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Easter
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Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
This is a story of Jack the Ripper with at Twist!

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
This is the first of a trilogy retelling the true story of the infamous countess as a youn adult novel. History is not always what it seems.

Wild Horse Runs Free

Wild Horse Runs Free
A Historical Novel by Ellen Tsagaris

With Love From Tin Lizzie

With Love From Tin Lizzie
Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls and Automatons

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The Legend of Tugfest

The Legend of Tugfest
Dr. E is the Editor and A Contributor; proceeds to aid the Buffalo Bill Museum

Emma

Emma

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Like My Spider
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Moth

Moth
Our Friend

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Little Girl with Doll
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A Jury of her Peeps

A Jury of her Peeps
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Crowded Conditions

Crowded Conditions

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Opie Cat's Ancestors

Opie Cat's Ancestors
Current Cat still Sleeps on Victorian Doll Bed with Dolls!

First Thanksgiving Dinner

First Thanksgiving Dinner
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Autumn Still Life
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Boadicea
The Original Bodacious Woman

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Sketch of children playing
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Parable of the 300 Cupcakes and Saying "No."

Lately, I find myself completely overwhelmed with everything,and yet I seem to be putting out the lion's share of fires and taking on tasks for everyone. The whiney "me" generation in me gets very upset. I don't seem to have the energy for the vital personal things we must do for ourselves, like eat, get ready for bed, get ready for work, let alone have any recreation or down time. It is not hard for me to say "no," but it is hard for me to give up responsibility. If my good word is involved, and I have to back out or change plans, I feel as though I'm irresponsible and that I've let everyone down. And, of course, reliabiity is part of trust, and on down the slippery slope we snowboard. Maybe I'm not irresponsible, just not responsible for everyone else's wishes and agendas. It is very hard to adhere to and live by other peoples' schedules. Also, it is equally hard to make people understand just how busy you are. I always get answers, though it isn't up for debate: "we're busy, too, we have no time, I teach, and I work, and it never is what you describe!" [so, now I'm a liar, too!].

Yet, we all know what we can stand. I have to live by my Dad's/parents'/families' schedules. I have to swallow anything unreasonable in that realm. I don't have to constantly cover for everyone else's work and mistakes, nor do I have to be a team player by letting everyone else take advantage of me.

I've spent hours covering for people who begged me for help because life and death were at stake, only to find out that someone wanted to go canoing because "they have to have a life." I've changed offices and classrooms so someone wouldn't have to walk several blocks carrying a lot of books and equipment, when I had to walk the same distance with at least two book bags, a camera, my purse, and all sorts of other equipment, with shin splints, carpal tunnel, back injuries, and foot injuries. I guess they didn't feel my pain.

I've learned why so many people say "no" with such vehemence. I lost my Lia Sophia party gifts at one juncture because I didn't want to let a perfectly bossy stranger take over my house so she could sell trinkets at 1000% overhead on my time. Just moving my books and glass cases around would have been a logistic nightmare, let alone providing her with an audience, display cases, and refreshments. Never give explanations; for the sake of her hostess, my good friend, I tried to explain that I had a family and worked, to which she replied, she had seven kids and did umpteen parties per week. Well, great. I didn't tell her to have seven kids either, and she could get another job. I went to law school with a girl who had five kids. She never complained, skipped work, or cajoled anyone into babysitting for her.

Let me illustrate with my mom's parable of the 300 cupcakes. When her little brother was around 12, and she was just out of grad school and teaching highschool, he came home from Sunday School and told her he had volunteered her to make a few cupcakes for the next day. It was Sunday evening, and my mom thought she could handle a couple dozen cupcakes for his Sunday School class. She had her sister and her mom to help, after all, and Georgie, her little brother, could pitch in.

Then he told her " a few cupcakes" meant 300 cupcakes! After she nearly clobberred him, she, her sister, her mother, and her three brothers, stayed up all night baking cupcakes. Even using a mix, this was quite a feat. In hindsight, she said she should have called the good church ladies and let them know, well, the answer was "no!"

Then, of course, there are those who are ungrateful as well. They have comments and opinions to make after you have sacrificed your valuable time and sanity to do their bidding. I often hear, "where do you find the energy to do all this? Your house must be a mess, your family must be neglected." Or, after you've dragged out all your holiday decorations to save someone else's party, you hear, "Where do you keep all this stuff? Do you have a large house? It must be a mess!"

I often want to take a page from St. Jerome's papyrus scroll so that I can take off for the wilderness and be a hermit, with only the scorpions to say "no" to.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Dahlias, Columbines, and other Black Flowers

Ever since I became interested in The Black Dahlia murder case, I've been fascinated with black flowers. I saw a really nice black columbine on Etsy. Will try to get some seeds. I've also seen black pansies around September grown locally. I can't wait for the flowers to start blooming!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Bombs, organics, handmade books

I've been reading about artists who establish their own presses and who make artists books, some fold out 3-d, altered, sculptural, etc. They use seeds, grasses, organic materials, and rags to create their own paper. They make historical, social, and aristic statements with their books, and many are involved in a collaborative project called Book Bombs that crosses the country and back. People create art books and leave them in public spaces, in a tree, on a telephone pole, and some are for people to add to as they pass by. This is sort of a visual literacy projet. The goal of many of these artists is to race the book to a fine art object, which is how it began, after is has been a massproduced consumable that conveys information and data. The sites for these people is great, and many are also teachers and lecturers as well as printers with their own presses. Just google book bombs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Heloise and Cleaning Instittue

It is spring cleaning time again; here are a couple good links for those who have the energy and want to start:

Hints from Heloise: wwww.heloise.com

The American Cleaning Institute: http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/

I've loved Heloise, and her mom, from way, way back. She has a blog, recipes, college corner, and other great ideas on her site. The other link gives ideas for clean living, science and cleaning, and similar topics. It is mentioned as a link in Heloise's site.

Get out those dusters, vinegar, clean rags, and recylced paper towels, and let's get moving!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Book is Out

A Bibliography of Doll and Toy Sources is now in print! Soon, I hope it will be up again on Barnes and Noble. The Poetry Chapbook, Sappho, I should have Listened, arrives in April.

Spring, strong winds, and storms are here, finally. I have Primroses in my window, and begonias and geraniums ready to go out. The garden statutes are eyeing me with longing; they want to come out of their sheds and corners to feel the sun. If it is not bitterly cold, I hope to start preparing my yard for flowers and other good things. I'm going to follow tip to rake under my pumpkin seeds to see if I can get volunteer plants moving this year. Happy Gardening, crafting, and cooking!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3000

We are past 3000 and going strong. This is good news on a cold, blustery March night. On the radio, again, today, for my new chapbook, Sappho, I Should have Listened

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Almost 3000 and Healthy Living Tips

We have nearly 3000 viewers on this blog; we love it! I hope you all visit often and that you comment when you will. I'd love to have one million views!

I picked up a couple of issues of Healthy Living at our local natural food coop. I was intriquged by an aticle in volume 14 no. 10, "Green Cleaning Contenders." I will share some of these, and the site for the magazine is www. healthylivingmag.com. The article appears at p. 16. There was a competition for which cleaner might revmove coffee, pomegranate-grape juice stains better. The earth friendly product Everyday Stain and Odor remover, by Earth Friendly Products, allegedly removed the stain better than Resovle, Shout, or Soilover. Just something to think about. I also saw things like vegetable wash and Wolfgang Puck organic soups at the store.

Another useful and interesting article was "Nature's Powerful Immune Enhancers." It appears at p. 14 and argues for Olive Leaf as a secret weapon for hearth health and immune protection. I have never heard of this product. There is apparently a lot of literature about it, but I only mention it and am not endorsing it in anyway.

Vol. 15 no. 1 talks about "Swedish Bitters can Improve your Digestion." and "How Omega-3s are "Your Heart's Most important Nutrient." Another piece warns against using cleaners, even those labelled "green" that use palm oil because its overuse is endangering orangutangs and The Rain Forest. Again, coconut oil and other substitutes are discussed. There are also many articles about adopting a healthy lifestyle and attitude.

Since the magazine is often given free in health food stores and natural food coops, it is worth looking at and passing on to friends and family interested.

We finally have a sunny day, with little moisture or snow. The robins are still out, and building nests like mad. I am thrilled to see hostas and other plants beginning to peep out again. I rescued a fifty cent tulip plant and a $1.50 shamrock from the grocery store. They were the last of the shipment. They appear to be doing well. I also had two primroses last week, that reside in my kitchen window. They took a nosedive, but seem to be holding on now. I would like them to hang on a little longer so that I can plant them outside.

Seeds and garden tools are appearing, and I'm picking out some new scultpures for the yard. I'm usually an autumn person, but this year, I'm longing for the sun, and my beloved flowers, which I love at any season. My husband gave me pink tulips for Valentine's Day, and I couldn't get enough of them.

Yesterday, I went to Symphony for the first time in a long time. There was classical music, and an artistic photo collage that accompanied Holsts' "The Planets." It was breathtaking. The images of various Nebulae were a pastel pastiche that was remarkable. They were put together by a scientist/artist/astronomer. It was very good to get out and have a civilized evening with a good friend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Green Ebay

http://green.ebay.com/

Above link is for eBay's auctions for vintage, green, and recycled products!