January 31, 2013

Joanna Belle Harkness Cartledge, 1922 - 2013




Mother's sixtieth wedding anniversary picnic on Middle Bass, 2003.  From left: Mary Jo, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Tara, Shirley, and Mother.


Joanna Belle Harkness Cartledge of Middle Bass Island, Ohio, born May 26, 1922, died on Monday, January 28, 2013. 

She was the daughter of the late Charles and Lilian (Brown) Harkness of Vestaburg, PA, and Detroit, MI. She was proceeded in death by her husband of 69 years, Douglas Cartledge, and her older daughter, Amy Thomas Reidling. 

As part of the war effort in the 1940s, Mrs.Cartledge built Pratt and Whitney engines. In 1941she graduated from the Del-Mar School of Cosmetology.  With her husband she owned several island businesses, including the Erie Island Mirror, Doug’s Ice Fishing, the fishing boat “Way Ahead,” and Island Pottery.  Her final business, Belle’s Dolls, received national and international recognition for a series of 43 U. S. President and First Lady dolls, which she sculpted in porcelain and costumed authentically.  She was a member of the International Association of Doll Artists.

For five decades, she served as an election poll worker, and in the 1990s she was recognized by the State of Ohio for voting in every election for fifty years.

Mrs. Cartledge is survived by two sons and her surviving daughter, Mary Cartledgehayes of Louisville, KY; 8 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

 A private ceremony honoring her life was held on January 30.  The family can reached c/o Mary Jo Cartledgehayes, 2907 Rockford Lane, Louisville KY 40216.

Memorial tributes may be made to your local chapter of the Salvation Army (which Mother honored because of the vital services she saw them offering to the destitute during the Depression), or to the Middle Bass Fire and EMS Department, 455 Fox Road, Middle Bass, Ohio, 43446 with gratitude for their faithful service.

January 6, 2013

2013 - A Year to Savor

A friend has picked out one word to focus on for each of the last few years.  This time, I decided to follow her example.  My word for the year?  Savor.

It's a good word for me.  To begin with, I've recognized lately a fair amount of built-up resentment as a result of the dog attack in June, during which my life partner got between me and a pit bull that had lunged into our back yard with hate in its eyes.  The pit bull went to live with Jesus a few moments later; and I took Michael to the doctor shortly thereafter.  That Tuesday a return visit to the doctor ended with hospitalization, massive antibiotics, massive painkillers, and, on Wednesday, plastic surgery to clean out the infection, which by then was sending red streaks up and down his arms. Five days in the hospital and nine weeks out of work wiped out all of the year's vacation time, personal time, etc., which is no doubt the reason my resentment escalated in December. I'm accustomed to being surrounded by dozens of friends and family over the holidays, but I wasn't going to leave Michael alone; and Michael had no options for taking time from work.

That brings us again to savor, which, it seems, to me, is the antonym of resent.  I'm willing to let the dead past bury its dead; and to let the pit bull rest in peace, having learned that, as vicious as pit  bulls are, cocker spaniels are notorious for attacking pretty little two-year-old girls -- and they always go for the face.

Cocker spaniels, I'll admit, are less capable of ripping a child's limbs off or dragging it home to gnaw at the bones in peace, but still I think the problem is owners who don't know that dogs, descended as they are from wolves, can turn in an instant, and do, and therefore must be constantly overseen.

Because in Kentucky it is illegal for a dog to chew on a human being's arm,  we've been subpoenaed three times to testify as the witnesses to the event.  A fourth subpoena is in the works, because so far the case has been continued each time.

Our attorney advised us not to speak of these matters, and I haven't, but it's now 2013 and neither this year nor last year will make an iota of sense if you don't know about the dog attack, including its savage nature and distressing conclusion, as well as the weeks Michael spent in physical therapy to end up with one scarred hand and one severely scarred arm.

So there it is. The pit bull changed the complexion of 2012; and if I don't acknowledge that fact 2013 will also be tarnished by the incident, so I'll tell you one additional thing. You know that thousand-yard stare that military personnel, police officers, and firefighters can display?  That savage dog had a 2-thousand-yard stare when it turned to me.  Nobody was home behind those eyes.  The dog had become a savage throw-back, and he'd tasted blood; and I was next -- except that Michael, who is former military, has a concealed carry permit, and is always armed, had a loaded pistol in his pocket; and he knew how to read trajectories and angles; and therefore the dog died - instantaneously, one carefully directed shot into the brain through the mouth -- and I lived without a scratch on me.

It was a rough summer, with panic attacks and fear that somebody would retaliate by killing my Labrador in a drive-by shooting and hours in hospitals during which I constantly called Michael "Fred" -- the name of my late husband, who died in 2000 after a lengthy illness involving hundreds of days in the hospital.  PTSD takes lots of forms.

In August I finally felt physically recovered, for the first time since a medical procedure in the spring on 2010; and in September I was far enough removed from giving up cigarettes (5 years) that I thought I could withstand the modest deprivation of a diet. I've lost 17 pounds, using a miracle method I developed ALL BY MYSELF but will now share with you.  Here is is:

no ice cream
    no eating between meals
        after putting your meal on your plate, scrape half of it onto another plate to eat the next day.
              in a restaurant, ask for a go-plate when your meal is served, put half the meal in it, and save it for the next day

That's pretty much it. I did join a wonderful site called Bitch Yourself Thin where you can track your weight and hang out with the two wonderful developers; and that's been a fun tool to use; but the four items I listed above are the ones that actually matter.  Also, I haven't felt deprived at all.  Maybe that's because compared to quitting nicotine, most of life is a breeze.

I haven't been blogging because not eating takes up a lot of time.  Further, I've come to suspect that blogging, while useful, does not equal writing. I can blog with one eye shut and my brain sent out to the cleaners, which is the opposite of the kind of writing that is worth the trouble.

Finally, I might have blogged myself all the way to spring to show off my Christmas tree photos, but once again google is demanding money if I want to publish more photos;. and personally I think they monopolize too much of the world's money already.

All of this is to say I'm going to be out of pocket for a while, giving my time to understanding what it means to savor each day; and to notice what is to be savored in each day; and how much.  Best wishes in the new year.  You can keep in touch with me on facebook; and I'd also appreciate your liking my business page -- Way Ahead Threads -- on facebook if that suits you.  Otherwise, all is well; and here's to the best for each of us in 2013.

October 26, 2012

No Fish Guts




I've been over at zazzle making Christmas ornaments that show off the Lake Erie islands - but I couldn't resist showing this aspect of island life.  If you live on any coast anywhere in the world, you know that fish carcasses and entrails and bones rank with the smelliest substances on earth. Also, dogs love to roll in them.  Imagine owning a cottage or beach house that you rent out and, every week of your life during the summer season, having to rid your refrigerators and garbage cans of the smell of long-dead fish.

As a slogan, it doesn't set the world on fire, but when I saw this garbage can this summer I knew I needed a photo of it.

October 12, 2012

Best Present Ever!

I found this sweet December Angel, along with a September Angel, back in the spring.  My birthday is in September and my granddaughter's in December, so it made me happy seeing the two of them together.  Then I knocked a wing off September Angel (yeah, no surprise there) so retired her to the fix-it box but kept this piece on a shelf in my bedroom.

Last weekend, I was thinking about my older daughter's birthday, on 10/11/12.  Her daughter, Lizzie, is off for her first semester at college, and I was remembering how I seemed to rattle around the house when my daughter left.  Something was just . . .  missing.  I decided she needed December Angel more than I did.

Here's where the "best present ever!" part comes in. I've been organizing and packing and generally putting my hands on every single item in the house, and last weekend what should come upon but a photo of Lizzie as a toddler. I'd found her a red pocketbook (or "pockeybook" as she, and consequently the rest of us, called it) and she was holding it, with glee sparking from every pore.  I photocopied the photo and cut her loose from the background.  Then I grabbed a U. S. map that was handy on the shelf, trimmed out the South Carolina part, glued it to card stock, and glued ribbon around the outside edge.  Then I added Lizzie's photo.  Here are the card and the figurine together in the box waiting to be mailed.
Yes, I know she is indeed the most darling baby ever.  (The angel, by the way, is standing on a plastic container; I'd covered the lid with fabric nearly identical to some I'd used to make a dress for Lizzie when she was about a year older than in the picture.)

All of that is pretty good, but what put it in "best present ever" territory is what I wrote inside the card: "Someone to keep you company until your own December angel comes dancing home."

I'm not always this good at giving presents, but when I get it right, I get it really, really right.

October 10, 2012

Boxes without Topses. Also Topses without Boxes

I've been on a cleaning, packing, organizing spree for a week now; and I'm totally bored by the whole experience. On the other hand, I can see the mahogany top of the living room desk for the first time since roughly Easter; and while the same can't be said of the table in my studio, progress is increasingly evident.

I'm also working on paintings, quilts, and assemblages to sell at Louisville's Good Folk Fest the first weekend in November.  In other words, in between tidying up, I'm dragging out sketchbooks and fabrics and files and tossing around fiber and  reflectors and curlers and acrylic paints and stars and garters

On top of THAT, tonight I spent several hours answering correspondence, some of it mine, some of it my mother's, some of it 11 months old.  I don't know where Mother hides things, but the letter she received last November didn't surface until August, and I don't know where her Christmas cards were hidden in the spring when I visited.  (Mother turned 90 in May and can't see well enough to answer letters herself; and probably can't remember long enough to do so.)

The dogs are adding drama to an otherwise ordinary life. When they went to summer camp over Labor Day while we were off at my beau's nephew's wedding, they learned how to bark.  Until then, Koko (the yellow Lab we adopted in 2006) only barked if he sensed an intruder.  If he needed a walk, he'd come up to me and stare deep into my eyes.  Now he barks and barks and barks some more.  He barks while I put on my shoes on and while I hook up the leashes and while I find a jacket.  Laramie (the Chihuahua), on the other hand, bounces.  You know that ping-pong ball move that Jack Russell terriers can do?  Like that, only not quite as high. Big fun for no one.

Oh, did you hear about the woman who was on the "Today" show because she didn't do housework for six weeks?  What's up with that?  I hadn't done housework for three years until this past August.  (It was a contest to see if my beau would break and pitch in. Break, hell.  He never noticed.)  Now that I'm doing it, I need boxes for organizing and storage, and it's the oddest thing.  The house is filled with boxes without topses and a corresponding -- and yet not matching or fitting -- group of topses without boxes. Just another amusing little element in my days.

As for tomorrow, here's to health, wellness, and safety. I throw in the last because some folks, annoyed that my beau who works for the cable company disconnected their stolen cable, shot at him yesterday.  Shot directly at him with the intention of hitting him.  His company van was in motion at the time, so instead of the bullet piercing the driver's door, it slammed into the tail light, destroying it and grazing the back end of the company van.  So, hey, let's all be careful out there.  Also, hey, if you're stealing cable, don't get in an uproar when you're caught. That television show you wanted to watch?  You're not going to see it when you're in prison for attempted murder of a utility company employee.

And I wonder how it is I end up posting between 11 and midnight . . .

October 9, 2012

Spring is here!

Today my contributor's copies of Spring: Women's Inspiration for the Season of Hope and New Beginnings, edited by Debra Landwehr Engle and Diane Glass, arrived.  My essay, "The Rescue Dog," is included; it's about how Laramie (whose photo I posted last week) came into our lives in a difficult season.

This book is one of a series of four being published this year by Tending Your Inner Garden, in celebration of their tenth year of offering programs on health, growth, and healing for women.  You can check out the website to learn about their on-site programs in Iowa, their potential on-line program, and the book series.

The books are available either in print or as downloads.

If you sign up for their newsletter, you get a free e-book.  Also, if you're a woman interested in writing, you still have time to submit an essay or poem for consideration for Fall, the fourth book in the series. Full details are on the website; the deadline for submission is October 30.

The editors are old friends, and it's been a pleasure to watch them bring this series to fruition.  Two wonderful women committed to empowering women in every way, Deb and Diane exemplify the new world of publishing, a world in which four or five large, rich New York publishers control the industry, leaving lots of room for independent publishers to create and publish powerful niche books.  I'm proud to be part of this project.

October 5, 2012

Fightin' Words



My gorgeous friend Lisa Creech Bledsoe, who started boxing a few years ago, has a new book out!  Not only that, you (and also I!) can download it for free.

I don't know how long that offer's good for, so I think we need to take advantage of this offer right now.

I'm going to interview Lisa this afternoon or tomorrow or whenever I recover from our Chihuahua jumping up and down on my chest this morning at 3:45 until I woke up and then continuing to jump on my chest (her front legs hit at throat level, her back levels at wow!-that-stings level) until I emerged into sufficient consciousness to realize she was thirsty.  (Usually she has a last drink immediately before bedtime, but I was exhausted last night and fell asleep before we achieved that step.)

Natually the little bowl of water I keep near the bedside for such occasions was in the kitchen.  By the time I'd staggered down the hallway and found a bowl and run the water and carried it back to the bedroom without sloshing it all over my feet and listened to her lap it up for several long moments, I was too awake to go back to sleep.  Instead, I adjourned to the living room couch to read and listen to Koko, our yellow Lab, who's a talkative dog, carry on doggie-dreaming conversations, most likely with the black kitty that lives down the lane with whom he exchanged nose-touches every week or two.

As I was saying, go download this book RIGHT NOW, as will I. It's my first time booking it with pixels rather than air, so I'm pretty excited about stepping into the twenty-first century.

If you'd like, leave a comment for me to pass on to Lisa telling her how brilliant she is, or suggest a question for me to ask her when I get around to the (at the moment hypothetical) interview.

Now I'm off to scrub the pan in which I cooked incredibly yummy spaghetti sauce last night and that nobody -- not Laramie, our "wake up before I die of thirst" Chihuahua nor sweet kissing-kitties-in-his-sleep Koko nor The Tall Dude -- managed to put in the sink and fill with water, let alone wash, after I crashed into bed exhausted last night.

October 4, 2012

After the lovin', the dishes still need washed

The current conversation about whether women can have it all revolves around children and a high-powered career.  What nobody's acknowledging is that it isn't the children that beat you into the ground and leave you depleted. It's the dirt, grime, grease, hairballs, laundry, spills and maintenance.  It's the food -- shopping, hauling inside, putting away, preparing, serving, cleaning up after.  That's before we discuss the bills that somebody must pay attention to; and the decisions about various insurance questions that repeatedly emerge, not to mention the annoyance of getting prescriptions filled --

In other words, the kids go, but the drudgery stays all the the way to the grave.

It's possible for two people in a relationship to work out the issue of who is doing what.  For instance, Mormons tend to stick with firm gender demarcation lines between what a penis can do without shriveling and what chores (vacuuming and dusting come to mind) depend on a vagina.

The issues can also work out if both parties in the relationship are egalitarian.  As it happens, such was the case in my previous marriages.

The problem I've got now is that I'm the person I've always been but The Tall Dude, with whom I share space, was never house-broken, in any authentic pick-your-crap-up-off-the-floor sort of way.

I gotta tell you:  I find it incredibly annoying.  It's not that he isn't improving in these matters.  This very summer  The Tall Dude emptied the dishwasher ALL BY HIMSELF at least five times without being asked, coaxed, cajoled, or harangued into it.  (Okay, fine, he didn't wash the big pans or clean off the stove top, but I've given up even fantasizing about getting out from under those tasks.)

The upshot is that I've had it.  I give up.  I'm crying "Uncle!"  I decided a few months back that I'm dedicating this year to homemaking, which is a lot like my telling a surgeon "Go ahead and give me a lobotomy.  Probably by the time the year is up you'll have learned to reverse the procedure."

I've been a feminist since the day an employer told me I could get a salary increase as soon as I went to Sweden and had a sex change operation.  I hold two graduate degrees that cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, not counting time. Just to round things out, I'm on a drug that makes my joints ache all of the time.  Most critically, any interest I ever had in housekeeping whisked itself out the door with my children when they left home.

I've been driving myself nuts over the one-sidedness of the household drudgery. The first year or two I overlooked pretty much anything The Tall Dude did or didn't do, because he's really cute and has a precious smile.  A year or so later, though, I noticed that, while one of us rinsed her dishes and placed them in the dishwasher, the other one set his plate BESIDE the sink.  I don't know if he was expecting elves or a maid or spontaneous combustion to take care of the plate; but none of those things showed up.


I'm reverting to the practice of homemaking because I refuse to spend the rest of my life angry; and I also refuse to spend the rest of my life waiting on somebody capable of pitching in and doing his fair share.

Come year's end, if we've worked through the issues, the Tall Dude and I will begin the slooooooooow process of planning a wedding. (I believe in really, really long engagements.)  If we can't reach some level of parity, I will, on the other hand, throw his ass to the curb.

I'm not looking forward to it.  After all, when you've unloaded one dishwasher you've unloaded them all.  Or, as my late husband Fred, who was annoying in an entirely different way (he'd unload and reload the dishwasher BECAUSE I HADN'T DONE IT RIGHT," said when I gushed over my first sight of an oil rig on a trip across Texas, "Only the first one is actually interesting.  After that, they all look alike."


The purpose of this decade of my life, I'm convinced, is not to be an unpaid maid and personal secretary, and also cook. My exceptions are Laramie, the little dog who upchucks fur balls with all the elan of a Persian cat -- and her big brother Koko, our yellow Lab, who every few years gets sick before I can shove him out the front door. They can't open their own cans of dog food.  They can't take themselves for walks or drive themselves to the vet's office.

What does The Tall Dude make of all of this? Every time I mention that "throwing his ass to the curb" option, it throws him into a great good humor, and he wanders the house in a flurry of dropped socks and shirts and handkerchiefs chuckling to himself.

He's not a stupid man, which suggests he won't let the situation reach the stage where I'm lobbing his combat boots across the yard into his truck; but we'll see who breaks, and when, and then what.

October 2, 2012

The Monsters under Some Beds

I'd like to introduce you to Laramie, the Chihuahua mix we got from the Kentucky Humane Society on the next-to-the-last-day of my high dose radiation for breast cancer.

We adopted her because when I woke up the day after my surgery my first thought was, "I need to get a Chihuahua."  And so it came to pass.

This morning that cheerful little dog coughed up a hairball the size of my fist on the leather couch, jumped down, ran into a corner, upchucked, and then took a nap to recover from all of the excitement.

I cleaned up after her and then loaded the dishwasher. When I was done, I turned on the disposal. Fairly soon I noticed that the garbage, rather than being chewed up and flushed away, was bubbling up on the other side of the double sinks. I mucked around with it for a few minutes and then noticed that the bottom of the dishwasher also held several inches of water and undisposed-of garbage.

I was interrupted when Laramie pattered into the kitchen. She hadn't been outside yet, so we leashed up and headed for the door.  She didn't bother to wee before proceeding to the more serious business of a walk. You know what that means, right?  It means she'd taken care of the wee-ing before we went outside and that I need to walk around in my socks until dampness reveals the location she'd chosen.

Meanwhile this morning, the big-ass Mitsubishi television in the living room blew a gasket and now produces nothing but lines of static and a very loud crackling. I'm torn between wrestling the thing to the sidewalk for the trash men (it's huge and DOMINATES the living room) and waiting for my beau to get home from work to test the thingamajiggies (I nearly said tubes, but that's so last century).

Dog, sink, and television all  in one morning. Our "things fall apart" experience continues unabated.  It began on August 30 when, ten minutes before we were to go out of town, my Jeep, which we were to take with us, broke down. Since then, empty jars, the Crock Pot, the Jeep again (it actually has had three breakages, two of which were fixed, the third of which awaits a spare thousand dollars to fall from the sky), a small end table, a piece of my mother's china and more have all broken.

All of this is to say that I had an annoying morning, which may be the reason I had a minor fit when I listened to the noon news and heard yet another half dozen reports related to the upcoming Susan G. Komen walk/run.I hope to God it's this weekend because I've had all I can stand of the sacralization of breast cancer that accompanies the annual event.

The White House was lit up in pink, for God's sake.

I've been on edge about the topic since last week, when two different magazines came to hand in which the editors whinged on idiotically about breast cancer

In the first case, the editor said every woman is scared before a mammogram.  Oh, please. I've never been afraid of mammograms, not my first one in the late 1980s through my most recent one two days ago.  In truth, I feel a great deal of affection for mammograms, what with them saving my life and the lives of zillons of other women.  I even love the room where my mammograms are done. Drunk on painkillers and Valium, I was taken to that room the day of my surgery and found the sight of five people hunkered around a tiny screen discussing my own personal left breast hilarious.  Whiffs of left-over good humor greet me each time I return.

(Obviously, my not being dead also contributes to my good feelings, but isn't that true of all of us and every thing?)

Getting back to editors, the second one had the audacity to say that the thought of breast cancer frightens every woman.

Where was I when Women elected her our spokesperson? Beyond that, why do people act as though breast cancer is the worst thing that could happen to a person?  It's nothing but a disease. Yes, some people die of it; and everybody hates when that happens; but how does that justify grown women acting as though a monster is hiding under their beds?

If you want to talk monster, I'll give you a monster.  It's name is multiple myeloma. Over all, life expectancy is 28 months following diagnosis.  Geraldine Ferraro got lucky; she lived for years following diagnosis. My late husband, on the other hand, only lived for 22 months.  Multiple myeloma is an orphan disease, far less common than breast cancer, but one hundred percent of the cases are incurable and fatal. If you want to be scared, that's a far more logical disease to fear.

And some things are far worse than that.

Not long after he was diagnosed, Fred told me that he kept asking himself "Why me?"  I'd pastored a church for the three years prior to his diagnosis and conducted more funerals than I'm going to count up. I'd spent quality time, in great quantities, considering the idea of death; and I'd reached one absolute conclusion.

"I don't mean this ugly," I told dear Fred, "but I'd rather you have cancer than five people I can think of right off hand."

Fred blinked, and then he uttered two healing words: "Me, too."

The five people referred to?  Our grandchildren. (We could as easily have been referring to the five children we had between us.) If you need something to be afraid of, don't bother with breast cancer.  Rather, be afraid that a child - any child: yours, mine, a friend's, a neighbor's, a stranger's - will be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow.

A mammogram is a diagnostic test, no more worthy of drama than that moment  when the dentist pulls your tongue forward during a cleaning to examine your mouth for cancer.  If you want to over-dramatize the test and the disease, have yourself a big time, but leave me out of the conversation. I've got a Chihuahua to clean up after and a no-monsters-allowed-beyond-this-point life to live.

September 17, 2012

Tools! Gorgeous tools!

Danny Ayes, my British cousin who lives in Italy, posted this photo of his woodworking tools on facebook and had this to say:

"Woodcarving gouges, chisels, knives (can't see a few at the back, bleached out). I picked up a few more from Chesterfield flea market last time I was in the uk. Aside from woodcarving being a fun hobby in it's own right, there's hardly anything more aesthetically pleasing than a well-honed gouge. You only need one or two to get started, but it's not insane to collect loads of them, more likely to have one suitable for a given task. I guess I've got about 100, accumulated over 15+ years. (Grinling Gibbons is reckoned to have had about 300.)"


In the circuitous universe we inhabit, I'm blogging the photo because it's lovely and also because I can then post it on my Collections board on Pinterest - which Cousin Danny saw yesterday, after which he decided to take this photo.  Nice circle, isn't it?

September 14, 2012

The Good Folk Fest - you can play, too!


I don't often post mail art calls on this blog, but the Good Folk Fest is something special.  I'm sharing a booth there this year with two wonderful fiber artists; and after seeing my application, in which I mentioned mail art, the organizer said there are several great locations for displaying mail art, and did I think we could get enough pieces by November 1 to hold an exhibit.

I said, "Yes."

So here's your chance.  Whether you've been tossing art into the mail for years or this is a whole new concept for you, come on in and play.  The water's fine.


The Good Folk Fest celebrates raw creative energy - and we want mail art!

Theme: Crafty

Deadline: Oct. 30 
Public exhibit: The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W.Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville KY 40203 USA
Exhibit dates: Nov. 2-4, 2012
Mail to: Good Folk Fest, 2020 East Oak St., New Albany, IN 47150 USA
The mail art, as well as installed images and crowd reactions, will be posted on-line after the event.

September 11, 2012

Liberty Aviation Museum

 On our way home from northern Ohio in August, we stopped at the Liberty Aviation Museum, 3515 East State Road, Port Clinton, OH, 43452. 

 We'd missed the grand opening the weekend before, and we were traveling six hours with two dogs, so from the beginning this visit was going to be a touch-and-go.
The museum, which also contains the Tri-Motor Heritage Musem.  
 
For some of us -- especially those of us for whom the Ford Tri-Motor was the only way to get home during high school for Chrtistmas and other visits - the entire complex is a delight.
 Please note the angle of the propeller here . . .
 and here . . .

 and here.  No, it wasn't windy.  Yes, the bulding has three motors mounted on the front, a gracious nod to the Tri-Motor we all love.
  If you're hungry, you can get a snack at the Tin Goose Diner inside the museum.
One of the volunteers (I regret I missed his name) was delighted to show me the back side of the building, which replicates the signage on the original Island Airlines airport building.
 If you're wondering if the museum is a work in progress -- here's your answer.
 I want a mailbox just like this for my house.
 I can't explain the walleye but know you wanted to see him.
Weathered sign inside the museum.  I have more photos from inside, including famous movie star costume and also the flower arrangements that celebrated the opening, but those are for another day. 

If you'd like to be part of this most excellent adventure, send a check for $20 for regular annual membership made out to Liberty Aviation Musuem to 1549 Marview Drive, Westlake, OH  44145.

Include your name, address, e-mail address, phone, the person who referred you (if anyone), and also list any aviation, military, or related background.  Did I mention the $20?

Do that right now, why doncha?  I don't care where you're from; you ought to be part of this amazing venture in preserving the history of aviation, northern Ohio, and the Bass Islands,which have been and remain critical to the nation's peace and prosperity, not to mention its wine supply.

September 10, 2012

Smiling Faces

We attended Michael's nephew's wedding over the weekend, and while we managed to get no, zero, nada photos of the gorgeous bride and groom, we managed to capture some other interesting couples.


 Michael and his brother Tim, gussying up for the wedding.
 Michael, his parents, and his siblings.
 Some of the younger attendants after the wedding.  It looked to me like we were going to need a fireman if the girls moved a step closer in their lovely chiffon gowns, but everybody is well-trained in fire safety.
I'm holding my late sister's grandddaughter, Amy Belle Mason Reidling.  Actually, we were headed into a rousing chorus of "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross," which my father sang to every baby he loved; and I've assigned myself as back-up singer now that Daddy's unavailable.

Here I am with my nephew Michael and his wife Nicole's three darling daughters, a. k. a. The A Team.  Alanna is next to me; then Amy/Mason, and then Alessia.  We're showing off on the family Vespa, which unfortunately we didn't have time to take for a sping.
At last, a sweet photo of the two of us.  Michael looks dashing in his black suit and Jerry Garcia tie, while I have a curl right in the middle of my forehead and when I am good, I am very very good.

September 9, 2012

Two nights on Middle Bass = 100 years in heaven

 We made our escape from the city in the glimmer of time between Michael's physical therapy and his return to work.  In a jolly burst of reliving my childhood, I rented what used to be Mrs. Murd's house.  You can't see it but at the back of Mrs. Murd's house is the mulberry tree from which, when accompanied by our mother, Amy and I could pick mulberries.
I love the architectural details!  And the interior architecture and furnishings are lovely as well.

Please note the side porch on the far right of the photo. On that very porch, which at the time was wooden and probably falling in, Mrs. Murd stood the day she spotted two marauders up in her mulberry tree and stormed out with a shotgun or rifle or BB gun or some other long, fierce instrument of destruction.  Amy and I were up the mulberry tree; and so we fled from the wrath at hand and saved ourselves. Every other thing I know about Mrs. Murd is of a kind, hard-working person, like everyone else on the island.
The concrete floor on the porch meets up with the screen door into the house on one side and a concrete ramp on the other.  By the time this photo (Michael brushing Koko) was taken, Laramie, the little dog with the grin, had been up and down the ramp fifty times, mostly because she wanted to track down all of the bunny poop so she could point it out to Koko.
Laramie KNOWS Michael is going to pick her up any second now.
She'd tried to talk me into it a moment earlier, but I was busy and she's inches from the ramp.
The critical moment: Laramie studies the ramp. She's a good dog, and brave, and true; but she has a little tiny screw that's just a weeee bit loose and logic is not her strong point, and so she bounced further away, toward Michael and Koko, because while something nudged her about that space, she couldn't quite put it togther.


The garbage cans are located at the far end of the ramp Laramie couldn't find. 

The quintessential Middle Bass Island photograph.  These words have been written on every trash can, garbage bucket, outhouse, and cottage-rental agreement since the island was populated, and people still want to dump garbage in the nearest bin; and other people still loathe scrubbing away the stench of fish guts baked in the sun.

( By the way, not to bother you with housekeeping details on such a pleasant day, but the best way to get the stench of fish out of your refrigerator is to put a vanilla-drenced cotton ball in a saucer on the bottom shelf. A little tip from back when I was cleaning cottages for Jim Bretz, which may have been my first job.  Gotta think that over.  Children start working young in remote areas; who else are you going to call?

Mrs. Limestone from flickr

RavenDinnerPartyBrooklynLimestone (7 of 36).jpg by MrsLimestone
RavenDinnerPartyBrooklynLimestone (7 of 36).jpg, a photo by MrsLimestone on Flickr.

I love this idea, even though my handwriting is, shall we say, obscure.  Can you imagine doing a Christmas set where you wrote one plate for each of the last 6 /8/however many years?  Or an evening with Emily Dickinson.  Or -- wait, you're going to love this one!-- using one of the bad-ass comments from strong women at the Democratic National Convention (a list is making the rounds on facebook).

August 13, 2012

You may be a feminist if . . .

My friend Pat Jobe - preacher, poet, songwriter, and all around fine man - posted on facebook something like "100 Hundred Words on Oneness.  Now it's your turn."

I read what Pat wrote and decided to participate.  Here's my 100 words. (A caveat:  I can't find the word count function on this laptop, so you may want to count for me to be sure.)


Oneness
Seeing the women win big
At  the Olympics and knowing
We did that.  We, the feminists working as one
For years in committees on phone trees on congressional visits on letters
At our home and at our meetings and
At our marches.
We, working, toward one goal: that our daughters
Our granddaughters, their granddaughters
Through every generation
Might stand on a stage, around her neck draped a ribbon
At the bottom of which dangles gold silver bronze and
Might hear “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Played for them.
If you love those strong be-medaled women holding nosegays
Thank one feminist tomorrow.

August 12, 2012

The Mystic Isle at Lonz Dock

From The Belle Cartledge Archives: The Mystic Isle Put-in-Bay Auto Ferry landing at Lonz Dock, Middle Bass Island, Ohio, identified with my mother's handwriting on the bottom of the photo.

Incidentally, if you're interested in preserving historic photographs, the experts at the Kentucky Historical Society say you should remove them from any album in which they're stored; scan at the highest resolution possible; file the scans on your computer, on disks, on thumb drives, and on whatever other devices are or become available.  The key in preserving photographs is to have as many forms of duplicate digital copies as possible.  Also, scanned and stored photos allow for the most efficient sharing.

August 10, 2012

Middle Bass Island Grade School, Spring 1960

Ha!  Here we are, the total school population of Middle Bass Island Grade School, circa spring 1960.

From left:  Karen Lee Kuemmel, Douglas Jonathan Cartledge, Amy May Cartledge, Mary Joanna Cartledge, and, in the foreground, Carolyn Yvonne Riddle.

Karen and Douglas were in seventh grade; Amy was in sixth; I was in fifth (and, incidentally, had already caught up with her in height); Carolyn has the grin of a child whose front teeth just came in, so she's either in first or second grade).  We were the core island scholars for several years.  I don't recall any students older than Karen and Douglas during my eight years there; and the only younger children were Carolyn Riddle's siblings, Steve and Rickie.  (They had a little sister, Marguerite, but I graduated before she started school.)

Regarding the building in the background, I rather think it's Walt and Izzy Swisher's home/store, although the style of the windows makes me wonder.  Perhaps it's Frank Roesch's house, which was also white with tall windows and buildings in the back.  Why were we there?  The answer is lost in memory, as is the answer to the question of how my mother, who was fastidious about the way her children dressed, let me out of the house with my petticoat showing.

We are not wearing white gloves which were de rigeur for field trips.  However, you'll notice that bangs were a happening fashion statement that year.

August 9, 2012

The Luscious World of Mail and Art

                     Top:  copyright 2012 Barbara Dunn.     Bottom:  copyright 2012 Marie Wintzer

I'm four months behind on scanning and posting mailart, and at last I'm returning to the task.  I've put everything in order (pieces scanned and posted; pieces scanned, posted, and answered; pieces to be scanned), put nine pieces up on my mailart blog, and am now off to address some of my own art and get it in the mail.

I also found a postcrossing card that I somehow neglected to register.  In case you're not familiar with that site, postcrossing lets postcard enthusiasts around the world exchange postcards. A little corner of global harmony, letting people from all countries and walks of life extend greetings to each other - and a fabulous tool for geography, history, and art lessons if you're so inclined. Commercial postcards are the norm, but forums let mail artists connect.

The other prime mail-exchange site is Send Something.  There, rather than being given names and addresses based on algorithms as is done with postcrossing, you can read other participants' posts and choose to whom you'll send mail. Yes, there are numerous mail artists there as well.

August 8, 2012

Housekeeping Is for the Birds

I've been fabulously busy doing incredibly interesting things, like mopping the kitchen floor and loading (not to mention running and also emptying) the dishwasher every day.  Brushing Koko, our yellow Lab, once a day is keeping the dust bunny/hippopotamus situation under control; and figuring out supper every night -- my, that's just oceans of fun.

Kokomo, Michael, and Laramie panting in the heat on Middle Bass Island, each of them wearing dog tags and a rabies tag (ha! we can finally joke about the summer's trauma).

Not one of those three contributes a darned thing to housekeeping, except for Koko, an important decorating element, and Laramie, who travels the interior perimeter each morning to learn whether any bugs invaded in the night. If she finds a bug, she pounces like a kitten until it's dead but then walks away, leaving the mess for somebody else to clean up.  As for Michael, he does all of our grilling and recently learned how to operate the dishwasher.

Housekeeping, it turns out, is exactly as repetitive as I expected it to be.  (I'd like to say "as I remember it being" but apparently I stopped caring so long ago that memories have faded away.)  Nothing stays done, which is to say that if a person mops, vacuums, cooks, and cleans up today, by five o'clock tomorrow no evidence remains of the work done.  Which is why you might as well not bother.

I, however, am choosing to bother, for 365 days, some of which I've already used up, thankyoujesus.  Yesterday's  event was cleaning off the huge desk in the living room.  I worked five hours, mostly making file folders and then putting pieces of paper into them; the desk needs another five hours of attention if I plan to see its surface. Yesterday evening I went through half a box of my parents' papers, a satisfying activity that turned up some photos I'd forgotten.

For instance, here's my aunt, Mary Astrid Cartledge Ayers, after whom I'm named:
 Written on the back in my mother's handwriting, "Mary A. C.  1943 + - "
Written on the back, in my father's  handwriting, "What do you think of my cute kid sister?"

Funny thing about these photos is Mary's strong resemblance to Jessica, my friend Mary Flowers' daughter, especially in the photo where she's giggling.   The happenstance of place and time, mingled with the way all the white folks whose ancestors came from England who married other white folks with British ancestors resemble each other.  Or maybe all giggling little girls resemble each other.

Today's cleaning project is my studio/office.  I've rearranged the furniture and tidied the bookshelves and done the floors.  Now I'm off to scan some of the spectacular mail art I've received over the last four months.

August 1, 2012

Paperwork!: preserving family documents, step one

I began the morning paying bills and now, at 10:15 p. m., I have monstrous piles of family documents and artifacts bedecking the living room rug.

I'm beginning to get a handle on the huge project I've undertaken.  My father died at age 88; my mother is now 90 and has a good memory for important things, like people's names and how sewing machines work, but doesn't waste time on topics like what she had for breakfast.

Thirty years ago, Mother told me that you must always label everything.  That scrumptious photo of the most darling munchkin in the world, meaning yours, is going to be augmented by hundreds more photos, plus scrumptious photos of siblings; plus perhaps scrumptious photos of cousins; and then you throw in grandchildren; and I don't know about your family  but in the right light with the right tilt of the chin I'm hard pressed to distinguish between Charlie and Devin, Carson and Jon; David and Douglas; Mikey and Jeff - pretty much any of the boys - and a photo of my father in his youth.

Family resemblance is a powerful and wonderful thing, but it won't be your friend when 30 years from now you try to identify who's who on a photo that holds no indication of the date when every single one of those darling boys has a smile on his face and a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

So as I was saying, Mother labeled everything, except for the things she didn't, most of which were duplicate photos that are labeled, which is good, if you can ever get the originals and duplicates within ten feet of each other.

Meanwhile, Mother also did serious genealogical research, traveling with Cousin Carolyn to do research in libraries, phoning relative to find out who remembered what stories and to clarify relationships she was unsure of and also asking for copies of important photos, especially of her mother (who died at an early age) and father, who each belonged to enormous farm families; so photos of their siblings were also good to get her hands on.

Mother filled out the suggested forms, and she created a marvelous set of notebooks into which specific family units were divided.  But then things got tricky.  First of all, a number of the notebooks and papers collected the faintest whiff of mold over the last 2.5 years in a closed-up house.  Additionally, Mother in her last few years at home couldn't see well and apparently rearranged items that had been carefully encased in protective sleeves.

I took a class on preserving family heritage last year, and this spring I qualified as a Kentucky Historical Society Certified Community Scholar, which means my head is full of information my body hasn't been able to follow through on completely.

Item One is to remove every photo from every album.  Remember the ones with the magnetic pages?  Mother had transferred most everything out of those;for the two or three that remained, I took the albums apart and gave each magnetic page its own folder. Every few months I check the folder and find the glue has dried out on a few more photos and rustle the folder and see if the glue has dried enough for the photos to fall off.

Item Two is to keep all of the photos together in some sort of coherent chronological order.

Item Three is to remove all of the sheets of paper Mother laboriously put together from her research, photocopy and/or scan them,  wipe off the glass of the copying machine, put the papers into archival quality folders, and then store everything scanned and photocopied on a thumb drive and one or two more back-up methods.  (The more back-up methods the better, because everything is going to fail somewhere down the line, and you want backup upon backup for every potential failure.

Oh, wait.  There's another Item One, which is to remove every newspaper article from the rest of the artifacts.  Newsprint and ink are like friendly drunks, notorious for deteriorating and taking everything else down with them.  The acid content is higher than in other papers, and they self-destruct and contribute to the destruction of anything in the same file, album, box, and closet with them.

(On a side note, somebody at the preservation workshop last year had a newspaper printed in the 1700s, given to her by an elderly neighbor years earlier.  What should she do with it?  The answer:  find out whether the newspaper exists on microfilm, microfiche, or is any other way preserved.  If so, don't worry about. Newspapers, it seems, were a dime a dozen and -- here's a shocking idea -- their value was in the information they contained rather than in the paper on which the information was printed. Bummer, especially if you think you've been preserving something that might make you famous, or at least rich.)

We don't have any of that stuff.  We are, as my mother said, plain people.  We have lovely documentation, and lots of it, because my parents lived in the same house for sixty years and never threw a thing away.  Yes, I know it's a problem for a lot of people, but they weren't hoarders so much as frugal and cautious. If the water pump broke in the middle of the winter, you might just be able to get the one that worked poorly last year to work a little better this year -- at least, a little better than the one that 's not working at all.

On top of that genealogical notebooks and family photo notebooks and grown-up family notebooks, there are booklets from Tideswell, the town in Derbyshire, England, where my father grew up; and pamphlets published over the years by the ferry boats listing schedules; and the odd wine bottle label; and a lovely letter my father received when he was naturalized, and an award presented to my mother for having voted fifty years straight, and another award for having worked at the voting polls for 25 years.  Then there are the various businesses my parents operated over the sixty years on the island; and information about other businesses; and the Mr. Zippy or whatever his name was who arrived on a postcard to announce that the zip code for Middle Bass was 43446.

Tubs and boxes and cases, oh, my.  Some people have a little bit of everything.  I have I a lot of everything.  I think I have a handle now on how to organize it all. All that's in the way is a lot of scanning, photocopying, verifying identities, deciphering Mother's handwriting (which, thank heavens, remained legible until just a few years ago), and putting pieces of paper into archival quality document holders, for a second time.

Long, slow project, but rewarding in its own right.  I've found numerous photos of my mother that I don't remember ever seeing before; and a few new ones of my dad; and a darling photo of his sister, my aunt Mary, after whom I'm named, giggling the way only an eight-year-old girl can giggle.  I also found my parents' original wedding photo, which is a relief, because I haven't yet been able to locate Mother's wedding gown. I'm beginning to think a relative took it home for safe keeping, intending to deliver it to me once I weathered the uproar of my dad's death followed immediately by my breast cancer diagnosis. I know it's around somewhere and will get to me eventually.  Meanwhile, I'm sorting and scanning and trying to get the mild scent of mold out of my house as quickly as possible.

July 28, 2012

Hangin' with the Good Dogs

We escaped the heat of the city and spent two nights at the Murd House on Middle Bass Island, Ohio.

When we were children my sister, Amy, and I wandered through Bretz's pasture one day looking for wildflowers and ended up behind Mrs. Murd's house. Seeing no evidence of her presence, we climbed her mulberry tree so we could reach the few ripe mulberries. We weren't breaking any rules that we knew of; Mrs. Murd had allowed the picking of mulberries every time Mother asked her.

Imagine our surprise when Mrs. Murd appeared on the porch, yelling and waving a shotgun. Rather than approaching to tell her who we were, we escaped through the woods and scurried home.

No photo of the one-room island school house this trip, but I'm delighted to report that the tacky red paint has had its day in the sun.  The school is being repainted the historically correct white that's appropriate for the site where generations of island children learned to read.

As I write,the Hook, Line & Sinker auction is beginning in the Town Hall.  Mary Roesch and her committee did an astounding job of garnering donations for this event, by which they hope to raise $25,000 for the town hall, the fire department, and the hospice organization in Sandusky, Ohio.  Beautifully painted furniture, including a walleye chair with the island on the seat, is being auctioned off, as are paintings and beach-glass art and the bass drum that called 25+ years of island children to the Punch and Judy shows put on by my father.

Great trip, including conversations with people I hadn't seen in decades, fabulous food by Chef Elvis at the restaurant at Hazard's, and lots of time laughing at the dogs' enthusiasm for the sight and smell of bunnies.

July 20, 2012

Quench not

I love the photos I took this spring, but I love them even more when I've captioned them.

Rise. Shine. Breathe.

I'm in love with this technique.  Wait, maybe the word is obsessed.

July 19, 2012

I made this just for you.

My photo.
My text.
I used picmonkey for the first time.
I'm liking it.

The Stinky Vacuum Cleaner Conundrum

O. M. G.  I'm getting ready to talk about house-cleaning AGAIN.  I swear to God I know how to read, I have a brain, and I also have a barrel of funny stories from the monkey house I call my family of origin. Nevertheless, I'm in the last few days of dress rehearsal for my year of housewifery, and I can't stop myself.

Somebody who lives here who is not me and also not the dogs bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner.  The rumors you've heard about the suction power of those babies is true.  You can take your Dyson along when you visit friends and if they'll let you use your Dyson on their newly vacuumed carpets you can watch their jaws drop and eyes glaze when they see how much dirt their vacuum cleaner has left behind. Years-old fine dirt that's filtered down to the floorboards is no match for a Dyson.

The only problem we've had with this machine, other than the second mortgage it took to buy the thing, is that the filter needs to be washed every six months. The Dyson folks make it VERY clear that the filter MUST be completely dry before it's re-installed in the vacuum cleaner.  And I know why.  It's because if the filter is not absolutely, positively bone dry, you're going to have a mild mold problem that will cause every room  to smell like a crypt when you vacuum.
The Dyson Lifetime Filter
The problem is that there's no way to be tell when the filter is completely dry; and there's only so long you can wait to re-install the filter before it stands a chance of getting covered over by papers and being lost forever.

A year or so ago I misjudged the drying time, and since then my vacuuming has been accompanied by a slight stench which wafts away in 15 minutes or so but is, in the interim, disgusting.  I don't use smelly products that you sprinkle on your carpet because they hurt my nose and make the place smell like a whorehouse (okay, that's a guess; I've never actually toured a whorehouse), but I've sprinkled and vacuumed up numerous boxes of baking soda to no avail. I also tried washing the filter again and letting it dry in the sun for three days (taking it in the house every night), but that didn't help either.

This week I asked my inner 50s-Stepfordette what to do, and the answer was clear. I went to dyson.com, clicked "Parts," located my model of machine, found the parts list, and ordered a brand new lifetime filter.

(For the record, in case you're wondering, not only is Dyson not paying me to say nice things, they're making me pay $18.99  plus $7.95 shipping.)

It's going to be a magical day when my new filter arrives in 12 to 16 days.  If you came to visit, I'd let you watch me vacuum and then together we could enjoy the clear fresh smell of plain old air.