Posted on Leave a comment

Happy Spring!

Spring is here, and it feels more like the beginning of a new year for us than New Year’s Day did.

It’s so nice to hear the birds singing and see the daffodil, narcissus, and crocus flowers all opening.

The kitties are asking to go outside to explore,

and to take baths in the sunshine.

The ducks have come back up the hill, after spending the winter on the pond.

And I…I am at the Apple Store, almost every day, taking classes!

I even beat the Easter Bunny there on Saturday.

You know you’re up early when you beat the Easter Bunny to work.

One more day, hopefully, and we will start our new adventure, with a new computer, new software, and soon, a new blogging platform. I’ve held off on switching to WordPress until we switch to the Mac. Pretty exciting.

Posted on Leave a comment

Study hall

We’re waiting for our new computer to arrive, and I’m taking classes on how to use it. Most of my time is going toward making the switch right now. Our old computer isn’t up for the job of getting all our photos edited, and so they’ll be a bit of a delay in getting our new work up online. Hopefully, I’ll be able to jump right in and get things moving along again soon.

I’ve still got to address the move to using WordPress as well. I expect the ride will be a little bumpy at first, but I’m actually looking forward to taking off in a new direction, or two new directions, as the case may be. We might have waited and taken on one thing at a time, but our computer had other ideas. It’s still running, thankfully.

It looks like our country might be taking a step in a new direction as well. I hope people will eventually calm down about the idea of health care reform. I’m sure there is a long way to go, but I’m hopeful it will turn into a good thing. I get a bit disheartened that so many people are so negative about any change, after having, myself, been in situations at both ends of the health care spectrum. I know from my own experience, that you can become incapacitated by illness when you don’t expect it, through no fault of your own. I also know that insurance has been something that could be taken away as soon as you could no longer pay for it, making even “affordable” catastrophic health insurance useless, if you couldn’t continue to work. That is often the case when you’ve reached a point where you need to use catastrophic insurance. Insurance has also been taken away from people just for being sick.

I know no one likes the idea of mandatory anything, but you don’t get too many choices about getting sick either. I don’t think people realize how precarious everyone currently is, whether you are insured or uninsured, healthy or sick, rich or poor. I’m sorry some of the aspects of the reform package have been removed, and I’m concerned about some people’s insurance costs being increased, like the cost of Medicare Advantage insurance plans for seniors. I’m encouraged by there being subsidies for the middle class and the poor, to help them afford insurance. I’m also hopeful that competition to attract new customers, will lead to the creation of new insurance companies with competitive prices. I’m just hoping that affordable, useful health insurance, that you get to keep when you need it, is the end result of all this debate.

Posted on Leave a comment

So much to do, so little time to blog…

Last weekend, my cousin, Steve, his wife, Erin, and their kids, Benjamin and Sophia, were in town for Erin’s brother’s wedding. I got to visit with them, which was great fun.

Their new cousin, Eliana, Ben, and Sophia are so amazingly energetic. You can’t help but enjoy yourself around them.

I even got ambushed…

I was too large to be carried however.

Sophia tied my legs together when I said I was going to be on my way. After securing me, she decided to let me go.

I also made it to the web design group I hadn’t been to for about two years. The nice WordPress theme developer, who was giving the presentation, gave me lots of tips for our web site migration. I was very happy because he was able to answer some questions I’d been trying to find the answers to for two weeks.

Right now, I think I am mostly trying to get up my nerve to make the change. I know that the navigation will not work just right until I’ve got the whole site moved over, and I’m nervous about that. Plus, I keep debating over whether or not I want to put the blogs on the home pages of our sites, or on their own sub-page. At some point, I will just jump in.

In the meantime, the Ruffing’s blog is not active, although it is still up. So, here is our latest offering, “Matilda the Tuxedo Kitten”, an original, one-of-a-kind art doll figurine by Max Bailey. You can read more about Matilda by clicking here to go to her web page.

We are also debating over computers right now. We need a new one, and we’re trying to decide which Mac to get and when. We also need to learn to use a Mac, which adds a little extra excitement. We need a desktop to edit photos, but I’d also like a laptop, to make myself more mobile. I know you can hook the laptop to a monitor, but I’d like the option to take trips or work elsewhere for some variety. The desktop we are looking at is kind of intimidating. It seems like a TV set to me. So, another plunge to take.

Oh, and “Beatrice and Beulah” the lop rabbit folk art dolls by Max Bailey and myself, are up for adoption on eBay this week. The auction ends tomorrow night. You can check out Beatrice and Beulah’s eBay page by clicking here. Once again, I’m putting announcements on our Ruffing’s Facebook page. Please join us there.

I’m also finishing up a small pile of Hug Me! Slugs and a Hug Me! Toad or three. I’ll be putting them up in my Etsy shop as soon as I can.

Posted on Leave a comment

Christmas Parade

I made sure to get back from running errands on time to take my mom to the Christmas parade in town, this past weekend. Seeing as how I feel like one of Santa’s elves lately, with all the toy making, I could hardly miss seeing him.

As always, there were lots of vehicles, starting with these great tractors, all shiny and polished by their owners for the parade.

Then, of course, there were the motorcycles.

This one says “Jesus in Lord” on the side.

Some of these guys look pretty serious.

I’m not sure if this gentleman is pointing to the star on his Christmas tree or if he is just having a conversation with someone in the crowd. Maybe he’s telling his wife where to meet him at the end of the parade.

There are always the men in the little cars. The one over on the left ran out of steam and had to be towed, just after I took this shot.

There are so many cars, all with waving folks inside. A couple of years ago, the cars that had the hydraulic lifts inside, so they went up and down, were popular, but these with the doors that go up and down, sort of like a jack knife, seem to have taken their place.

There were plenty of homemade floats.

This lady was leading a song as she went by.

The Mary and Joseph float went by. Mary waved and smiled at me.

Lots of kids ride on the floats. They wave more enthusiastically at the beginning of the parade.

Then they get tired, by the end of the parade.

This little girl seems to have run out of waving energy, but her companion is still forging on.

There were at least three beauty queens. They seem to hold up better with their waving. I think they must practice.

This one had a beautiful skirt.

Some of the kids get pretty silly by the end of the parade. This little boy in the firetruck was making all kinds of faces out the window. Another little boy went by yawning.

There were even dogs strutting along in the parade, with their festive red coats.

They seem to have more endurance than some of the kids. But then they didn’t have to wave or dance or jump around.

There were even dogs watching the dogs in the parade.

And there was a tiger.

He was helping pass out flyers for the karate school guys.

There were colorful flags,

and kids waving sparkling pom poms. This one was getting tired too, I think.

After just about everyone went by, there was a lull. People started moving into the street, and I thought they might be heading home. When I saw the people in front of us start to dance in the street, I realized they were moving off the curb to get a better look at the Helping Hand Mission Marching Band.

There are lots of dancers and bands in the parade, but the Helping Hand Mission really gets the crowd excited. They stop to perform frequently, which is why there was a lull, I guess. This girl on the left was doing a good job of keeping up with the girls in the group.

I had to step out into the street to get photos at this point. My mom told me there was another guy with a camera squatting down in the middle of the road, and he stayed there until they were almost to him.

They stopped just in front of us to dance and play the drums.

The one guy blows his whistle to signal when they stop or go, I think.

One lady in front of us kept dancing along. When she passed me and realized I had a camera, she looked a little embarrassed. I was enjoying that she was having fun. I felt a little embarrassed that she looked embarrassed.

An army truck went by, driven by a man with such a sweet-faced baby. I tried to get a better photo of her, but they passed by before I knew it.

And for the big finale….Santa, of course! He made sure to wave at everyone. He can’t afford to get tired out. He’s got lots to do these next couple of weeks!

And so do I! I’ll post some of the toys that went out this week. I’ve got plenty to get ready for transit this coming week!

Tonight people will be lighting the first candle of Hanukkah too…Happy Hanukkah!