Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
I ran an extension cord out of the garage, along the deck and then under the deck, up the trunk of the tree, around a branch and over to the chandelier. I plugged in the string of Christmas lights and TA DA… the chandelier was beautiful!
The chandelier gave off a warm glow with just enough light to keep you from falling over flower pots and other garden obstacles. The light wasn’t so bright as to attract bugs, so guests could sit and visit into the night without bother.
I plugged in the chandelier on special occasions – only when we were planning on sitting on the deck. The chandelier had a rather long and happy life. Eventually the strand of light went dark. Then the task of untangling the lights and beads began. I have to admit that making the chandelier was more fun than taking it apart.
Since that first chandelier, I have made several more. I have used and re-used the beads from the beaded curtains and lately I have utilized old strands of Christmas beads. I buy the wire hanging baskets, use them one year and then throw away the liner and turn it into a chandelier the next year.
I now have three chandeliers hanging in the trees by the deck in the backyard. I sort of ran out of things to repurpose so I buy glass Christmas bangles, dangles and beaded decorations after Christmas or during the pre-Christmas sales. I have a stash of pretties in my closet that I can pull out when the “New Chandelier” urge strikes.
My niece Darci has admired my chandeliers and has asked me to make her one. I don’t do that! But I did invite her to come over and make one for herself. I found an old wire basket in the garage and retrieved the stash of baubles from the closet.
I’ve been doing this chandelier thing for many years now. Assembling, enjoying, disassembling and repeat. I’m not going to claim I’m an expert at making garden chandeliers… but I have designed a rather clever chandelier work station. The work station isn’t elaborate - just a hook in the ceiling and a hanger.
The hook hangs over the couch in the living room. The wire coat hanger hangs from the hook. The wire basket hangs from the end of the hanger. All of my supplies such as scissors, wire cutters, wire, zip ties, Christmas lights, baubles, bangles, dangles and beads are lined up on the couch.
I can easily reach most parts of the hanging basket. I do keep a little step stool handy for those instances when I need to attach lights, beads or baubles at the very tip top - where the three basket chains meet at the hook.
So anyway, I prepped the chandelier making station, filling it with assorted bling and necessary equipment. When Darci arrived, the basket was hung and awaiting her creativity. I did give her a few directions and showed her how I start. First the beads and lights – then the baubles.
Unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on how you look at it – Darci doesn’t have an outside outlet at her house, so she ordered a strand of solar lights – which she added to the chandelier later. And I must say, when she sent me a picture of the finished product, the lights looked lovely. So – if you don’t have an outside outlet, not to worry – solar lights look fantastic and work great.
Oma Sue loves her chandeliers. Oma loves chandeliers here! Oma loves chandeliers there! Oma loves chandeliers everywhere… in the garden, by the deck, in front of the shed, what the heck! Hanging from the trees, by the back door, under the eaves, even shining through the leaves, Oma Loves Chandeliers if you please… hmmph… must have been having an Oma “Seuss” moment there.
If you have read this far, please don’t throw your old wire basket or beaded curtain away! I will gladly take those items off your hands and reuse them to make another chandelier. You just can’t have enough garden chandeliers!
I have to admit that I am not much of a fair goer… and if I am being completely honest, I have to also admit that I am not much of a go anywhere type of goer. I’m pretty much a homebody these days and quite content to sit in my shed, sip tea and write. But I did, for the first time in a long time, attend the Nebraska State Fair. And when I say long time – it’s like 50 years… so ya it’s been awhile.
For those not familiar with Nebraska, the fair was held for millions of years in Lincoln – the State Capitol. I believe the University campus wanted to expand into the fair-grounds – but I could be wrong! There was a whole big deal about moving the fair to Grand Island and there were people who supported the move and others who thought their hearts would break if the fair left Lincoln. For some, traditions run deep!
For me it wasn’t a problem. I was perfectly happy not going to the fair in Lincoln and I would be equally happy not going to the fair in Grand Island. Actually, I might even feel a bit more relieved if the fair was moving a greater distance away – that would make me feel less guilty about my lack of desire of going…
But then I retired and I started writing. I wrote a children’s story and then started a publishing company. Pretty soon I had a book, a website, t-shirts, puzzles and various other products for sale. A friend suggested I join the Nebraska Writer’s Guild – I checked it out. I joined the guild.
The next thing I know I’m getting information from the guild and they are asking if I would be interested in working some shifts at the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Booth at the Nebraska State Fair. Suddenly I am a published author… a member of the guild… various books and products are stored in my basement… circumstances have changed… opportunities have arisen… I may have a reason and a bit of a desire to go to the Fair.
I talked to my oldest daughter Sara and asked if she and my granddaughter Gracyn would like to go to the Fair in Grand Island. Gracyn is only four years old and had never been to the State Fair. Sara had often gone to the fair when it was in Lincoln but had not visited since the move to G.I. a decade earlier.
I signed up for the first Saturday of the Fair and off we went. When I left Fremont, the weather was fine. When Sara, Gracyn and I were on the Interstate between York and Grand Island, we drove through a blinding rain. I was glad that Sara was driving – blinding rain storms are so not my thing.
The drive into Grand Island from the Interstate was less blinding but still a steady rain. The ditches were running full and, in some instances, encroaching into the roadway. Fields looked like lakes and parking lots didn’t look much better.
The gravel/dirt parking lots at Fonner Park were actually closed off as water was several inches deep. People were being told to park at Walmart and other locations and they would be bussed to the park. I had a suit case full of stuff – and bussing that around didn’t seem like a great idea. So, we went looking for parking elsewhere.
We parked in a residential area just two blocks north of the park. We put Gracyn in the stroller. I grabbed the suitcase. We made a mad dash, in the rain, for the park. A mad dash, for a 68 year-old woman, dragging a suitcase through puddles, isn’t exactly a graceful or even “mad” dash. I’m not sure how Sara did on that mad dash – I didn’t look back… Finally, we arrived at the entrance and we waited in line to pay for admission. By the time we reached the building, we were soaked. Once in the building, I quickly entered the restroom to check my hair. Sara told me to get out of the men’s restroom, and I did…
We found the Writer’s Guild booth and I must say I had a delightful time interacting with the authors present during my shift. People were encouraged to come into the booth and view the books on display. I was impressed by the diversity – so much talent in our State! I sold a few books, puzzles and book bags. I handed out a bunch of business cards and encouraged people to visit the website to read my blog. I saw some old friends and made some new friends. My experience at the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Booth at the Nebraska State Fair was successful even though the rain had dampened things a bit.
The rain did let up and Sara was able to take Gracyn on a few rides. After I was done with my shift, we meandered through the buildings and got up close and personal with baby chicks, lambs, calves, bunnies and little piglets. We saw some really big cows, goats, sheep, geese and horses. I bought some amazing cleaner and signed up to win $10,000 worth of windows. I didn’t get anything deep fat fried on a stick but found some great almonds and the University Dairy Ice Cream is quite delicious!
I planned on going back to work a few more shifts but the rains continued through the week. I decided to pack it in for this year. I think I will sign up next year. I may even stay overnight. I know – weird! It’s a whole year away and I may change my mind. And it does depend on the weather…