Monday, December 29, 2008

Here's the first picture of the mighty blacksmith at work. This was taken seconds before the smoke alarm went off throughout the whole bead cottage. "eh eh eh evacuate smoke evacuate! eh eh eh evacuate smoke evacuate!" Good thing it doesn't call the fire department. We need to have a small fan put in the line to draw the smoke up the chimney better.

Here's a shot of most of the smoke going through the chimney.

And this is a bead I made that same day. I really like how it turned out. There's a lot of depth and even some iridescence on the surface.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas everyone! Things here are slowly becoming normal. We've decided that since Barney is gone, we're going to start taking Java with us when we go places, like to family's houses for holidays. She was always a good traveler, unlike Barney, so it's pretty easy. When it's time to eat, we put her in her travel crate and she goes to sleep. She did very well last night at Sarah's with Elizabeth the human niece and Katie the dog niece. Java growled at Katie once in the beginning of the evening, so we just let them be in the same room together without getting too close to each other. After a while they got used to each other. Elizabeth was very excited to have a new black doggie come visit and she spent a lot of time petting her, not always so gently. Java reacted very kindly and let Elizabeth do her thing. This morning Robert and I played Scrabble and watched "A Christmas Story" a bunch of times. I made green bean casserole for the first time; it was a special request. So we're relaxing and having a pleasant morning. Best wishes to all of my readers for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I can't help compare how I'm feeling now about Barney to how I felt when my Dad passed away. I know that the two deaths are no comparison in gravity but I still feel just as badly. I also find myself rationalizing things in the same way as I did back then. Counting blessings, thinking about how the worry is over, and how the changes that come may be not be all bad. For instance, I was always afraid to have Elizabeth be near Barney because I've seen him snap at small children before. Now I don't have to worry about that. I never brought Barney and Java to the lake with Katie there because Barney didn't like dogs that were bigger than he was, so now we can bring Java next summer. There's a lot less to do in the mornings and evenings, now that he doesn't need to be medicated. Thinking about these things helps me to deal with the excruciating ache I have in my heart right now. It somehow makes it retreat to a dull ache instead of a stabbing emptyness. I know he was just a dog, but he was my beefy man and I'll miss him tons and tons.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We're home

So we're home. Flew in to a doozie of a snowstorm and tomorrow we're supposed to get more. Today has just sucked all around so I'll just leave it at that.

Rest in Peace, Barney Google

Barney has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. I wrote about his fainting episode before I left, well last over the past three days he had like 2 per day. This all happened at the vet's, while we were boarding him for our vacation. He was coughing a lot and the vet thought he might have aspiration pneumonia froma time when he threw up yesterday so she put him on antibiotics. Well this afternoon he started panting and couldn't stop, even when he was in the oxygen cage. So she called us to transport him to a 24-hour facility in Woburn. We picked him and Java up at our vets and drove to Woburn, Barney panting the whole way. They put him immediately in the O2 cage. The vet there examined him and recommended a cardiac ultrasound, an ekg and other stuff like that, along with hospitalization. So we were halfway home - Woburn is about 45 minutes away - and she called saying that they did the ultrasound and found a tumor in Barney's heart. This being inoperable and incurable, we turned the car around and went back to Woburn to be there for his euthanasia. She thinks the tumor was what was causing the fainting as it blocked his blood flow. Also she thinks he might have thrown a clot and had a pulmonary embolism which would have caused the panting. We went in one at a time to say goodbye because we had Java with us - she couldn't stay in the car because it's too cold out and I didn't want her to see it happen. When I went in, he tried to get up, which was hard on him, so I shushed him and patted him and gave him a kiss goodbye. He kissed me on the lips, which I don't usually allow since he's a poopeater, and we said goodbye. Robert then went in while I minded Java in the waiting room and the vet did the deed and it was very peaceful. He's out of pain and chasing squirrels now. He had a wonderful and happy life with us but it just wasn't long enough. We'll miss him.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today we were in St. Thomas. Robert went snorkeling and had a very nice time. He took some pictures and videos with his built-in camera mask. I had a back facial while he was gone. We were docked at a new pier that opened within the last three years. Last time we were here (2006) the QM2 had to anchor off shore and passengers were tendered to town. The new facility is near the St. Thomas airport, and watching the planes take off this afternoon reminded me of the time my parents took Sarah and me here to stay at MorningStar beach. There was some problem with our flight out and it looked like we would be spending another day here. But my father was patient and kind to the people behind the desk, unlike the other passengers, who treated the clerks as if they were personally responsible for the problem, and we finally were able to fly home that day. That was a fun trip. I miss my Dad.
As we sailed out of St. Thomas this evening, Robert and I participated in a renewal of wedding vows ceremony. I figured that since it was our 20th anniversary celebration cruise, that I could put aside my unwillingness to do such a thing. I always figured that I said them once and they stuck so what's the point? But I really wanted to do it again on this ship, so we renewed our wedding vows. It was very special and we said we'd do it again in another 20 years. Hopefully on this ship again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today was a very relaxing, laid back day. We started out with coffee in the room as usual, and then went to the gym. After our workout, we ate breakfast and then returned to the stateroom. I read for a while and then took a nap. Robert went swimming. We had lunch and then played scrabble and dominoes. We went back to the room to do some more reading. We were in St. Kitts, which seems like a lovely island, as far as I could tell from the ship. Now we're headed to St. Thomas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today we're in St. Lucia. We cancelled our dolphin watch because the seas looked too rough and Robert's sunburned. It has been kind of a cloudy day with an occasional shower passing by. We took the tender into town to do a little shopping and then came back to the ship and had tea. The tender ride was harrowing and I plan to stay on board the rest of the trip. And that's not me being a wuss, even Robert thought it was scary.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We spent the day in Barbados today. Robert went snorkeling with sea-turtles and I got a facial. As I write this, we are leaving port and heading to our next stop, St. Lucia. We get almost no news here, except for Fox news which has been reporting about a terrible ice storm back home. We're hoping that it's not as bad as they're reporting but I doubt it. I hope everyone at home is OK. And that my house is OK and that Gary is OK. We tried calling home to see if the answering machine picked up and it didn't, so I assume we have no electricity. I hope it comes back soon. So that's about it. Tomorrow Robert and I go on a dolphin and whale watch. I hope we see some.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Right now, we're at anchor outside Grenada, the little island the US invaded back in 1983. I remember being so mad at Ronald Reagan. Anyway, it's a nice little island and it's very warm out. I'd say it's in the high 80's here. Yesterday Robert and I had a hot stone massage at the Canyon Ranch Spa. It was the best ever. Of course, I've only ever had two. But this one was still the better of the two. Today we reached Grenada at around 10:00 am. I went back to bed after we had our coffee in our room and Robert took the tender into town to explore. I woke up and got dressed, had breakfast and found a little nook to read in. I've really had a pretty lazy day. But it's been perfect. Robert came back after taking a walking tour of St. George. After lunch he went swimming while I took my second nap of the day. Now we're up and relaxing in our stateroom until it's time for dinner and skywatching, which will be tonight at 10:00 pm. I hope we see some meteors. I am having a little trouble posting pictures to the blog, so if I don't get any in here, you'll have to forgive me. At least I don't have too much trouble with the words.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We are having a really nice time. Choosing this trip for our 20th anniversary celebration was the right choice. We started the day with coffee in our room, then went to the gym. After breakfast, Robert went to a personal training session and I went to a scarf tying class. Now I'll be able to wear my Hermes scarves in many pretty ways. That class was very useful, actually. After lunch, Robert went to a wine tasting and I got a haircut. It looks pretty much the same, just shorter and a little more stylish. Tonight was our second formal night. We looked awesome. I took pictures, but I'm hesitant to post just pictures of ourselves all the time. I've been doing a lot of reading and sea-watching. I haven't seen any marine life, but Robert has seen flying fish. Tomorrow I'll be checking in from Curacao!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hello from the high seas! Right now we're sailing along the northeast coast of Cuba on the way to Curacao, our first port. The flight to Ft. Lauderdale was the best ever - only 35 people were on board. We landed on time and made our way to the ship. Boarding the ship was something of a cattle drive, but we made it on OK. Sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale was quite an impressive event. People gathered along the jetties to watch the ship go by. People in the houses and apartments along the canal flashed their porch lights, hollered into megaphones and waved as we passed. I took a movie of it, I was so impressed. After we sailed away, we had a nice dinner and then went shopping at Hermes. We went to bed early, because we got up so early to catch our flight. This morning we started out with coffee in our room and then went to the gym! Hooray for being good! After breakfast, we went to the beginners bridge class. (Don't get all excited). It was way more beginner than we needed. The instructor introduced the deck of cards and explained what the suits were (as if we didn't already know). Then she went into the mechanics of the game and we played one hand. So it was pretty much wist. And then she explained that we would not get into learning bidding at all, so we gave up on the beginners bridge lessons. There's an astrophysicist couple on board, doing lectures about the solar system and universe. One of these nights, they'll be hosting a star watch on the top deck so that we can see the meteor shower that's going to happen. I think it happens on Saturday night. So that's about it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

There's no place like home

I hate leaving home to go on vacation. Once I've left I'm fine, but in the hours leading up to leaving, I'm a complete worry-wart. It doesn't help that the animals cooperate by getting sick or acting strangely. Barney had a strange passing out episode on Thursday which scared us half to death and tonight Java is not eating and wants to stay outside in the 20-degree weather and 0-degree wind chill. At least they'll be at the vet's, which is the best place for them in case they do get sick. Half of me can't wait to get out of here and the other half doesn't want to leave. The funner half will win, and we'll have a fabulous vacation, which I hope to blog, by the way. So I hope I haven't forgotten anything. I still have 36 hours or so to remember anything I've forgotten. We'll be on the QM2 traveling around the Caribbean for 10 days, to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary which was back in August. Bon Voyage!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel like I've been remiss for not posting more here, but the bead cottage is pretty much done and things there change so slowly that it's not worth posting every day. I hosted Thanksgiving for my family again this year. We had the same crowd as last year and had even more fun together. I wanted the house to look somewhat festive so we got our wreaths last weekend. It was so cold the day we put them up. Originally I wasn't going to put one on the gable end of the bead cottage but it so needed it that Bob relented and got me one. Charlie put it up for me on Monday. Here's a picture of me with my mom and sisters.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bead Cottage Pictures

Here are pictures of the inside of the bead cottage. It's freezing out today and I made beads very comfortably. The studio is messy and disorganized right now because I have no storage. Over the next few weeks, I'll be thinking about the best way to store my tools and stuff. I don't want to rush out and get something to find that I don't like it after all. So these pictures are taken in each corner and the last picture is the view from my torch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Almost done

Kirby came and put in my speakers, so now I can play my iPod, or watch TV or listen to NPR while I make beads. It's like he was reading this very blog and answered the wish I posted just last night. I was going to make beads this afternoon but since the sound guy was here, I couldn't really. Maybe Monday, since I'm busy all weekend.

Plus I still have to move the rest of that glass. That is not fun. Not fun at all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


These are beads that have been soaking since mid-September. They were still hard to get off the mandrels, believe it or not. Actually three of them are new beads, made in my bead cottage. The first one I made is the one on the left. The other two are at the top, under a blue flat bead. I made one bead today and moved a little glass. I'd like my sound guy to come and put in my speakers so I can listen to the radio or some music. That's the last creature comfort that is needed in the cottage.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Here I am making my first bead in the bead cottage! I haven't moved all the glass yet or all my other stuff but I had to try it. I made three. I'm definitely keeping the first one, and I'm putting it with the first beads from my garage studio. This is so exciting! Bring on the snow!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Brotherly Love

Gary (the cat) just loves Barney (the dog). The other day, I caught Gary several times sidling up to the already sleeping Barney to sneak in some cuddle-time. At last I was able to take a photo. Barney, when he's awake, tolerates Gary's rubbing on him to a certain point, but is likely to lunge when Gary crosses Barney's line.

On the bead cottage front, the dumpster went away the other day. I was just able to catch a photo as the truck pulled out of the driveway. Goodbye, dumpster! Today Artie the plumber came to install the gas lines and regulators. Tomorrow I'll be connecting the torches and testing them out.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday musings

So Robert and I started moving our stuff into the bead cottage. First came the kiln and then the glass storage cabinets and the workbench to put them on. Then Robert brought in his anvil into the forge area. I don't want to move too much stuff in because they still need to get up on ladders to finish the lights, fans and sound system. The less that's around to break, the better.

It's only 5:30 pm and it's dark already -- has been for an hour. I love the extra hour in the day today but I don't like the early sunsets. We've already had our supper because we had no lunch and with the extra hour, we were extra hungry. So we're just going to have a quiet evening at home. We'll probably have a fire in the fireplace and watch the football game.

Martha came over this afternoon and we restrung her fake pearls. It was fun and now I want to start beading with small beads again.

I can't wait to vote on Tuesday. I hope and hope and even pray that the election goes the way I want it to. I don't really want to get political, so I won't say which way I'm leaning. Suffice it to say that this is the most important election that I think I'll ever vote in.

I haven't put up pictures of my dogs here in a long time, so I'm going to find one and post them now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hooray for the Phillies!

Congratulations to the Phillies and to MVP Cole Hamels. If you're a Phillies fan, go to and check out the most awesome Phillies prints.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My old studio and packing glass

I haven't posted this view since the patio was finished. Here's the bead cottage from the back yard.

In case you don't know what my present studio looks like, here it is. It's a mess right now, but this is the little corner of the garage I'm moving from. So you can see why I cannot wait to get into the bead cottage. Plus there's heat there. That's a huge bonus in NH in January. I can't wait until the first day it snows and the cars are tucked into the garage and I go out into the warm studio and make beads all day, while looking out at the birds at their feeders in the snow.

So our project for today is packing up my glass, so it can be moved. This is my glass storage for my 104 coe glass. Each triangular section holds 2 lbs or so of glass. I've emptied out the Effetre on the left. Robert worked on the Vetrofond on the right. We'll finish it up tomorrow.

We've filled up one big box and have started on a second. This is the awful part of moving into that fabulous space.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Join the Ranks!

(photos used with permission

Here are a few examples of the prints I was talking about yesterday. The Ellsbury print is going in the bead cottage and the Pedroia and Lowell posters are in the garage. Robert doesn't want as much Red Sox stuff in the house as I do, so we compromise. I just love this art and its propaganda-poster themes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This one's for Martha

This morning Charlie and John finished up the forge ceiling. Martha has been bugging me to post a picture, so here it is. I absolutely adore this room; it is just gorgeous.

Here is another picture of my workstation, along with the pendant lights and the ventilation system. We're getting close to being finished.

And just in time for the off-season, my copy of Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery came today. I can't wait to dig in.

I also want to plug the awesome art of Chris Speakman. I just got another of his silk-screened prints yesterday. He's got Red Sox mainly, but also Phillies (go Phillies!), Mets, Cubs and other players. I have 6 of his prints and they're going to be hung in the bead cottage, above the windows on either side of the room.

I have to admit

I have to admit that when I turned on the ballgame last night I felt an immediate pang, seeing the excitement of the first game of the World Series happening at the Trop. I thought I was totally OK with the Red Sox not making it, and I am, but there was this initial puzzling reaction in me. I think it was jealousy. And because of this feeling, I really really liked it when the Phillies pulled out in front by a 2-run homer in the first inning. I felt "HA! Now you know what it feels like". I think it was a genuine case of schadenfreude. And then when the Phillies won 3-2, I was feeling very satisfied. I was telling Robert this this morning on the way home from the gym and he said "I think you're officially rooting for the Phillies!" So I guess I am. I really felt I could go either way until I actually saw the game being played in Tampa. That really bugged me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Here's a shot of my ultra-modern 21st century ventilation system. It's pretty cool the way it works. We smoke-tested it last night and it really sucks air. That's a good thing.

The cupola is painted and is in the main room waiting to be installed:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Season Over

I'm not sad. I'm not going to mourn or wallow in pity. The Red Sox gave it their best shot and were plain and simple outplayed by a (slightly) better team. I don't feel like I've been robbed. I felt the losses much worse back in 1978, 1986 and 2003. I am a little ticked that those cowbell-ringing fans get to celebrate, but that's as far as it goes. They irritate me. We are lucky that the Sox were playing ball this long. When they were almost defeated, they made a record-breaking comeback in Game 5. I'm going to concentrate on the positive and all the good things about the 2008 season, rather than the unfortunate ending last night.

So congratulations to the Rays. I haven't decided whom I'll root for in the World Series yet. Probably the Rays, because they're American League. Bloggers are going both ways: for the Rays, because they're American League and for the Phillies so they can see them beat the Rays. May the best team win. Well, second best.

Friday, October 17, 2008

First I have to say how awesome it was to wake up to find out that the Red Sox won last night. I tried to stay awake, honestly I tried. I hope that falling asleep in the 7th inning isn't the same as leaving the park in the 7th because we're losing. I wanted to watch the whole thing, I just could not. I continued to believe and hold faith in them, though. I knew they could do it. And games like that are exactly why I watch baseball. I'm just sorry I missed it.

But what's more exciting than the Red Sox win is that the granite is in on my workstations! It looks fabulous. I've got some pictures.

This is my workstation:

This is a better view of the whole workstation:

Here are my red doors and a view of the patio partially completed:

And another view of the patio in process: