Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shaken but Fine

You'll probably be hearing about our earthquake. It was 5.8 near Chino Hills. (12:05 noon update: Downgraded to 5.6.)

It sort of freaked me out as I was on the torch and in true beadmaker fashion, I was initally more worried about my bead than my safety. I quickly tossed it in the kiln and killed the propane.

Mabel went running toward the house. I ran out in the driveway, realized I was too near a brick wall and opted for more middle ground. Mabel is still searching for whatever did that to her house.

I always call my mom first and tell her I am alive. The news makes things sound so much worse. I'm glad I did because with everyone in the greater LA area is making phone calls, I have no dial tone at all now.

But other than shaken nerves and no phone, we are fine.



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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

Carmon tagged me to write about six things I'm proud of and I have to say this is one of the most difficult things I've ever written! This took an enormous amount of soul searching this weekend.

I think the reason this is so difficult is the constant criticism I've dealt with my whole life. And when I ran away from home at 23 to start a new life here, I picked up my mother's charge and carried it quite well. I am my own worst critic now and there are days (months?) I find it simply impossible to hear a positive voice in my own head.

That being said, I set my own self-prejudice aside. Here goes:

1) I'll start with the easy ones. That I have my own business. It is very bittersweet to write this as, I am looking for a job. But I have been on my own since November 2001. And I hope somehow to keep things going while I work elsewhere.

2) I am a damn good dog mommy. My dogs all come from rescue and then I bring them home and spoil them rotten. Lots of petting, dog beds in every room, long walks, and good food (including nibbles from my plate). And knowing that I saved them from death row makes it even more special.

3) Vanity has never been a strong suit of mine. Every time I think I'm all that, I fall on my face...literally! And it doesn't help that I've had really pretty friends my whole life. Talk about a red-headed, freckled faced step-child... that was me. I have hated my looks my whole life and can run down a list of "wrong" things but this is about pride.

I have mighty fine hair! Yes, I've finally stopped hating it for being red and realized that these curls of mine really are something people pay a fortune for. My hair can enter a room and make a fine impression long before I do! Never mind that most days, it's up in a bun to keep me cool or stay out of the torch. When I need my hair to work for me... it does. And it's only taken me forty years to admit that.

4) If you ask my friends about me, they will tell you that I am the most honest and loyal person they know. That I am non-judgmental and have the memory of an elephant comes up as well. (Several of my friends refer to me as their personal hard drive!) Those are all nice things and I'm proud they think of me that way.

5) Getting harder here... I have a "Get 'er done" kind of attitude. Surprisingly, in spite of all that criticism I spoke of, one of my best memories of childhood was crawling in bed with my mom. She would take me in her arms and whisper in my ear, "Holly, you can do anything you want to as long as you have love in your heart."

It was years later when an astrologer friend read my chart for me. (I sort of thought of this as poppycock but hey, I support my friends.) She said to me, "You have a tremendous amount of love to give. And...you have an almost foolish belief in yourself. You actually believe you can do anything." That was in my astrological chart? I guess I must have believed my mom.

But that attitude has served me so well in my various careers. Anticipating the next move, not taking "no" for an answer and dealing with anything and everything are skills that have come in so handy. And... realizing that not taking "no" for an answer doesn't mean I have to get my way. It means helping someone realize something can work for both of us.

6)Super hard to write about this one. It was 15 years ago that I stopped calling myself a word I had heard whispered about me my whole life: Bastard. This may seem like no big deal in age of baby mommas testing 30 different potential baby daddies to see who the father is on national television, but when I came of age, it was a shameful thing. And it's terribly hard to let go of life-long shame.

I didn't let go of this word easily but it happened suddenly. The occaision was my mother's 70th. I had invited one of my favorite cousins from Gonzales, LA. As more than 70 people filled my sister's house, I barely realize my cousin had not arrived. When she finally walked in, she was followed by her mom. After greeting Mom, my cousin came over to hug me.

As she approached she said, "Mom told me all about your dad in the car on the way up here."

I froze with shame as she embraced me. What would this person I so adored think of me now... Now that she knew?

My cousin gives the best hugs. She is one of my top two favorite people to hug in the world. You know you've been hugged by someone who loves you after she embraces you.

And as she hugged me, I know she felt my shame. She pushed me back from her and looked at my face, my eyes full of tears. I could barely whisper the words, "I'm a bastard."

With that, she pulled me into her again. "Holly, I don't ever want to hear you say that word again. I heard your parents love story. They loved each other. They loved each other for years before you came along.You are a love child.

And that's all it took to let it go. There's plenty of other crap I need to let go of but that was the first and the biggest. And it put a little pride in my backbone to stand up straight and say, "I'm a love child."

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Now I'm supposed to tag three and I don't have three. I'll tag Becky and Patrick.




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Friday, July 25, 2008

What Planet Have I Been On???

I think I'm still recovering from my illness... I slept most the day away. And when I woke, I was jonesing for a hamburger - my first in over a month. Maybe that's a sign I'm getting better.

I don't go for those well known burger joints. Instead I favor California grown chains... either In-N-Out or Tommy's. With gas prices being what they are, I opted for the closer to home Tommy's.

On the way up the mountain, I suddenly wanted a Coke. I gave up carbonated beverages several years ago and can honestly say I don't consume more than 10 in a year... and that's probably stretching it a bit.

Knowing I did not want a watered down fountain drink, I popped into the grocery store. They only had 20 ounce bottles in the cold cases up front. As I approached the case, I just about had a heart attack... A BUCK FIFTY??? FOR A COKE??? When did they get so pricey??? I know, I know... the price of everything is up. But a buck fifty for a nickel's worth of caramel in soda water???

Not wanting to pay that, I implored of the cashier..."Don't you have cans somewhere?" They didn't.

I stood in front of the case in a stunned stupor and finally, realizing I can't fight City Hall, I grabbed a Coke and got in line.

I think was still in shock when I got home with my burger. It was good. So was the Coke... but not a buck fifty good. Thank goodness I don't drink this crap that often! I'd be broke for sure.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Smells Like...

Why is it that the women who wear the cheapest perfume - the crap that brings on an allergic sneeze fit - seem to wear MORE of it?

I entered our local post office today after one such woman... she was long gone but her stench lingered so strong, my eyes teared up and I could barely speak.

I seem to encounter these women or their left over essence more and more but what can one really do??

Well, I did get to tell one such woman about her odoriferous choice once.

When I was in a wheelchair, I would board airplanes first. I was flying Southwest...no seat assignments... and took a front seat beside the window on the left side of the plane. There's a ledge there on many planes and I could ride with my foot raised and prevent a little swelling.

As the regular passengers started to board a nice, older gentleman inquired about the seats next to me. I told him they were vacant. He motioned to someone I couldn't see and suddenly I found myself seated next to his "twinkie"... a much younger, much too blond woman.

As soon as she sat down, my eyes filled and I started sneezing over and over and over. I finally got out that I was allergic to her perfume and that she needed to move. NOW! She was somewhat embarrassed and leaned closer (!!) to apologize and through my sneezing I managed to snipe, "Have him buy you some good stuff, honey. People aren't allergic to better perfumes!"


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Best Hot Chocolate in the World!

7/20 - UPDATE: The chocolistas found a photo of Argentinian Chocolate Caliente! Here's the LINK.

This post should alternatively be titled "Starbucks...Steal This Idea...PLEASE!"

I was over on the Chocolista's blog, drooling over recipes and decided to publish one here.

I once made a movie in Argentina. We left LA in March... fall in South America. As my body adjusted from spring to fall, the shortening days and the cool breezes flowing in from the rivers and ocean near B'Aires, and my coffee drinking days another year or so away in my future, I longed for a warm cup of hot cocoa. And after one cup, I was hooked and had to have hot cocoa after every meal.

It was like nothing I had ever tasted. And it was so much more than a beverage... It was an experience. One I long for in this country.

First I should explain that cold milk is verboten in Argentina. I remember a friend ordering coffee and, when it arrived, she requested milk. We waited... and waited. Finally the waiter emerged with a steaming carafe of milk. It seems you would never give anyone cold milk for a hot beverage.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when that first cup of cocoa arrived. It wasn't cocoa. It was a steaming mug of milk and, laying on the side of the plate, was a thin bar of Belgian chocolate - about the size of my ring finger. I was puzzled and had no idea what to do. This wasn't hot cocoa. Luckily, I was dining with my secretary, a native.

She explained that I was to stir my hot milk with the chocolate bar. Still confused, I obliged. At first I was annoyed. I wanted to drink it but it was too hot, so I kept stirring until all but the tiniest sliver of chocolate was between my thumb and forefinger. I slipped that into the hot, now brown liquid and licked my fingers. OH! None of that waxy American chocolate... this was heaven!

And it was finally cool enough to partake. It was so wonderful! I became obsessed. This was the standard way to serve Chocolate Caliente (CHOCK oh lah tay).

Sometimes the Belgian chocolate was wrapped. Other times it wasn't and it arrived laying across the mug, the heat rising and causing it to sag a bit. But it was always wonderful.

Chocolate Caliente

1 mug of steaming milk
1 small bar Belgian Chocolate

Stir well and drink slowly. Best enjoyed with a good friend, scintillating conversation and chilly evening.

(And yes, I have written Starbucks but they are apparently idiots and don't know a good thing when it slaps them in the face!)



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Monday, July 14, 2008

Mabel the...


All photos Copyright 2008 Creekhiker; May not be used without permission.

Sofahog: The first night I was really sick, Mabel asked to come up on the sofa - nothing new here. Since I was downing fluids, I was running down the hall every 30 minutes and I would come back to find a huge rottweiler in my place on the sofa. I would lift her legs and try to squeeze under but she would groan her displeasure. After about the third time, I started yelling, "UH HUH, NO FREAKING WAY, GET OFF, GET DOWN, GET OUT!"

She obliged. The strange thing is -- not once did she ask to get back up until my fever broke!

Nurse:
Miss M was quite the nursemaid while I was sick. Some dogs run and hide when their humans start to make strange noises. Not Mabel. Whenever I have a coughing jag she comes running to me.

I managed to wake terribly early almost every morning that I was sick - between 5 and 6. And since there is water in creek, I would stuff my pockets with Kleenex and cough drops, load up Mabel and drive to the levy. I would park in the curve - the closest parking there is to the water - and s l o w l y walk the 1/4 mile to the end of the levy. The end of the levy wall would form an "L" shape shaded area in the morning light. I would sit there and hack away while Mabel ran down into the water for a frolic.

She would play but she would stay near (not something I'm accustomed to. This girl marches to her own distant drummer!) and I swear every time I looked at her, she had one eye on me. Normally, she couldn't care where I am.

My friends think I'm crazy for worrying about my dog's exercise while I'm so sick but few realize how much the sound of that water means to me. It's always the highlight of any day. My nurse friend in Mississippi thinks that walking about is one of the reasons I didn't really think I had pneumonia. The exercise helps break up the crap in the chest.

As I got sicker, this routine would change. The day it dropped into my chest, Mabel simply sat down at the top of the levy, so close, I couldn't get a good cough going without hitting her with my shoulders. Frustrated with her, I managed to get down to the shore, thinking she would swim if I were close. Nope. She laid at my feet and refused to go in the water! A first! I took the lower path back to the car, too weak to climb the hill by the levy. We repeated this scene for three days.


Brat:
My fever finally broke after six days. Mabel awoke that morning and instead of the calm little nurse-dog that had been sleeping beside me, brat-dog was back. The moment my feet hit the floor, I got the "hurry up, let's go" look that seems to repeat over and over, "Are we goin'? Can we go NOW?"

I swear this dog somehow knew I had no more fever; that I was on the mend. For the first time in a week, she just took off. She ran and played and I had to yell to get her to go home.

Gee, I kinda liked that sweet pup that never left my side....

Walking Wounded: Mabel managed to tear a toenail off the first day I was sick. In my feverish stupor, I decided that dog saliva had been around for thousands of years before peroxide and antibiotic ointment and so I left her to do what she would. I simply ignored her licking.




The wound was made worse by her tearing it open at the creek almost daily. Her being injured may have been a factor in her strange 4th of July behavior.

Scardy Cat: Dogs and fireworks can be a strange combination. Maggie, my star gazer, adored fireworks! My previous home was right next to a ritzy golf course and every year there was a HUGE fireworks show on the first tee, parallel to my front yard. I would pull out a lawn chair, frequently surrounded by neighbors, and Mags would sit right beside me staring in wonder at the sky.

When we moved here, the fireworks show is several blocks away at the high school. I have a perfect view from the seat in the shallow end of my pool. I would be in the water and Mags would lie on the sidewalk behind me, head on my shoulder and we would watch them together, heads bobbing in unison to the explosions.






Mabel generally prefers to lie a few feet further away, but she would definitely watch the show!

Not this year. I was stumbling around trying to take some decent photos and so feverish and dizzy I was literally afraid of falling in the pool! And Mabel? She was in the den, head up, eyes closed. Weirdo! Seriously, I think she just wanted some time alone to lick that paw!



Drama Queen: I avoided people during my fever days. I always fear I'm contagious and don't want to get anyone else sick. When my fever broke and my senses started to return, I asked my hiking buddy to come over and look at Mabel's paw. She obliged.

As I got up and unlocked doors, I announced to Mabel, "Auntie's coming over to look at your foot."

Auntie walked in and barely shut the front door when Mabel came trotting up to her and after a brief hello pet, she yelped and held up her paw! Look Auntie! I'm sick too! Oh the drama!


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

In the Meantime...

While I'm on the mend, I did a little housekeeping... you may have noticed over to the right.

I've started a Bead Blog... I'm hoping to journal my creative process there.

And as for the links here, I LOVE the new blogger feature called "My Blogs." It ranks them by update times...so if you're near the bottom, it's time to update.

I was a bit melancholy doing this... Velvet has been at the top of the list for so long. It was a visual place of honor since she's the one who inspired me to start this journey.

And in other news, I have a bead in a competition with my Etsy Bead Group, Lest Beads. The contest is Red White & Blue and here's my entry:


Patriot by Hollysfolly, originally uploaded by HollysFollyGlass.


I would really appreciate your vote for me in the competition. Click HERE and scroll down to the very bottom { I was one of the first to enter ;-) } and check the radio button by Holly's Folly Glass.

Thanks for voting and I will be back soon!

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Friday, July 11, 2008

The Black Hole

I have bronchitis and pneumonia. I have no idea how I got it. It started with an upset stomach. The next day, I thought I had swallowed something too big and by night it was a persistent cough. The fever came next and the 4th was just a haze of me moving from bed to sofa to bed again.

In retrospect, I think I was getting sick before all that. In this heat, I often nap for maybe an hour during the heat of the afternoon, work on computer projects inside, and return to shop and sometimes work until the wee hours of the morning. But for several days before the first symptom really hit, I was shocked to be waking up from my nap 4 - 5 hours later.

By Sunday, it had hit my lungs an my doc started me on antibiotics. And I got worse! Tuesday, she threatened me with hospitalization but I begged her not to. I go in daily for breathing treatments.

I'm still pretty weak and have some interesting tales to share about my "nurse." But that will have to wait...

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Eyes on the Ball

Mabel Lou here. I managed to talk my mom into shooting a few videos of my techniques for enjoying a good game of fetch the ball.

Rule one, Keep your eye on the ball:
video

Rule two, Find a fairly capable sucker human to throw the ball for you:
video

Audio dialog of note:
0:14 - Gotta wait!
0:21 - Aw, Mamma throws like a girl!
0:32 - And we do it again!
0:35 - Ya gotta bring it.

Rule three, Keep good traction on the ball. This is done by kneading the ball in the sand, like bread dough. (Please note, it helps if the dork human shooting the video realizes that videos cannot be shot on the vertical!) Please, tilt your head to the right.


video

Rule four, It's important to know when to quit. You should always be able to communicate this to your human.

video

Audio dialog of note:
0:06 - You better bring my ball! {ED - HER ball???}
0:12 - Mabelooo!
0:17 - And that means the game is OVER!


See how quick she learns????

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Proof!











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