Mistakes Yield Future Techniques

I am working on a few experimental works. I've been looking at some needle sculpted dolls and finding them fun. At this point there isn't a lot to *show* for it but I am enjoying trying new things, and am learning a lot from my mistakes. Some of the mistakes are very exciting! In the future I will use them on purpose. 

Day 2 of 31 Days of Posting: Straw Bale Gardening in Maine

This is a repost from last October 2, 2018.  I'm going to do straw bale gardening again! 


Last year I bought a delicious heirloom tomato at the farmer's market. I saved seeds.  I used to grow heirloom tomatoes years ago. That reawakened my desire to grow tomatoes, which I hadn't done in about 15 years. I decided to try straw bale gardening for fun and ease. My husband took this photo to show how tall the tomato plants had  gotten. And they were laden with fruit.

I started the plants in my basement in April.  It's been a fun, successful experiment. Did I save money? Probably not. But I enjoyed engaging in a nurturing activity, watching nature at work. You can't put a price on that in these times.

People Are More Important Than Coffee

Once someone who came to work with my son arrived late wearing a "meh" shirt. Urban Dictionary says "Meh" is to be used when one simply does not care. It was an irony played out in real life, in belated motion. That person isn't a bad person. The agency isn't a bad agency. I know that Mainers care. Many don't know that this is how things are.

The people who hand you *coffee* through the drive-through window are paid MORE than those who work with *people* with autism and developmental disabilities here in the state of Maine (or the elderly who need care). I'm the FIRST to say coffee IS very, very, very important, but even in a caffeine-starved state I know PEOPLE are more important than coffee. 

IMPORTANT: Wages for these direct care personnel are set by the Maine legislature, not by the market. People who work with people who need skilled help can't be paid a sub minimum wage. In order to have adequate programming, staff needs to know about autism and other developmental disabilities. Staff needs to understand how people with learning disabilities learn best. 

Also IMPORTANT:  Access to programs that work with those with developmental disabilities is also set by the legislature when they choose to fund openings to Section 29 and 21, the pathway to programming. There are waiting lists that the legislature could choose to fund. This waitlist for Section 21 includes many people who need 24-7 support. 

Please call your representatives and senators and ask them to support a better rate of pay for people who work with autism or developmental disabilities. 

Find your State of Maine Senator to Augusta:

Find your State of Maine legislator to Augusta: 

Antoinette Walker Gould

Some time ago I was looking through an old family photo album and came across this image of a little girl. On the back of the photo is written 3 years, 4 mos, 25 days and her name, Antoinette Walker Gould. I don't know how she was related to my family, but I smiled when I saw the exact age written out in beautiful penmanship.

The middle name of "Walker" caught my interest, because of my interest in Izannah Walker. I've been waiting for the web to percolate up an image of Izannah Walker for over a decade now. It could be that her image is one of thousands of unlabeled early tintypes and photographs. Or it could be that Izannah Walker's picture is in someone's old photo albums labeled, and all they have to do is snap a picture with their phone and put it on the web. So in the interest of sending the call for Izannah Walker's image out into the universe, I give you this image of Antoinette Walker Gould, whose name I found in the 1918 list of women students at the University of Maine in Orono. It could be that someone is looking for Antoinette's image.

A Blogger in Heaven: Small Notebook's Ripple Effect

I was searching for something in the archives of this blog and came across my 2010 post about Small Notebook.  I started following Rachel's writing in 2010 as I was trying to get organized while also doing a big project (designing my Izannah Walker doll pattern). Without a doubt, her posts helped me be more organized, which also helped me reach that goal.

I think about the ripple effect often. One person's encouragement can spur another person on to do an important thing that has a multiplier effect. We often look at the people who achieve things. But we should look at who gave them opportunities. Would Van Gogh have painted his wonderful paintings without the support and encouragement of his brother? Behind every accomplishment, if you dig deep enough, you will find an encourager in the background.

It sounds like Rachel's unpublished and published writings will be compiled into a book. When and if it is, I will buy it, publicize it on this blog and also give the book to others. In the meantime, her blog still has her very helpful content about living more simply and fully. I'm going to honor Rachel by going through the content from the beginning. I want to be more organized again, not for the sake of being organized, but for living more fully.

If you'd like to do that, start with Rachel's Introduction Page:


Day Two

This is an OLD post from 2011.
It doesn't reflect the realities of my life now.
There are far fewer choices available right now.
And much less free time.
Then I was learning html and how to change colors, etc. 
I haven't changed a color on this blog in 6 years.
I do try to add occasional written updates, though. 
And I still try to evaluate choices. 
Have you heard this saying?

If everything's important, 
then nothing's important

Yeah, I thought so.   I like to do a lot of things.   I didn't even list all the things I must do, just the things I like to do.   I'm talking to myself here, but if it helps you, then great.   Dixie, you can't do everything.

Life is about making choices.  The constraints of our time and our space help us in making these choices.   In fact, psychologists propose that constraints contribute to creativity and inventiveness.  That's good news!   I only have so much space and time, just like the rest of you.

Some questions to help me in my choice-making:

What will I wish I had done (next year, in five years)?

What would I do if I weren't afraid?

Which things fit with my creative personality?
Which activities are most practical for my life?

Which activities contribute to the family budget?

Some things I need to cut down on:
Playing around with the colors and backgrounds on the sites that I write for.   It's fun but it doesn't necessarily make the sites function better.    In five years will I wish I had made a painting instead of switching the background of a site from pale ochre to yellow?   

Pleasing people.  I really, really, really like to encourage other people and help them.   But, and this is tricky, am I ignoring the needs of my family and even myself to please another person?  Sometimes the other person isn't putting forth as much effort to help themselves as I am.  I'll still help people who need it, but I won't worry as much about pleasing people.

The online checking loop that takes up a lot of time (ouch!)....first check email, then check news, then check facebook, then check groups, then check twitter.   Then start the loop over again.  Will I wish I had made a painting or created a folk doll instead of doing some of those things?  

Side note.  My family hates the picture above.  It was taken by my photographer friend Danielle Pease. I was modeling for a project of hers about women of a certain age and what we've learned. She took a lot of great pictures that day!  I was goofing around for this one.  But she caught something in it because it got ALL kinds of reactions from my family.    I put it on the fridge before the kids got out of school last year and my son with autism went right to the picture and threw it away even before he had his snack.   It looks like the face I make when he is being told he's lost a privilege.   My husband said, "Don't post that picture."  My other son said I look mean.  And yet here I am posting it.   It's a great motivational poster for ME to hang in my studio while I do the sorting of STUFF.   I mean, really, if I try to keep the 3" piece of string, do you think that woman will let me?  

Are you still with me?   

You're probably a friend 
or family member. 
Or you need to clean your slate, too.


Granny's Famous Macaroni and Cheese

We had an family meal recently, potluck style. My mom, of course, brought her famous macaroni and cheese. I shared my mom's macaroni and cheese recipe on Facebook. A school principal I worked with in the past tried it and said he is throwing out all his old Mac n Cheese recipes. My mom knows cooking!

When we have family gatherings, my mom makes a couple large pans of this and it is devoured in no time. Any leftovers are sent home with the young men who are living in their own, and they are happy about that. Here's the recipe.  Yum!

Granny's Famous Macaroni and Cheese

1 - one pound box big macaroni, cooked
4 cups milk
2 cups Velveeta
1 cup fresh grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
Bread crumbs, tossed with butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put milk and cheese on low heat on stove in saucepan until cheese melts.

Pour over cooked macaroni.

Note from Mom:  "I always add extra milk after it sets for awhile before baking if it's too thick.I like it creamy.Then I put bread crumbs on top.It thickens when you cook it."

Put buttered bread crumbs on top.

Cook till crumbs brown and its ready.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...