I like to win stare down competitions with Miss Emmie the Cat. I usually don't win, but when I do, I don't let her forget it easily.)

Yeah, you try to win a stare down with this cat. Bring it!

Sports, for me, were about the fitness aspect. They made me move my butt, whether I wanted to or not. I've always known that was important for me. Outer accountability.

I have come round to the fact that I am essentially lazy. And, I'm OK with that.

But, I also like food. Very much.

In some way, then, I have to counteract the eating with some exercise. It not only helps me stay in shape, it helps me feel better-- more alert, more awake, just better.

It's part of the reason why Blisschick and I have been car free for almost eight years. Besides all the great things about being more aware of your surroundings, contributing a bit less to pollution, and living a bit of a slower existence without a car, being car free means you have to get places some other way -- besides driving.

Most days, for me, that means riding my bike, Captain (now Admiral, thank you very much) Janeway, to and fro work.

In this way, exercise for me becomes a lifestyle, not a choice. (If it were a choice, I would be in serious trouble!!)

Well, so I thought things were going pretty well with this whole bike riding and occasional walking thing.

But then, a couple of weeks ago, Miss Zoe spoke up:

"Sorry-- the bike riding isn't cutting it.
You need to be healthier!

Apparently, Big Rabbit was Watching.

She knows what I'm up to. Or, more accurately, what I'm not up to.

Now, I know that I am pretty healthy. Cardiovascularly speaking, I feel like I am pretty darn good. But I know that less "moosh" as we call it at our house, would be way healthier for my heart.

"Less moosh. Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout."

Miss Zoe placed a call to a friend who is transitioning into a new career as a Health Coach. She offered me up to him as a guinea pig. Miss Zoe and Health Coach conspired to order me a heart monitor.

For the time being, Health Coach has given me two main directives:

1. Eat what I normally eat, but write everything down so I am aware of what goes in every day.

2. Make a commitment to exercising for 30-45 minutes, five days a week in my target heart rate zone.

I can do that, right?

Well, I'm certainly going to try.

Health Coach is my new substitute for sports. He is my outer accountability meter. It might just be the motivational ticket I need to become a healthier me.

I'm certainly not being motivated by these lazy animals!

I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

If Miss Zoe is the task master I know her to be, however, I don't think I'll be allowed to fail, do you?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mixed Babies and Mixed Baby Greens

Yesterday, Blisschick and I were sitting in Miss Zoe's room.

It was a lazy Sunday. What else would we be doing?

The window was open, and the three of us sat sniffing the fresh air coming in. It was still a little chilly (that breeze off the still icy Lake can seriously slow down the warm up here in Erie), but it was warm enough for Miss Lilly to jump in the room and head to the open window to check things out. (Hence, mixed babies)

Miss Lilly wants those outdoor birdies to come a little closer. She wants those birdies to get into her mouth. But that's another story.

It was also warm enough for Miss Zoe to prompt us to action with a question:

"When might you be planning to plant my salad greens?" Miss Zoe asked.

She did not even try to be nonchalant or non-demanding. She is who she is. Miss Zoe gets right to the heart of the matter.

Zoe enjoys her Organic Mixed Baby Greens
from the Whole Foods Coop,
but she prefers them straight from the yard
whenever possible.

Blisschick had ordered seeds weeks ago. Rick the mailman had delivered them. And that's as far as it had gone so far.

But, because Zoe asked, we grabbed the envelope of seeds and went to sit outside in the warm sun to rip it open, hopeful that, perhaps, on this loveliest of fresh Spring days, we might be able to plant something.


Much to our dismay, we looked through all the packets to discover that for the seeds we got, the ground needs to have warmed to about 60 degrees F before we can really get started.

We're not quite there yet. I don't know how warm or cold the ground is, but it's not 60 degrees, that's for sure.

Seeds for a certain Gourmet Bunny

[An aside: Do you want to know what Miss Lilly was doing while we sat outside? Click here. If you don't want to know, then read on. But come on-- aren't you a little curious?]

We were able to come back inside with news of the seeds, however, and that seemed enough for Zoe. We told her, "We have three kinds of lettuce, kale, French dandelion, and carrot seeds all for you!"

She gave a smug look before turning her back to us. We could tell she was pleased.

At least, I think that's what the smug look must have meant. Don't you think?

For the time being, I will have to settle for the annual Springtime excavation of the most dreaded of all recurring yard plants, the yucca.

It's not planting seeds, but it will tide me over for now.

Time to boil the water.

Yucca beware!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Unicycles, Bicycles, and Seasonal Cycles

I actually don't know much about unicycles.

I know way more about bicycles, though, most of my knowledge is limited to how to ride them, as opposed to fixing, maintaining them, etc.

OK, so maybe I don't really know that much about either.

But, Knowledge isn't everything, you know. Sometimes, it comes down to Instinct.

Miss Zoe's Instincts tell her to turn her back to you.
It is a pretty back, however, so it's still enjoyable!
Look at that adorable tail!
And, those ears!!

They say you never really forget how to ride a bike. Why do they say that?

Because. It's true.

Even if you haven't ridden a bike a lot or you haven't ridden in a long time, your muscles don't forget how. They Instinctively know how to do what they need to do to move you forward.

Here's where seasonal cycles come in. (Were you wondering?)

An illustrative anecdote: Tuesday (St. Patrick's Day) was an absolutely, positively gorgeous day here in Erie, Pennsylvania. The sun was out, the birdies were chirping, the Leprechauns were frolicking, the Gnomes were... well... standing around drinking beer like always.

I woke up early, ready to get started on Yard Work. You know, cleaning out beds, raking leaves, uncovering the cute, fresh, lime green flora that starts coming up about now in our little yard. This is me in the Spring and Summer: outside, puttering, cleaning, being a general busybody. The Spring and Summer are truly when I want to paint and create and write and garden and on and on and on.

I have ENERGY!!!!!!!!!

In the Fall and Winter, I like to hibernate. I become a slug. I still do things, but more sporadically. Mainly, I want to lay on the floor with Miss Zoe and snuggle.

Then there's Blisschick.

She is just the opposite. Blisschick is productive in the Fall and Winter because she is hibernating, not in spite of that fact.

In the Spring and Summer, she gets what we refer to as her "Spring (and Summer) Autism."

She is easily overstimulated. The windows open, and there's too much noise. There isn't 16-20 inches of snow to muffle it. Kids are in the street playing and screaming and laughing.

There's too much going on.

Add to that, the heat-- Blisschick is a dark haired, olive skinned animal. Her body drinks in the heat and holds onto it. Put her out in the sun with a stack of books, her journal, and a container of water, and what will she do?

Take a nap.

But, in the Fall and Winter, everything is quiet. She can concentrate. Things are cozy, and that is what gives her energy.

The problem comes in when we think we need to be Producing Something All The Time. And, of course, being creative people, we tend to think that. We judge ourselves by our rate of production.

Miss Zoe never judges herself.
She is ALWAYS productive.
(wink, wink-- like a Pez dispenser!
Uh-oh, I hope she didn't hear that!)

The moral of this story is this: We are all different. We all move and create at different rates. We have a variety of cycles: seasonal, daily, yearly (notice I skipped monthly, though for more on that, please see Party in My Pants!!)

We all need intake time to produce output time. Which means, it's OK to let yourself rest. To take a nap in the yard. Or lay on the floor all day with your rabbit.

Find what works for you and don't judge yourself for doing it.

Balance is the key.

Balance AND cute rabbit ears.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hello? Spring?

I know it's coming.

Spring, I mean.

But, I can't say that I'm not just a little anxious for it.

I miss riding my bike to work. And, while I am at work, I miss not being able to comfortably go outside for warm sunny walks by Presque Isle Bay.

Yesterday, it was only about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but because I miss being out by the water so much, I thought I would venture out anyway and take some pictures.

You know, to remind myself about what is on the way.

So, here are some of my pictures. If you're not from Erie, these will show you a little of the magic our beautiful port city has to offer. If you are from Erie, these will hopefully remind you of why you love it here!

Gulls! You should have heard them screaming
when I came walking toward them.
They do not care for me, because I am
convinced that they are made of Styrofoam.
And I am not afraid to say it.

Smugglers' Wharf.
A summertime fave for an outdoor lunch or dinner
while watching sailboats out on the Bay.
During the Prohibition, Erie was big on
smuggling in "things" from Canada.
Hence, Smugglers' Wharf and a little bar
down the boardwalk that sports the name
Rum Runner's.
Do we see a theme?

The Victorian Princess.
A cool paddle wheel boat that can
be rented for floating fun.
It docks right near the Library.

Mallards! Mr. Man keeps watch while
wifey catches some needed zzzzzzs.
Dare I say this?
These little duck bodies remind me of....
Miss Zoe
(I don't think she heard that. Whew!)

The waterway from the sailboat parking lot to the Bay at large.
Also the site of a very exciting duck rescue last fall
involving a veterinary student, our Library security guard,
and yours truly falling into the Bay.

The U.S. Brig Niagara.
It's berth is right outside the windows of the Library.
This is a replica of the actual Brig that
helped win the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

(Are you impressed by my historical knowledge?
That caption sounded so serious!)

The rocks where I sit to eat my lunch all summer long.
See how they look out over the beauteous water?
Of course, they are a bit icy in this photo,
but when it warms up,
this is where you can find me most days from 1-2 PM

The Hershey's Kiss Church!
Actually, it's a Russian Orthodox Church,
but one time, I was giving a library tour to some 4th graders,
and one looked out the window of the Library
upon this Church and exclaimed, wide-eyed,
"Are those Hershey's Kisses up there?
With almonds???!"

Ever since, it has been dubbed the Hershey's Kiss Church.

I hoped you enjoyed today's tour.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zoe Movie, Take 1-- Action!

The moment you've been waiting for is finally here!!

Well, it's at least the moment Zoe and I have been waiting for.

Let me rewind for a moment.

I love making little movies, especially movies of Zoe doing... well... pretty much anything. It's fun to make movies of her playing. And eating. And just sitting there. And, I've tried about a million and one times to get a movie of her rolling in the sun, which she does on a pretty regular basis.

Seriously. A million and one times. Ask Blisschick. I drive her crazy with my movie making.

"Actually, Blisschick is not the only one driven crazy
by all the movie making. Trust me."

Well, anyway, I've taken all these movies, but maybe because they are being taken with a digital camera and not a video camera of some sort, or maybe just because I am a bit technically challenged, I've not had any luck loading movies on to my blog.

The problem with that is this: Miss Zoe does not just want to be a star in still photos.

She wants to be a Movie Star.

You know. It's important to Some Animals to be famous.

She is Some Animal.

So, this weekend, I worked on making it work. I finally signed up for a YouTube account and joined the 20th century. Oh, wait. It's the 21st century. Well, perhaps that's part of the problem.

Has this been enough build up?

OK, so get your popcorn (or your carrots) and take a look at Miss Zoe's first movie for public consumption:

Miss Zoe's Sunday Salad, starring Miss Zoe the World's Most Wonderful Rabbit!!

YAY, ZOE!!! You're a STAR!!!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Look! It's new!

So, I came home from work yesterday, and Blisschick was giddy with excitement.

"I have a su-pri-ise," she sang as I walked in the door.

Then she added, "It's for you AND Zoe!"

I wondered what it could be. It was just my birthday last week, so I didn't think it was another present.

I do know that I have a new black, and therefore more formal, Disapproving Rabbits T-shirt on the way, so I thought it might be that (here's a link to the official disapproving rabbits mugs, as I think they are revamping the T-shirt right now).

No. It wasn't that.

Blisschick scurried up the stairs. I followed.

"Grab your rabbit," she giggled as we got to the top of the stairs.

I went into Zoe's room. It was time for her crunch, so she wasn't especially thrilled about being picked up or about leaving the room. But, she snuggled in for the ride to the next room anyhow.

"Are you seriously going to pick me up
and carry me around
when it's time for my luscious dinner?
Really?" (Sigh.)

Yes, Zoe, I really did pick you up.

So, what was Blisschick on about?

My new banner!! SMILE!!

While I was away at work, one of the many things she did was revamp the banner at the top of my blog to feature the unequaled and always fashionable Miss Zoe! It was the coolest surprise after a taxing day.

Thanks, Blisschick!! You are awesome!!!

This weekend, I will return the favor by helping her put together her new, magical apple green desk. A fair exchange, I think.

Also, in response to some of the wonderful ideas many of you sent in about new milagros, Zoe and I will be working on some new pendants.

Tune in next week to see what those are all about.

Until then, I have to go freshen someone's hay and water. Now that she has top billing, she's EXTRA demanding!!

Can you even imagine?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Lately, things have been busy here at the Lilypad.

Busy in a good way.

Part of what makes it feel busy is that in addition to the work we all need to get done here in the way of writing, painting, blogging, entertaining, drawing, making rabbit salads, feeding cats, scooping litter, etc. etc. etc., there's often, also, a good deal of monkey business going on around here.

See for yourself:

Exhibit A:
Blisschick and Rosie

Exhibit B:
Lilly and Zoe

Really. Need I say more?

Anyhow, amidst the silliness, some seriousity does take place. Some.

Working on my logo for Ordinary Miracles was one of those recent seriousnesses.

I still haven't gotten too far with that. I keep putting it off in favor of other things. I guess because I'm still thinking about its function, and also because I'm still mulling over a lot of the ideas and questions I got from those who do things in the graphic designy arena for a living like this person and this person.

And then, in the midst of all this thinking, which is pretty hard work for me anyway, another logo thing happened.

Our friend, Al, asked me to design a banner logo for his partner, Emma, to use on her blog.

We met Emma and Al Steinfeld about 6 years ago or so at CelebrateErie. Blisschick and I were there to sell my art in the art booth, and Al and Emma walked in to check things out. A month or so later, Emma called me up and commissioned me to paint their pug, and then later, their Siamese cat, and our friendship was born.

A few weeks ago, Al came to see me at the library with a sketch already made of what he thought the logo might look like, and we went from there. It actually ended up pretty much like his original vision.

I'm pretty happy with the result. Check it out here, at Emma's blog, Eriepressible.

Back to the monkey business!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Deep thoughts... by Marcy and Zoe

Here's something I've been thinking a lot about lately:

If you ask someone like, say, a nurse or a teacher or a social worker or any of a number of other kinds of people, and you ask them why they chose to do whatever it is they do, they usually say and can very certainly say that they chose that field because they "wanted to help people."

That's a great reason to want to do something, right?

"I help people just by being cute.
It does feel good to be helpful!"

I've used that line before, myself. I have an undergraduate degree in English, which led on to a secondary teaching certification in English, which led into a graduate program in English where I worked my way through as a teaching assistant. I come from a family of teachers. And if you would have asked me why I was choosing that field that I thought I would spend my life in, I would have said it was... you guessed it... because I wanted to help people.

It seemed like a worthy thing to do.

But, you know, when I first started painting, I never would have cited "because I want to help people" as a reason for doing it.

That thought wouldn't have occurred to me.

I started painting for me. I did it because I love it. It's fun. It brings me joy. It helps me to think about and see the world in new ways.

Painting/art is a way I connect to the Divine. It is in so many ways my spiritual path.

The more I paint, though, the more I realize that while, yes, painting and creating art is fun and fulfilling for me, it is also a way of helping other people that is just as legitimate and worthy of a choice as anything else.

[An aside, here: Though all this stuff may seem obvious, I am writing about all this, I guess, because I think that too many people make wrong choices about not following a path they should probably be on because they think the arts are frivolous hobbies as opposed to real life choices and professions. This is too often reinforced by our government cutting money to arts programs and schools making cuts to arts programs in favor of what they see as more "practical" choices. It is also, unfortunately, too often reinforced by parents.]

"This post is getting a little too pedantic, don't you think?"

I know-- Zoe's right. I'm a little preachy today, perhaps. Hang on, while I shove a banana chip in her mouth to quiet her down...


OK, so the larger point is this: Doing what we love, whatever that is, is what helps people the most. (See also Blisschick!)

When I paint a commissioned portrait of someone's beloved pet or when a milagro I've designed and made helps a friend to focus her intentions on hopefulness and healing, I've helped someone just as sure as I would have if I had been teaching a 10th grader about reading Shakespeare.

When I look at a beautiful piece of art on my own wall or hold a set of lovely mala beads that someone has made for me or look at a little felt bunny that someone else has crafted with love and good intentions, that helps me just as much as a nurse giving me stitches. Reading poetry or prose can heal better than any medication if I let it.

Art and artists change the world. They help people in ways that nothing else can.

It may be less measurable than a a standardized math test or even an essay, but it's no less real.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Zoe: A History

Yesterday, Zoe and I celebrated our birthday.

I know. It probably seems a little contrived that Zoe and I share the same birthday. But it's true.

We got Zoe 4 1/2 years ago at Erie's German Heritage Festival. She was part of a petting zoo that was set up for the festival that weekend. There were about one million rabbits in the petting zoo who seemed to be enjoying being picked up and petted and snuggled by about one million children.

But not Zoe.

She was hiding under a chair trying to escape all those grabby, grubby hands. It wasn't working.

The moment I saw her, I knew we had to take her home. It was like when Charlie Brown sees that anemic little Christmas Tree. We just connected, and I knew we needed each other.

"Wait! Isn't today my birthday?" Zoe says indignantly.

Blisschick wasn't sure at first that we really needed a rabbit. At the time, we already had five cats and two humans living in a house that is under 1000 square feet. Space was at a minimum.

But the second she saw her, it was love at first sight for her, too.

"Where are my PRESENTS?!?"

"I still don't see anything!! Hand it over, whatever it is!"

The day we took her home was September 5th, and the petting zoo people told us that she was 6 months old pretty much to the day.

So, see, her birthday really is March 5th. Well, pretty much.

"MMMM! A willow ball. That's better (munch, munch, munch)."

Of course, they also said she was a boy.

It was a big adjustment for us when she suddenly turned into a girl. She didn't seem to be confused about it at all. A friend of ours suggested that "guessing her sex would have been much easier had she come with a little beaded clutch or something."

So true.
"Wait, did someone say I was getting a
beaded clutch (munch, munch, munch)?"

Having a rabbit in the house has been a strange and wonderful thing. We often walk by her little room and say out loud, "There's a rabbit in the house!!"

Something about it still feels so magical even after 4 1/2 years.

And, I think it always will.

"Moi? Magical? Do you think? DUH!!!"


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rabbits on Bikes and Other Tales or Tails

Miss Zoe, trimming her nails while still looking coy as ever.
I think she may be looking forward to our wee vacation together.
I guess that remains to be seen.

Well, I haven't been riding my bike to work these last couple of days. Captain Janeway and I did ride through the icy air on Sunday of course, but the sun was out and the fresh air got into my lungs.

Normally, once I start riding to work in the Spring (or pre-Spring, as this would more accurately be called), it's pretty hard to stop riding. Once I've had a taste of the freedom that is my bike ride, it's hard to go back to the bus.

But, today, I had a really good reason for not riding that had nothing at all to do with cold air (or my laziness, which is sometimes an issue to hear Miss Zoe tell it-- though, I don't see her riding her bike to work very often. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've ever seen her ride a bike. Or, go to work. Hmmmm......).

I didn't ride today because I got to go work at our brand new branch library in Edinboro. The new library reused a space formerly occupied and since vacated by a furniture store. It was built to look rather like a barn, with lots of beautiful natural lighting, and complete with a lofty area, that never really was for hay, but might pretend so if you asked it.

"Did I hear someone mention hay?" Zoe just asked looking quite coy.

Excuse me a moment.

"Yes, Zoe, but I only mentioned a hayish lofty area, not hay itself."

She does like to interrupt.

Anyway, here's some pictures:

A shot from behind the Circulation Desk, where I was working.

A shot from the back of the library, looking toward the front.
If you look closely (sorry about the contrast)
you can see the winding path that meanders through the stacks.

The FIREPLACE!! What a great place to hang out and read.

The lofty ceiling area. Those are some really neat-o-neat fans hanging.

And now, while we wait for temperatures to warm up and the bike riding weather to begin to improve, I will be on vacation for a few days. Exciting stuff, that!

This week is Zoe's and my birthday week, so it's a time to celebrate and have some fun being creative-- doing some painting and writing and snuggling LOTS of mammals!!

Then, maybe after a few days off, I'll try to get Zoe to ride to work with me.

Or not.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Magical World of Shrinky Dinks!

Yesterday was between 18 and 2o degrees Fahrenheit here in Erie, Pennsylvania. But, as I am so completely tired of riding the bus to work, I broke out my bike, Captain Janeway, for the ride to the Library.

My bike, Captain Janeway, the coolest bike on the planet.

Why do I mention this, you ask? Why do you care how I get to work?

Well, you probably don't care. But, in light of last Friday's post, where I shared some of my "collections" (i.e. my cat whiskers and found-on-road dolls), I felt like it would be prudent to share today's find from my ride home:

Would you call her two faced?
Or, is she just cracking a smile?
Poor thing.

But, that's not what I really want to write about today. (I think I just heard Miss Zoe sigh with relief.)

"Yes, what a relief that we're not going to discuss
dirty things found on the side of the road.
Now, who has my morning banana chip?"

No, in fact what I wanted to write about is this:

I need your help. Again.

I know, I know, you're probably getting tired of me asking questions. Well, I've really only asked the one. You know, about my logo. And I got so many great comments, that I thought I'd ask some more stuff.

So, here it goes.

A couple of days ago, I got a commission to make a new milagro pendant. A stomach. With intestines. Very cool.

I am thrilled about the commission. I love to draw guts and body parts. I never knew that about myself until recently.

(Don't worry-- I'm working up to the question. Were you wondering? I thought since Zoe was taping her nails on the writing table, that you might be, too.)

And, of course, I make my pendants with Shrinky Dinks. Shrinky Dinks are the best, aren't they? I have so many great childhood memories with Shrinky Dinks. And the Easy Bake Oven. And the Play-Doh pasta making thingie (remember that?). OK, enough reminiscing.

As you may well know, Shrinky Dinks come in sheets. And a stomach with attached intestines is really only going to take up a small portion of one sheet.

Here's where you come in.

Blisschick has been urging me for some time now to make animal milagros as memorials. Great idea, Blisschick.

What animals should I make? I mean, I know what Miss Zoe and Miss Lilly would say, but what are your thoughts?

Should these animals bear little wings like angels, or should they just be the animals themselves with no frills or additions?

Also, besides animals and body parts, milagros cover a lot of territory.

What other ideas for helpful milagros might you have? Remember, they are for helping with anything. They are little talismans (talismen?) intended to focus your intentions and help you through difficult periods in your life or the life of someone you love.

Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?