Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter Solstice Greeting Cards

Twenty-one of my Snowflake Pentagram Winter Solstice cards were sold yesterday! I am proud to say that of the many wonderful Winter Solstice cards at Zazzle, mine are currently right on the top row when you search for Winter Solstice Greetings! Of course, when I checked all that out - I noticed how many other beautiful Winter Solstice Cards were available.

Zazzle is having a sale on greeting cards now through Sunday - 50% off cards, and 10% off postage (use code CARDNPOSTAGE at checkout).

Here's my favorite Winter Solstice cards (including mine, I admit - LOL)

Winter Solstice card
Winter Solstice by ernestinegrin
Shop for a different greeting card template online at zazzle

This one made me chuckle:

That was a fun little diversion from all the griping lately, eh?


Summer Foovay

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stuff - Part Four; More Gadgets, Less Stuff?

I have a Kindle. It holds over 3000 books. Instead of eight bookcases and more books in boxes I am now down to two bookcases and four boxes of TBRs – two of which are in serious danger of being taken to a charity shop this week. One bookcase is full of non-fiction references that are not (yet) available on the Kindle.

With the Internet, it’s like having a million libraries right here on my desk, available any time day or night without having to get dressed and gas the car.

I create digital art. I need enough space on my desk for a tablet and a computer. Those are my art supplies.

I write – on the computer.

We love music. We each have our own iPod shuffle and iTunes, of course, on the computers. There is still one big box full of CDs, but the cassettes and albums are gone at last. They don’t take well to New Mexico heat anyway.

Okay, I do have a studio with one desk full of drawing supplies, and another table with a sewing machine and a box or two of fabric and notions. But those are not necessities. I have a shelf of knickknacks above my desk. Most are small, unbreakable, and have been survivors of the winnowing process for at least three or four years, some of them for twenty years.

Due to my husbands medical condition, we have an entire bedroom full of medical and dialysis supplies – but we much prefer being able to take care of him ourselves and obviously, it is so worth it to have him in my life and home.

We buy clothes based on what we like and wear and if we don’t wear something for a couple of years we give it away. Most stuff we wear until it is hardly useable as a rag.

We firmly believe in using up all the good in something. But we also firmly believe that if something is broken or used up, and cannot be fixed or reconditioned, or if fixing and reconditioning is likely to cost more and/or be more trouble than simply replacing – out it goes.

Use it. Love it. Or get rid of it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

STUFF Part Two - What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Now I look back and I see that I have sometimes punished myself by taking all my stuff away from me. I may have justified it one way or another at the time – but that is what I was doing. I do have those self worth issues of any abused child, and guilt issues of any sexually abused child. I’m working on it. I’m a lot better than I used to be, and at least now I’m self aware, or I try to be.

When I left the abusive first husband I wanted out so bad that despite the fact we had been paying for a house together for eight years, despite the fact that either I or my mother had bought most of the furniture and appliances, despite the fact that I had worked almost every day we had been together, bought all the groceries, etc. he convinced me I owned nothing and had a right to nothing and further more, I was going to financially ruin him if I left taking my income. So I also paid for the lawyer for the bankruptcy to get him out from under all the credit cards he used to buy stereo equipment (he was an audiophile), his car payments (I surrendered my car), as well as paying for the divorce.

He made about 4x my income, not to mention what he earned selling drugs. I left the house behind - as he told me he had removed my name from the deed. A few years later I found out he had not - by learning that "I" had a foreclosure on my credit record. Oddly, I could not rent an apartment. He moved to another state and bought another house in less than a year. I still have credit problems from the foreclosure. Go figure.

I left with my books, my music, my clothes, and my dog. In a car I bought for $200 cash. I moved onto a ranch, where room and board was part of my pay. (The Breyer horses had been given to a friend years before to at least keep them in the hands of a collector – her abusive husband had burned the house down around her ears and my precious Breyers were a big lump of plastic in a dump somewhere). As upsetting as that was, I was more glad that she had gotten out without injury.

Books are my vice. I ended up paying for a storage, which held mainly boxes of books.

Suddenly, I was free. I no longer belonged to an abuser. I was earning my own living (I had been since I was about ten, but again, it was a long time before I realized that) and had money to go party and buy just about anything I wanted. Face it, I was a stablehand and assistant trainer and I wasn’t even earning minimum wage – but to me, I had a fortune. I could come and go as I wanted, eat what I wanted, wear what I wanted, and I was working with horses - my dream. All my stuff fit in the small bedroom in a single wide house trailer.

When I felt like moving or got a better opportunity or offer somewhere, I tossed everything I owned into that little old truck and took off. I did it several times – maybe just to prove I could. I started dancing and was making a lot of money – most of which I spent on other people. But if I wanted to move cross-country, I just packed my books, my clothes, my pets, and went. I bought new stuff at the new place and also developed a fondness for tiny furnished all bills paid apartments.

I got married again – to the wonderful young man who is still somehow putting up with me. We acquired stuff. We added old cars to our vices. Old cars, books, and he started buying horse models for me, as well as dragons and some other stuff. Moving across country was still doable but tended to involve a Uhaul. Eventually moving the fragile china horses was a weeks worth of packing alone. I was still prone to jettisoning anything I felt we could buy new at the new place. I thought we had settled down a few times, but nothing quite took.

We made it a habit to go through all our stuff a couple times a year using the simple Louise Hay commandment - If you don’t use it or love it, get rid of it.

After packing and moving cross country several time, all of my collections were pared down to a few remaining very special individual units. I switched from collecting fragile figurines to stamps and postcards. Books were still a vice. We no longer had the income for the old cars. Art and hobby supplies were probably the most bulky stuff. I had even finally allowed myself to be dragged kicking and screaming into the computer age. Computers, I have learned the hard way, need to be jettisoned every three years or so and replaced anyway.

A few years ago we reached something of a point of closure - with his family, with my old career, with his job, even our lease was up on the apartment. We stuffed everything into a small car, bought a tent, and took off. We pointed the car south and west, seeking someplace warmer. We left behind a small storage full of books and art supplies, and some computers and a few collectibles. A laptop went with us in the car. We drove around the Southwest until we fetched up at a place we thought would do for a winter.

We are coming up into the fifth winter here now...

Later, when I got tired of the storage people’s constant bullshit, we went back and gave away an entire SUV full of books, tossed the majority of the art and hobby supplies, and kept the things with inestimable sentimental value and a few boxes of books we held to be too hard to replace and too dear to release.

Which is why I know exactly which book I want in my suitcase if I ever get stranded on a desert island ;)

Summer Foovay

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stuff - Part One; My Love/Hate Relationship with STUFF started early

Stuff (in five parts) Part One - My Love/Hate Relationship with STUFF

“If you don’t use it, or love it, get rid of it” – Louise Hay


In my life, I have had a long standing love/hate relationship with stuff.


As a child, if I cared too deeply about something, if I really liked it – my mother would see to it that it vanished. Preferably in some fashion that she could say was my own fault. Not as punishment, simply another aspect of her subtle cruelty. Her favorite was “It’s your fault, you lost it. You are so stupid, you are such an idiot…” you get the idea. It took me a very long time to admit that most of the things I “lost” had been removed from where I had carefully left them in what I believed was as safe a place as I could find. (I well knew she went through my room on a daily basis and destroyed or removed things as well as reading anything I wrote and inspecting my artwork - all of which was prone to "disappearance")


As a child, I collected things. Notably, I collected Breyer horses. I would go hungry to save the money my mother gave me for food (she stopped feeding me when I was about 12 and instead left me a few bucks on the dining room table to go to a restaurant or buy frozen and cook it myself). I would buy something cheap – or nothing – and instead buy old Breyers, Hartlands, Hagen-Renakers, and other horse models. There were so many it was a bit hard for her to disappear them, although she made some vanish now and then. Her greatest coup was having a garage sale the day after my first wedding. I stopped by the house the next day to get a few things only to find every item I had left behind labeled with price tags in the garage and a crowd purchasing rare discontinued Breyer horses for their children to play with for a dime each. My mother laughed hilariously while she told me she wouldn’t waste the space to store any of my things. My fresh new husband screamed at me as I ran back and forth frantically gathering things and throwing them in his car. We did not have room in our apartment, he told me, for my shit.

Like most abused children, I had escaped one abusive household only to marry an abuser – thinking he was my saviour since he was not as cruel to me as my mother.

(Please spare me your sympathy - it's nice, but I don't want or need it - this is simply to give you an idea of the background I am coming from, okay? Thanks anyway)
P.p.s. I don't much care if you dislike the fact my mother was my primary abuser. I don't really care that she probably had a bad childhood (actually from what I understand - she did not and her sisters and brother are not abusers) or her own problems - she was, and is, mentally ill and probably never should have been allowed to raise a child. Like it or not - some mothers are BAD and EVIL and she is one. I know so much about psychopaths because ONE OF THEM RAISED ME.


Summer Foovay

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day.

Last night the altar was set with photos and mementos of our beloved dead to welcome them home for a brief visit, to let them know we remember them and cherish them and look forward to seeing them again someday. The black candle was burned to absorb the negativity of the last year and a bright orange candle greeted the new year with energy and passion.

Today the altar is cleared and set with two new candles. One dedicated to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. I long hesitated to pray to this particular saint - because I really hate to think anyone or anything is a lost cause. And if they were a lost cause - then what would praying accomplish? But there did come a time this year when I felt that all was lost in a particular situation. I did not know what else to do - and I purchased my first St. Jude candle. Shortly thereafter good news sailed in out of the blue. It was too little, too late, to save what was lost - but it was enough and in time to save the one who lost it and give them hope for the future.

It's as Garth Brooks sings in "Unanswered Prayers" - sometimes we think God isn't answering our prayer, when what is really happening is he is telling us to wait because he has something much better for us.

The other candle is for Saint Martin Caballero (also called Saint Martin of Tours). He has been part of my life now for several years. Originally I brought his candle home because he is always pictured on a horse. I thought for sure a horseman would care and understand about the same things I do. More than once, St. Martin has come to our rescue. The more I learned about him, the more I liked him. He's the kind of man who would slice his cloak in half to share half with a beggar who was naked in the cold. He has the courage to stand up to his superiors and refuse to fight, although he was an officer in the Roman Calvary. It is true, that in his later years, after he was made a bishop he was famed for fighting against the Pagans, leaving burned groves and overturned stones in his wake. I'll grant him that he was a man doing what he believed was right at the time. None of us are expected to know more than we know when we know it. His red candles have never burned any groves or tossed any crystals off the altar in my house. He has, however, come through for me in some tough times.

Part of the prayer to St. Jude I used when doing a Novena to him, promises I will spread his worship. So, today, here is my bit of spreading the word for both the saints who have helped me and people I care deeply about.


Summer Foovay

Living on the down low

If you are one of the few brave souls who have been with me for lo these many years of blogging and writing and webpage designing, wow, I l...