Welcome to Simply Stated!

Thank you so much for stopping by. This blog is something I've set up just for fun -- yours and mine! There are any number of things that may be discussed here from everyday living in the California desert to digital scrapbooking to my favorite books to cardmaking to the art of letter writing to caring for feral cats to movies I like. After you read my bio, you should have a good sense of other topics you may find here. I welcome your comments and hope you return again and again!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Floyd & Jeanie's Annual Update -- Dec. 2010

Christmas is less than three weeks away, and I still have so much to do. The one thing that stays at the very top of my to-do list every year is writing this letter and touching base with everyone during the holidays. We've had a good year and hope yours has been good, too.

Highlights from this year include a brayer workshop; the rescue of Lucky-13, our thirteenth kitty-cat; a summer visit from Jacqueline; Floyd's big birthday party; a trip to Wisconsin with my Mom; a couple of short visits with my Dad and Reen; and our holiday visit from Floyd's Mom.

Riverside, CA: Site of a Michelle Zindorf Beginning Brayer Workshop. My friend, Sandy, and I joined a small group of stampers to learn brayering from The Queen of Brayering who travels around the country from her home in the Dayton, OH area to teach her technique. We made three gorgeous cards and had a fun time crafting for three uninterrupted hours.

In June, we found an abandoned newborn kitten under our steps. She was a fighter from the get-go and was not going to be overlooked. We brought her in, fed her by eye dropper and bottle 'round the clock, and are watching her become a beautiful little cat who is the life of the party. All of our other cats, Mollie the Bluetick Hound, and Sadie (our new watch dog) are also doing very well!

Summertime was another scorcher, but that didn't stop Jacqueline from visiting. As always, she divided her time in the U.S. between three cities and at least four households. She timed her visit with us to coincide with a 60th Birthday Celebration I held for Floyd in July. It was wonderful to have her here with us to visit and celebrate Floyd's big day.

Traveling to wonderfully green Wisconsin with my Mom in late August was a neat experience. We stayed with Mom's cousin, Shirley (and hubby, Milton) where we were given the royal treatment. We spent time in beautiful Door County, took side trips to Madison (where we witnessed a lot of family history) and Freeport, IL, plus saw cousins we hadn't seen in decades or met others for the first time!

Most years we have a couple of short visits with my Dad & Reen while they're in Southern California on other business, and this year was no different. It's a pleasure to spend time with them, although it's always too short. We also enjoy an annual holiday visit from Julia, Floyd's mother. This year she arrived before Thanksgiving, and we hope she'll be with us until after the new year begins.

As another year comes to a close, we're looking forward many more blessings in 2011. I imagine I'll find myself busy with more of the same...interpreting in the community and for China Lake; La Leche League work; crafting cards, scrapbooks, and earrings; reading; writing, blogging; and, my favorite, spending time with family and friends.

Season's Blessings
to you and your family. As Calvin Coolidge once said, "Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." Here's to keeping our Christmas spirit the whole year through.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Michelle Zindorf Beginning Brayer Workshop

If you run your eyes down the right hand margin of this blog, you'll see one of *my* favorite blogs is Michelle Zindorf's at Split Coast Stampers. Why? Because Michelle is Queen of the Brayers and is a card artist extraordinaire. From the Dayton, OH area, she began teaching her brayer technique at Marco's Paper, and I wished, wished, wished I lived near Marco's. (I have to admit, I'd wished that before I ever knew who Michelle was, too, because Marco's is a paper lover's dream come true.)

As time went by and her blog became more popular (currently it's clocking approximately 8,000 hits a day, I believe she said), more and more stampers began asking her to come to their area to teach her classes. The first time I saw a California location on her growing list of workshops, I **seriously** played with the idea of making the 8-hour trip (one-way) to Santa Rosa or wherever it was being offered.

Last fall when I spotted RIVERSIDE, CA on her list, I jumped for joy!! Riverside is in my own backyard!! (Only 2-1/2 hours away, one-way.) I contacted a couple of stamping friends to see if they'd like to join me. One was able to, the other had plans to go to Europe to visit her family. We mailed our registration money, got our confirmation from Michelle, and everything was lined up...all but the waiting, waiting, waiting.

FINALLY, on Saturday, May 1st, Sandy and I set out for Riverside, and brayering with the Queen. It was a fabulous workshop. Michelle is a wonderful teacher. She has a delightful, warm style as she works with her students. Her workshops are the ultimate in organization and pre-planning. I thought, my gosh, she's a perfectionist just like me {blush}. (Later on, I found out her birth date is 31 Aug. Ah-ha! I thought. A Virgo...just like me. Well, no wonder!) The two cards here were made at the workshop! And yes, I made them. (I know, I can hardly believe it myself.)

See you next time!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kitten Update

[Forthcoming: photos of the kittens.]

Here I am again. There aren't any really good reasons for not posting since December, but now that it's the last day of February, I wanted to check in and make sure everyone is having a good 2010. Ours is going along pretty well, even though Floyd is still searching for work in the area. The upside is, he has a lot of projects going around here. :)

JEWELY is 9 years old now, and coming around little by little with the other cats. There are certain ones she will always hiss, spit, and swipe her paw at. But others, such as Coso, don't elicit a negative response. In fact, Jewely and Coso will sit a few inches apart in front of the window or some place, look each other in the eyes, then go back to watching out the window. No hissing. No growling. No aggressive anything. This no doubt has to do with positions in the Salyer Cat Hierarchy which we haven't entirely deciphered.

The Bigz--Blaze, Fireball, Rainbow, and Sunshine--turn a year old the first week in March.

BLAZE is ever affectionate and cuddly. When I'm standing, she'll walk over and rest her two, front (soft)paws on my leg. I reach down to lift her up, and it feels as though she jumps into my arms. Soon we're having a lovely snuggle- and purr-fest! Regardless of which cat(s) may be resting on my lap, Blaze has a supernatural way of injecting herself into the spacelessness that isn't there. She is quite petite even though she's all but full-grown. We expect her to be the smallest of all our cats when all three litters have reached their full growth. Little Blaze's emotions run on high at all times. Whether she's playing, cuddling, or tussling with the other cats, she's a Drama Queen. She's also an escape artist, along with Rainbow and Sunshine. We try to foil their attempts, and usually we win...but not always.

FIREBALL still turns into a shapeless, flop-ball when I pick him up. Putty in my hands. He's entirely too large to be doing this anymore, so I support his back so he won't wrench his spine. He comes to me several times a day, almost like a toddler, just to check-in, make sure I'm still here, when renewed, he wanders off for adventures elsewhere. He loves to lounge on my lap, sleep with his head on the pillow next to mine, or lie along my side with his face resting against mine.

RAINBOW, while not as nearly affectionate or dare I say, needy? as Blaze, she becomes a lap cat from time to time. She was the first to dash out the open back door then run wildly around the property, and up the trees. No manner of talking to her about the downside of being an outdoors cat convinces her that she should stay safe indoors.

SUNSHINE has always been a delightfully calm cat. He tends to sleep alone in a corner, only joining early morning snuggles on the bed when it suits him. He's not the least bit skittish and welcomes our petting, he just doesn't seem to have that much of a need. In spite of his ever mellow mood, he waits by the back door to see if he might make a run for it so he can dash like a banshee all over the yard.

The Littlez--Bodie, Coso, and Opal--should probably be re-named The Bigz2 and are ten months old.

BODIE is enormous and not just because he is as fluffy as can be. When I look at photos of different cat breeds, I notice he looks very much like a Ragamuffin or Maine Coon Cat. He's more independent than most of the cats, much like Sunshine. He has a nose for food no matter where it may be or who's eating it. He becomes quite friendly when I have food I just might share. Otherwise, he can be fairly aloof.

COSO is a perfectionist. She grooms herself more than any of the other cats, but not overly so. She likes things just so. In recent months, she has decided I'm the Cat's Pajamas. She loves to cuddle next to me as long as there's enough space for her to sit beside me and not on my lap. She's absolutely beautiful with her velvety, black fur, and pure white highlights.

OPAL is a lovey-dove like Blaze. Unfortunately (for me), she has not grasped the concept of soft paws like Fireball and Blaze have. I can barely have Opal near me without a resultant scratch. She loves to cuddle early in the morning and insinuates herself into any tiny space left by the others, then she reaches up for my face with her claws extended. I've learned to hold her paws while I pet her fur. She never misses the opportunity to greet Floyd when he emerges from the shower, rolling on her back at his feet.

The Minis--Dusty, Jasper, SnowQueen, and Taboose--are not so mini anymore and are five months old. Their neuter/ spay surgeries are looming. We take the boys on Tuesday and the girls on Wednesday. The vet didn't have room to take all four the same day, like he did for the first two litters.

DUSTY looks so much like Smoky, it's kinda spooky. Her reticence with us and personality are very Smoky-like, too. All of the Minis are a bit skittish (especially when down on the floor). However, when they're up on the bed, the back or arm of the couch, etc., we can approach them and pet them. They seem to enjoy this and purr their little hearts out.

I suspect they may have been closer to five weeks old when Floyd brought them in, and that would explain the lingering feral behavior. Both Buster and Smoky were about five weeks old when we got them, and they preferred not to be held ("confined," in their minds), and only petted occasionally, just like The Minis.

My research has shown that five weeks is the limit for rescuing a feral kitten and making it socialable enough to be a human companion. The younger the kitten, the easier the task. The closer a kitten gets to five weeks before it is handled by humans, the harder the task. Buster, Smoky, and the Minis are all what I'd call borderline, especially when compared to the behavior of the Bigz (3.5 weeks) and the Littlez (2 weeks).

JASPER is probably the all around friendliest of all the Minis. He's such a little fluff-ball with the sweetest face. Floyd has determined Jasper is Bodie's Apprentice because Jazz follows Bodie everywhere and gets all his tips on how to get into this and that trouble.

SNOWQUEEN is friendlier than her sister. She socializes more with us, but also prefers not to be held. She's very sweet and playful, especially with her litter mates.

TABOOSE is a bit of an anomaly. Much like Sunshine and Bodie, he doesn't mind being by himself, but he shows up as the mood hits to hang around with the other cats and get a few scratches behind his ears and under his chin. If we pick him up, he doesn't object in the least or struggle to get down, but the instant we stop petting him, he leaves.

Now, that we've established each cat's likes and dislikes, it's easy to treat each one as they prefer, eliminating most negative behavior.

Till next time,