Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Survival Kit

Home from roughing it.
Found another dear friend in the painful and confusing state that comes from separation after a long marriage.

Here's my top ten items in the Survival Kit.

1) Valerian root capsules and Sleepy Time Tea by Celestial Seasonings
Sleep deprivation is the worst.

2) Lavender bath salts and body lotion

3) Square breathing
Place your hands on your abdomen, inhale for the count of four and allow your belly to rise up to meet your hands. Pause for the count of four. Exhale for the count of four and allow your belly to soften. Pause for four.

4) No Enemies Within, by Dawna Markova PHD One of the few books on self-excavation that I held on to after seven years of recovery.

5) the word YES
Yes to good faith offers from friends and family for legal, financial and emotional help. There will be time later to say "yes" for requests to increase your workload, volunteer, babysit, etc...remember this is survival mode.

6) the word NO
No to both the well-intentioned and ill probings of friends and family for "the story".

7) dark eyeglasses

8) a journal

9) a bicycle ride in unfamiliar territory

10) a small, white dog to act as respirator, blotter, confidant

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's not a Clam Bake

Somethin' good is simmering over the campfire.

While on vacation at the Presque Island campground, inside Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, I found a woman inspecting one of the many fallen trees. "Mushrooming?" She nodded yes, but didn't offer more. Later, I found a little more gumption, which isn't all that hard for me to find, and approached her campsite. She produced a hard fungus as big around as my two fists. "Horse-hoof brew for a tea. My husband has gout and drinks it three times a day. My sisters in Korea can't wait for me to send it. My name is Song."

She told me how to look for the smooth white underbelly, avoiding older, wormier specimens. A fallen behemoth birch right next to our campsite was loaded. (to get an idea of the size of these huge trees, see our two room tent to the right of the fallen birch) Now I've picked a few wild morels but I have a healthy respect for I consulted her again.

The fungus are very hard and woody with no stem. You kind of have to press downward to release them and you still end of with a lot of bark attached. The larger ones are broken into smaller pieces and then brewed for about 45 minutes in a pot of water, until the mushrooms impart a golden brown color to the tea. We let it cool, and ran it through a sieve. Did I tell you it is BITTER! That's an understatement, and I couldn't choke it down until it had been mixed with some cranberry juice.

I got little over a half gallon of tea. When Song returned to my camp, offering homegrown tomatoes, she said that the extra mushroom could be blanched and then frozen for future use, reusing to make the tea up to 3 times before discarding. She also offered a smaller vermilion gem, the Reishi mushroom, that grows on pine trees.

Back in civilization, I researched the Tinder Polypore, as it is commonly known.

More about the campground:
400 year old hemlock and deciduous forest.
Great rustic camping.
A "Polish" bath in Lake Superior. Richard heard later that the same weekend folks were surfing Duluth shoreline.
Refraining from sleeping in my cooking clothes yielded no black bears in camp.
We camped 5 nights, hiked, biked, ate like kings and returned home rested and restored...let the lovin' begin.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Before I Go...Sunflowers

from my good friend, Deanna.


I have far too many email accounts. All told, over a dozen.
I am supposed to be getting ready for a long awaited week's camping trip to the Porkies in Upper Michigan. I should be stripping the vegetable garden and stripping the bed.

Instead, I spent over two hours with online support, trying to configure an auto reply for my email.
The problem: four accounts with comcast with variations on the same theme. Then there's the gmail and aol accounts.

Ah, vacation mode...
I project myself into tomorrow evening, dozing around the campfire, bear repellent jangling at my side. The only book packed is the bhagavad gita. No cell service, no internet; unplugged for an entire week. It's a little scary but I am up for the challenge.

This is an automated reply
I will be out of the office until September 18th
when I will respond to your email.

thanks, Barb

Friday, September 4, 2009

Prop Resource

In a former life, I was well paid and in demand as an art director.
The economic turn-down and the advance of graphic technology has greatly affected my business. It has taken me many months of work, research, experimentation, and teeth gnashing to find the best of my former job in my new job as a virtual shopkeeper. And I am just at the beginning of the learning curve.

With vintage items, discovering a diamond in the rough is part of the fun. Presenting it in an environment that is appealing to a potential buyer, demands all the skills I have honed in regard to propping, lighting and sequencing. I am a photographer hobbyist, but have been privileged to work with some of the best. Product accuracy is essential to building good faith with buyers. And people respond to creative descriptions. You can call a vintage pink nightie a vintage pink nightie...or you can call it a Baby Doll Pink Cotton Candy Sticky Sweet Vintage Peignoir Set. I have many improvements to make in my clothing photos. There is nothing like a live, animated and fresh young model to make a 50-year old frock swing.

Last month, I decided to rekindle some of my contacts, with offerings from my etsy shop, in a format that made sense to prop stylists and designers. I have made one potential sale and have gotten alot of positive feedback. My aim is to send out new offerings every two weeks.

here are the images: