My Precious…

March 12, 2008 at 9:59 pm (Beading)

It all started with a strand of dichoric tiles… then I added some goldstone and sapphire Swarovskis…

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So, I had a couple of tiles left over and decided to use one in this, as of yet, unfinished piece…

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And I still have one tile left.

*****

This started in December of 2006! I had found a pattern for bead embroidery and started with the Eudialyte cab in the center, which I had purchased at a rock & gem show in October (2006). So, after surviving the fire and year in storage, and having all of the other embroidery taken off, and then being re-embroidered with Swarovski rivolis, I finally have this:

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Looks like crop circles, don’t it?

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And you might ask why I didn’t carry the embroidery out the full length of the bracelet, and I say, it is because this is mine and Nanner has a very small wrist so carrying out the embroidery would have been a waste of time since it looks like this on:

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*****

This is a piece I made from Bead & Button magazine, which was the inspiration for the new design for Scamp’s necklace. It’s missing part of the clasp because I was trimming strings and I kinda cut it and I’ve been too lazy to reattach it… yet.

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I know it’s tough to tell but the way the big beads and the little beads are placed in this necklace gives it a very nice, natural curve. This is a big improvement for the design and Scamp’s necklace is almost finished. It was due… December of 2006. This is what Hoss would call… better late than never.

Well, I gotta get back to beadin’. Ya’ll have a fine one.

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What’s New

February 19, 2008 at 11:33 pm (Beading, My Travels, Nate)

* I have finalized my travel plans for the Bead & Button Show in the great metropolis of Milwaukee. I’m staying in a suburb, but still close enough to take the bus, which will save me a lot of money.

I plan on using the money I save to take either the bus or the train to Chicago on my day off, which is Wednesday.  Actually, I don’t have to be back to Milwaukee until 4 p.m. on Thursday. (This is when the Bead Marketplace opens for its shopping preview. Only registered attendees can attend this special event before it opens to the general public on Friday.) Maybe I can talk Katey into dinner and beer at the Chicago Brauhaus. Mmmm… Katey, weiner schnitzel, and beer. And beads, don’t forget all of the beads!

*  I still haven’t purchased plane tickets, hotel, or rental car for Arizona.  I’ve put my deadline for at least buying the plane tickets as the 22nd of this month. I know, not far away.

*  Jeff has been on a binge again. He didn’t have Nate for his regular weekend because he said he was sick and had the flu. Nate said, “You know, Dad shouldn’t drink since he’s been sick. Pffft. Drinking probably is what made him sick to start with.” Last night he called rather late, for him, being 10:36 and again at 10:40, after hanging up on me at 10:36. When I answered the phone, he had some religious CD blasting through the phone, then he called on the house phone wanting to know if I was listening. I hung up both phones. He called again later, which I didn’t answer.

Nate made the astute observation that cellphones have a “silent” setting and house phones can be unplugged from the wall. Then said I should do both. Smart kid.

*  I ordered one of those fancy self-cleaning litter boxes that Jammie J. had on her blog. We anxiously await its arrival. All I can say is, it better convert cat shit to gold bricks, or at least be worth it.

*  New position at work is going … its going. I never knew how much people bitched until I became “management.” Which, by the way, I’m NOT EVEN MANAGEMENT. I’M ADMINISTRATIVE! BIG DIFFERENCE!  Well, I’m quasi-management. Sort of management. Its more like being a referee in Romper Room.  If day shift has trouble with the chefs, they come to me. If the chefs have trouble with the servers, they come to me. If the evening servers have trouble with the day servers, they come to me. Vice versa.

What sucks most is having to discuss not so nice things with people I really like. Like having to discuss with Candyman why the bar looked like someone took a Red Grenadine shower from one end to the other and why the mess was left for day shift to clean up. 

I have, in the past four days, tried to impress upon my day shift co-workers, that regardless of what we walk into, we have a job to do.  If you leave 7 teapots clean and come in to find only four are useable, clean the other three freakin’ teapots and let me worry about the issue with evening shift.

I think it helps that I wear the same uniform, I bus their tables, I deliver their food, I vacuum the floors, I clean the parking lot, I make condiments, I refill the coffee, I cut lemons, I clean the freakin’ teapots, I clean the freakin’ toilets, I change the lights, I serve, I stack, I polish, I stock, and by Goddess, I make sure their paycheck is right.

They’ve responded well. Did I tell you Whiny gave her two week notice?  Yeah.  She’s moving to England. Bon voyage, PopTart!

*  One of the guys at my local  convenience store showed me a newspaper article that I WISH I could get a copy of. It was from the Police Blotter section of the Capitol City Gazette (the morning paper)(versus Capitol City Daily, which is referred to as “the evening paper.”)  Anyway, it showed a picture of some dude named “Smith.” No, really, that was his last name. It was your standard – police were called to a residence in nearby town after receiving notification of a domestic argument.

Really, do you need to know more? Standard, right? Well, except in the 2nd paragraph it stated that Some Chick and this Smith guy were having sexual intercourse (okay, now, its getting good), when Some Chick wasn’t satisfied, so she hit this Smith guy in the head. (No, the paper was not specific at to which head she hit.) The Smith guy didn’t like this too well, so he hit her back. She called the cops, told them he hit her (and obviously didn’t leave out what a horrible lover he is), and they find he has an outstanding warrant in FL.

Smith guy goes to jail, Some Chick is out looking for a new piece of nookie.  Ain’t that America, ya’ll? As Mahala would say… you can’t make this shit up. 

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Step Two

February 11, 2008 at 8:38 am (Beading, My Travels, Nate)

I just booked a flight to Milwaukee for May 31st. I got the Expedia bargain fare. You know, the one where you don’t know what time you’re leaving or what time you’re returning or where you’re laying over, just that you’re goin’.  The good news is I got a direct flight from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee. The bad news is I’ll arrive in Milwaukee at 7:10 IN THE MORNING.

The other bad part of that is that I’ll only be in the air for an hour and a half.  I live four hours from Pittsburgh and my flight leaves at 6:40, which means I have to be there no later than 5:30 which means I should probably leave home by 1:00 a.m.  My best guess is, my room won’t be available for quite a while.

Since I saved on my flight, maybe I can afford to stay in downtown Milwaukee, at $130-$150 a night. ARGH! Even if I stay economy outside the city I still would have to either rent a car then pay parking or take a cab at $50 a day. Still, the savings would be around $50 a day or more.

On my day off, which is either tomorrow or Wednesday, I’ll be applying for an artisan grant through Tamarack. If I get the grant, it will take a big financial chunk out of my trip, which would be oh-so-helpful.

However, before I worry about that, I have to determine whether Nate and I will be making our big trip to the Grand Canyon, etc. etc.  That would take place the third week of March, which is a bit closer than the first week of June. Whereas I snagged that awesome $160 plane ticket to Milwaukee, I’m not having as much luck with our tickets to Las Vegas.  Car – affordable. Hotel – affordable and nice.  Plane tickets – WTF? Are you kidding me??? To Las Vegas??? Shit.

I may just have to bite the bullet. When am I going to have the time, money, and opportunity to take my only child to the Grand Canyon and beyond? Probably not for a  long time. Sometimes you have to just do it.

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Must. STOP.

January 29, 2008 at 11:22 pm (Alice in Chains, Beading, Crazy Shit)

buying. beads.

For almost an entire year, I didn’t bead very much nor did I buy much because I had a hard time paying the mortgage, much less buying beads. Now, I’m buying beads. Although someone may look in my beading bags and see a lot of beads, a good beader knows, you have to have a lot of beads. You have to have cabochons and big beads and little beads and micro beads and bugle beads.

You have to be able to spread them out and look at their colors and their shine and their texture, and you have to thumb through your beading books and magazines and take an idea here and idea there and mix it all up and create something else. Sometimes you have to make something that someone else designed just so you can take one part of it to make something better than you made it before.

And you really need a lot of beads to do that. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)

Last night I was laying in bed and a design idea just came to me. Out of nowhere. Then, as I was taking a short blogging break to indulge in a hot fudge sundae, another design idea came to me about my Alice in Chains jacket.  Now, the jacket has evolved a great deal since the original idea and basic Alice in Chains sun logo. It now has a different center, a different background, and different embellishments.

Okay, so, I’m done buying beads, for now. “Now” is subject to change without notice. Thank you.

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Making Plans

January 25, 2008 at 10:02 pm (Beading, Black Stone Cherry, My Travels, Nate, The House)

It was 7* here this morning. Time to start planning a vacation with the Natester. I’ve had my eye on the Southwest for a while now. Nate has a love of things alien and I have a love of things beaded so Arizona is the place for us.

The original trip entailed flying to Las Vegas and making the four + hour trip to Flagstaff with a stop over at Hoover Dam, spending a few days exploring (Grand Canyon, Sedona, Glendale), and then making a lengthy trip to Roswell, NM and visiting Carlsbad Caverns.

Following a short discussion about recently obtained information, Nate and I decided to forgo Roswell and Carlsbad to spend more time in Sedona and the GC. (It appears as though Sedona is known for its little green men and vortexes, not to mention, the oldest bead shop in America.) Glendale is home to the Bead Museum, although I promised Nate that more time would be spent having fun rather than bead shopping.

The greatest thing about planning this trip is that my GM lived in Flagstaff for eight years, so she has the skinny on all the cool things to do so we don’t get caught up in all the tourist traps. I told her I was certain that Nate would bring home a little green man on a leash if I allowed it. A-Rod has also spent time in Arizona and mentioned that Nate and I take the “short” mule ride down the canyon.

Since we’re going (hopefully), the third week in March, I figure we might be able to snag a mule or two. However, neither of us were overjoyed at spending seven hours on a mule, no matter how beautiful it is.  We decided a moderate hike would better suit our hyperactiveness. We’ll either do the 12 mile rim hike or the more strenous Bright Angel Trail to the first resthouse (1.5 miles down, feels like 150 back). The rim hike might be better since we can stop and grab a shuttle bus every mile or so if we so desire.

I’m also planning a trip to the great state of Wisconsin the first week of June! That’s right, the teaming metropolis of Milwaukee and all the beads I can roll around in. For you non-beaders, Milwaukee is home to the annual Bead and Button Show and I’ve signed up for a three day class on jewelry design and if I’m lucky, I may catch a glimpse of Sherry Serafini.

If you take a look at her website, especially under “neck pieces” and “media and awards,” yes, you will see why Sherry is my beading goddess. Her work is so inspirational and just drop dead beautiful! I love the Swarovski rivolis. I’ll be having some of those before long. If you look at her website under “neck pieces,” the rivolis are the crystal centerpieces for  #20 and #21. She is truly a beading guru and she just released a new book called “The Art of Bead Embroidery” which will soon be gracing my shelf (and will undoubtedly end up dog-eared.)

I also just purchased some antique beads, which are classified as 18s, 20s, and 22s. The 22s are said to be small enough to pass through the hole of an 11, which is what I use most of the time. I picked up an antique purse from E-bay for the beads only and I have another antique purse here which is beyond repair. I’ll photograph the designs and see what I can do with it all. Additionally, I found an Ott-Lite on sale at Joann.com for $50 off!!!!  The small versions of those suckers go for $80 or more.

And Black Stone Cherry will be releasing a new CD come late Spring/early Summer, so look for me at a couple (5 or 10) of their shows and the word through the grapevine is that my host family will be making a sojourn through Texas sometime this year, so look for me also in the Houston area, time and date to be announced. I have been informed by the Natester that he would like a tour of NASA while we’re there. I think that can be arranged. Maybe it will inspire him.

Speaking of Nate and inspiration… I will be setting up his Math-a-Thon webpage for donations hopefully by Sunday night. He’ll be collecting donations for St. Judes by doing 250 math problems. You will be able to make online donations if you desire. I told Nate that I would not make a set donation amount, but rather I donate by the number of problems worked correctly. This inspires him to work harder toward his goal.

I also have numerous goals for the house this year, including, wow, painting the outside, putting in a small counter beside of the stove, enclosing the porch, buying and installing insulated blackout drapes for my bedroom and the living room, and, you know, putting up more pictures and buying a curio cabinet.

My cousin and I are also conspiring, I mean, collaborating on a beaded/painted portrait. I guess I should get moving on some of that. I’m taking a couple of ideas I saw in a beading magazine that doesn’t pay me to advertise for them and I’m combining those with her rich talents to come up with something that’s probably been done before but we’ve never done it so it’s unique and new to us. I’m working on a long overdue necklace for Hoss’s lady and don’t forget the Alice in Chains jacket, which gets more interesting and complex everyday.

My timeframe for completion of the jacket and a bead embroidered bracelet that survived Ye Olde Fire is before June 1st.

Wish me luck.

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Beading With Jerry Cantrell

January 13, 2008 at 12:53 pm (Alice in Chains, Beading, Crazy Shit, Music, My Travels)

 This blog post brought to you by Serra (for the kickass public access show title) and Alice in Chains.

Okay, Jerry Cantrell, for those who don’t know, is one of the founding members, principal lyricist, guitarist, and sometime vocalist for Seattle grunge band, Alice in Chains. He also is a solo artist.

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This is Jerry. (This pic was lifted from a source which did not give me permission to use it. )

Jerry was one of the reasons for my trip to New Orleans in October of 2007. I met him at the House of Blues and got an autograph. Jerry’s music and lyrics inspire me, which is why I’m working on beaded artwork representing the Alice in Chains logo, which is a ginormous sun. It’s very intricate and I figure if I can do this, I can pretty much accomplish anything, beaded, that is.

So, the dream. Nate and I were at a hotel and I knew I was there for a beading show, or something of that nature. I had a lot of new beading stuff. I also knew that Jerry was staying in the same hotel. I caught glimpses of him in the dream. Then, in true Nanner fashion, I forgot what room I was in. Yeah, I had four of those card thingies you use to get into your rooms now, but totally forgot what room I was in.

When I went to the checkout counter to see what room I was in, Jerry was behind the desk, playing with the telephones and the printer, feet propped up, looking rather bored. He came out from behind the counter and starts talking to me. No, I could not hear anything he said to me, nor anything I said to him, nothing. I didn’t even get a feeling as to what we were discussing.

He did have my Big Blue Book of Beading and walked away from me. Almost telepathically, I said, “Excuse me, that’s my book!” He shut the book with one hand (its a big book, too!) and turned around. When he handed me the book back, there was all kinds of new beading stuff on top of it. I took it with extreme gratitude. I went up the stairs, after eschewing the crazy peeps around the elevator, and found my room.

Nate was once again with me and I found my beading stuff again, outside of the wrong room, and took them to my room. So, that was the dream.

Most of the symbolism in the dream is about moving up, moving on, finding new ways to express myself, and the fear of wanting things to move along, but just not getting there fast enough because I always set unrealistice time frames for myself.

I think Jerry was symbolic of someone who has overcome (or at least works at overcoming) their own personal demons, someone who has lost a great deal in their life, regardless of status or wealth, and continues to create and attempts to move forward with their life and rise above. It helps that it was someone which I admire that slammed the book on the past and made a very strong statement about “out with the old, in the with the new.”

I’ve been working very hard at putting my life back in order and channeling my continued pain into creative outlets, even if it isn’t blogging. I’ve been in flux between the painful reminder of what I lost in the fire, not anything material mind you, but my precious felines, and a resurgence of my faith in an afterlife where I’ll be reunited with them, prayers to my family and friends who have crossed over to watch over them and my recently departed cousin, who crossed on the 28th (what is it with the 28th!), unrealistic fears that I’ll lose everything again, mixed with an unshakeable belief that this is my year and the time for tears is over.

I came out of 2007 stronger and with much more backbone than you can imagine, even though I no longer insist that the weight of the world be on my shoulders. (Hat tip to Metallica for that lyric.)

I can honestly say, this probably won’t be the year for blogging, but I will stop by as often as I can to see all of you and keep you informed of my progress on my other projects, with photos, of course.

And thanks to everyone who weighed in on whether to keep my “Christmas” tree or not (here and on MySpace). I kept it and it is now a Valentine’s Tree. I’ll post pics soon.

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St. John the Wort

December 9, 2007 at 1:04 pm (Beading, General, Nate)

I started taking St. John the Wort yesterday. I figured I could at least do something, even if it isn’t Well My Butrin. Besides that ugly depression, I’ve been having trouble with my sciatic nerve, (I told you my ass hurt), and just general inflammation, especially the middle finger of my right hand (from overuse, I’m sure). St. John the Wort is good for all of those things.

I can say that I got a little sleepy yesterday afternoon but I was also beading my heart out. I took one yesterday after I got home from shopping and then I took one before I went to bed last night. One thing I didn’t realize about St. John the Wort is that it can cause lucid dreaming. I love that.

I dreamt that I was in an elevator, although I didn’t realize it until the elevator door opened, and there stood Viggo Mortensen. Can you say, OH, HELL YEAH. A lucid dream with Viggo Mortensen. It was really a funny dream because it seemed as though I was temping in some big firm in NYC and for some reason I had access to briefcases and somehow came into possession of personal letters from the three main players, besides myself, which was some love triangle. Now, all of these peeps had written letters, or confessions, to Cosmo the Politan Magazine.

I, as the lowly temp, now know all of the dirty secrets of the workplace, and then realize that all of the same letters may be published in the same issue of the magazine and that all of the players would then possibly read the confessions of the other peeps and recognize them. That would make for a pretty funny romantic comedy, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, I think I slept better last night than I have for months on end. I actually woke up refreshed, my ass doesn’t hurt, and although the knuckle of my right middle finger is still swollen, at least it didn’t throb with agony this morning. Could also be that I’m drinking a bit more water, that always helps nasty joint problems.

And while Nate isn’t staring over my shoulder, I’m getting him or have already gotten him a fondue set, a candle making kit, and a soap making kit. The boy loves dipping food in chocolate, he’s always and forever messing with my candles, and soap making is just an extension of ways he can make a mess but be constructive about it. I know he will love it. He was staring over my shoulder this morning as I was searching for soap making kits and he said, “Oh, cool!” Yep, da Momma knows!

Here’s some pics!

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Our winter wonderland…

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My little dude…

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Our Yule tree, complete with cat…

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I think Hermione likes the warmth of the lights…

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New bracelet (the color sucks!)….

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Close up with better color. And that is all.

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I Want My Loom Back!

December 2, 2007 at 11:50 pm (Beading)

Before the fire, I had a small Ojibwa bead loom. It was perfect for bracelets and small wall hangings. After I started bead weaving, I didn’t have much to do with my loom. I started missing it around the time I got tired of doing square stitch, which creates the same effect as looming, just over a longer period of time.  With square stitch and looming, I can recreate practically any cross-stitch pattern, which opens up dimensions of the kind of work I can be creating… faster.

Now, the loom survived the fire and I was fairly certain the damn thing had been sent to be ozoned along with everything else, but, alas, it has not been found. When, and if, I ever get my second check, the big check, the first thing I’m buying is a big-ass Ojibwa loom.  I’ll probably buy a little assed Ojibwa loom as well.  And I’m going to buy all kinds of beads to go with it, and patterns, and I’m going to lay it out in the middle of my bed and roll all over them nekkid.

Well, not roll over the looms… that would hurt, but beads don’t hurt.  Although they might get stuck in the crack of my ass and then the cats would start playing with them and they would roll all over the floor and then I would have to buy more beads, which gets expensive. Okay, scratch the whole nekkid rolling thing. We’ll just pretend.

I also would like to have ink for my fekkin’ printer. Its an astronomical amount of money, more than an Ojibwa bead loom. However, I do need a printer to print out graph paper so I can get all of my designs ready for when I get my Ojibwa bead loom. However, said printer has been yakking about being out of ink for the past three months and it still prints. Conspiracy, I tell ya.

I just realized that I forgot to put my food splotched, feline hair covered jacket in the washer along with the other darks. Shit. Oh well, now I look like a sous chef instead of a server. 

I still want my loom back!

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It’s Picture Wednesday

October 24, 2007 at 7:43 pm (Alice in Chains, Beading, Cats, Family, General, Memories, Nate, Shop)

As I said, I’m trying to blog more! I’m also beading more. I made a mistake in the ornament I was working on and I had to pull it all out, which sucks.

Did you notice the latest in my beading ventures from the NOLA pics?

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Yes, well, I had to have something to represent! I tried making an Alice in Chains necklace but I just didn’t have the time nor the beads that I needed to do it right. I thought the camo “Boggy Depot” worked just fine, especially considering it was the CD cover I had. That’s hornpipe soaked in coffee for the antique look. Yes, I rock.

The ornament I’m making is the same color scheme, only with white beads instead of cream. Not that you can tell in that photo. It is exactly like this

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except the gold is white and the brown is green and the cream is the same brown that’s in this picture, and the black is the same. Okay, I didn’t realize that until just now. Oh, well.

Work was slow today. I started my period. Its still raining. Its Hump Day. I need to shave under my arms. Ummmm… oh, I have a new picture of Jack. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of pictures that I haven’t shown you. So, let’s have a pictorial.

Here’s my friend Mr. Cicada. He thought it would be cool to hang out on the railing of my porch.

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Nate likes to holler for me when he’s in the shower and then pokes his head out. One day, I caught him with the camera.

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Classic Nate!

Even though Troy and I have known each other for quite a while, we had not one picture of us together. So, the first picture…

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Here’s the place I should have gone to work…

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I wanted to do a pictorial of the shop but it seemed kinda boring. So, be bored.

The thermometer at 9 a.m.

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Why I wear my hair up…

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and

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And while I’m at the end of the 300* dryer, and Rich and Nick (whose photo won’t load) are at the front, Bob is busy getting his tan on…

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Okay, wasn’t that fascinating???  I knew you’d think so, that’s why I posted it so many months ago when I worked at the shop. Next.

Here’s a pic I took from my living room at the apartment on Easter Sunday…

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I went to visit Mom and Dad this summer and took some pics…

Its a flower…

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And woods…

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and a field…

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and a rock…

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and a big tree…

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and another field. You can see the top of the farmhouse’s red roof.

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And because my Momma loves me, my new quilt…

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And a close up…

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Yes, she did all of of that by hand. We’re from the country people! 

Oh yeah, and here’s Jack. I call this his “Dirty Ole Man” picture.

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And Jack and Nate…

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And here I am on my porch. Notice the red dot in the center of my chin and some on my cheek. Yeah, I burned myself when I was cooking. Hurt like a bitch. The sun was bright that day.

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Okay, okay, Cybele wants the chicken pic…

This is Herman, the rooster who owns my parents, and a couple of their moo cows…

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And another…

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Well, guess that was worth waiting a few months for. Happy Hump Day.

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NOLA Volume II and Addendum (LONG POST)

October 8, 2007 at 10:12 pm (Alice in Chains, Beading, Empathy, Music, My Travels)

Addendum to Volume I:

As my cousin pointed out in the comments, Daniel, our part-time friend from Pat O’Briens, was a spitter. He was definitely enthusiastic. He was on my side but moved to Kama’s side because I was smoking and the smoke was drifting in his face. Score one, Nanner.

Here’s one of the jokes he told once he found out where I was from:  What do you call the moisture between two West Virginians having sex? 

Relative humidity.

Har, har, har, har.  Kama and I found that exceptionally funny, especially since our family is so inbred.

Pandora asked about the necklace I’m wearing. Yes, I made it. More about that later. And this is the third time that Seven and I have breathed the same air. More on that later as well.

If I’m not mistaken, jeebiduss, the hours melted together, I forgot to mention a character that Kama (or was it Pete?) and I met on the street. He was sitting against a building, holding a guitar. He was also wearing a rather large, purple-ish wizard hat. As I walked past I said, “Nice hat.”

He strummed on the guitar and asked, “What hat?”

That cracked me up but also reminded me to be careful who I spoke to and looked in the eye.

NOLA Volume II:

Some of you may not be familiar with New Orleans or the French Quarter, where I spent a great deal of time, okay, almost ALL my time. (Watching Katrina footage does not count). The French Quarter is separated from the rest of New Orleans by Canal Street, which runs north and south on the west border, Esplanade Avenue, which runs north and south on the east border, the Mississippi on the southern border, and N. Rampart on the northern border.

The great thing about the French Quarter is that the blocks are really short. The 13 1/2 blocks from my hotel to the Cafe Du Monde felt like nothing. Of course, I probably walk a mile or more a day at my job, so maybe it was just me. But it also didn’t seem like a very long walk to St. Louis Cemetery, which is about 10 blocks from Cafe Du Monde.

If you would like to follow along via a map, here is a nice one I found.

My hotel was located a block and a half on Carondolet (Bourbon) west of Canal Street. The House of Blues was located on Decatur Street, about two and a half blocks east of Canal. Cafe Du Monde is on Decatur/Dumaine. The St. Louis Cemetary # 1 is on Basin and St. Louis. Jimani is about dead center of Chartres street between Iberville and Canal. I was unable to locate the bar where I listened to music and met Pete, The World Famous Windex Man. It was on Bourbon. 

Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo is located about on the corner of St. Ann and Bourbon and The Clover Grill is on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine, that would be three blocks north of the Cafe Du Monde. Also, find the corner of Decatur and Canal on the map. This will be important later, there will be a test.

Now that you know where you’re going, let’s get back to the next part of my trip.

It’s 11 p.m. and I’m walking east on Bourbon Street. The police have arrived and barricaded it so you are free to walk in the street. I have purposefully left my camera in the hotel room. My purse is small and non-lumpy. My hair is still in a ponytail. I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt. (This ploy to appear “local” must have worked because one guy stopped and asked me the location of the Renaissance Hotel (I’m assuming he meant the one at 700 Tchoupitoulas, which was a good 6 blocks from where he was) and some ladies asked me the location of the nearest pet store, of which I had no clue.)

I had meant to return to one location in particular. One where I had heard some great music while walking back to the hotel. I think I found it, but again, I don’t rightly know exactly where I was on Bourbon. I know I hadn’t gone far enough to be in the Gay District, which was where the Clover Grill was.

Keep in mind that when I say I’m walking East on Bourbon, this is directly after walking east on Decatur off of Canal. Yes, I haunted the House of Blues in hopes of catching a glimpse of a member of Alice in Chains. A few big tour buses were outside but they actually were for a different band that was playing there. Pete and I found that out later.

I watched the band for a while and growing tired and bored, I headed out for a pack of cigarettes, which surprisingly were just as cheap there as back here. This is when I ran into Pete, The World Famous Windex Man, or so he calls himself. Pete is a self-described salesman and tour guide. He’s been in 46 of the 50 states and according to him, used to wash car windows with Windex for money. He said this continued until the first time he heard the term, carjacking. He was quite familiar with the names of many of the towns near where I live.

Pete is black, about 50 years old, has one bad eye, and a drinking habit. (I tell you this so you can find him when you get there.) However, he was also someone with which I felt an instant rapport and comfort level. As we wandered the streets of New Orleans we shared stories and he pointed out interesting places, regaling me with the vast list of famous people he has met in the city of New Orleans. He also told me where Brad and Angelina live and about a meeting he had with Angelina. It seems he knows everyone and I felt very safe with Pete.

We stopped by Jimani to get him a beer and so I could use the bathroom. The food looked delicious but I wasn’t hungry. The staff was very friendly. I’ll definitely go back there. Pete and I talked about the aftermath of Katrina and just about everything else, including my quest to meet Alice In Chains. This resulted in us making a few more passes by the House of Blues, which also resulted in us seeing, not one, but two members of one of the bands peeing in the street. One didn’t even have his pants on, just a long shirt. Once we made another round, Pete asked one of the guys who they were and they said, “Haste the Day,” which neither of us had ever heard of.

While sitting at Jimani, I turned to Pete and said, “Willy, what…? *Pause* Why did I just call you Willy?”

Pete smiled and said, “You a clairvoyant too. I have a twin brother we used to call Willy when he was a kid.” We made another swing past the House of Blues and Pete and I started making the final trek, or so I thought, back to my hotel room.

Pete is one of the most interesting, congenial people I’ve ever met. He works for tips and he’s not cheap, even though he gave me the “there ain’t nobody else around and you’re cute” discount. My hip was really hurting and I was just exhausted. As we turned the corner of Decatur and Canal, I noticed a couple coming across Canal from the direction of Harrahs, which is located further south on Canal.

The man seemed intent on overshooting Decatur and barreling our direction. So much so that Pete and I both turned. His lady friend had stopped and he stopped and whirled mid-step.

Pete, the ever friendly one with a voice and reason and sense, said, “How ya’ll doin’?”

The man froze for an instant, sizing us up, then mumbled, “All right.” He grabbed his lady friend’s hand and off they went on Decatur. I stood frozen at first, not answering Pete as he jabbered on. I then wandered up Canal, stopped mid-step, turned in the direction of Decatur, turned back toward Bourbon, wandered a few more steps, and turned again toward Decatur.

Pete said, “Nanner, you all right?”

“That was him, Pete.”

“Him who?”

“Jerry Cantrell. That was Jerry Cantrell.”

“Who’s Jerry Cantrell?”

I whipped open my purse and showed him the CD cover from “Boggy Depot.”

“Remember, Pete, that’s why I’m here. I’m seeing Alice in Chains and he’s the guitarist.”

“Well, damn it, why didn’t ya say something?”

“I really wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure but, I’m sure, but I’m not sure, but I think I’m sure. That’s him right here on the CD cover, you tell me. ”

“Hell, I don’t know! I wasn’t looking at him, I was lookin’ at her! Did you see how tight her jeans were?” Score one, Pete.

“No, I was looking at how tight his jeans were, Pete!” Score two, Nanner.

Pete drug me back to Decatur Street as we laughed at each other. We peered into the darkness and found… an empty street. Fuck.

We went back to the hotel where I grabbed a few bucks and then we made another round. The blocks seem much longer when it’s between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m. and you haven’t had much sleep, and, you’re kicking yourself in the ass.

At 4:09, my head hit the pillow and my foot was still kicking my ass. Score one, Jerry.

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