Thursday, May 31, 2007

Got a Paper Fetish?

Okay, I'll admit it, yes I do have a paper fetish, along with a fabric fetish and a bead fetish....oh, and don't forget my shoe fetish and my handbag fetish. In continuing the theme of highlighting some of my favorite recent Etsy finds this week, check out this cute little key chain brag book! This particular one would be the perfect little extra to add on to a baby gift, and it's only $8! Check out the Paper Fetish Etsy store here. She has all sorts of fun little paper gifts.

Just back from Boca and catching up on tons of emails.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Random Notes from Boca, Volume II--Still Feelin' the Love

Yes, the lovebugs are still with us, though not quite in the gazillions there were on Saturday. The winds changed direction yesterday afternoon, and magically the bugs were gone at least for a few hours. They're back now, but at least I managed to walk up here to the community center and not look I pasted black spots all over me. My father has also been a never-ending source of lovebug one liners...."So why are lovebugs called airline bugs?.......Because they fly United". That's really the only fairly clean one I can share with you. :-)

We went out in the boat Sunday and the girls got to experience a vertiable Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom in one trip to Cabbage Key. We saw a very large loggerhead ("Crush" to you Nemo fans) , and when we stopped to take a closer look, up popped a pod of 6-8 dolphins all around us. After a harrowing trip through 6-8 foot seas in the Boca Grande Pass...on a 19' boat...we saw a stingray jump about four feet out of the water directly in front of us on the way back from Cabbage Key. Ten feet closer and he would have landed on the front deck of the boat. I've lived near the ocean all my life, and things like that still never cease to amaze me. We're heading back out in the boat today to do some sandbar shelling. Hope you all are having a great week. Happy Birthday Becky!

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Retro Art of Jan Sullivan

Here's another very cool artist I found on Etsy. And her website is very fun and plays some funky song called "Pretty Pink Ribbon". Don't ya just love this dog? As you may have seen from some of my other posts here, I collect animal art...I have no more wall space so it is currently stashed in various areas of the house. My DH cringes when he finds yet another box or envelope in the mailbox from yet another wonderful artist I found on Etsy or Ebay, so I usually try to beat him to the mailbox. Fun art just makes me happy! Jan has also a great blog, which I've added to my links to the right. Check her out!

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Collage Art of Renee Thompson

Thought I'd share a couple of my favorite Etsy artists with you guys while I was In Boca this week. Etsy is THE place to find all things handmade, and Renee Thompson does some truly magical collage work. I purchased three of her checkbooks (I couldn't make up my mind...) and one of her business card holders (because that's all she had listed so I didn't have to make up my mind...) Check out Renee's collage art here. She also makes some really cool hair accessories for you and your little ones. Check those out here.

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Random Notes from Boca--Feelin' the Love

Whatta ya know...the Boca Grande Community Center has computer access now! Had to share two things with you this morning before I hit the beach. Our wedding anniversary is tomorrow, and we are certainly feelin' the love...but not that kind of love! We're talking the love of those friendly little black bugs with the orange heads that often fly around attached in pairs, thus their name "lovebugs". As we were driving down here yesterday, DH was moaning and groaning about the inordinate amount of lovebugs that seemed to be covering our windsheild, but that was nothing compared to what we see here on the island. Ever seen that old movie "The Amityville Horror"? If you have, you'll remember the flies. Now, replace those flies with lovebugs. That's what we have.

OH.....MY......GOSH......I have never seen so many lovebugs in one place as I did on our screened-in backporch when we went in the condo. Yikes! Anywho, we're dealing, and we keep repeating the mantra, "Lovebugs don't bite" to the girls, especially since we also are getting quite a few of the friendly little creatures inside the house and they are even on the beach. Wanna know where lovebugs came from? Click here!

And now some sad news to report for those of you familiar with Boca and its storied residents. Becky, I went on our usual walk this morning and went by to give Ziggy a smooch for you. I'm very sorry to report that Ziggy has left us for piggy Heaven. She died January 6, 2007; there is a little memorial on her pen. I shed a few tears! For the rest of you, Ziggy was BG's resident pot-bellied big; she was 15 years old when she died. This time last year, she was up to about 300 lbs. Her best friend was Jack the duck, who was often seen riding on her back. They both lived at Whidden's Marina, which is by far the quirkiest place on the island. Whidden's now has two new pigs, Kizzy and Malla, sister pigs born Oct 31, 2006, who both have their own pet ducks. Don't know the ducks' names yet since no one but that scraggly old cat was around this morning. Miss you down here, Bec!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Free Bling Friday Number Four!

Time for Free Bling Friday (a day early)! Congratulations to last week's winner, Cristi C. from Jacksonville! This week I'm offering you a funky little pair I've named Rosie, since the first image that popped in my head when taking this photo was Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons! :-) I used handmade lampwork beads torched by Darleen Michael Baker and worked up some sterling silver wire art, all hanging on sterling french wires. Click here for a second photo.

To be eligible to win this pair, email me with the subject line FREE BLING by midnight Thursday, May 31, and include where you are from. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Sign up for free weekly email updates here!

Off to Paradise...

Well okay, I feel like I live in paradise already, but we're headed off to our annual vacation to a very, very special paradise. My family has rented a place on the beach in Boca Grande every Memorial Day week since 1979, so yep, that means this year is our 28th year, if I'm doing my math correctly (I am not a math person...and speaking of math, my dad is still kicking himself to this day for not buying a place down there in 1979, when you could buy a place on the beach for $125,000, instead of the $3 million they go for now). In 1985, I started taking a group of friends down there with me every year (this is normally very much a group vacation type thing), and in 1995, my DH and I got married there in a tiny little church that only held 70 people. We had 62 guests there with us for the weekend, a third of whom were skinny dipping in the Gulf after the reception, but that's a whole other story... We live by the Jimmy Buffett song "Growing Older But Not Up". :-)

Last year, my friend Susy and her husband and twin boys came with us. Adrian and Christian are six months behind Sarah and Livvie. So how's your math? With Adrian, Christian, Sarah and Livvie, that meant we had four toddlers under the age of three under one roof. Yes, the guys thought Susy and I were insane, but they still showed up. And though chaotic, we had a great time. These two pictures are from a series of shots I took at the pool of the double doubles last year (yes, there was that whole "spend a wad of dough for a house on the beach...never see the beach because you spend all your time at the pool....priceless" Mastercard commerical going on there--this year we WILL spend time on the beach, but I digress). The boys were feeding the girls Cheetos. As you can see in the second shot, Olivia was totally enjoying being treated like a queen by Adrian (Susy and I have already set the wedding date).

Anywho, I'm testing my blogging skills this week. I have attempted to set up a couple posts highlighting some of my favorite recent Etsy finds set to post automatically throughout the week while we're gone (note the emphasis on the word attempted) and if I need a break from the DH and girls down in Boca, I'll sneak off to the Community Center and check in on you all. Have a great week and don't forget to sign up for this week's Free Bling while I'm gone!

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Where, oh, Where?

Ya know, the internet truly is an amazing thing. I know you've heard that before, but I got a post comment this morning from someone in South Africa! Hope I got your flag right, Katie! I have no clue how Katie found me--maybe she'll comment on this post and tell me--but I thought it was just way cool that she did. So yes, once again, simple things amaze my simple mind.

I have tracking software on this blog so I can check to see where people are visiting from. Pretty amazing! In addition to my new South African friend and those of you in 43 of our 50 states and the District of Columbia (um, that would probably be my sister...), I've had readers from the Republic of Kyonggi-do in Seoul, Korea; Paris, France; Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; Provence-alpes-cote D'azur, Nice, France; Isreal; Ottawa, Canada; Toscana, Firenze, Italy; Toronto, Canada; New Zealand; Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Pulau Pinang, Penang, Malaysia; and London, England. Now come on, even for you too cool for school folks out there, you have to admit that's pretty cool!

Hmm....now if I could just get visitors from Idaho, Vermont, Alabama, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, and Delaware…

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Seize the Moment

Here's another great story I received recently that was definitely worth sharing.....Come with me to a third grade classroom. There is a nine-year-old boy sitting at his desk. All of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet, and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the other boys find out, he will never hear the end of it. And when the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives. The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, "Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat."

He looks up from his prayer and there comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered. As the teacher is walking towards him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap.

The boy pretends to be angry but all the while is saying to himself, "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!" Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, he is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk.

The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else: Susie. She tries to help, but they tell her to get out of the way, saying, "You've done enough, you klutz!"


Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, "You did that on purpose, didn't you?" Susie whispers back, "I wet my pants once too."

May we all see the opportunities that are always around us to do good and teach our children to do the same.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stars and Stripes Forever

I've been working on some new pieces lately, so I thought I'd give you a sneak peek here. Isn't this a great bracelet for summer! Take a look at all the bracelets I have available on the website here!

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Behind the Camera: Early Risers...

The DH left the house at 6am this morning for a fishing tournament, so it was just me and the girls for the day. I keep hoping that one day they will start sleeping later. They simply have yet to grasp the fact that we really don't need to get up before daylight, especially on Saturday and Sunday! They were heading to get into bed with me before DH even closed the front door, so we got up and had a breakfast picnic. Believe it or not, they are sitting right next to our back deck french doors in this shot...it looks dark because the sun really hadn't come up yet!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Free Bling Friday Number Three--Email Fixed!

Time for Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to last week's winner, Cindi H. from Edwardsville, IL. Take a gander at this week's entry! Aren't these fun? Cute little lampwork buttons topped by a cluster of Swarovski crystals in shades of pink. Click here to see a second photo with a dime for size comparison.

To win this week's pair, email me with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you are from in the body of the note by Thursday, May 24, 5pm EST. I have to move it up a little this week since we'll be heading out for our annual Boca Grande vacation first thing next Friday morning!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mamma Mia Girls Night Out

Normally, I'm glued to the TV on Wednesday night watching the latest episode of Lost, and since I missed last night, don't tell me whether or not Locke is really dead... I still have to catch up! Since my husband is almost always tuned to the History Channel, the only TV I really watch on a regular basis is Lost, What Not to Wear on TLC, and Antiques Roadshow (yes, I admit it, I am an Antiques Roadshow geek). Last night, however, I went to see the Broadway musical Mamma Mia with Krista, Molly, and Laura, all fellow Chi Omega alumnae here in town. What a fun girls night out! You just have to have those every now and then.....especially with little ones at home. Since my department at the College falls under the same area as the Artist Series, we had primo seats: 9th row! Great show with all those fun old ABBA songs, and it was very cool how they wrapped the storyline around those ABBA lyrics.

On the amusing side, we were sitting smack dab in the middle of a very large senior citizen group, so you had the four of us girls dancing and singing amongst a large group of folks sitting quietly, watching us like perhaps we had had one too many martinis at dinner (I only had one beer, honest!). One little old lady just in front of us did start really getting into it during the finale, though (which is what this picture is from); she was standing up, singing loudly, and swinging her arms back and forth, much to the amusement of her friends, who I guess had not quite mananged to shed their inhibitions in their old age quite as well as she had. I plan to be like that when I'm 80!

Anywho, if you ever get the opportunity to see Mamma Mia, I highly recommend it, particularly for a girls night out! Here's the national tour website. And check out the FCCJ Artist Series website for information on all the great Broadway shows we bring to Jacksonville.

Random thoughts: Speaking of being a cool 80-year-old, my great Aunt Livy, who will be 86 in August, has become an email queen and actually used the phrase "batchin' it" in a note to me the other day....as in "Me and Sam [the dog] are batchin' it while Darleen and Charles are in Isreal". No lie. I about fell out of my chair.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Another Gorgeous Gypsy Painting!

Here's another gorgeous new piece by my friend Lizz Hundley aka Gypsy. I can so totally see this on my really big wall above my dining room table but I'm trying to refrain since I just busted my budget on Kuniko's beads. This piece is 4' x 4'! (no that's not inches..it is, in fact, feet!)

See my March 13 post for my first introduction to Gypsy and check out Gypsy's website for more very cool art! Like this post? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Can't Wait to do Something with These!

There are some amazingly talented beadmakers out there and Kuniko is one of them. Look at this picture! Can you believe Kuniko has only been making beads for three years? I've admired her beads on Ebay for quite some time but have never been able to score any at a price I could afford. Well, I finally bit the bullet and got this set from her this weekend. 27 amazing flower focal beads! I'll definitely have fun with these! Hopefully I'll be able to center some designs around them in time for my next show the second week in June. See more of Kuniko's work at her website here.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Before I Was a Mom

This poem is a great tribute for Mother's Day. It's been around for years, but I received it again recently from Jackie Straus via email. Whether you are a Mom, have a Mom, or enjoy special memories of your Mom who's passed on, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Before I was a Mom, I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Drooled on. Chewed on. Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom, I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple little grin. I never sat up for hours watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom, I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom, I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment, or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Free Bling Friday Number Two!

Congratulations to last week's Free Bling Friday winner, Emily C.! Wondering how I draw the winner? I use a program on http://www.random.org/. I simply enter in the number of entries I receive, and Random.org gives me a random listing of those numbers. For example, last week I received 28 entries. Random.org spit out a random listing of the numbers 1-28. 13 was the first number on the list, and Emily was the 13th person who registered for Free Bling. Pretty cool, huh?

Here's this week's Free Bling entry. I topped gorgeous green and cream lampwork beads torched by Darleen Michael Baker with green and gold Czech crystals and accented them with 14K gold filled chain and findings. Green and gold are so pretty together, and the chain accents hanging below have a very fun swing to them. Total length of these is right at 2". Email me with the subject line FREE BLING! by midnight on Thursday, May 17, to be included in the drawing to win this pair. And be sure to sign up for free weekly updates below so you don't miss a single Free Bling Friday, not to mention lots of other fun stuff!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Two Choices: What Would You Do?

I received this story via email and thought it was so beautiful I wanted to share it here.... At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped, comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow grounder right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all teammates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way, Shay!"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and the spectators were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world." Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day.

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces. If you're thinking about sharing this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message.

Well, the person who sent me this believes that we all can make a difference, and I wholeheartedly agree. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate amongst them. May your day be a Shay Day.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

John Edwards Meets Mr. Potato Head

I've mentioned here before that I have the opportunity to meet some very interesting people in my line of work. We had Presidential hopeful John Edwards on campus recently! This was a great opportunity for our student government officers to get up close and personal with a national caliber politician. Though I had to duck out of the presentation at the last minute due to a sick child, my good friend Walter Fitzpatrick did send me some great pictures. Quite a handsome fella, Edwards is, isn't he?

All politics aside, what surprised me most was the appearance of Walter's alter ego. I'm sure those of you in my FJCCSGA ranks remember Walter's Oscar-winning performance as Tommy Bananas, or whatever Charles called him. We all know that Walter looks great for his age (he really is 74 or so....), but he wanted to set the record straight so he sent his friends here at the college this note:

"I have been asked on numerous occasions 'How do you stay so young looking?' I have decided to share my secret: I owe it all to my make-up artist, Kerry Roth. Kerry and I met recently and decided it was once again time for a touch-up to remove a few flaws. Just so that you will recognize me the next time you see me, I am sending you one of my new glamour shots. Enjoy. P.S. If you are considering a new look, I highly recommend Kerry."

Who knew Walter moonlighted as Mr. Potato Head?

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Emergency Rescue of Boxley Bobley

Having two cats who like to hang out on the back deck, I've become very adept at rescuing lizards out of the jaws of stalking felines, and I'll admit, I did this on a regular basis even before I had children. But the rescue of a lizard today tops the list of lizard rescues in this family. (I know, I know, I bet you never thought you'd read about anyone rescuing a lizard on a blog, but there's a first time for everything.)

The little ladies and I went to Publix this morning, and Livvie quickly noticed a little lizard hanging out under the buggy they were climbing into. They went for the extra large (read, extra-cumbersome) model with the two blue seats today. I oooh-ed and aaah-ed over the lizard and then we went in. Well, as we were cruising down the cereal aisle, who, would you imagine, popped up!? Well, Boxley Bobley, of course, the name Sarah quickly gave our little lizard friend. He was hanging eight on the front of the cart checking out the Honey Nut Cheerios.

At first I thought we were going to be okay...BB seemed to be enjoying the ride...but soon he started looking a little stressed. Don't ask me how I know when a lizard is stressed; trust me, after rescuing hundreds of the little reptiles from the jaws of Kitty and Savannah, I know the look! Sarah and Livvie were very concerned. I went forward to check him out, but he darted into the little advertising box on the front on the cart. Problem solved, I thought, and told the girls he'd be fine now, safe behind the "Find all your Publix brand paper goods on aisle 12" picture.

But then he popped back out, gave me that look I've seen so many times peering from behind a mass of gray and white whiskers, and I knew we had to attempt a rescue. So moving slowly and talking softly to little Boxley Bobley, while Sarah and Livvie held their breath, I managed to catch him on the first try. Turning the extra large cart around with one hand while holding little BB safely in my other proved to be a larger challenge. Those things are as long as the aisles are wide. Anywho, we made the turn and headed for the door, with Sarah and Livvie telling everyone we passed that we were rescuing a lizard. Well, better than having him peek out from behind your English muffin bread, don't ya think? I let the girls have one little goodbye peek at him and let him go...and he actually was a bit slow to take his leap to freedom, turning to give me a grateful wink before he went on his way. (I am not making this up...I told you, after rescuing all those lizards from the cats, I think they have a network on which they've spread the word about my lizard life-saving skills.)

Now, if we could only get to those birds that fly in and up into the Publix rafters...


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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Free Bling Friday!

Welcome to Happy Shack Design's first Free Bling Friday... a day early! Starting today, I'll post a pair of earrings here on the blog every Friday. Everyone who emails me about them will go into a drawing to win them. Please share this program with your friends! Yes, that does mean more people will enter, lessening your individual chances, but it will also hopefully bring me more customers, which means I can give away even more free stuff! Get it? :-)

Today's pair features gorgeous lampwork beads torched by Darleen Michael Baker. Her beads are perfect for earrings because she always sells them in matched pairs. The beads themselves are a little smaller than a dime in diameter. I've highlighted Darleen's beads with aqua Swarovski crystals and sparkling sterling silver. They hang approximately 1 1/2" on sterling french wires. Need clip ons? No problem! If you are the winning entry and don't have pierced ears, I'll convert them to clip for you. To be included in this week's drawing, email me with the subject line FREE BLING by midnight Thursday, May 10. The winner will be announced when I post next week's giveaway. Be sure to sign up for weekly email reminders so you don't miss future Free Bling Fridays!

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A Hero Named George

I saw this story and had to share it here in case you missed it. At only a foot tall, a little Jack Russell named George fought off two pit bulls who were trying to attack the children he was walking with, saving the children and sacrificing his own life. All Hail to the Hero George! Here's the story...

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A plucky Jack Russell terrier named George saved five children from two marauding pit bulls, but was so severely mauled in the fight that it had to be put down, its owner said Wednesday. George was playing with the group of children as they returned home from buying sweets at a neighborhood shop in the small North Island town of Manaia last Sunday when the two pit bulls appeared and lunged toward them, Allan Gay said.

"George was brave — he took them on and he's not even a foot high," Gay told The Associated Press. "He jumped in on them, he tried to keep them off. If it wasn't for George, those kids would have copped it."

One of the children, Richard Rosewarne, 11, was quoted in the Taranaki Daily News on Wednesday as saying George fought with the pit bulls to keep them off his 4-year-old brother, Darryl.

"George tried to protect us by barking and rushing at them, but they started to bite him — one on the head and the other on the back," Rosewarne said. "We ran off crying and some people saw what was happening and rescued George."

But George was so badly mauled that a veterinarian had to put him down, Gay said. South Taranaki District Council official Graham Young said the two pit bulls had been impounded, and likely would be put down because of the attack. In New Zealand, owners of dogs judged to be too aggressive can be required to have them neutered and dogs involved in attacks are destroyed.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Whoa! Surprise Posting on Scoutie Girl!

I just got a note from Jan DiCinto over at Scoutie Girl and she's posted an entry on her blog about Happy Shack Designs! Way cool! See it here. For those of you visiting from Scoutie Girl, here's a little heads up on my Free Bling Friday program that starts this Friday, May 4. Every Friday, I'll be posting a pair of earrings on the blog. Everyone who emails me about them will be included in a drawing to win them. Be sure to check the blog every Friday for the newest pair. Or better yet, sign up for free weekly email updates to the right or below so you don't miss a thing. Thanks Jan!

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