Friday, August 26, 2022

A few pix

Yesterday's sunrise: 

I've been chauffeuring some Amish people to different places. Being the compulsive photographer I am, it's hard not to take pictures! Yesterday I transported a gentleman to a friend's new homestead out in the country. My kinda place! The home is being built with timber from the land and they had a sawmill right there. How cool is that?!  Especially on the heels of the Deforestation Debauchery that I wrote about earlier. I snapped a quick pic after the drop off when I was heading back down the driveway:

Here's Lady in her cat bed. You can just see a bit of the cat in the lower left corner of the photo:

Found a grasshopper:

Friend Teresa gave me these hydrangeas for eco-dying, but they were too pretty not to display:

And of course, ferns!

All is well.  :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Tree Shruggers

I love trees; for their beauty and variety and part in the delicate ecosystem of our world. They are the lungs of the planet and habitat for birds and squirrels and all manner of critters. I especially love a tree-lined country road . . . 

through different seasons and light and weather . . .

This particular road is to a friend's house. Here are some cows:

You can imagine my shock when I drove down this same lovely, shady stretch to see this:

Clear cutting everything. Some of those trees  are were 100+ years old. 

Are they going to use the wood for furniture, perhaps? Or at least the smaller trees for winter wood; fireplaces and woodstoves? 


Burning these HUGE piles of wood IN THE RAIN:

What a waste. The irony?  They put up a bird feeder. 
You know. For all the birds whose habitats they just destroyed.
You've heard of Tree Huggers?  
I'm calling these people Tree Shruggers.
"Trees?  Meh. Who needs 'em?"
Yeah. That's what I'm calling them--
which is nicer than what I was calling them before.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Sherlock Mystery Files

 My sister is teaching A&P for the T.A.G. (Talented And Gifted) program this week for 10-14 year olds. So I helped her design some learning centers. Each day will have medical mysteries correlated with the system they are studying. We're also incorporating critical thinking and scientific inquiry. I won't post the whole series here, but here's the first one:

Creative Commons photo of 19th century Sherlock. I just printed in B&W on parchment paper. 

Each story is printed on cardstock and I have incorporated some critical thinking / scientific inquiry questions:

Answer can be deduced by flipping up the card:

On back of story is a pocket holding "The London Times" front page:
Vintaged up.

I printed this out on parchment & distressed:

Here's an easier version to read:

I'll prolly do a video demo after the class is finished to show all the folders.  :-)

Monday, June 27, 2022

Lady Pix

 I'm dog-sitting Beagle-girl Lady for Composer Brother. So for his birthday, I made him a newsletter of Lady pix that I've taken since she's been here the past few weeks. I'm posting them here for posterity's sake. And because no one reads my blog anymore, least of all my family. Ha!  Here we go:

Here's the birthday card:

Friday, June 3, 2022

Letter to My Niece


Dearest Niece,

Your father shared with me that you are taking a break from college. I will tell you that I did something similar when I was your age. In between my high school experience (at the infamous Wakefield School) I took 2 years off before going to Mary Washington. I lasted 3 semesters there before I took a break off to be a nanny (amongst other things). It would be 5 years before I returned to a different college, and I essentially had to start over, so that I wasn’t graduated until I was 32. But when I went back, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I’d also had more life experience and was a MUCH better student!

I think part of the problem was that there’s an attitude that you have to choose a major and therefore a career and start adulting and know what you want to be when you grow up. It seems like such a permanent decision. Unless you have a clear idea of what you want that also requires a college degree (doctor, teacher, lawyer) then it’s really more about “leaving the nest” and learning how to make decisions, manage your time,  how to do laundry and other self-care tasks, or how to get along with roommates. Well, you’re already an expert in that regard!

What I would tell myself at your age—and so I will tell you, is that you don’t have to have it all figured out. AND, most importantly, you can change your mind. Very few decisions are permanent. The woman who wrote Legally Blonde, actually did go to law school—and left. Ricky Gervais didn't write The Office until he was 40. I know that seems sooooo old right now, but somehow time speeds up and you’ll be there soon enough!

Your tastes and interests will change. So will your friends because they reflect who you are now. Being a young adult is about finding out who you are. That is the wisdom of Socrates: Know thyself. When you know who you are, and have a sense of what you want to do, it makes it very easy to say, “No, thanks; not for me,” or “Yes, please, I’ll have more of that.”

One of the ways I evaluate anything is to ask: Does this energize me or de-energize me?  This goes for spending time with people or on a particular task or job. I love art and reading and writing and so many things. I would rather gnaw off my own arm if I have to sit through meetings or do taxes. That eliminates a few things off the “What do I want to do” List.  Now, when I was in college, I had to take Macro-Economics in order to get my education degree. It was taught by a hideous man who spat when he spoke—and I sat in the front row. Ughhhh.  But it helped to remind myself why I was in the class—for a larger purpose. So I am not saying, don’t do anything you don’t want to do. That’s what being an adult is, having to do stuff you don’t want to a lot of the time. But when it comes to who you spend time with, what you do in your leisure time, make sure you enjoy it. And if it’s a necessary task that you don’t particularly enjoy (cleaning, for example) then put music on or listen to a podcast or book and make it enjoyable. If it’s a person who sucks the life force out of you, then limit your time with that person. You are not obligated. And—if someone tries to make you feel guilty, they are trying to control you. That goes for any kind of relationship. Seriously. Don’t take the ticket on the Guilt Trip. Eschew it. 

Welp. I think that will do it for Auntie HaHa’s Life Lessons. I love you no matter if you get a degree now or later or never.

Sending MUCH LOVE,


Friday, May 6, 2022

News from the Coop: The S-COOP!

I've been chicken-sitting for some new friends and being the compulsive photographer I am, I put together a newsletter for their time away. These are from the last two vizzies and I'm getting ready to do another one this week.  I posted this on Ledger & Lace, but thought I'd do this on my personal blog as well.  :-)


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Many HAPPY Returns of The Day!

  Today is a most auspicious day in which we celebrate the birthday of THE John Morgan. Years ago, I had a chance opportunity of a phone interview for a sales position for John Morgan Seminars, and John Morgan took a chance on me. To say that he has been one the greatest of influences in my life is not hyperbole. As we are firmly planted in the middle of our second decade of knowing each other, I am forever grateful for his role in my life, as a boss, mentor and friend. 

Here's a video that gives more backstory of his illustrious career:

In honoUr of his birthday today, because birthdays are a BIG deal in the House of Morgan, I thought I'd do a retrospective of some of the many posts related to John through the years. He was a great supporter of my blog and writing, and I always pay attention when he says, "I  think you've got something there." 

This year, I made a journal for him:

It's a Booksmith journal, of course!

That's The Grasshopper on the cover. He is 
the author of

Inside of the journal, which is a Traveler's Notebook:
Ferny wax seal on the envelope in keeping with the green theme.
I included 3 inserts, but there is LOTS of room to add more.

The letter inside says:

A pocket for cards, ephemera &c.:

Here's the first insert:

I included a lot of family photos, which I won't share here. I also included some of his birthday-related blogposts. Here are a few pages:
Photo of him and his dad.

John & his mother in a photo booth:
Looks like a Tim Holtz photo strip. That's one 
of his tiny paper clips holding it to the page.

Photo of Steve Martin that John took at one of his shows:
So I signed it a la Steve Martin.

Last page:
Magnolia May was really John's idea! So I 
had to have "her" sign his book.

The idea for this is that friends and family can sign The Birthday Book, so I included a pen loop and  (NON-fountain) pen:

Back cover of the Birthday insert:
John is wearing one of his granddaughter's 
hats, taken at her birthday party.

Second insert: I have notebooks & journals filled with notes I took over the years for John Morgan Seminars. I've often read them to him, but he's never seen them. So I included a few pages in an insert for him:

I copied the entries onto parchment paper:

The third insert is Radio-themed from his days in radio:

Inside has a pocket made with a photo of him when he was a DJ at KCMO (Kansas City). He rode a bull for some radio stunt:
Inside the pocket is one of his blog posts, Friendship,
 printed onto parchment.

Here are a few pages with quotes and stories:

John had Gary Owens (from Laugh-In) record some 
"drop-ins" for his show.

Center of insert:
Newspaper article from DJ days at KCMO.

Back of insert:
He was "Chuck Taylor" in Wilkes-Barre for 2 years and 
told a lot of corny jokes. E.g. "Today's secret word is 
PEANUT BUTTER. Spread it around." Hahahaha

Back cover of Radio insert:

I included one of his Grasshopper Notes journals:

For inspiration and a few laughs, you can subscribe to John's YouTube channel.  His podcasts are short, 2-3 minutes recordings of blogposts from his Grasshopper Notes site. Hop on over there and give a listen and be sure to wish him a HAPPY Birthday!  :-)

And now, here is a collective of a few past birthday posts over the years:

I got an email from my friend Doug O'Brien asking if I knew anyone who would be interested in working in sales for John MorganCan I stay home in my jammies and not go anywhere? I replied back. I was out in the wilderness with 2 aging dogs, trying to figure out what to do with my life. Enter John Morgan.

Our first conversation lasted an hour, and I felt like I'd met an old friend. I had. Over the course of almost 2 years, he has been my boss, my mentor, my coach, my cheerleader, favourite blogger, and my dearest friend. I don't know what I would have done if John hadn't come into my life. He has given me the means to support myself without having to have a soul-sucking 9-5 job. I get to stay out in nature or go out into the world if I need to. As long as I have a phone & internet access, I can pretty much go anywhere & still work. How cool is that?

Beyond teaching me about sales and radio, he has taught me a tremendous amount in the hypno-world. I would never have done Virtual Massage without his guidance. It was his idea, and we worked together over the phone. He was also a student of Dave Dobson's and has a way of simplifying complex ideas and at the same time, making it entertaining.

Reminds me of a story . . .

"Remember when Dave said you have to climb out on the skinny branches?" he asked me.

"Skinny branches? What?" I replied.

"You have to risk climbing out on the skinny branches to get the best fruit."

It's a lesson in sales, it's a lesson in life. It's an ongoing lesson for me--risking. I like to think I'm getting better at it.

Dave & John on their last visit. I love that impish look on Dave's face. John didn't know he was giving the finger until he got the photo back. I'm just impressed that John's eyes are open.

Dave was supportive of my work with John and thought it was a good match. I have to agree. Words can't express how grateful I am for our friendship. So I will end with a quote:


- - - - - 

I sent him a package last week. Birthdays are very special in the House of Morgan. John says that everyone's birthday is reflected on a clock twice a day. And when you notice a special date on the clock, you can say a wish for that person. So 4:16 is John's birthday. I am not often awake at 4:16 a.m. but I can notice the clock in the afternoon. I made something for John with a graphic that had "John 4:16" on it. I ended up not using one, so I cut it up and put it on the outside of John's package:

I was not prepared for the response from the gal at the post office. She said, "That's my favourite quote from the Bible. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." And then a man standing behind me said that was one of his favourite quotes, too. Post Office Gal said, "We should put more scriptures on packages." 

I nodded. I'm not really up on bible passages. I sort of recall a wrestler with a John 3:16 tattoo, but not 4:16. I didn't have the heart to tell her it wasn't a scripture because it had such great meaning to her. So I said, "Me, too!" And now it is. 

- - - - - - - 

Today is John Morgan's birthday.  Loyal readers of this blog know all about him!  Over the course of almost 11 years, I have peppered in stories of our conversations. He is one of the funniest people I know, with a dry sense of humoUr and quick wit. It is because of him that Magnolia May was born, when we were on the phone and I got a delivery from a planner company.  

"I can NOT listen to you BLATHER ON about another planner . . . UNLESS YOU DO IT WITH AN ACCENT!"  And so I went thru the unboxing with him, ooh-ing and ah-ing with a few Southernisms thrown in. In honoUr of today, here's the first video of MM:

And as John says, ALL THE BEST!!!  :-)

- - - - - - - - - - 
I will end this special Birthday Blogpost, with a re-post of Mum. I think she was his biggest fan and used to print out his blog posts and send them to friends and family via snail mail! She used to say, "The world would be a better place is everyone read John's blog!"  One year, I made a Grasshopper Quotes book for her, which she LOVED:  

Every year, on holidays, her birthday & special occasions, Mum gives the edict: "I don't want any gifts. Only consumables."  

So this year for Mother's day, I gave Mum a book I made for John Morgan for his birthday:
I did it with Picaboo, a GREAT company for creating photo books.
John has a Grasshopper quote-of-the-day thingie that you can sign up for. So I took the first 500 and put them into a book for him. Here's Mum reading:

 I think she was laughing at: "It's flattering when someone asks for your advice; it's world-changing when you take your own."

 "Life doesn't have an undo button."

When I look at these photos of Mum, I can hear her laugh: WOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO!  It's a fitting way to end, as John has brought a lot of laughter to all those who know and love him. So, dear John, may today be filled with MUCH LAUGHTER and MIRTH!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!