Sunday, July 24, 2011

Etsy Shop & Prayers

Yikes, now I know why I procrastinate listing my dolls on Etsy...what a chore!!! I've finally listed everything I have on board, so take a look over at my Etsy shop and buy something!! LOL I haven't set up a PayPal account yet and I know that's important since everyone seems to demand instant gratification, present company included, but again, I'm procrastinating....maybe later on this week. So here's the link or just go to the banner on the right side of my blog.

I just shipped off a large box to Xico, Inc. and they've already asked for more dolls, so it's off to the lab/studio and get to work on my little darlins'. I was able to play with paper clay the other day and had very little problems working with it, no cracking or drying in my hands.

I'm asking you to keep someone very close to me in your prayers. My step daughter-in-law is going to court tomorrow to fight for custody of her only child. She's a terrific mom, wife and stepmom to her hubby's 3 children...she's an amazing lady and has a full plate with her family, plus, she's going for her B.S. in Nutrition. Her mother started stirring up her caldron (buzz word for witch and beyond if you get my drift) in Oct. Her mother is not a very pleasant person to be around, has this permanent scowl on her recently altered stretched face. She was upset because her grandson was not allowed to visit with her on a weekend, which she gets every other week, because Dana reprimanded him for something he did at school, his punishment was to stay at home that weekend and clean his room and help his stepfather in cleaning out the garage. The woman went into an uproar and that's when the problems began.

In spite of all this, Dana allowed her son to visit his grandmother, even though he has already told his mother on several occasions to please ask her to stop barraging him with "bad questions" about her and his stepfather. About a month ago, CPS shows up at Dana's door with all kinds of accusation from the mother and now, her brother, Mr. Ph.D in social work!! After speaking with Dana and the kids and friends, she was convinced this was just a ploy to put a control Dana, so she closed the case. Again, won't go into any more details, too many and not so interesting, she gets served by her ex that he's going for custody of their son. She was beside herself and we all knew who was behind this web of lies and manipulation. I felt so badly for her, here was a good, hard-working woman who was betrayed by her own mother and now, brother. So tomorrow, we're off to Las Cruces, NM for the hearing, my honey and I will be testifying for Dana and she has an attorney who specializes in these matters that will be speaking for her 8 year old son. The poor little guy is experiencing all kinds of anxieties and fears that he will be taken from his family, so please pray for them or send good vibes out to the Universe. Peace out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Hate You, Rain Clouds

This segment of my blog was written yesterday, July 21st, late afternoon:

My mother has this apparatus around her neck that if anything were to happen, she presses the button and an emergency vehicle is on their way, while they are also contacting the next door neighbors, my brother and me. I was reading when the call came through and I didn't recognize the area code...718, but I answered it anyway. They had already hung up after my phone rang for about 3 seconds. They left a message informing me they received an emergency alert from my mother and she wasn't answering. She has this special phone that is connected to the emergency phone line and if there is an emergency they call out to her, like an intercom, if there is no answer, they dispatch the 911. So I listen to the message, call my mother, no answer, call my brother who lives in Las Cruces, NM, about an hour from her house, to see if he had been contacted, he said no....he neglected to give them the new number after he gave his blackberry back to Uncle Sam upon his retirement last month. So I frantically call my mother again, still no answer and leave a message on her machine; I'm on my way.

She's about 10 minutes from where we live, unless there is a wreck on I-10 East, lots of those lovely big rigs slugging along and slowing traffic, 5 p.m traffic or variations or all the above! I knew I had to keep my cool, which is almost impossible due to the fact it's friggin' hot and humid out here...they said 102, but one of the office buildings, along with my car, were reading the temps at 105. I knew I was going to get the slow traffic, all red lights on my way to the interstate and slow traffic heading east. Yeppers, that's exactly what happened! I finally got to her house and as I enter the door from the garage, I hear, "I'm alright, honey!" Of course I was relieved, but all this anxiety and frustration....aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!! So we visited for a bit then I left, knowing the traffic now heading west to my house was going to be even worse and it was.

I decided I wasn't going to rush, after all, my car has a great air conditioner and it's cooler in my car than my house, so I just went with the slower traffic on the far right lane. Now invariably, as one approaches this one particular exit, the one to the mall and all those other neat-o stores which are just down the street from me, everyone who was too impatient to just drive along in the slow lane, now begins to try to swerve into you and try to fit their fat ass' where your front fender should be. 'These are the "entitled ones." The approaching traffic is already, at that hour, bumper to bumper and these crap-heads intrude on your space, so leaving one car length from the car in front means, 20 cars will get into that space just to make sure they get off that exit.

So after that very terrifying experience, the traffic that is, I realized huge clouds just hovering...hovering like a bunch of Amsterdam window ho's, teasing and titillating us with the idea of rain. "I hate you, rain clouds!" They whirl, taunt and tantalize our already simmering brains, tossing out lightening rods and heaving their large billowing blackness with loud thunderous promises of the wet stuff, just to be completely left, high and dry.

Notice the dry shrubbery and the green below it...the Oleanders suffered during the freeze in Feb. and the green is the new growth...plants either died, like many palm trees, or they're coming back slowly, like our neighbor's Oleanders.

That's what looked very promising, but like an old high school flame, it fizzled out. Reminds me of a joke that my grandmother always told us of a little peasant from a small village in Mexico, who was taken to Mexico City and was treated to the opera. When asked about how he liked the opera, he casually explained, "I heard lots of music, but where was the opera?!?" So it loses some in translation, but that's exactly what happened to our black, rain clouds...lots of glitz, noise, but ultimately, it bombed, like a bad John Carpenter movie...oh wait, I love John Carpenter!! LOL

Below is a pic of our air conditioning which has been the mainstay in the desert for many years, till recently. My hubby promised me he would convert to refrigerated air last year for this summer...yea, promises, promises, promises. So this is a "swamp cooler," or "evaporateive cooler" and it works beautifully in April and May, then again in late September, October and even into November, yea, folks, November!!

If you can read the above little graphic, it explains how the worthless piece of dreck works.

The following are my additional words for today, July 23:

So I shall continue to further rant about my air conditioning system. The hubby and I were talking about growing up here back in the 50's and 60's. We had hot weather in the summer, but there was none of that computer, game-boys, DSL or XYZ's or any that technology that impairs our youth today. It might have been in the 3 digits, but we played can see pics of our Franklin Mountains, well, I played in those mountains. There were always lots of caves to explore, fossils galore, tad-poles that had limited time to mature before the water in the tanks, indentations in the rocks that would fill up with water during the rainy season, rattle snakes that had to be avoided, garden snakes that were caught then let go, horn toads and blue tailed lizards to catch then again, let go. Mother nature was our playground. Later on, a park was built near my house, and we had an extra place to play, but regardless of the hot weather, we were always outside. There was always a neighbor's garden hose to insure we were properly night we spent our time playing hide-&-go-seek or just relaxing under our non-baring Mulberry tree. Nights would cool down to a pleasant 64 or sometimes lower, and in the middle of July!! We would shoo away coyotes that wandered into our streets, looking for "people food" to savor and on occasion, we'd spot a mountain lion also looking for something to eat, usually some old woman's Chihuahua!!

Our swamp coolers were turned off for the night and open windows were sufficient to keep the house cool and comfortable. You see, sand doesn't really retain that much heat for any great length of time, so it would cool down quickly once the sun rested. By the next afternoon, my mother would turn the cooler back on at about noonish and the house would remain very comfortable till it was shut off before my parents bedtime. The humidity was never an issue, we always had rain on July 4th but that never squelched any family was just expected to happen...just like on Good Fridays, the wind blew and we had dust clock work.

In the last 30 years, the population of our little city has grown expeditiously and with it, progress has come along, giving us more highways, streets, buildings and the ever encouraged, xirescaping...a garden filled with plants, flora and fauna of the desert, utilizing rocks instead of grass. It's a very efficient way to keep water usage down, but with all these additions of concrete, pavements, houses, rocks, etc., the evenings are no longer cool and comfortable. So our house never really cools down from it's 80 degrees during the day with the swamp coolers that run 24/7 at high speed and don't work because now we have high humidity, something we never experienced during my childhood and into the 80's. The times they are a changin' and so it our climate!

Well, I don't know what's going on with Blogger, but for some reason, they're bent on keeping my blog in bold, italicized lettering...I'm giving up and just letting them have their way. I can "Un-bold" the lettering, but not the italicized version...stupid blogger!!!

Today, I'm going into the lab/studio and just let my imagination run again. I already sent off a large box to Xico, Inc. in AZ and have received a reply from Hannah that they want dolls for Dia de los Muertos, so I'm off to make dolls, more ornaments and just what happens to spark my little gray cells., or what's left of them! Hope you all are keeping cool and as I told Anne the other day on FB, after we both complained about the heat and humidity. I told her I've made arrangements for us to spend our summers below the Equator...hope she likes penguins!! Peace out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Prize, Truckers & Random Stuff

First of all, I want to thank Sylvia Smiser for the wonderful little prize I won over at her blog during the Mad Hatter Party, an event which I regret not participating, but had no time this year. Anyway, I won this adorable little flower. Take a look.

You can take a look at more of Sylvia's work over at her blog,

I had quite an experience this past Sunday. I happen to be a proud owner of a '99 Intrepid. When my father went legally blind, he gave me this car in 2005 right after my college graduation. I then turned around and regrettably sold my '98 Taurus to my daughter. She was in need of a car since they were a one-car family and her Mustang was heading to "heapsville." My daughter is not one who cares for her vehicles, so I knew my wonderful little car, which I took so much care of, was not going into good hands, but again, I put my grandchildren ahead of everything else. Anyway, since then, I've cared for my father's car as best as I can. Since we have no garage or cover for our vehicles, it sits out in the severe heat during the summer and the mild winters. As for keeping the exterior clean, forget about it. When our sprinklers go on, my car is right on target for the driver's side, so that side and the front and rear windows are always dirty. But other than that, I make sure my little sweet car is cared for, making sure her innards are taken care of and repaired or replaced and serviced.

So what happened on Sunday!!? I was taking my son, Ian, back to his father who lives in far east El Paso. It's a good 30 min. to his house if the traffic isn't heavy, and on Sundays, it's usually light till you reach the the last stretch of I-10 before I reach my exit. That's when the damn truckers can drive on the left lane, slowing all the other traffic in both lanes. The powers that be, finally decided that within the city limits, the trucks must stay out of the left or passing lane. Around here, the left lane is used for everything but passing! Sooo, back to my experience...I realized that on my way to the eastside of town, my car was acting a bit peculiar, lurching or jack-rabbiting every so often. Certainly was cause for concern, especially when your going 60-65mph. I thought it was the rug, since that darn little thing sometimes crawls under the accelerator, but nope, wasn't the rug. So when I dropped my son off, I continued on to head out west again, when the "Check Engine" light went on. Now I know that little light means you better check things out or else you're in for some trouble in the near future, but how near, was the question and I'll tell you how near...about 5 mins. after the damn light went on...talking about no real warning!!! I've been driving now for 44 years, and never, and I mean NEVER have I had to stop and pull over on the road, Interstate, lane, street, boulevard, well, you get the meaning. As I began to accelerate as I was getting on the entrance ramp back onto I-10 west, my speedometer began to decrease, so the more gas I gave it, the slower I went. Decided it was time to pull over onto the shoulder. Thankfully, I had my cell phone on me so I called DH and he then told me he'd call a tow company...great! So I waited, and waited waited, all the while, looking at my side mirror and watching all these huge trucks storming down the road. Now it's a law, if you can, pull over to the left or right lanes if you see a vehicle, especially with the emergency lights on. Nah, no such courtesy in this town!! Only a few drivers, truckers included, did that. Now I realize sometimes you can't due to traffic to your left or right, but I could see many times, that wasn't the case...just rude bastards!! So each time a truck would zoom by, my poor little car quivered and shook. I then decided to move to the passenger's side of the car!

So after 20 mins., I called DH and he said he was still trying to get a hold of someone...seems the towing bidness in El Paso isn't a 24/7 kind of thing. I can imagine many decided to hunker down for the hot evening, enjoying their cerveza (beer) and cook-out. Now I can't blame them, but hey, if you're in this business and advertize you are on a 24/7 call, well, then what's that about?? Then about 25 mins. later, DH calls and told me he got a hold of one and that "Jesus" would be there in 30 mins. So I waited, still clenching my teeth every time my car quivered. Well, I'm not kidding, 30 mins. to the second and there was my angel, Jesus!! Now, I have a whole new appreciation for this kind of work. This guy had to gauge every move according to the traffic, especially the trucks. I was impressed and scared at the same time. He was very polite and asked me to please step into the truck while he got my car readied for our trip back to the garage on my side of town. I "climbed" in, try to imagine a 59 year old, slightly chubby, lady heaving herself up onto a tow truck!! As I sat there, I realized the music that was playing was of Christian genre. I had no idea such stations existed in a predominantly Catholic town, but it does. I'm not born-again (got over that after my experience as a Baptist...oey vey, a whole other story) nor do I consider myself religious, I'm what's called "spiritual," which means, non-committal!! LOL I do have my beliefs, using many Catholic tenets, but otherwise, I don't practice it unless I attend rosaries for a deceased friend or family member or Mass for the same reason or weddings, that's the extent of my attendance in church. I've also attended many Jewish ceremonies, but I doubt, I'd be considered Jewish even though I had a great-great grandmother who was. Anyway, the music was very nice and uplifting...I really enjoyed the serenity.

Ok, I digress, as always. Jesus got my Intrepid hooked up on the hydrolic lift thingy and we moved on down the road. Now, the weather people had stated the temps would be in the mid 90's....WRON-GO!!! It was over 100 and I waited in a car that was reading 105, however, thankfully, we had some kind of wind going on, so if I "sweated" I sure wouldn't have felt it!! I should add, that Jesus' truck was not equipped with air conditioning, so again, if I perspired, I sure wouldn't know!! Oh wait, yes I did, as soon as we got off at the garage...I could tell then!! So DH met us at the garage, he left a note with his bidness card on my parked car to let the proprietor know who's car it was and what was going on and he would take the keys over the next day, yesterday, and let him take a look. We said our goodbyes to my angel, Jesus, and we came home where I took a shower and tried to cool down the rest of the evening. WHAT A DAY I HAD!! Well, $504 later, my car is running like new. They also fixed my car door panel. When my daughter came to visit, she didn't know her strength and pulled the plastic interior panel away from the metal door. Now she claims it "just" happened and probably was going to happen, regardless, but according to this guy, she pulled so hard, the ribbits that held the door, along with some kind of industrial type glue, were yanked away, making it difficult to either open or close the door at times. Plus, he fixed my ignition switch, we think he just sprayed W-D 40 since he didn't charge us for that!! LOL Hey, I love W-D 40 and duct tape....they were life savers back when I was single!! Now we have one more problem. My mileage reads "94,145" miles. Now when I had my car safety inspected back in April, I had 60+K miles...yea, I don't get out much, and I noticed last week it was at can that be??? So, something with this damn module that we paid a small fortune to replace was already acting up, unbeknownst to me. Now what?? The mileage is way off!!

Ok, I've complained enough about's upward and onward and perhaps a new car in my future!! LOL So something random. Yesterday, after I came home from driving Miss Daisy on her errands, I decided to just relax and read my book club book for a bit. It was wonderfully quiet, except for the occasional white tail dove cooing up in our Cherry Laurel outside, when I heard this deep roaring sound. I thought at first it was a low flying airplane, but it got closer and closer, so of course, that just sparked my curiosity and I had to look out the front door to check it out. I couldn't beleive what I was seeing. It was this guy on a tractor type mower, you know the kind that's used on large parcels of lawn, like plantations, driving up our street. It gets better....he was wearing a powder blue "leisure suit," (for those of you who were born in the 70's or later, look them up...oh Lord, that designer should have been shot), a WWI fighter pilot hat with goggles, very steampunk, but that suit!! Oh yes, and what we used to call back in the 60's, chuck-a boots. My husband arrived just in the nick of time to see this guy and had to even wait as the lawn mower slowly made it's way up the street so he could drive into our driveway. He got out of the truck, looked up the street as if making sure that's what he really saw then looked at me and said that was just too WT!! I about fell down from laughter right about then!!

Well, I think I've had my fill of excitement for the last couple of days. I'm going to get into the studio and get my mind off of old cars, speedometers, leisure suits and large lawn mowers and do something creative and a little laundry normal is that?? Peace out.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Books, Art, Blogger and Other Stuff

I just sent out my new blog. I hit that little "publish post" bubble and wa-la, it was posted, but not on the friggin' blogger other words, my friends, it didn't exist!! Am I pissed, you bet, but I know many of you have had these problems in the past and I know how frustrated it's all been for you and I sat there and would say, "that's never happened to me, " well, I too now can wear my "I got screwed by Blogger" badge!! Now I have to commit to total recall as to what words of wisdom and wit I conjured since I had to delete the whole damn thing...even tried to cut and past on a new page, but nope, they're too smart for me...pinchis ([pronounced: peenchees] not a nice word in Spanish, but oh, so effective).

So let's see what I can remember. Oh yes, I mentioned my book club meeting from last week. We read "Water for Elephants," and it was an excellent read. We usually meet at a restaurant because we just don' t want to cook for everybody or even "pot luck" it, that would mean we'd have to enter our kitchens and make something. But this time, we met at one of the members beautiful home. She has an interesting story. Even though she and her children were all born here, they have lived in Mexico for many years due to her husbands business. He has a furniture factory and makes these wonderful large pieces of formal and informal furnishings. Well, since the cartels began flexing their drug induced muscles, many areas in Mexico have experienced total political anarchy, especially the city across the river from us here in El Paso. Well, many regular non-cartel thugs have decided to get a cut of the action since neither the city nor federal police are doing a thing about it and the police are even getting into the act, needless to say, there's very little law in Juarez presently. They lived in a very nice residential enclave, the country club area of Juarez, an area my grandfather helped to established many years ago. Since then, it's gotten the name "Narco Village" for the number of families involved in the cartels, however, there were many who still lived in that area who were not connected at all, and I say "lived," because so many of them have moved here to our city to get away from the violence and have established my of their businesses that were successful there.

So, this friend's husband was abducted by a group of these "wannabes" and held for ransom. They waited till he left the office and grabbed him...they had been watching his every move since they decided to kidnap him...seemed he had lots of $$ since he owned a factory. Long story short, my friend hired a mediator, which is common over there, they don't really want to involve the police since so many are in cahoots with the bad guys. He was released, the kidnapper, a 17 year old kid, was tried and got 7 month...go figure. Well, to add insult to injury, they found out that now the entire family was in danger, so one evening, they grabbed what they could, threw everything in their vehicles, stopped at her mother's house to get her out also; this poor woman was in heavy mourning for her husband who had just died 7 days before...awful. They all caravaned out of Mexico and into the U.S. where they all happily and safely live. Her husband still runs his company but in the comfort of their home in his office here on this side of the Rio Grande. He has these large screens mounted on the wall showing the different areas of the factory and is in constant contact with the foreman of that particular room.

Well, back to the book club meeting. One of my friend has access to how shall I put it, black market movies, but they are downloaded from the Internet. So Cari had this wonderful spread of delish treats, much wine and we watched the movie. Now if you saw the movie and not read the book, let me know what you thought of it; I was very disappointed because as usual, the book was much better, but then that's usually the case. Hollywood has a habit of crapping up and good story and they exercised that right with this movie. Now that's not the end, this movie had Spanish subtitles and that's where the evening became hilarious. Most of us are bilingual, for the exception of our Barbara and Carolyn, Barb is of Irish/French decent and Carolyn is Lebanese, but we translated for them! We figured out that the translator of this movie either had minimal command of the Spanish language, spoke "English very few," or Chinese!!! Whatever, but we roared at some of the translations...not even close!! Our next book selection is "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," by Lisa See. So far it has been very intriguing, especially the process of "foot binding," ouch!! I recall many years ago, my father telling me that when he was in China during the war, Shanghai, to be exact, they were still binding feet...he'd see the ladies in the street shuffling along, some using canes, since the binding was botched. I just discovered a couple of new books that I've read about, "The Peach Keeper," by Sarah Addison Allan and "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," by Ransom Riggs. I read the review and saw the trailer for Riggs book over at If you're into the dark and macabre, this sounds like the book for you...go check it out.

I've been quite busy this past month. I'm preparing to send out some more work to Xico, Inc, the gallery in AZ. I made some little figurines and Christmas ornies. I thought if I sent the ornies early, I might not get slammed with special orders later in the season, but then, I assume nothing. So here's the latest that is coming out of my lab/studio:

Two very jolly Catrinas

The finished Virgen de Guadalupe

The shy little Mermaid

The Calaca Lovers

Miscellaneous ornies

Tree of Life ornes

Little Mexican Maiden ornies

I was doing some research the other day on Sumerian clay work and I found this pic of Sumerian votive figurines. They seemed awfully familiar to me, not because I had studied them back in my art history days, but because their eyes seemed similar to my little maidens above! Thought that was really funny....must have been receiving inspiration from them!! LOL

This year has been the year of realizations, lightening hot epiphanies, and many "a-ha" moments. Some have been the result of some rather unpleasant experiences and other from trial and error. One "trial and error" realization I had the other day was that, never and I do mean NEVER try to stock-pile paper clay when you live in a desert climate!! I haven't made any dolls this summer, so I decided to get back into the saddle and take up a couple of challenges over at ADO. I have the buttons on the side bar for those challenges, so you'll have an idea what I'll be working on. The other day, I took out my paper clay to start my Celestial doll and the darn stuff was drying in my hand as I was trying to wedge it. I had an oscillating fan behind me, which sure didn't help, but I'm sorry, it's friggin' hot in my house and I need that fan! However, for the sake of art, I turned it off and the clay still cracked which means the whole batch turned to "dreck." So this was my "a-ha" moment, don't stock-pile paper clay, buy as you need it and don't work with it in the summer unless you have central air conditioning, not that lousy swamp cooler crap!! We happen to have the latter of the two cooling systems and the swamp cooler is quite efficient when it's below 95 degrees and 8-10% humidity, so it works great in early May and again in late September and October, but in the throes of summer, forget about it!!! So I will be making my doll and marionette out of polymer clay since the clay isn't affected by the house temps, at least not right now!!

Oh for those of you who live Texas or are familiar with this store, "Specs" has arrived in El Paso. Of course, I had to go in and get my discount card!! Specs is this lovely store that specializes in booze...lots and lots of it!! It also carries specialized foods, spices and party supplies. My brother is a wine connesiur, no really, he is!! He lived in Northern CA for many years and lived in the heart of wine country, so his knowledge of wines, especially the CA wines is commendable since I know nothing about it, or rather, I don't know a thing about it, but I know what I like!! Anyway, I FB'd about it and he texted me and asked what it was and I called from the store and told him. Every Saturday, he drives down with his girlfriend and they spend the afternoon and evening with my mother, so I told him on his way to mom's, stop by. His girlfriend told me they entered and the first thing he said was, "Jesus Christ!!" He saw row upon row of wines and the guy thought he had died and gone to heaven. He mentioned that he found some wines that are cheaper than his "Wine Club" yes, he's in a wine club...insert finger down throat now!! LOL My mother said he came in with 2 sacks of wine bottles...told her it was more than just bottles!! LOL I feel sorry for the local liquor venders, though. My dad was in the liquor bidness, owning as many stores as this friggin' state allowed at the time. Yes, booze clothed us, fed us, sent us to school, etc., so leave me out of any Temperance Movement!! LOL

Also, to add to my pure delight, a brand new spankin' Michael's is opening up also and both Specs and Michael's are just down the street from where I live...heavenly!! Hey, I'm easy!! Well, my friends, time for me to check out and get my arse into the studio and start on my dolls. Thought I might add some more stuff to my Etsy shop too...nah, do that tomorrow....ok, Scarlet O'Hara!! Have a great weekend and will write more when I have something or anything else to say!! Peace out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy 4th, Art & Revelations

Good afternoon, my bloggy buddies. I checked my calendar and found that today would be the best day to get a post out before I roast to death in my hot leetle house!! Actually, the temps are falling below 100, but then what do these meteorologists know!!?? It's supposed to reach 97 today and it was already 95 at 11 a.m., MDLST, (Mountain Daylight Savings Time). I wish Texas had the balls to eliminate that daylight saving crap, like Arizona...who needs more sunlight in the friggin' desert during the summer!!????

I'm planning on making my version of buffalo wings tonight and that means that I'll have to turn on the oven, set it at 400 degrees F., raising the temps in my home to maybe 79 or a bit above!! My brother's girlfriend told me my brother, C.A.M., has their house set at 79...all the time and my bro lives just right up the road from me in Southern New Mexico!! At least my house cools down at night, unlike his!! LOL You're probably wondering what C.A.M. means?? A few years back I gave him that acronym, means Cheap-Ass Mexican!! My brother can make a peso scream!! LOL However, of the 4 sibs, he's the most successful, financially, of the group, so there's lots to say about being a cheap-ass!!

Speaking of food, last night I made Coctel de Camarones, or Shrimp Cocktail, Mexican style.

It's easy and very refreshing during these hot summer months and sooo easy to make. This is a pic of my particular serving, since the other two Neanderthals I share a home with wanted there's served in a cereal bowl..."Ug, me want bowl!!"

Here's how I make mine: I buy a bag of frozen, pre-cooked small to medium shrimp, a bottle of tomato juice, any brand, a can of clams in liquid. Now for the veggies: chopped celery, green onions, tomatoes (remove the seeds), cucumber (remove seeds and skin), a little bit of celery tops, cilantro (careful, this is a strong herb so use to taste), fresh lime juice, Mexican oregano if not, regular (again, careful, use to taste), avocado, a little salt, pepper, Tabasco and I like using Cholula hot sauce, the chili lime kind, however you can also use Valentino or Tapatio, but the Tabasco is a must, and the good one from LA and a little splash of Worcestershire sauce. As you can see I haven't given specific measurements because you make this according to how many people your serving, so for some of you, it's lots and others, un poquito (small)! So mix the tomato juice, canned clams, juice and all, freshly squeezed lime juice, throw in the veggies except the avocado & shrimp and start spicing it up to how your pallet is set up....ours is up to high intensity, of course!! You want it spicy, again to your intensity, taste it and make sure it's not too limey (no disrespect to my English buddies), or have all the taste of the cilantro or want it spicy and tangy. So put that in the fridge, I make in it in the morning and let it set until about 1-2 hours before I'm going to serve and add the defrosted shrimp (shells removed, please) and the avocado. Put back into the fridge till your ready to serve. If you have any questions, just email me and I'll try to clear it up for you.

So I've been working on some more little figurines. I ran into a problem with the finish on some of them, though. I used the Dick Blick craft matte finish on the little terracotta ones and they're sticky to the touch. So I did some research and polymer clay needs special finishes outside the usual brands. I wanted that matte finish and tried to go with it, but that didn't work, so I found out that Varathene satin finish was the way to go. Well, maybe so, but at $40+ a can, I think I'll need to experiment, so I purchased polyacrylic finish by Minwax. I applied some on the sticky pieces, as instructed with the Varathene, and surprisingly, the sticky texture is gone, but I'm still going to hold back a bit and see what happens to it over a few weeks time. Of course, most of my other work was finished with a popular craft glaze and I've never had any problems with it. So here they are, my newest work.

I'm not done with the Virgen de Guadalupe, still need to drill a hole and set her up on a wooden plaque for better stability. I haven't forgotten about my dollies, never, but I'm thinking up new things for Dia de los Muertos and Christmas, with a twist of the macabre...bwahahahaha!!

This past weekend was a very trying one, enough to make me stop and think about lots. I had a revelation, an epiphany. I realized, that I can't deal with people who live in the past, a past that's always being rewritten and modified for their own sense of power and righteousness. I was in therapy for some years after my ex and I split up and if anything I've learned, the living in the past can and will make you toxic.

Well, time to get going and start some trouble in the lab/studio again. Hope all my American friends have a great 4th of July and enjoy the festivities and fireworks. They've been outlawed here due to the dry, parched landscape and would you believe there are some who are whining about it...until the fires reach their home!! Please assign a designated driver or just stay home!! I doubt our founding fathers were lighting fireworks and drinking Modelo (insert beer of choice) while signing that long document thumbing their noses at King George III and keep in mind, that only covered 13 colonies!! Quiz next week!! LOL Just have a safe and fun weekend. Peace out.