Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Posters for grandchildren

I've been wracking my brain as to what to send  to my grand kids for Christmas.  I've been the book grandma, but as they get older not all of them have developed a love of reading.  Big SIGH!!! Some have developed a love of drawing which is almost as good and I have sent drawing supplies to some.  I don't like to send toys especially trendy toys because I want to send something personal that can help us relate to each other. All books get read by me before they get given as gifts so I know they are appropriate and we can discuss them.  Of course with drawing we can share our current projects but I still have a couple of kids that kind of baffled me this Christmas.  Then I came up with the idea of the zoo collage.  I do not live close enough to take them to the zoo in person but I can take them to the zoo through my photos.  I am going to have this blown up to poster size so they can put it up on their wall and remember me.  I find it hard to be a long distance grandma and any ideas would be appreciated.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010


These are my flowers that have managed to survive the frosts that we have had and continue to bud and bloom.  My blanketflowers continue to add a bright cheerful invitation to my front door even when they are surrounded by the fallen brown leaves of the autumn trees.  These late fall troopers from my garden continue to gladden my heart.

These tiny daisy like flowers were tucked up next to the concrete of my driveway.  Tiny as they are they are somewhat sheltered by the little heat and protection from the lip of the concrete, one more flower to brighten my day.  I noticed it because when I walk with my dog I look around for the beauty of this world.  This photo reminds me of a quote I found  a couple of days ago while reading.
"The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.  (or your sense of wonder)"   
~Aldous Huxley~
~parenthesis added by me~ 

There are times when I am able to capture that sense of wonder as I look around as a child might.
I try to be a Trooper too, bringing a little brightness into the world with my photos.  I also try to be a Trooper in a different way, in spite of the set backs in my life where I can't always post, I always come back.  In our house we have had the autumn crud going through those who inhabit this house.  Even Tom took a day off work today.  I think this was the 4th time in 30+ years of marriage that he has taken a sick day for himself (with the exception of surgery).  He has to be extraordinarily sick to stay home.  Jeremy has been sick and dragging for weeks and finally gave in, took the day off and went into the doctor.  I, myself have not felt good either and have had to contend with IVIG and other Doctor visits.  One of the reasons I had to go to one of my doctors shows up real well in my artwork.  I did a zendoodle of my hands, both my right and my left hand. 
I went to the neurologist because when I reached and grabbed something with my right hand I would get shocks down my arm and sometimes drop what I had just picked up not just from the pain but because my muscles let go.  I was suddenly losing strength in my hand.  I was no longer able to lift lids or twist lids off.  Sometimes when I hold something light and get distracted my hand 'forgets' that I am holding it and down it goes.  Not cool.  My fingers were getting curled and my hand will no longer lay flat and they are kind of lumpy and twisted.  I pushed my hand down to trace it but I think you can see the difference between my hands (the lumps around my wrist on my left hand is my watch).  The fingers are shorter, don't separate, are lumpy and look for the shape of the fingernails and you can tell my fingers are twisted on my right hand.  A lot of this has happened over the last couple months as I have worked so hard to build my blog and develop a network I truly enjoy. The doctor told me that we can test to see how bad the damage has gotten but we already knew I had peripheral neuropathy and carpel tunnel so unless there was a new underlying problem there was not much that could be done that we were not already doing.  I was really quite bummed and turned to prayer.  'Why be given these gifts and loves if I am not able to develop them?'   I kind of felt like Yentl in the movie.  I know that the Lord wants us to develop our talents and to share them to make this world a better place and to help build up the Lord's kingdom on earth.  I felt like I would be led to what I needed as has so often happened, my serendipity, and it will come.  Sure enough that night I saw an ad for voice recognition software that I think will help me tremendously.  It is now on my Amazon wish list.
  Dragon Premier 11.  I researched on Amazon, CNET, Best Buy to get what I think will be the best for me and my system.  Windows7 may have a lot of advantages but the program has to be Windows7 compatible because it is picky.  
    ON TOP OF THE HILL.     
☺☺☺ SMILING☺☺☺ 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Every cloud has a silver lining

Last Christmas I got my husband a subscription to Netflix.  He has never ordered a movie and very rarely watches the movies I pick; however I have enjoyed it and it has saved me some money.  I use it to check out movies before I purchase them and that has been real handy as some movies only last about 15 min before I eject them.  We very seldom go to the movies due to the cost; maybe once a year for something special (Star Trek, Star Wars, LOTR and an occasional other).  I would much rather spend my entertainment money on books and music and movies I will watch over and over again.  I also use Netflix to play movies on my computer when I am working on a project (sewing, inside gardening, or other such things).  I feel bad when my presents are not useful or enjoyed by those that they are intended for, but I have enjoyed this one, and the kids have too.  It gets used and enjoyed even more when kids and grandkids visit.  So silver lining.
I think the best of the silver lining is I get to try movies that I might otherwise never have watched.  I can even watch a chick flick while Tom is at work without worrying about being teased about the sniffles.  I can lean back and enjoy.  Maybe even enjoy some chocolate, be the typically decadent housewife. LOL.  Anyway with the change of season crud, you know the stomach bug going around or the sinus problems or the cold that seems to show up when the first weather changes, going around the house and sending me to the doctors, I actually watched a movie all the way through without ever pausing or falling asleep or being distracted and having to rewind.  For me this is something of a miracle.  There are still movies that I have 'watched' many times and we've had for years that I am surprised to find scenes that I had never seen before.  The nice thing, the best thing about the movie is I really liked it and hopefully someone this Christmas will give it to me.  Below is the Trailer:

                       It's about the many different aspects of love and forgiveness in many different relationships.  The Last Song was very enjoyable, not a movie I would have bought without seeing first.  It just happened to be here when I was sick enough to actually watch it, but not so sick that I fell asleep watching.  I also usually don't watch a movie if I have read the book first.  My philosophy about that is the movie can never live up to the book or at least there are few exceptions to this.  I think I now need to read the book.
Hope all is well at you house and you can find some time to find an unexpected pleasure, a silver lining if need be in you life.
Johnina  :^A

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apparently it works

I have been doing art for fun and relaxation and as my previous posts have said this has helped with pain relief.  Apparently doing this art has helped in more ways than temporary pain relief; it has helped me chill on a regular basis.  Last Friday I had a serious asthma attack and just happened to have a doctor's appointment.  Normally when I am having an asthma attack and go into the doctors I am hyperventilating, my blood pressure has been at stroke level and generally there is no doubt of the severity of the attack except because I am hyperventilating my O2 level is usually not to bad (but that is real bad because when I get tired of hyperventilating my blood gases are REAL bad,  I've heard  doctors swear in the hall as they read my blood gas report).  However this time my blood pressure was normal, I looked and acted normal and I was NOT hyperventilating, unfortunately my O2 levels were low due to my lack of hyperventilating.  The PA who examined me was startled when she listened to my lungs and couldn't hear breath sounds in the bottom of my lungs.  She has been treating me for years so she knows me and my lungs and reactions very well.  She was very pleased with my more relaxed  reaction, despite the lower O2, as it tends to keep the attack for getting more severe.  Very good for me!!!!
Today, I had to be driven through Atlanta to a doctor on the north side and for the first time my blood pressure was normal when I got there.  The meditation aspect of the Mandalas, zendoodle, and photo-edits just for fun has certainly made a difference in my physical well being as shown by my recent doctor visits.  I am becoming more and more a firm believer in the benefits and importance of adding art to my life.  To making it an absolute priority!
Now I would like your help and suggestions- please leave comments here or on my e-mail.  I have a daughter that gets real stressed at college and a couple of years ago for Christmas I did up an art tote bag to keep her art supplies in, so they were always handy, organized and ready to go, so she could do her watercolors, relax and decompress.  She does not use very often.  How do I convince her of the benefits that can come from taking the time to use it when she does not feel that she has that kind of time?  I would appreciate any help I could get, maybe personal experiences.  Thanks
Johnina  :^A

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

This photo was taken by my daughter of her kids at their great-grandfathers grave at Arlington National Cemetary.  Sometime today pay tribute to those who service your country.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Different Drummer

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
~ Henry David Thoreau~
I have loved this quote since I was in high school and while I find it relatively easy to let others keep step with their different drummer; I have found as an individual it is difficult to figure out what different drummer I hear.  As I have grown older I have found that listening to that different drummer takes a great deal of introspection and effort.  Truly following that different drummer without hesitation and with all my heart is the hardest part of all. 
One small example comes from learning to do the Mandalas.  In the directions it said to go with the flow don't think about it, just use the shape that comes to mind.  What the video showed were small shapes and my Mandala ended up small and intricate. See my post 'Mandalas' from October.  It was meditative but would have been more so if I wasn't fighting the urge to do larger more stylized shapes.  I enjoyed what I was drawing but how much more I would enjoy it by following the different drummer that was trying to be heard.  When I did listen this is what I got.

In looking at the picture I was able to figure out what it was about this picture that made me love this picture as opposed to just liking the first one.  I love the contrast between then the small details and the swooping lines. I love the wide space of rich colors and texture.  I love the deep rich colors and the bright, light highlights that add sparkle.  I colored it on GIMP so I could get those colors and the textures which I also like.  I find coloring in with colored pencils extremely relaxing but it takes a long time to get that kind of rich color and I wanted to see how this would turn out quicker than using the pencils.  I am going to do one with pencils to complete my following of that different, distant drummer.
Even though this is just a small example; how often do we follow the crowd or the social instructions all the time with that different, distant drummer whispering to us that there are other ways that we could enjoy ourselves so much more.  Following the crowd enters our lives so often and it is only through either introspection first and courage to follow through or trying something new and different and then considering what made the experience special that we can follow that different drummer.  I'm in my 50's and I'm still figuring out what my different drummer is and how best to follow it.   With my introspection and trying to find my path I always make sure that it fits with those behaviors that I know are moral and correct.  Following the crowd when it is moral and correct brings about the greatest joy and happiness, especially when we use our own special style and talents.
Johnina  :^A

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First frost

I love to go out first thing on cold frosty mornings when there is frost on the ground.  There are so many different patterns of frost depending on how cold it is and what plant it is on.  This is one of the advantages of walking the dogs first thing in the morning; you get to see the pristine frost with the morning light shining on it making it sparkle.  When the kids where still at home and it was their turn to walk the dogs in the morning all they did was complain of the cold.  I never could teach them to look down and enjoy the beauty of nature beneath their feet.  One of my regrets.

As you can see the frost on these blades of grass are very different from the frost patterns on the dandelion leaves above.  Before I got my camera and was out walking the dogs I could look and appreciate the beauty there, but now with my camera I can get much closer, save the images and play with them.  The original photo of this was pretty with it's pastel coloring in the middle but I didn't like the darker green surrounding it, so it took the pastel part and duplicated it over the whole picture and made an abstract piece of art, which I liked much better.

I really liked this picture of the sparkle that the frost creates in the early morning light.  I did punch up the sparkle a tad as an experiment and am pretty pleased with the way it came out.  It was actually more like I saw it than the camera could capture.

This is the same photo as the top one.  I just had fun making it in a little more impressionist style, although I think next time I would go a little farther with the impressionistic style and frame it.  I don't remember where I got the suggestion to look down and enjoy the beauty there but I sure am glad that I did.  Now that I have a camera I can extend that pleasure and share it with others. Have a pleasant day and try looking down to see what beauty may lay there.                                                                                                ENJOY   Johnina  :^A

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Woke up this morning and couldn't go back to sleep; one of of the things that I do to help me when this happens is to listen to music.  Quite often it is New Age or Classical because they tend to be smooth with no vocals. For this reason I also occasionally listen to smooth jazz.  Lately however I have started to listen to hymns with the words and I find that this helps carry the calmness throughout my day as the words come back into my mind.  I have the hymns from our hymnbook on CD and put it on my 5 CD player and hit repeat all and listen all night.  A couple of weeks ago I discovered an Internet radio station http://www.yldsr.com/  that plays hymns, contemporary inspirational music and now Christmas music and you can choose which type you would prefer to listen to.  Right now 'Amazing Grace' is playing but when I first got up and started to listen one of my favorite contemporary songs was on and it kept going through my mind even with other songs playing so I decided to share it with you and I was surprised and delighted to find a video version on you-tube.  I hope you will listen and it will touch your spirit as it touches mine. 
Johnina :^A

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day USA

This is a very important election here in the USA.  I made sure that I voted by taking advantage of the early voting.  I just picked a day when I felt decent and went and voted.  I was amazed at the number of people who where there to vote early.  Early voting and absentee voting have been a big controversy as it can lead to more voter fraud.  I agree with the old rules where you had to have a reason to vote early or have an absentee ballot.  I used to have to have to explain why I was requesting an early ballot and sign it.  This time I just checked a box that said I was requesting an early ballot. What good does it do to have early voting to make it easier for the handicapped (me) to vote if the only voting place is busy with those who just want to avoid the crowds on election day.  My husband avoided the crowds by getting up early this morning to be first in line.  My son has chosen to deal with the crowds a little later on.  This is a civic duty folks and a little inconvenience to help avoid voter fraud and help the handicapped and elderly to vote should be worth it.
Absentee ballots are also wide open for fraud, probably more so than early voting, but they do have a place and like early voting should only be used for specific reasons.  My daughter is away at college and needs one and I have a son-in -law who travels for business and will be out of town on election day.  These are legitamite reasons.
I would hope that those of you out there who are US citizens will brave the inconvenience of voting today and go out and make your voice heard!!!!