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Healing and Empowerment for Women

Monthly Archives: June 2013


Just when the temperatures here in Texas approach 100, just when all of the tender plants begin to burn up, the glory of crepe myrtles begins.

All through my town crepe myrtles are a riot of color. Hot pink, magenta, maroon, soft pink and lavender crepe myrtles line the medians and trumpet their joy.

The ones in my front yard are deepest pink.

The ones in my back yard are white, as you can see. When I pull out of the garage, while waiting  for the garage door to close, I am greeted with  a pendant branch of one of my back yard crepe myrtles, right by my window. If I lower the window I can smell a light perfume from the flowers.

I am so grateful for all of the crepe myrtles. As we enter REALLY HOT summer, the crepe myrtles will bloom until fall. They will delight and sustain me through the long hot summer.


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When my daughter was away at college I sent her a letter every single day. I always included an item from our shared past in the envelopes.

I had taped movie stubs, fortune cookie pronouncements, tags from when her car was repaired, programs from her schools into the family calendar for years. I also had a huge box of her school drawings and papers.

Each day when I wrote I’d include one or more of these items. I’d also include a photo, a cartoonI thought or an article or photo from the paper that might interest her. You can see the pig snouts peeking out of a stock truck in the photo above.

As a haiku poet, I’d also sometimes include one or more of my haiku, especially ones of scenes we’d shared or ones that were actually about her.

I reverse scrapbooked again this week. I’d saved the tickets from the Butterfly exhibit at Natural History, the IMAX ticket and the ticket to the International Spy Museum. I mailed them to her in a card as a memento of our trip.

BTW, she has kept every single letter I sent her. They are in her old room here and they fill a laundry basket.

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When my daughter was in college she had a wonderful Chemistry teacher who gave a special award to any student who scored above 100 on an exam. The award inducted the student into the Royal Order of the Pink Flamingo.

I shared a photo of flamingos with my daughter yesterday on our private Pinterest board.


We got to emailing about the Royal Order of the Pink Flamingo.

Meanwhile I had been admiring some polymer clay beads I’d seen on Flickr which the artist called “Flamingo”. I’d already been studying photos of flamingos to see what colors I would use for MY flamingo necklace.

It became clear to me that I had to make a flamingo necklace for my daughter to commemorate her induction into the Royal Order of the Pink Flamingo so long ago.

This morning I sat down and composed a stack of flamingo-ey colors. I took three good slices from it and made the necklace and earrings below. I used a “feathery” texture stamp on the solid hot flamingo backing on the pieces.


This picture is a good one but it does not capture the sizzling, vibrant interplay between the colors I chose, which included Florescent Pink; Lively Medium Purple; Orange; Magenta Pearl and Candy Pink.

As I made my stack of colors, I began to think of the Damascus cane, a polymer clay technique adopted from a technique Japanese sword makers use. I had enough of the stack left after the slices you see above to do the cane. The technique involves twisting the stack three full turns. I made the beads and earrings below from the Damascus cane:


I still had trimmings from the original stack and the Damascus cane. I had made some gorgeous marbles last week from some flamingo-ey colors topped with my lacy white clay. I got the idea of mixing the bits of flamingo colors with lacy white clay. I made the pieces below:



I still had clay…it was starting to feel like Groundhog Day, the movie!

So I made six marbles for my patients and 18 Beads of Courage for the kids.

I am going to give all three sets of flamingo jewelry to my daughter tomorrow when we have lunch at a tapas bar. I am so proud of her.

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I downloaded the pattern for this brain hat from the internet. It was a hoot to make, although I must warn you that you have to knit 20 feet of I-cord to make it. I looked at three different patterns before choosing this one. Later I learned that I’d chosen the one made by a medical student. Duh.Image

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Some time back I acquired three Yellow Submarine tee shirts from Threadless. I actually started with just one, but got such positive reactions to wearing it that I ordered another two when they went on sale.

Wherever I go people smile and comment about the shirt. Recently, however, they have started singing when they see it.

A few weeks back, on my trip to DC, I was browsing the gift shop of the National Gallery of Art. A super-preppy guy, a clerk in the store, likely a summer intern, saw my tee shirt and burst into song!

The next day, I was wearing another of them and was moving through the security checkpoint at the airport. The guy who had just x-rayed my bags saw my tee shirt and started singing, “We all live in a Yellow Submarine”.  Immediately, the woman behind me in line started singing it, too. We three sang it all the way through.

The funniest reaction I ever had to the shirt came in Hot Springs Arkansas. I’d just finished a hike along the “Promenade” in Hot Springs National Park (where I got a half dozen grins and comments about the shirt) and went downstairs to meet my haiku friends for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Only one friend had arrived. He looked at my shirt and started naming all of the gray submarines. Turns out he was a submariner when he was in the Navy. He DIDN’T EVEN SEE the yellow one!

I finally understood the Threadless name for the tee: Know Your Submarines.

BTW, I took the picture after I finished knitting a “brain” hat. I’m wearing it in the photo….

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I have continued my polymer clay adventures, increasing my skills at every turn.

When on my recent trip to DC I imagined creating some glow-in-the-dark themed pieces organized around the bioluminescent, one-celled plankton, Noctiluca scintillans. While staring out the window of the Metro I dreamed of how to create the scintillons, the organelles that allow the organism to flash when a wave disturbs it. When I got home I made an interpretation of it, but the reveal will have to await a bit more design work on the componants I created. I will admit that when I turn off the lights in my clay space most of the table lights up with the unassembled items of Noctiluca. Watch this space.

You may know that I have three degrees in science: a BS in Chemistry; a MS in Human Physiology and a MD. Science is what I live and breathe. That and my faith.

I sense that my polymer clay work is moving toward depictions of Nature, including microscopic nature.

I love pearls. I decided to make a polymer cane that portrayed the formation of pearls. The oyster secretes a complex of proteins and creates little tiles of calcium carbonate;  it assembles these into pearls.

My first “pancake” cane was in golds and browns and did NOT work out. The baked items went into the trash, like the first pancake does. I did turn most of the beautiful brown and gold clay into disks which I have polished and am ready to turn into a necklace. Watch this space.

Frustrated, I used colors similar to the ones polymer clay genius Melanie West used in one of her award-winning pieces. I bent slices of my cane into two half circles and baked it on the surface of an old floodlight to dome it a little. Later, after polishing it, I created my signature armature and hung pearls on chains, which travel from the back of the pendant through the window in it to hang down its front. I used oval pearls to echo the droplets of “pearlstuff” making its way to the surface to be transformed into pearls.

I wore it yesterday to church, to Prayer Ministry and to a Greek dinner with my daughter.

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I am a fourth generation native of Washington DC, living in Texas. Recently I jumped at the chance to visit DC with my daughter, who had to go there for some continuing medical education. 

We went up early so we could visit museums. The most notable exhibit we saw was a listening device shaped like dog poop at the International Spy Museum.

We visited the Natural History Museum twice, two wings of the National Gallery of Art and the National Zoo. 

We also ate at some wonderful restaurants. We had a fabulous Burmese cabbage salad with diced ginger, peanuts and fried lentils. We had an excellent mezza (small portions of many dishes) at a Lebanese restaurant. We had amazing salmon in a puff pastry crust with caper remoulade at a Russian venue. We ate tapas and shared four dishes including one with rabbit; we finished by sharing the best flan we’d ever eaten. We visited an old favorite Afghan restaurant where we also shared four appetizers, including an oldie-goodie with pumpkin, yogurt and red meat sauce.

We walked many miles a day so the entire adventure was weight neutral!

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