Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (
© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Chickadee's...they are such a big, bold personality in such a tiny bird! This wee fellow sat still long enough or me to snap two pictures, this is the best of two...I got lucky!

Yesterday afternoon, while I was in the thick of writing, I looked up to admire how beautiful the crow looked in the afternoon light, so black and stunning against the snow, and bam! The hawk dropped from the sky and landed on him! Well, crap! I jumped up from my chair and ran outside and said something along the lines of "Shoo!" and both of them scattered in separate directions. As I watched the crow fly to the safety of the pine trees, I noted that the crow seemed to be uninjured, or at least, not seriously injured (no blood on the snow). Then every crow and blue jay in the neighborhood began having a fit, some went off chasing after the hawk as it high-tailed it towards the woods, and one crow stayed behind fussing over the unlucky fellow that got dropped on...as they settled in the pine trees there was a great deal of fussing, lots of wing flapping and feathers ruffling...the feeder returned to a brisk business, chickadees, doves, woodpeckers, and juncos, the drama was over, there was nothing to see except a dent in the snow...

I've been spying on a crow hunkered down in the pine trees, I wonder if that's the one...I'll trek out with some bread crusts, and check on him...

The feeder is busy again today, 6 inches of snow fell overnight (it wasn't snowing when I went to bed at midnight)...it's pretty out there, the wind hasn't started yet, that comes later, along with more snow, we might have over a foot by tonight, and more than that by morning...

I'm looking forward to a quiet day, writing and making art...spending time with my Fred and our son and we'll drink mimosas to ring in the new year...

One of my little drawings that I just sold to a friend...it seems appropriate for the weather and the mood of the season...it's a Nocturne...ideal image for New Year's Eve...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

My Fred made me a new table for Christmas...it's exactly what I wanted! (And needed!) It's so beautiful (I cried happy tears!) It fits me so perfectly and now I can be by the window and be near the woodstove, and watch the outdoor drama at the bird feeder...while writing or drawing...YAY!!!! (As you can see the little storage shelf already has my Peterson bird book.)

The kitties seem indifferent about their new toys...I caught the dog nibbling on one of them...he doesn't quite understand the catnip attraction, but because they go nuts over it, he's naturally curious...

The cats seem more enamored with the box full of leftover catnip stems...(I haven't had the heart to throw them out yet since they're having so much fun!)

This silly kitty is Crouching Tigger-Hidden Pooh (AKA Tiggy-Pooh)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This is me, suited up in my apron for the 'Busy Day-Before-Christmas', hair tamed into pig-tails...

...my silly boy Charlie Chowder wants to help me make kitty toys!

That's a lot of catnip, lady, you've been holding out!

All packages are wrapped, cookies baked, and new kitty toys made...catnip everywhere...

Old Argyle socks, a generous amount of catnip inside, and yarn to tie off segments...I believe it's a relative of Nessi and it came from a Scottish Loch...the cats will love it!

This is a house of Tubby Tabbies...so I had to make the appropriate cookies...

Laura's Christmas Cookies

I love these cookies, they’re special, loaded up with happy memories of Christmas’s past... Mom always made them, and we had an assembly line at the kitchen table while decorating them…we’d come home from college looking forward to the cookie decorating ritual…and now that the baking has fallen to me, I have been known to pack some unfrosted cookies with the necessary decorations for my siblings and mom to indulge…

The recipe:

3 cups sifted flour

1 cup sugar

2tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ cup margarine (Blue Bonnet has been the old standby)

½ cup vegetable oil (older recipe calls for ½ cup of Crisco)

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the sugar, eggs, oil, margarine, and vanilla together.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until well mixed.

Chill dough (overnight is best) if it's not chilled properly the dough is very sticky!

Roll out dough on flour covered wax paper, with flour covered hands, and flour covered rolling pin, and cut into favorite holiday shapes with cookie cutters (also well floured).*WARNING this is the tricky part, these special cookies have been known as the “F*****g Christmas Cookies” because of this part of the process, even after being chilled overnight the dough can still be sticky, be liberal with flour to prevent the urge to curse while rolling and cutting!*

Bake @ 375 degrees

8-10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet

Decorate after cooling with favorite frosting (even a cream cheese frosting goes well with these!)

As you can see from the photo...I'm not kidding about the flour!

Done! And Yum!

The wind is blowing like mad out there tonight, and it feels balmy like spring, and the snow has become the consistency of mashed potatoes...time to get cozy...

Just in case you didn't believed me when I said so, here's the evidence...yes, I do drink my Guinness from a Daffy Duck glass...

Oh, it's so good!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Longest Night

This is an old po-em...back when I thought maybe I could write poetry...there was something very satisfying about them at the time that I made them, probably because their short nature, long skinny columns of words attracted me, and they seemed simple enough...I made no effort to rhyme (I've caught myself editing it even after promising myself that I'd leave it 'as is' warts n' all)...Although I loved playing with them, I stuck with the novels...this is my celebration of the Winter Solstice...

Longest Night

Weary at the end of this shortest day
I long to rest -
I sit by the window to observe
the beginning of the longest night.
I light a candle and turn off the lamp -
the glass reflects the white lights in the fir tree
that glitter behind me,
a symbol of life and
the season of giving.
I watch the snow fall and
shimmer to the ground -
a soft white blanket,
blue shadows like twilight.
The street light illuminates the night -
the snow sparkles
the essence of something precious,
each flake fallen rare -
unique crystalline infinite forms,
so small and delicate -
the warmth of tomorrows sun
can destroy these precise
intricate wonders after this
longest night is done.
Shivering, I blow out my candle
turn off the lights,
I go to bed to sleep until
the morning comes
at the end of this longest night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Upstate jokes

The black dog turning white.My dog Max is a regular snow-bunny...gotta be to live here...

A classic December sunrise...

I joke about the cold and the snow, and complain about the constant gray that starts around October 20th and might end by Memorial Day...but someone just sent me a Jeff Foxworthy list of Upstate jokes (very reminiscent of "You Know You're a Redneck When...") however, I can't resist them only because they ring so true...especially now with another storm coming our way and yet again, we're going to get stomped on by Mother Nature...

Jeff Foxworthy on Upstate New York .

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 36 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Upstate New York.

If you're proud that your region makes the national news 96 nights a year because Saranac Lake is the coldest spot in the nation, and Syracuse gets more snow than any other major city in

the US, you might live in Upstate NY.

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from October through May, you might live in Upstate New York

If you get 131 inches of snow in a week and you comment that 'winter's finally here,' you might live near Oswego in Upstate New York.

If you instinctively walk like a penguin for six months out of the year, you might live, bundled up, in Upstate New York.

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, you might live in Upstate NY.

If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, you might live in Upstate New York.

If you have worn shorts and a parka on the same day, you might live in Upstate New York.

If you have had a lengthy phone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you might live in Upstate New York.


'Vacation' means going south past Syracuse for the weekend.

You measure distance in hours.

You know several people who have hit a deer - more than once.

You often switch from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again.

You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching.

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend/wife knows how to use them.
You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.

You can identify a southern or eastern accent.

Down South to you means Corning .

Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new shed.

You go out for a fish fry every Friday.

Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.

You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

You find 10 degrees 'a little chilly.' And 55 is shorts weather.

You actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Upstate New York friends and to those who used to live here and left(chickens).

On a side note...we are a resilient little bunch up here...in most places there's the Dog Days of August when people become cranky and likely to do things out of character...here, there are the Gray Days of Winter...we get cranky and are likely to do things out of character, and when the sun comes out we are blind and confused...
a photo by my Fred of one of our fine lookin' pine trees...