Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Embroidery Fairy -- Fees Brodeuses (English and French)

A lot of the people who visit this blog get here though le blog de fees brodeuses, a very creative and interesting French blog which focuses heavily on counted cross stitch. The best I have been able to translate "fees brodeuses" is as "Stitching Fairies." There is a lot of great cross stitch on the blog, and it's worth looking at. I especially like a little piece called "French Rat"! The blog is connected to an online shop called Stitching Fairies Workshop. You can translate this blog by going to the Babblefish link at the bottom of this page.

Un bon nombre de gens qui visitent ce blog obtiennent ici cependant des brodeuses d'honoraires de le blog de, un blog français très créateur et intéressant qui se concentre fortement sur le point en travers compté. Le meilleur j'ai pu traduire des "honoraires que les brodeuses" est en tant que "fées piquantes." Il y a beaucoup de grand point en travers sur le blog, et il est intéressant regarder. J'aime particulièrement un petit morceau appelé "le rat français" ! Le blog est relié à un magasin en ligne appelé l'atelier piquant de fées. Vous pouvez traduire ce blog en allant au lien de Babblefish en bas de cette page.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ace and Cross Stitch Border Collies

Since I am going to post pictures of border collie patterns, I thought I would start out with a picture of my Ace in a typical border collie pose. As you can see, he is shoving a toy at me hoping I will play with him. Yes, that is a rubber tire dog toy. I have other, less energetic pictures of Ace, but they all have those yellow camera flash eyes. I can't seem to catch him any way except head-on because he's always attentive and intense! But enough about Ace. Now for some border collie cross stitch.

The first border collie is from one of Pegasus Originals' dogs books. This one is from Dogs 9. I don't have a decent color shot from the cover, so I am posting part of the pattern. It's too small to use, so I'm not too worried about copyright infringement. Border Collie fanatics will want to buy the book anyway!

This border collie pattern is from Heritage Stitchcraft. Truth is, none of these border collies looks like Ace, because Ace has "ticking" -- speckles of black in his white fur. It reminds me of chocolate chip ice cream, with lots of chips. I do like this pattern, but it's a big project and a lot more work than I want to put into it right now.

While I'm talking about border collies, I might add that I've got Ace enrolled in two dog classes: agility and obedience. The only reason he needs obedience is because he needs to learn to heel. I'm really looking forward to the classes. One is going to be taught by my anthropologist friend, Carol, who has two border collies. Her boys, Cobb and Jeff, look a lot like Ace. Carol thinks they are related.

Here's one of my favorite border collie patterns, from Anchor. It's called "Not Far to Go." The border collie in this pattern really looks like a herding dog. I think James Herriot probably knew something about border collies -- he inspired this one. This pattern has "Scotland" written on it, and the floss numbers are Anchor and not DMC.

This last one, "Coming Out to Play," is my favorite. It features a pig and brings up reminiscences of "Babe" which of course starred some border collies. Apparently around the time "Babe" was released, border collie rescue got off the ground. People who didn't know what they were getting into would acquire a border collie. When it turned out to be an intense, demanding dog (in other words, a good herding dog) a lot of people would get rid of it. I got Ace from border collie rescue.

That's it for the cross stitch border collies in my collection. If you come across any others, please let me know!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

BlogExplosion -- a way to increase traffic to my blogs?

I have been trying to increase traffic to my blogs.

I joined something called BlogExplosion which is a website where you earn points by viewing other people's blogs, and people in turn view your blogs.

I have used it for a few days, and have discovered that I keep seeing the same blogs over and over again. Makes me think the same people are seeing my blogs over and over again! And it doesn't appear that people who are looking at my blog spend any time there, beyond the required 30 seconds to get the points.

I actually look at the blogs I visit -- well, a lot of them. I've even found a few that I like, and have returned to them and even linked to them. I have gotten some links out of BlogExplosion too.

But is it worth the time it takes to increase traffic to my blogs? Some people say no. What do you think?

Daniel and Me

This photo is of Daniel and me at a wedding a couple of years ago. Daniel's mother likes it because it looks like he's got a halo around his head! I love my mother-in-law dearly, but Pu-leeze!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Amis Français Bienvenus !

Merci de visiter mon blog !

I don't speak much French, but I have noticed that a high proportion of the folks visiting my blog are from France! I am glad you are here! Welcome!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Road to Hortonville: Reminiscences of Western Kenya

I took my daughter Camille to Hortonville today to see the orthodontist. As I drove down County JJ, sort of a back way to get into town, I felt like I was driving down the highway in Western Province, Kenya. It was a combination of rolling hills and fields of corn that reminded me of the road from Kisumu to Kakamega, the beginning of a long climb to the extinct volcano, Mt. Elgon (right). Mt. Elgon, 14,178 feet high, has a wide, flat-looking peak, usually covered by clouds, and a rare sight from Maragoli, where I worked.

The fields of corn lining the road in Hortonville (left) are reminiscent of Maragoli, but there is a vast difference in technology, scale and wealth. I remember taking postcards with me on my second trip, to show the people in the village where I lived and what it was like. I had some pictures of farms with gigantic silos, surrounded by vast stretches of land. In Maragoli, the grain is stored in a grainery barely higher than a rural mud and thatched house, and farmland -- ever diminishing with population growth -- averages one or two hectares or less.

When I came back from Kenya, I would flash back and forth between Candice driving in Maragoli and Candice driving in Wisconsin. I did know where I was, but my experience was that I could have been anywhere. Today I had the same feeling. I was back in Africa, driving on the road to Mt. Elgon.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Counters

I put counters up on my blogs early this morning, and am very surprised how many people visit my sites. I can't believe that, in half a day, 20 people have visited this blog. I felt I was hiding out in my corner of the web, relatively safe from perusal. Now I am thinking, "Gee, people are actually visiting this blog. I have to make it good!"

Something that baffles me and led me to believe that traffic on my website is relatively slow: I get very few comments. So leave me a comment, and let me know that you were here!

Friday, July 15, 2005


Look what I found! It's a website full of hand-drawn emoticons. Totally cool. It's called". My friend Leeny had one on her blog. Here's my Unky for today!

NOTE My unkymoods icon isn't working, and my attempts to visit the website are met with a web page that indicates the site is not there. I susptec the site is having problems or no longer exists.

The Shirt, by Jane Kenyon

"The Shirt"

The shirt touches his neck
And smooths over his back.
It slides down his sides.
It even goes below his belt—
down into his pants.
Lucky shirt.
by Jane Kenyon

This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me of someone in particular. I won't say who!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Black Squirrel Letter

This is a copy of an email I sent to a web page about squirrels (Amazing Squirrel Stories). We had seen some black squirrels, and I went on the web to find out about them. Here is the letter, which they called:

"Disbelief in Appleton, Wisconsin."

I drive my children to school every day along a route that roughly follows the Fox River. They attend local Catholic schools that cluster around Prospect Avenue. Prospect runs parallel to the river through Appleton's old Third Ward, past historic houses overlooking the Fox. There, amid the old oak trees around a half dozen of these historic houses, live an abundance of black squirrels.

The children and I were disbelieving the first time we saw a black squirrel. They were the same size as the gray squirrels everywhere else in Appleton, with the same large, bushy tails. I had never seen a black squirrel before and hypothesized that this was merely a gray, bushy-tailed squirrel that had gotten down someone's fireplace and had emerged soot-covered. But we all saw another black squirrel a few days later, and soon realized that a few of the yards contained not one but several specimens, all scurrying about with nuts in their mouths preparing for the winter.

We now look out for them when we drive down Prospect Avenue near Richmond Avenue. They are truly beautiful, a rare and exhilarating sight in a picturesque little city. [Candice Bradley, 11/22/98]

UPDATE July 14, 2005

A little research on some squirrel websites has revealed that black squirrels are more common in the north-midwest of the U.S. and in Canada. Apparently black squirrels are better adapted to lower temperatures than gray squirrels. For more information of black squirrels and a list of good links, go to Black Squirrels.

Book Wish List from Title Trader

Title Trader is a book-swap website where you list an inventory of books you wish to trade. Other people then look at your list and request books. For each book somebody else requests, you get one point. For each book you request, you pay one point. I have already requested four books and sent out three.

Here is my book wish list on Title Trader:

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rubble Bubbles

I wrote Rubble Bubbles on August 27, 2001, just after I got out of Bellin Psychiatric Center. It describes the state of my bedroom (and my head) at the time. I thought it was appropriate to publish it here now that I'm organizing my office/art room. The poem was among the papers I found while I was cleaning.

Rubble Bubbles

Rubble bubbles up
from the floor like a geyser
from the underworld,

Bubbles up the bed
through the mattress, through the sheets
right to the older mess

left there before the last.
Mania's rising up
rising from times of

Idol-worship, Dionysus's
maidens- - Maenads- - dancing
on heads, laughing mindlessly

But my mess merely
bubbles up in laughter.
I later only cry at messes.

During the time I wrote this, I was doing a considerable amount of reading of Greek mythology. I just now had to go back and see what the Dionysus-Maenad reference meant. Maenads are women in the cult of Dionysus. Maenad literally means "madwoman" in Greek while mania means "madness." Thus, mania and Maenad have the same root. Click here for more information on Maenads.

Here is a picture of Maenads and Satyrs

Treasures Found in the Art Room: The Organizer

Melody, the professional organizer, came by today. In one hour, we got most of my office/art room cleaned up. It's not fully organized yet, the way it's going to be, but my "ground-hog" floor is getting clear. The Kenyan throw rug has emerged from under piles of boxes containing quilting fabric and needlework materials. There are three boxes of photos (big ones). Another box contains even more cross stitch thread than I knew I had. The genealogy books and records occupy a shelf in one of the closets. More Agatha Christie mysteries emerged from under the window.

I have found all sorts of treasures under piles of paper in cardboard boxes. I found the brochures from Sherwin-Williams with preservation and heritage colors that I had been searching for. Something long lost also appeared: a piece of paper showing a rough sketch of the gardens and lawn around my house, with the plants and trees identified. I discovered to-do lists written in beautiful calligraphy. There were amazing little art projects; one was a half-completed series of miniature houses made from brown corrugated board and paper decorated in tiny, delicate green and red flowers.

I still have tasks ahead of me. There are eight more boxes under the shelves that we didn't get to today. I imagine most of it is trash. I still need to sort it out, filling up temporary genealogy and decorating boxes. My desk needs to be cleared off, the photos put away in the cupboard downstairs, trash hauled off, bookshelves and a drafting table moved to make room for a cushy chair and reclaim a window.

I should have taken before and after pictures. I did that with my bedroom a few years ago, just to have a permanent record of what it once looked like.

After Melody and I finish up the art room, we're going to move on to Camille's bedroom.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

"Let Evening Come" by Jane Kenyon

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) published this poem in 1990 in a volume by the same name. It is one of my favorite poems. The copy I have, which I carry in my DayRunner all folded up, is on a page torn from a magazine dated January 2002 -- I think Oprah. The poem is about death. I don't know if Jane Kenyon had been diagnosed with leukemia yet when she wrote this, but it is prophetic.

Here is "Let Evening Come," read by me:

this is an audio post - click to play

The Appleton Public Library is going to have a Jane Kenyon workshop this week. Maybe I'll go.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Candy & Candide

When I was in high school, boys would walk up to me and say, "Candy, like the book?" I knew the book existed because my friends in South America had told me about it. I knew it was pornographic. I had no idea what it was though. I would always say, "No." (To this day, I can't figure out how the boys knew about this book.)

I finally got a copy of Candy. It is by Terry Southern who died in 1995. The book was written in 1958 when I was 5 years old.

The dust cover says it is a satire on Voltaire's Candide. Candide was a Freshman Studies book at Lawrence, so having taught it I know it pretty well. Candy also appears to be considerably less pornographic (and probably more interesting) than I thought. It will be interesting reading both Candy and Lolita. Maybe I'll read them back to back.

* * *

Here are some comments on Candy by "Dunzy," who responded to my post on the subject on BookCrossing. (Dunzy happens to be very knowledgeable about a lot of things.)

"Candy" was sooo dandy! Early editions of Terry Southern's book are behind glass in scholarly collections now, but 45 years ago they were everywhere -- well, everywhere that parents wouldn't think to look. Copies had previously been waved around a lot in courtrooms.

Southern's credits go on and on: "Dr. Strangelove", "Barbarella", "Easy Rider", protogonzo journalism, etc. See the lively site maintained by his son, Nile: (Nile is the author of "The Candy Men", an affectionate memoir that came out last year.)

Dunzy's BookCrossing website is at

* * *

Here's more from Dunzy:

“Maxwell Kenton” was Southern’s nom-de-plume on Candy’s first edition. Southern had two other books in typescript and didn’t want to identify himself with a hot-and-hasty bit of Olympia Press trash. Southern asked Mason Hoffenberg to help him for the sake of a quick turnaround. They were both young writers starving picturesquely in Paris, and they needed the money. Though the book was a huge success, no real money went to the writers or the original publisher; bootleggers made a fortune.

Professional Organizers, ADD Coaches & Therapists: People who help people get it together!

I recently hired a professional organizer to help me get my office together. I found her through the National Association of Professional Organizers ( My professional organizer is Melody McCabe, a young businesswoman and mother of twins who is very involved in WorldWIT, which stands for Women, Insights, Technology and is a network of 40,000 women all over the world.

The first time I met with her, Melody came to my house to talk about what I wanted to get out of my office and a professional organizer. At that point, I thought that she would direct me and I would do most of the work. She then emailed me a list of goals that I would work on toward our second meeting. However, 3 weeks have gone by (two of which I was out of town, by the way) and I have done nothing. I am realizing I need more directed help, something more hands-on than mere assignments. I am not ready for our meeting three days from now and will need to postpone it. Luckily, being more involved is one of the options she presented to me.

In the meantime, my friend Roxi told me about a book her therapist had recommended: ADD_Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau. I got home today and it was in the carton with the rest of the mail. I cruised quickly through the book and discovered repeated mention of 1) how useful it is to have a therapist; and 2) ADD coaching. The book lists three websites with ADD coaches. These are people who, either over the phone/email, or in person (or both), help people with ADD get it together.

Coaching seems like the mental aspect of what Melody does (the emotional aspect coming from the therapist). There are all kinds of coaching, not just ADD coaching. Here's one coaching website: The Coach Connection. Google ADD Coach and see what you come up with!

Monday, July 04, 2005


I am in St. Louis for a couple of weeks, at a family reunion at my in-laws' house. I had brought a bunch of books with me, and for the last three or four days I have been obsessed with reading. I read Middlesex, The Kite Runner, several of Kafka's stories from a complete collection that John got, and now I am reading Life of Pi, which I will undoubtedly finish tonight some time.

Finding these excellent books has been mostly the result of joining BookCrossing. "Bookcrossing" is defined as "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." It's a great website. There is an active forum with such topics as "July 4: What are you reading?" (often in a variety of languages), or "Do you ever become obsessed with one author?" I've learned about so many books I want to read from the forum.

I haven't left any books "in the wild" yet, but I did put BookCrossing stickers in several of my books, and am passing them around to people I know. I gave a copy of Mongo to Terry, and he gave me Grand Central Winter. Now I'm passing Grand Central Winter on. The only problem is -- it's hard to let go of books I love.

When I read, I am lifted away from things that disappoint me.