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First of all, I lost my fiddler-ring and I don’t want to talk about it. I had been wearing it on my little finger because it was tight on my ring finger, and sometime on Thursday it slipped off unnoticed.

On Thursday I visited Arabella, a women’s clothing boutique that just re-opened in Winchester. They are now stocked with fall clothing and jewelry, so go take a look if you’re in Creekside. I was making jewelry up until I left for my appointment, so I don’t even have pictures to show you what they have. I did update my necklaces and bracelets pages with some newbies, though.Friday night I met a couple friends at Gourmet on the Go, which is the local meal assembly place. The idea is to put together freezable meals while hanging out with your friends, and it was fun. I’ve been to My Girlfriend’s Kitchen before and it’s the same thing. I’m really looking forward to trying the Raspberry Chipotle Pork Tenderloin. Saturday Steve and I tackled the studio swap, and it is lovely to be writing to you from this bright room across the hall from Steve’s office (read: no more yelling when the phone rings). Look at all the space! In the middle of the room! You have no idea. On the left is what used to be our wardrobe (historic home in Delaware=no closets) which I retrofitted with shelves for storage. Next to it is my metals bench (the torch is in the garage) and in front of the windows is my beading station. The black chair is sitting in front of my desk over to the right, where I can update my website and answer email for hours at a time without the need of a jacket (as I did in the basement). I’m going to use the basement room for non-jewelry crafts, like sewing slipcovers for the rattan furniture and making Christmas reindeer cards from Riley’s hair. Just kidding about the cards. Reminds me of that circulating email about Martha Stewart’s calendar (French braid lawn, install plumbing in gingerbread house).We had friends over for dinner last night, and are taking it easy today. The main event (other than lunch at Outback) was a tremendous thunderstorm that caused this tree damage. I guess we’ll be borrowing Dad’s chain saw and having lots of fire-pit parties. My little yellow maple is now bald (in JULY!), but fortunately the wind took away all the leaves. Notice Riley standing in Command Post 2.

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This maple tree in our yard has started turning yellow and dropping its leaves. In July. (To be fair, I took this picture right before sunset, so the bright gold patch is from sun rays). Some plants bloom a lot when they are dying, a last-ditch reproduction effort. So maybe this early color is because I refuse to water the grass. I think a monoculture of immaculate green grass is boring.
Notice Riley peeking around the corner of the shed for woodland creatures. She has about five posts in the yard, this being one of them. All day long she goes from one post to the next, in order, monitoring bird activity to the point where she’s starting to wear a trail in the grass. Obsessive? Perhaps. Entertaining? Definitely. It’s better than Squawk Box in the morning.

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Sleeping porch

We did our camp cooking on Monday, and last night I got to do another fun part of camping (without actually going): I slept on the rattan sofa on our screened porch. It was surprisingly quiet given the major road that runs by our house, and the best part was falling asleep smelling honeysuckle. I’m not sure if it was real or imagined, but I felt like mosquitoes were around so I finally headed inside around 4am. Riley slept on the loveseat and had no interest in heading inside with me. I’m sure she was up and watching the birds (her favorite pastime) at dawn.

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You can find me outside

With the much-needed warm weather this week, I have found myself outside a lot. Feel free to assume I’m mowing, weeding, fertilizing, etc.. In actuality I’ve been sitting on the screened porch watching my neighbors do all that. Riley has taken to stalking birds all… day… long… She’ll stand on point for as long as that robin is poking around for worms, and when he flies away Riley runs to that spot and sniffs it. Makes me wonder what kind of information she can learn. I took my jewelry-making to the porch today because it sure beats the dark basement. So if you’re wondering why I’m not answering the phone or my email, I’m outside. Yes, we have a cordless phone and wireless router, but I’m enjoying being unplugged.

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You may recall the robin incident in September. Apparently Riley is a bird dog only in the sense that she likes to eat them. This time Steve caught her looking guilty with a mouth full of nest, then eating the last of the little blue eggs inside. She had removed the nest from its perch about 5 feet off the ground inside a prickly juniper. We’ve seen yellow birds (finches?) flying in and out of there since then, so I’m hoping they’re trying to lay eggs again, perhaps higher up this time.

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Back from the mountains

Riley got to go swimming in the pond on Wednesday. Her breed has webbed feet that helps with the dog-paddling. She always wants to go out on the pier, but won’t jump off of it into the water. No pix, but she looks like an otter in the water with the brown head and whiskers.

Asheville was a quick trip on Thursday because it was COLD and windy, but I did score some great lampwork from Beads & Beyond and enameled copper and other stuff from Chevron Trading Post. A lot of restaurants & shops in Western NC are open only on the weekends in the winter, so I’ll have to go back this summer to get the good stuff.

Hope you have a happy Easter! It is the most meaningful holiday to me and it’s nice to be here in VA with my parents & Steve to celebrate.

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Riley update

Today is the first day that we are to take the rubber protectors off Riley’s shock collar. Riley had already been respecting the boundary with just the warning beeps, but a couple times she chased the ball into the “no zone” and got zapped. Poor girl. Now she won’t go within 10 feet of the flags, which is what we want. We’re supposed to keep tempting her to go toward the boundaries (even call her, which I will not do because I’m sure she will NEVER come when called after that). We’ll see how well the correcting works when woodland creatures are around.

I am so glad to be able to play fetch with Riley in the yard again!

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New fence

Spring is on its way! Our cherry tree is ready to burst out in blossoms.

Yesterday we had an Invisible Fence installed, which means we’ll be training Riley to respect it for a few weeks. She’s agressive towards squirrels and cats, but the rest of the time she’s a ninny, so we’re hoping the latter will prevail. Right now there are rubber tips on her collar’s shock prongs so we’re training her on the leash to recognize the warning beep when she gets close to the boundary.

I decided to try the invisible fence because it will make mowing a lot easier, won’t cut this shared flower bed in half, and ultimately was so much less expensive than a wood fence that we’ve been shopping for a new TV with the savings. Notice that the grass in this picture is mostly the neighbor’s yard, and along the right side of the picture (behind the tree) it turns brown. That’s our side of the line and a shady area, so we’ve got some lawn work to do! My mom came over to tell me what I should prune and weed, which was really helpful. I asked her to come sip iced tea and wave her hand (i.e. not do any work), but she couldn’t resist digging in the dirt with me.

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New friend

Riley stayed at Camp Kenn when we were in Kentucky. Kenn told me she has never touched his stuffed pig before, but he came home one day to find this. I have seen pig’s ears sold as a chewable treat for dogs, but never the fluffy pink variety. Kenn did the only thing he could do with his one-eared pig — gave him to Riley just in time for the Year of the Pig. I could make a really bad pun about the Chinese New Ear, but I won’t.

Ever since then Mr. Pig has been Riley’s new buddy. I think they have a love-hate relationship because one moment she’ll be licking him clean and the next minute she’ll be holding him in her mouth, shaking her head and growling. Later I’ll find her snuggled up with him. Kenn added “pig” to her vocabulary before we even got home, so now if you tell her to go get her pig she’ll walk right past other toys and bring back her new pal. Smart girl.

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1 month until Christmas

OK I’m back. Steve and I were in Virginia for the long weekend with my side of the family. We ate at Denny’s on Thanksgiving, no joke. Steve and I both woke up around 5am and couldn’t fall back asleep for the rumblies in our tummies, so we went to Denny’s for breakfast to hold us over until the mid-afternoon feast.

Later in the morning I clipped Riley to the tether and she immediately saw an evil woodland creature, ran to the end of the line at full force, and broke her collar. She ran around the neighborhood like a wild dog while I tried to catch her with tasty treats. Then Steve came by in the car and called for Riley to go for a ride. Riley hopped right in the driver’s seat; I guess she wanted to drive. Now we know that Freedom trumps Treats, but Car Ride trumps Freedom.

Otherwise Thanksgiving was pretty relaxing. Steve and Dad did the third annual turkey fry, which Mom and I like because it keeps the boys busy, frees up the oven, and is a lot faster than baking the bird. (I forgot my camera, so the illustrative photo is of Turkey Fry ’05 with Dad, our pilot pal Sam, and Steve). My brother Tom had to work (sniff sniff – miss ya bro!), but Jen and Travis came for the weekend.

I have a 2-day event this week and my studio open house the weekend after next and then I’m finished with my packing, loading, unloading, setting up, and breaking down until next year. I enjoy events because I get to meet people and talk to them about jewelry, but I really don’t enjoy the lugging part.

If you’re waiting for my January class schedule, I am planning to post it soon. I’m working on a new wirework class, so stay tuned!