Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If You Want To Sing Out...

It's really kind of sad for a blog when its author is down in the dumps, consumed with the heavy issues, like death.  After a little thinking I figured, this is a blog written about my journey and my journey does indeed include death. 

Husby's mom is hanging in there.  These last few months have taken a toll on Husby, and in turn on me.  The inevitable has once again brought to light many of my thoughts and beliefs on the subject of death and dying.  I have no anxiety about death, my own that is.  Not now.  I think the secret to feeling stress-free about one's own death is to develop a belief system that works for you.  Just make one up if you have to.  There are so many schools of thought, religions, psychological constructs upon which one could develop a belief system about death and dying.  Find one that works for you and stick with it.  Because you know what?  No one knows for sure what it's all about, so we might as well live our lives believing in the best possibilities. 

Mrs. Husby triggered this in me when she said, "the Lutheran church doesn't want you to pray to or talk to your parents after they're dead - they're in God's hands."  I've never been Lutheran so I don't really know if this is true or not, but I responded to her with "that's ridiculous!"  She agreed.  Don't let someone else tell you how death is, how to relate to your loved ones after they have died, or what you should or should not be thinking about regarding your own mortality.  Make something up I say!  Make it happy!  You're the one who has to live with the belief system your entire life, so you might as well make it good.

So here's what I think.  If you want to believe in an afterlife, make it the best one you can imagine.  If you want to believe in reincarnation, take your pick of how you'd like to come back to this earth.  If you believe all people go to heaven, make a list of all the people you want to meet once you get there.  If you believe there is nothing after this life, live this one the best you can.   If you can't make up your mind what you want to believe, anticipate the wonder of the journey upon which you will someday embark.

As Cat Stevens wrote, "...there's a million ways to go, you know that there are." 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Featured Shop: Sarah Mandile Photography

About twice a month I contribute an article to the HandmadeMN blog featuring the HandmadeMN members' shops on Etsy. I thought it would be nice to have those articles on my blog too, as I really like the artists and shops I feature, and their wares might add a bit of class to my little corner of the blogosphere.

Hi Sarah.  It's me, the other Sara. 

Sarah and I have something in common other than Etsy and HandmandMN.  We also work in the same place for our day jobs.  But we don't want to talk about that here.  Sarah Mandile should be best known for her wonderful photography.   Sarah's shop, Sarah Mandile Photograhy has lots of wonderful prints and note cards and continues to grow. 

I love the detail she gives with her up-close and personal botanicals.  The waterlily is one of my favorite flowers of all time, and Sarah captured this one beautifully.

This note card took my breath away with the full moon, the evening lights, and the mighty Mississippi.  And hey, isn't that the post office?  I think it depicts a cosmopolitan serenity.

I adore this photograph Sarah took at the Minneapolis Arboretum.  It has a misty look with the black-and-white background and subtle pink tree.  Gorgeous!

If you're a fan of cityscapes or landscapes, I think you'll like Sarah's photographs.  She captures so many aspects of the Twin Cities and manages to bring her images alive.  Sarah also does custom work!  Visit Sarah Mandile Photography and see what she can offer you. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slipping Away

These are difficult days indeed for the family of Husby.  Mrs. Husby now rests in a hospital bed at her home under the eye of health care workers around the clock.  Mr. Husby wonders silently what will become of him once his wife crosses the line to the other side.  He's been quite dependent on her for many years.  Husby is running himself ragged doing all that is necessary in this kind of situation.  He's an only child and the burden rests completely on him.  He's doing a marvelous job.  It won't be long now, and it wouldn't surprise me if Husby took a month-long nap after this episode of The Aging Parents Saga.  He'll wake up just in time for the next episode.

I'm in charge of the homefront, picking up the slack when Husby is away.  It's just little things I'm doing to make things nice for him when he comes home from a day filled with chaos and doom.  One of Husby's favorite things to do is retrieve the daily mail.  It's a guy thing.  Last night I realized that because Husby was out late taking care of things at his parents' no one had gotten the mail.  I'll do it, I thought to myself feeling all heroic and helpful.  So I turned on the outside light (getting the mail didn't even occur to me until after dark - don't judge me) and stepped into my clogs and out to the cold dark night.  My mistake?  Clogs.  Thirty-year-old clogs with no traction.  Add that to a giant icicle melting from the corner of the house onto the sidewalk.

Yep, it was a clip right out of America's Funniest Home Videos.  My legs flew from under me and I landed on the heel of my left hand and also on my right hip/derriere.  Today I'm walking funny.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I know it's in bad taste to make excuses on a blog as to why the writer hasn't written.  So I won't. 

Not only am I behind in writing, I'm behind in filing, applying, banking, producing, cleaning, and cooking.  Even with the long weekend away from the day job I failed to catch up. 

Could have something to do with Husby's parents, who are taking most of our attention lately.  They're failing.  And we're both pretty new at this aging parents thing.  Doesn't matter that we watched our parents go through it; either we weren't paying attention or it's something you just have to learn by doing. 

Now I have to get back into the swing of awaking at 5:00 a.m. and going to bed before 11:00.  It won't be easy, and I won't much like the time away from my half-finished projects.  But this week I'm sending out a custom order, finishing up a boatload of palm wax votives, placing an order with one of my suppliers, and getting in good with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.  Oh yeah, and also I must devour the Midwest Art Fairs publication which I can't even believe I haven't so much as thumbed through despite its arrival at my house over four days ago.  Hopefully I'll get a bunch of shows listed on that sidebar.

Don't forget to check out the ongoing Pulp Fiction Magnet listings at my shop.  This week I'll be listing more frequently; I'm anticipating two to three new listings per day.  I just love them!  Here's the latest:

Wish me luck, and a huge amount of motivation and stamina. 

Monday, February 08, 2010

Featured Shop - Milton and Margie's Soy Wax Candles

Most people don't realize how many different types of candles there are.  I'm not just talking about colors, scents, sizes and shapes.  I'm talking about wax.  Jess of Milton And Margie's Soy Wax Candles uses, as the name implies, soy wax.  Soy is a natural and renewable wax (read: Earth Friendly) and looks so beautiful and creamy. 

Not only is Jess doing the world a favor by using soy wax, she also uses recycled containers for her candles.  This makes her shop such a delight to visit; not only can you peruse the beautiful colors and decadent scents of the candles, the containers are so unique and pretty too.  Get them while they last as a lot of them are few-of-a kind.

I love the selection Jess provides in her shop too.  She has categorized the candles according to scent in the Sections part of the shop.  These are some of my favorites:

So lovely, so colorful, so fragrant, and so eco-friendly.  The candles at Milton and Margie's Soy Wax Candles will certainly add character and ambiance to your home, or make a great gift for just about anyone.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Happy And Humble

Once again I'm so happy to be included in a grouping of lovely products.  Memorable Mentions put together a bunch of her favorite things in the cool shades of blue and green.  Be sure to go to the HandmadeMN blog to get details on where to find these great items.  My cute little Queen of Tarts bottle cap magnet is honored to be among such beauties.

Also, check out the HandmadeMN February challenge and vote for your favorite Fiery item.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Some say the life of an artist is a lonely one.  I wouldn't know, as I don't really consider myself an "artist" so much as a crafts person.  There are plenty of times when I'm holed up in the studio pouring candles and working on various other projects for hours on end, but I'm never alone.  Meet Dolly:

Don't you just love her attire?  She's much shorter than I am, so it's kind of pathetic how her pants bunch above her bare feet.  Her turtlneck top is perpetually festive with holly sprigs.  She's missing a finger on her right hand and she has to wear a wig, but she seems to be fine with that.  She also happily dons a cap reading "Dopey."

Dolly stands right behind my work table, overlooking everything I do in the studio.  Sometimes I make horrible mistakes in the studio and have been known to swear a blue streak on such occasions, but Dolly understands and is always giving me an encouraging smile.  She doesn't judge; in fact, it seems she always approves. 

I think all artists and crafters should have a mascot of some kind.  Dolly was retrieved from an abandoned retail storage space by my brother Diggy and me over twenty-five years ago.  Okay, so the storage space wasn't technically abandoned, but we pretty much figured they had no use for a mannequin with a missing finger, so...

She's my constant companion in craftland.  And sometimes when I forget she's there she scares the bejeepers out of me when I catch her out of the corner of my eye.

Do you have a mascot?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Dive Night - Meister's ~ Scandia

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of "dive." Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot hiding under the radar. Casual atmosphere and good food. We're out to find the best food in the Minneapolis/St Paul area without having to pay a fortune or dress up. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either.  See a list and links to the previous dive night posts here.

Last year when we started the whole Dive Night routine Ruthie and Ray kicked it off by taking us to a place called Meister's in Stillwater, MN.  Husby and I were surprised when they did a Meister's reprise.  Who knew there was another one?  In Scandia, MN?  We make it a policy not to choose chains for Dive Night, but I don't think the Meister's would be considered such.  Behold, Meister's:

I love these bar/grill establishments, and this one was one worth visiting.  It's a small place, but didn't seem crowded, even though there were plenty of people there.  The service was wonderful.  We were not only waited on by our waitress, the owner also checked on us and made sure everything was satisfactory.

We started out with cocktails and appetizers.  Ruthie had a glass of wine, Ray and Husby had beer, and because I had a somewhat difficult week I decided to go for it and have a Cosmo.  The Cosmo was delicious, but on the weak side.  For appetizers we chose deep fried cauliflower with a ranch dipping sauce and smelt served with tartar sauce.  The smelt was fileted!  Ruthie and I had never had smelt before, and don't you know we had been missing out on a treat our whole lives.  The cauliflower was delicious too; I had been craving it for so long.  Both appetizers were really hot when they arrived at our table.

Next came the entrees.  None of us had any complaints, and we were all so hungry there was no need for to-go boxes.  The fries were great, and the sandwiches were big, juicy, and very flavorful.  Our choices, right-to-left top:  Husby=chicken sandwich, plain and simple, Ruthie=mushroom swiss burger; bottom: me=bacon barbeque burger, Ray=bacon cheeseburger.  The burgers were 1/3 pound and perfectly cooked.  Mine came with fried onions, much to Husby's delight...not, but I loved them!

Of course we have to assess the bathrooms too.  This was in the stall of the ladies room:

Pretty funny.  A poster-sized print made to look like a window.  I didn't hear any reports of peeping Tomasina (female version of peeping Tom?) in the men's room. Both bathrooms were clean and fresh-smelling.

I give high praise to Meister's in Scandia, MN, with a small demerit for the weak Cosmo.  All of us agreed we'd certainly visit again. 
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