Art du Jour 20

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I am kind of ridiculously happy with the outcome of this one. White and black on coloured paper. Not bad for a first go using this technique.  I will get a better blending white pencil if there is such a thing and more coloured paper.  This was fun.

Had to abandon an earlier attempt at a baby face which was turning in to a grumpy old man with wispy hair.  They can’t all be masterpieces, right?  When it starts to get either frustrating or simply hilarious, time to let it go.

Well……here we are on the last day of a post-crazy month.  I’m thrilled with all the new blogs and amazing people I’ve come across during this endeavour and with WordPress telling me my site is generating more interest than usual.  They wouldn’t lie to me, would they?  The stats became suspect to me when some fluke in the system indicated my best day having over 800 views.  The average here is probably 50. Unless I mention Johnny Depp.  And that day I didn’t.

The only (considerably less than exciting) news I have today is that I’m going to make Apple Crisp so that I have an excuse to turn the oven on.  The floors are cold and so are my feet.

We’re having ourselves one of those quiet lazy Sundays,  staying in out of the cold.  Watching the daylight disappear.  Along with November.

Thank you Team Pepper for letting me be on the team, even though I didn’t necessarily know or understand or follow all the rules or have much of a clue what game we were playing.

Did we win?

nano

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Art du Jour 19


This is what happens when you can’t make up your mind about hair colour.  There’s only so much blending you can do with pencil crayons and then they just refuse to do it anymore.

Eyes that are a foot away from my nose while I’m drawing them tend to look very different at a further distance.  I will just say I’m doing portraits of strabismus patients.

The snow is done falling for now, and the temperature has dropped to 30 below Celsius according to our thermometer which is just outside my “art studio” window.  W was kind enough to let me know this morning how many days it’s been since I left the house.  Who keeps track of these things?  Well obviously he does, and needs to find another hobby.

When I went to work I’d say my fresh air time was two minutes a day tops.  From the house to the warmed up car, car to the workplace, then back to the car and into the house.  I can’t say I’m missing my time spent outdoors at this time of year since it was previously pretty much non-existent.

How long will it take to develop cabin fever?  Well there’s a little project to work on while I’m working on all my other little projects.  Stay tuned for enthralling updates on that.  Plus a perfected recipe for guacamole as soon as I can work out the amount of garlic that is not likely to add its pungent odour to the entire house.

It’s candle season!  Yay!  Last night the living room was a raspberry garlic scented paradise.

Yeah, maybe I do need to get out more.

nano

 

Art du Jour 18

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Brown eyed girl. Pencil crayon on sketch paper. Kids always have lopsided hair, so maybe I meant to do that.

This is definitely a day for staying inside and looking out at our huge dump of snow, which rivals the other huge dump of snow we got yesterday.  We’re not breaking any huge snow dump records here of course, but that never stops us from shaking our heads and our fists and our shovels at it. There are a lot of retailers in Canada who have jumped on the Black Friday band wagon, and I need a new printer,  but I’m having second thoughts about venturing out on the roads today,  just to end up getting stuck in a parking lot or a line up at the checkout or some horrendous thing like that.

This crazy post a day month is almost over!  I have been doing some kind of “art” work every day, so I think making it all the way up to 18 post-able results is a good start at 365 of them.  It’s good for retirees to have goals, right?

Here’s to two more contributions to the Team Pepper project, whatever they may be.  I’m feeling all smug and successful.  And warm and cozy.  And ready to take a stab at another face.  But not literally.

nano

 

Balls

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Last night W wandered into the living room and asked me what I was drawing.

I said balls.

Looking at my sketch book page, he said what is that, an orange, or a peach or what?

I said, it’s just a ball.

He laughed.

I thought, are balls funny?

These particular balls, not amusing to me no matter how hard I look at them, are simply my experiment in colour blending and shading using pencil crayons.  They ended up looking like unfunny balls.  Mission accomplished.

However, after that, the very idea of balls kept me awake last night.  I imagined teaching everything about balls to people learning the English language. This could be funny for the teacher, but probably much less funny for the students.

Consider this comprehensive list, and then you decide how many ball lessons might be required to master all the concepts.

1.  She entered the ballroom wearing her ball gown to dance at the gala ball.  Everyone could see she was having a ball.

2.  At the ball game in the ball park, the pitcher often throws more strikes than balls.  There are fair balls and foul balls and the umpire must have the balls to stand by his various calls.

3.  What do the words tennis, golf, cannon, meat, ping-pong and basket all have in common?  Bingo.  They are all balls.  There are also bingo balls.

4.  He crumpled the paper into a ball.

5.  A football is not the same thing as the ball of your foot, both of which are larger than the ball of your thumb.

6.  The accountants found his financial records to be all balled up.

7.  Yarn and candy and cotton can all be balls.

8.  If you think something is bull shit nonsense, it’s more polite to call it bolus or balls.

9.  You can carry the ball, run with the ball, drop the ball, start the ball rolling,  keep the ball rolling, and just generally be on the ball.

10.  Does a snowman, made of balls of snow, have snowballs?

It’s enough to make a bald man bawl.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.  May there be sufficient left overs for turkey balls tomorrow.

And just to remind you that balls can be hilarious, here’s a classic to start off the holiday coming up next.

nano

The Nano Poblano Oddly Specific Gratitude Blog Hop

The Nano Poblano Oddly Specific Gratitude Blog Hop

Thanks Kim at Drunk on Life for tagging me to continue this rather impressive list of gratefulness.  I’m happy to have discovered so many new blogging friends, especially the ones who are drunk on life.  There is no better way to be.

Here are the rules:

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  1. Add to the list with your own oddly specific bits of gratitude. Add as few or as many things as you’d like. Include a picture or two if you’d like… but you certainly don’t have to. Put your name at the top of the list to see where yours started and the next blogger’s begins.
  2. Tag the post with the usual pepper tags and oddly specific gratitude. 
  3. Tag another pepper to add to the list by linking to their About page, but there’s a catch! When you tag the next blogger, be sure to include a bit about why you’re grateful to be in the same blogging world with them.:) (Try not to tag anyone who has already been tagged that way more people get to join in the fun.)  The List of Oddly Specific Gratitude

Nerd in the Brain:

1. the smell of wild onions when I mow the lawn
2. coffee makers (having the coffee already prepared in the mornings is magical)
3. the way my crazy dog barks likes a vicious beast at the horses across the road, but then cowers behind me like a needy wimp whenever a horse actually comes close
4. hearing my husband talk on the phone to the rest of his team at work… it reminds me that he’s not just my silly, sweet, awesome husband… he’s also my competent, responsible, highly skilled husband
5. opening a blank lesson plan book and imagining the possibilities to come
6. sausage balls
7. watching Grace’s enthusiasm for all things musical
8. the way I can hear a smile on Olivia’s face whenever we say hello or goodbye on the phone
9. knitting with really soft, squishy yarn

Not a Punk Rocker

10. Getting a random text when Matthew is in cell-signal range. (“Hi”)
11. Awesome stuff in the mail, including Legos and letters from friends, making me smile when I need it the most at the end of a long day.
12. Cherry chapstick.
13. Somebody found my blog by searching for “deadpool talks about political social issues” yesterday.
14. Skype and chat for keeping me in touch with friends in “real-time” when one or the other of us needs it the most.
15. Finding new blogs to read and follow through this challenge!

Jackie P (tobreathistowrite)

16. Having friends like I do here in the blogging world. You all make my days brighter.
17. My dog Sam. He loves me unconditionally, wish more people could love like that. Plus, he makes me laugh daily.
18.Coffee. Without it the world would be a much sadder and thirsty place. And I would be a much harder person to deal with.
19. All the bright and cheerful colors around. Something about bright colors makes me happy. The gold of the sun, the cerulean blue of the sky, the wonder of a rainbow, they never cease to make me glad I’m alive.
20. Books…… you all know what I mean.

Fish of Gold

21. Spell check. Even though it did just strangely try to correct my horribly botched spelling of “another” to “Antoine.” I don’t even know anyone named Antoine, spell check.
22. I’m grateful to myself for being the sucker who couldn’t walk away from my dog’s cage at the animal rescue. My failure to do so has converted 70 dog pounds into a metric ton of joy and unconditional love.
23. Male’s hilariously failed attempts at sexting.
24. My sense of humor. I wouldn’t have survived this long without it.
25. To the Peppers for continuing my harebrained Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story idea and turning it into something unexpectedly awesome. Go Team Pepper
26.I also second #18.

Knocked Over by a Feather

27. My aunts Oreo truffles. They are addictive.
28. Finding my comfy spot in bed.
29. Receiving a spontaneous real hug from my daughter, which rarely happens.
30. Watching stupid TV with my husband.
31. Hearing my mom call me sweetie or something similarly saccharine sweet on the phone

Mental Mama ( Mental in the Midwest)

32. the world’s best tiny mommy
33. Evie and Sissy Cats
34. lithium, depakote, and gabapentin
35. the world’s most amazing support network
36. good dark chocolate, preferably with cherries
37. the jumbo margaritas at Romeo’s – lime, on the rocks, extra salt

Mark Bialczak

38. My dear wife Karen for buying me two season tickets for Syracuse University football six years ago, going to every game with me (but one when she went on a cruise) since and turning home game Saturdays into Happy Happy days win or lose. 39. That Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle usually looks like this on the end of the living room couch and her specially covered ottoman daily come 10 p.m. after a day of enthusiastically ruling our Syracuse city home we call Little Bitty

Ellie B

40. That Karen talked me into going to the Paws for the Cause rescue dog event that March day four years ago when we saw Ellie marching around in her orange “Adopt Me” vest.
41.That my daughter Elisabeth was smart enough and confident enough and brave enough to go back to school this fall to get her associate’s degree and New York State certificate to become a physical therapist’s assistant, 2 1/2 years after getting her bachelor’s in biology.
42. That writing every day on markbialczak.com since Oct. 27, 2013 has turned out to be so much fun.
43.That Sheena Not a Punk Rocker talked me into hosting Nano Poblano this year, allowing me to meet so many interesting new bloggers! Wait. I want to add two more exclamation points to this one!!

Coulddoworse (Rachel or Lundygirl)

44. The park that I walk through four mornings a week

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45. Iced fingers

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46. Crochet and blogging; though never at the same time

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47. making something beautiful

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48. flowers

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49. Hot toasted sandwiches with my family on a very rainy bank holiday.

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50. beauty that you see in the detail

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51. Great memories to mull over and enjoy.

SAM_0116

Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

52. I am grateful that I was able to copy this whole list with pictures and get it pasted on to my post without messing it up at all, I hope.
53. I am grateful for my kids xoxo, and my husband xoxo
54. I am grateful to read good books, and watch good films
55. Good food, good wine and good friends
56. That I live in the state of California, USA
57. Discussions with my blogger friends and getting their support for my writing

Linda G. Hill – Life in Progress

58. That moment when I’m not aware that I’m falling asleep.
59. The one Smartie (candy-coated chocolate) that tastes slightly different than every other one in the box.
60. #18 – on this list, not the number eighteen.
61. That my children are alive.
62. Whatever it is that compels me to write; specifically to tell stories.

Idiot Writer ~ Idiot Writing :

63. Poetry (obviously) – mostly my poetry – I need it – lots to say things I cannot say any other way.
64. The Sun – when it shines in the UK.
65. The cheap chocolate bars I found! (and so do not feel guilty buying)
66. The fire-place – though I hate the smoke it emits.
67. Figuring out how to pump the tyre on my car yesterday.
68. Internet – SPEcifiCALLY – finding WordPress.
69. Saturdays – Cos I do not drive on Saturdays. Usually.
70. The sound system in my car – and my teens choice of music…it COULD have been – so so – not good.
71. I nearly forgot about SALT. Salt has so many uses! I am eternally grateful that salt – AND potatoes exist.

Last but not least...or rather first

72. Last but not least…or rather first – EVER so, very grateful – that Linda has wine.  😛

Doobster418

I’m grateful for:

73. The 11 bloggers who came up with 72 oddly specific items for which they are grateful, leaving me to really stretch to come up with anything new or different.
74. That said, I wish to second, third, or fourth (I’ve lost count) #18. COFFEE!
75. God, the almighty creator of everything and everyone, for granting in me the wisdom to…oh damn, the devil made me write that. Never mind.
76. Those rare days when I’m able to sleep later than 6 a.m.
77. My wife, for being a wonderful mother who stayed home to raise two great kids while I was off doing my worky-thing.
78. San Francisco weather, because it never snows, never gets below freezing, and never gets really hot and muggy.
79. My health, except for my vertigo, tinnitus, and my current lameness due to plantar fisciitis. But otherwise, my health is pretty damn good.
80. My blog and the fellow bloggers I interact with on pretty much a daily basis.
81. iTunes
82. The Oxford comma and those who use it.

Lucy at the Excessive Gardener 

I am grateful for :

83. I am so grateful for Evernote. Those of us who use and cherish it know why life is so much better. I am really grateful that I spend the few dollars each month for the premium version.
84. Golden Retrievers. My Golden, Roger, died years ago and I still miss him. I live with a Golden, my roommate’s, and he is a joy and a pain to live with but he is proof that if you know one Golden Retriever, you know them all.
85. My new knee. How wonderful it is to walk without pain. I can hardly wait to have the other knee replaced.
86. The drug Avastin. The FDA withdrew approval of the chemo drug for breast cancer, which means insurance companies won’t cover it, and it is not cheap.  I was lucky and got in on clinical trials for Avastin. It saved my life.
87. That I live in Florida, right where I want to be: minutes from white, sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters and only 2 hours to Disney World.
88.  Better World Books.  If you know it, you know what I mean.
89. Quad Core.
90. Defensive gardening. There’s nothing more satisfying than out-smarting a bug or an animal.

Now my list:

91. I’ll start by saying what goes without saying but should be said anyway:  I’m grateful for my husband Mark, my family, and my friends.

92. I’m grateful that I live in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) of Minnesota. We have an amazing combination of abundant cultural opportunities, a highly educated and literate population, PLUS endless amounts of parks, lakes, bike trails, you name it.  We need the horrific winters to keep out the riffraff.

93. I’m grateful for having a job that provides me opportunity for (partially) subsidized travel experiences.

94. As everyone else said, #18 (coffee!)

95. I’m grateful for books! So many books!  So many writers with so many words!  As long as I have the capacity to read, I’ll never be bored.

96. I’m grateful that my husband has the best hobby ever: in his spare time, he makes furniture out of wood in our garage.  He loves doing it and I love the furniture he makes for me.  Talk about win-win!

Mark made this for me!

97.  I am grateful for the internet, which provides me with the opportunity to blog and to meet all of you amazing bloggers. I’m particularly grateful for the Nano Poblano Peppers for the sense of community y’all have been providing this month.

98. Cats! I’m grateful for my kitties Tennessee and Zelda for being such cute and cuddly pains in the butt.

Tennessee and Zelda

Me – Who Am I

I’m grateful for:

99. Warmth! When it’s -10 outside, I’m grateful for a heater that works.
100. We made it to 100! I feel privileged to be the one who fills this one out.
101. My son. He shows me the world in a way that no one else can.
102. Fellow bloggers and the wonderful community we have here.
103. Today I’m grateful for today; a day that I may not have had.
104. Fruit. Fruit does a body good.
105. Sleep, finally! Insomnia is terrible.

Me Next – Chatter Master

106.  Not having a body temperature of 94 degrees.

107.  Fat baby cheeks that split in to super wide grins and smiles with various numbers of teeth-when they see me.

108.  That moment at the end of the day when I know I’m done “doing” all that I am going to do for the day and there are those peaceful few minutes of quiet and relaxing with my husband.

109.  Saying “I love you” at the end of phone calls and visits and not feeling awkward about it.  And knowing my kids don’t either because I raised them with it being easy to say “I love you”.

110.  Remembering a song from childhood and thinking no one else in the world knows it, only to Youtube it and there it is!

111.  People.   Good people.  I’m so very thankful for good people.

Pssst!  It’s me, Ann Koplow, from The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, trying to let go of judgment and add my list of oddly specific gratitudes, starting with #112, which is a number I have no particular associations with:

112.  Numbers and other things I have no particular associations with, since I love seeing things in a new light, letting go of baggage from the past.

113. Numbers and other things that I do have particular associations with, since I love things that have been in my life, up to this point.

114. Even though #112 and #113 cover everything in the universe (at least the way I think), I am also oddly specifically grateful for the way I think.

115.  Everybody who had ever read my blog or anybody else’s blog, which may seem oddly general instead of oddly specific, at this point.  (I’ve been in a very feisty mood lately, so I would like to see ANYBODY give me a difficult time about how I’m choosing to participate here.)

116. My cats, including Oscar, shown here moments after he accidentally accessed Siri — the alleged “personal helper” on my iPhone —  having about as much luck getting help from her as I usually do:

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117. My keyboard (pictured) and my fingers (not pictured):

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118. Photos I take accidentally with my iPhone, like that one directly above.

119. People I meet during the day who are willing to engage in an authentic, open way, even if only for a moment, like Kenny

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who stands guardian at the parking lot where I get my medical care, where I’ve been needing to go to several appointments lately because nobody knows what the hell is going on with my health.

120.  My memory, which allows me to quote, accurately enough, dialogs I have with people like Kenny, such as:

Kenny (obviously using the memorized script he has to say to every driver who enters the parking lot since, apparently, people are parking there who shouldn’t be): Do you have an appointment here?  Are you a patient?

Me (making an exaggerated sad face, because I REALLY DON’T WANT TO BE GOING TO A MEDICAL APPOINTMENT and then nodding “yes” slowly, saying nothing).

Kenny: (after a brief pause) Oh.

Me:  Do you believe me?

Kenny: No.

… which cheered me up considerably and resulted in my Literally Laughing Out Loud.

121. My memory, which allows me to recall another thing Kenny said to me, after I Laughed Out Loud: “You have a good day, sweetie.” (Yes, I know this is supposed to be a list of Oddly Specific Gratitude, not Oddly Repetitive Gratitude, but please see #115, above.)

122. The room to have all my feelings, including sadness, humor, fear,  disappointment, annoyance, gratitude, etc. etc. etc.

123.  The opportunity to end lists (at least my portion of them)

_____________________________________

After I published this post, I realized I forgot to include something, for which I am NOT oddly specifically grateful:

Michael’s cooking. On what planet would it be odd to be grateful for that?

 

Kim at Drunk on Life

Not sure if I start with “123.” or “124.” if I include Ann’s postscript?
I’ll go “124.” so…

124. My warm, fuzzy Sasquatch slippers

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125. Sunsets from the terrace at my loft.

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126. A fire in the fireplace on chilly Sunday mornings, especially if accompanied by #127/#18

127. #18 (Coffee ) even more so with an upgrade (a little Bailey’s Irish Cream)

128. My sister-cousins Patti and Christa.  Let me be clear that “Sister-cousins” are not a weird Southern relationship like an “Uncle Daddy.”  It’s merely cousins that are more like sisters and mine are a wonderful part of my life.

129. Making jewelry.  I don’t do it much anymore, usually just for gifts around the holidays, but I like working with beautiful materials and the soothing feeling you get while working with your hands (and letting your brain go wander).

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130. That awesome feeling when you get “your hairs did” as we say in the South.  Going to the salon, getting a shampoo with a scalp massage, a glossy new cut and color and the fabulous super-shiny blowout that makes you feel like a rockstar for the rest of the day until you sleep on your glorious new “do” and wake up in the morning looking like a haystack (i.e. back to normal).

131. The good things about Christmas (not the commercial, mass media stuff). Christmas music, candles, Christmas trees and all the sparkly holiday decor, parties, party dresses, cookies, old movies, feeling festive…most of all being with friends and family and the stuff that’s all still a little magical.

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132. Nano Poblano and Team Pepper.  The support and comments and community are wonderful and I have greatly appreciated being a part of it.

Grandmalin at Breathing Space

133.  My little library, which doubles as a spare bedroom, so when you sleep over at my house you can stay up all night reading.

134.  The Kindle I have now, which is not the original one (I have gone through 4 of them).  They just keep getting better.  I could read on my I-Pad or my I-Phone (if I wanted to go slowly cross eyed) but Kindle was my first love for downloaded books.  If I find a book there that I really love, I just might go out and buy the real thing to add to my library to tempt visitors  to stay up all night reading  borrow them.  Yes, it’s a lending library as all good libraries should be.

135.  Just to be oddly specific about my love for coffee, I am grateful for my little Tassimo which brews one hot, fresh, delicious cup of coffee at a time.

136.  The specific spot on the love seat in the living room where I sit every morning to read, and every evening to draw, and a whole lot during the day to do a whole bunch of nothing much.  The arm rest is a perfect spot for my I-Pad to perch to blat out Netflix movies, there is a little table for my coffee and my jar of pencils, room beside me for my sketch book, and a view of the outside world straight ahead out the living room window if I choose to ever look up.  The butt print you see there?  Yes, that is mine.

137.  I know saying “family” is not very specific, so here’s the short list – husband, adult children, five grandchildren, siblings and their families.  The long list includes relatives too numerous to mention, except for a special two who are both estheticians and do great pedicures on these ugly old lady feet.  Which then turn out to be not so ugly after all.

138.

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This weird guy. My alien giraffe. You cannot be unhappy when you look at this face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The List of Oddly Specific Bloggers

Nerd in the Brain
Not a Punk Rocker
To Breath is to Write
Fish of Gold
Knocked Over by a Feather
Mental in the Midwest
Markbialczak.com
Coulddoworse
Deborah at Notes Tied on the Sagebrush
Linda at Life In Progress
Idiot Writer
Mindful Digressions
The Excessive Gardener
Booking It

Me – Who Am I.

The Chatter Blog

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Drunk on Life

Breathing Space

I am tagging willowdot21 who has been a faithful Team Pepper participant all month, and whose blog I have followed for a long time.  Her “If We Were Having Coffee” posts are delightful.  I wonder if she’ll say she’s grateful for coffee…

Art du Jour 17

imageHere I am with my nano post for the day, just before the day is over.

It’s the  same model I’ve used before but now she’s having a bad hair and make up day.  She also needs braces.  This is what happens when I watch a video on pencil crayon art.  And think it looks easy.  And spend a better part of the day showing myself it’s not.

And then because the daylight is gone, the photo doesn’t make it look participularly better or worse, just different.

The artist on the video said to be bold with colour!  Use red!  So I did!

Chalking this one up to experience.  But I can see the possibilities and it was a lot of fun.

nano

 

 

Art du Jour 16

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I fought a killer urge to make that ear into a pointy elf one.  You have no idea.

There are several people in my family who have delicate little points at the tops of their ears.  Not that I think we have elf ancestors exactly, but there’s definitely a pointy ear gene.  My ears are round and boring I’m sorry to say.

And why is that picture so blue?  Because I edit my photographs to make them sharper and bring out the details and also I don’t notice the blur at the bottom until later and I’m too lazy to fix it by starting over.  And sometimes blue happens.  On a blue Monday.

A few days ago a fellow Team Pepper person (I think!) posted Celtic Tree Astrology information and I can’t for the life of me find it or remember who it was – so if you’re reading this and it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit for inspiring me to imitate you.  Anyway, you can find this astrology information  here at What’s Your Sign.  It’s all very interesting and credible because…..I am………..

……TA DA!!  THE ILLUSIONIST!

Hawthorn signs in Celtic tree astrology are not at all what they appear to be. Outwardly, they appear to be a certain persona, while on the inside Hawthorn’s are quite different. They put the term “never judge a book by its cover” to the test. They live seemingly average lives while on the inside they carry fiery passions and inexhaustible creative flame. They are well-adjusted and can adapt to most life situations well – making themselves content and comforting others at the same time. You are naturally curious, and have an interest in a broad range of topics. You are an excellent listener, and people seek you out as an outlet to release their burdens. You have a healthy sense of humor, and have a clear understanding of irony. You tend to see the big picture, and have amazing insight – although you typically won’t give yourself enough credit for your observations. Hawthorn signs match up nicely with Ash and Rowan’s.

Well, I must have Celtic roots too. Those Celts are smart cookies.

What’s crazier than a cold Monday in November?  I don’t know the answer to that one but if there is an answer, it would make a good riddle for a cold November Monday.

nano