Let’s Go Inside My Skull

Written by Braiden on September 30, 2010

Kate Heyhoe, the very first person who contributed a story to Five More Minutes With, is a talented food writer and a dear personal friend. In the past several months, disillusioned by the state of publishing (as so many of us old timers who’ve published books, started Web sites, and written newspaper and magazine articles for a living are), she’s trying her hand at an entirely new career.

At her studio in the woods of the Hill Country outside of Austin, Texas, she crafts “Dreams of the Dead” skulls–miniature to full-size skulls spun from sugar–and sells them on her Web site. The site is glorious, complete with a slide show of the skulls available for purchase from $20 to $300 depending on size and complexity.

Kate and I stay in touch, and she reports her new business is doing quite well.

In fact, a few weeks ago, she e-mailed to tell me, “I’ve already got two galleries in Austin that have agreed to sell my skulls. One of them is the Mexic-Arte Museum, the other Authenticity Gallery. Please revisit InsideMySkull.com to see the newest skulls. Some are near human-size nightlights.”

In mid-September, she e-mailed, “Authenticity Gallery sold my first skull today — it was a mini, but any sale validates my work.”

Kate and I still marvel, and chuckle, that it took the crisis in the publishing world to push us both simultaneously toward new and, in some ways similar, creative career paths.

Congrats, Kate, and brava!

Kate Heyhoe makes sugar skulls of all sizes–from mini to human-size nightlights

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Thomas the Cat, a Beautiful Video Tribute

Written by Braiden on September 24, 2010

If you are a cat lover (as I am), and even if you’re not, you must watch this mesmerizing video tribute to Thomas the cat. The images are haunting, the music a perfect accompaniment to this inspiring tribute to a beloved companion animal.

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Written by Braiden on September 23, 2010

One of Braiden’s flower arrangements, photographed by Spencer Johnson, her talented husband

One of the most relaxing things I do in my daily life, my life away from work, is designing beautiful flower arrangements. They’re not for sale. . .just something I like to have around the house for a bit of color and inspiring natural beauty.

After I put together my arrangements, if they are pretty enough, my husband takes them down to his studio and photographs them on a black velvet background using his big professional digital camera and lens. Quite often, I post the photos on my other Web site, and thought I’d do the same thing on this site as well.

The arrangement above especially appeals to me since my favorite color is purple. I love the way the cool green pompoms contrast so well with the elegant tall purple stalks (don’t know what type of flower they are).

A few Sundays ago, The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine had an article on flower arranging by long-time contributor and gardening guru, Valerie Easton. Entitled, “Bouquets From Your Garden Bring the Beauty Inside,” the following paragraph especially spoke to me:

“If flowers are distilled emotion, then gathering and combining them into a single arrangement is surely the most expressive of arts. Then there’s how thoroughly absorbing it is once you get going. All you need is sharp shears, a fresh bucket of cool water to plunge the stems into as soon as you cut them, and a quiet place to work with what you’ve cut. A little music and a cup of tea wouldn’t hurt to slow you down.”

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The Place Her Father Didn’t Want Her to See

Written by Braiden on September 16, 2010

I was moved and shaken by the story written by Connie Schultz in the September 5th edition of Parade Magazine.

In the story, Schultz depicts the toll that her father’s everyday job as a maintenance mechanic at the Cleveland Electric Illuminating company, Plant C, took including a heart attack and bypass at age 48, stints in his heart after he retired, then a final heart attack that took him at age 69.

She urges her daughter–his granddaughter–to always remember she’s the daughter of a maintenance mechanic. If she does that, she can do anything, Schultz concludes.

Do you have a father, mother, or close relative who inspires you? If so, have you thanked them lately?

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Leaving a Mark

Written by Braiden on September 9, 2010

The Eurodam’s trail in the ocean

During our summer trip to Scandinavia and Russia, we enjoyed three days at sea, when there really wasn’t much to do other than relax and enjoy each other’s company. A novel idea!

While walking around the various decks of the ship, trying to familiarize ourselves with all its offerings, I noticed the trails of water the boat left behind. . .the beautiful patterns and colors the trails formed.

Do you think about the legacy you will leave once you are gone? Will your time here on earth be as ephemeral as waves on the water or will your presence and actions have a more powerful meaning?

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Five More Minutes With iPhone App

Written by Braiden on September 3, 2010

I am very pleased that there is now a mobile version of the Five More Minutes With Web site, which means that you can now read stories on your iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, or Google Phone. You can even leave a comment or share a story, too!

Although now quite as powerful as an actual “app,” this is the next best thing, and much more cost-effective.

Hope you will enjoy this new functionality; I know I have a ball looking at the latest stories and editor’s notes from Five More Minutes With on my iPhone4!

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