Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 Ways to Get in Trouble Before Breakfast


I understand that at 5-1/2 months, Little Buttercup is in the terrible teens -- she divides her time about equally between sleeping and getting into trouble.  Here's a list of the kinds of things she's up to these days:

1.   Run crazily around the house between 6 and 7 AM, bounding off the couch arms, leaping over the ottoman, landing on the kitchen table.  If anyone tries to get you to slow down, bite and scratch them (not hard).

2.   Play a drum solo on the knobs at the end of the blind cords, waking anyone who's not already up.

3.   Look very cute watching tv (she loves the US Open):

"I love Rafa!"

    but not very cute when you try to climb on top of the tv:

"No, really, I won't scratch the screen . . ."

4.  Torment the ever-patient October until he hisses seriously enough to make you back off.

5.   Climb up the window screens to get closer to those birds you'd love to eat.

6.   Leap between the slats on the blinds.  This is a new trick that is apparently a lot of fun.

7.  Interfere with anyone who's trying to do anything in the house. 

"Come on, you look like you need some help --"

8.   Climb up the bedroom bookcase, knocking down various boxes of art supplies, sketchbooks, etc. etc.

9.    Jump repeatedly up the wall to try to catch the spiderweb you see hanging from the ceiling.  (Yes, I'm a terrible housekeeper . . . )

"I'll get it if I can just jump a little higher . . . "

10.   From your vantage point on the bedroom windowsill, have a great time batting and clawing the necklaces I have hanging from a fixture on the wall, some of which are fairly expensive . . .

There's more (like playing with the cord when the very hot iron is plugged in, jumping up on the kitchen counter while bacon is frying on the stove . . . ), but I think I'll stop here.  I understand that this phase lasts only three or four months.  Lord give me strength.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Faded Prairie: wednesday's whisper no. 3...


Faded Prairie: wednesday's whisper no. 3...

". . . that was the day she made herself the promise to live more from intention and less from habit . . . "

A beautiful sentiment -- one I need to give a lot of thought to. I am a total creature of habit. I've also given Faded Prairie one of my "Versatile Blogger" awards --

A Versatile Blogger --


Thanks very much to Nita from Artistic Composition for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award!  I truly appreciate it.  I'm supposed to tell seven things about myself and then nominate others for the award.  I agree to do the following things:

1) Thank the blogger who awarded me and link back to her.
2) Share 7 things about myself.
3) Pass the award along to 15 other newly discovered blogs.

 So, seven things about me that you don't already know . . .and I realize that I did this kind of thing once before, so I have to come up with NEW things:

1.  I was married for 28 years, then remarried three weeks after my divorce papers were signed.  The craziest thing I've ever done, but it has turned out very well.

2.  I was quite religious as a kid, but now I'm not really any more, though I love Christian imagery and music.

3.  I love mythology and have taught a class on contemporary writers that use mythology as their subject matter.  Medusa is my favorite.

4.  I love having a garden, but I hate to garden.  So I have a wonderful woman (who is now my friend) who does everything for me.

5.  I skipped first grade.  This caused all kinds of problems in my life.

6.  I started out thinking I'd be an actor in life, as my dad was -- but then I decided I'd be mediocre, so I became a teacher instead, which to me is just another kind of performance art.

7.  I'm the only person in my extended family who has finished college, and I went all the way to a Ph.D.  This has made me a kind of freak in my family.

So there you have it.  Here are the bloggers and blogs I really enjoy, and since I'm pretty new to blogging, they are all "newly discovered," as far as I'm concerned:

1.  Nancy at A Rural Journal
2.  Henrietta at Homesick 
3.  Dawn at Bohemian Valhalla 
4.  Kristin at Faded Prairie 
5.  Adrienne at La Vie Quotidienne
6.  Kristy at Life-N-Reflection 
7.  Linda at Linda J. Makiej Photography 
8.  Kristi at Live and Love Out Loud 
9.  The Muses at The Mortal Muses 
10.  Bonnie at Pixel Dust Photo Art 
11.  TexWisGirl at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report
12.  Cat at The Whimsical Gardener
13.  Christy at Urban Muser
14.  Ms. Becky at Shaking the Tree
15.  The ladies at The Sketchbook Challenge

Some dahlias for you . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm thrilled --


Two of my pictures have been accepted for an art exhibition, "Works on Paper," at the Santa Cruz Art League!  I decided to go ahead and put in an application, even though I felt I had little chance of getting in -- they do art, not photography. 

When I got the letter in the mail, it was very thin, and I thought, oh well, it's a rejection.  But it wasn't!  I couldn't be more thrilled.

These are the two pictures that they accepted.  I have to have them very nicely framed!  Yippee!

Monday, September 5, 2011

More Dahlias


Dahlias come in so many beautiful shapes and colors!  It's pretty overwhelming to be in a room with hundreds of them (I should have taken a picture of that -- )

[Linkup to Picture Perfect]

I love the spidery ones -- yellow and red, purple and white -- some of them are huge.  This is one I brought home --

These are all processed partially with Nik Software's Color Efex Pro, one of a group of excellent photo processing programs I bought last spring.  So far, I've only used Color Efex and Silver Efex (haven't had the time to put in to learning the others), but they're wonderful -- they offer so many possibilities for different effects.  The one right above is supposed to look like a Polaroid picture.  The black-and-white effects you can get with Silver Efex are just stunning.

The programs don't come cheap, though -- the individual programs are $100-200 each, but you can buy the whole set for $299.  That's what I did with my income tax return this year :)

Anyway, hope you enjoy the dahlias.  I have about a bazillion pictures to process.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One of my favorite days . . .


. . . of the year.  Today I went to the annual show of the Monterey Bay Dahlia Society.  This is the third year that I've gone, and I really enjoy it.  It's a very challenging environment for taking pictures -- poor light, bad backgrounds, people all over the place,but I really like doing it.  I take my monopod, and off I go. 

[Linkup to The Simple Things]

This year, there were many, many flowers, each one more beautiful than the next.  My goal is to get the best angle I can and then I work with it in Photoshop -- lots of cloning, lots of texture.

Sometimes I can achieve quite dramatic effects --

(Linkup to Quotography)

And then I usually buy a bunch of dahlias when I leave and go home and try to get them in a better light, using the 100mm and so on.

(Linkup to Your Sunday Best)

When I got home, I put the flowers in a vase on a high table, and shortly thereafter, Buttercup decided she needed to admire them.

  [Linkup to The Creative Exchange]

Of course, she couldn't leave it at just smelling them, and things went quickly downhill from there.

Before I knew what was happening, she was knocking over the flowers, trying to climb up several pictures on the wall, sending two other framed pictures crashing to the floor, breaking a tile that was under the flowers -- good grief!  Bad kitty!

But of course I still love her . . .

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Buttercup loves . . .


1.  The printer.  Any time I'm printing anything out, she has to sit right there and watch it.  Today, I was scanning materials for my class, and she was so fascinated -- the noise, the moving light, turning the next page of the book -- she was spellbound.  I decided to see what she would do if I ran the scanner without a document on it, and here's what she did:

Couldn't resist trying to catch that green light.  I'd love to get a video of her but haven't gotten there yet.

2.  The sound of birds -- any time she hears a bird outside, she makes a beeline for the window closest to it.  Really, if she's in the living room and hears a bird toward the back of the house, she races back there and leaps to the windowsill.  If it's outside the living room, she will run over anything that's there, including me, galloping over me like I'm just some other piece of furniture.  It's fine now that she weighs about 5 lb., but when she hits 10 or 15, I think she will leave black and blue marks all over me.  If we let her go outside, she would be a mighty hunter.  Which is why we don't.

3.  October.  She adores our older cat.  She follows him around, sleeps with him, and periodically stalks and ambushes him.  He is very tolerant -- she other day when she was biting him, he was licking her.

4.  Little mousies.  Her favorite toys are these little 59 cent mousies that have a little rattle in them.  Whatever she's doing, if she hears you rattling one, she comes a' running.

5.   Anything that goes "boing-boing-boing."  This little toy with streamers, a peacock feather, the strings on the blinds, a little ball on a rope -- she jumps so high, she could get a job with Cirque du Soleil (which, if you've never seen it, go).

6.  Anything, really.  She has such curiosity and joie de vivre, she's a constant delight (and a constant sweet aggravation, because she is always into something . . . ).  Here she is, exploring . . . calamine lotion.  And, she has become a Scotch drinker, after a fashion -- if my Loved One leaves an empty glass with melted ice and a teeny bit of Scotch in it, she's all over it.  She just loves it.

So, there it is for today.  She fills my life with joy, this little creature, and makes times like right now -- when I am up to my ears with work, school starts Tuesday, I'm a bit of a basket case -- bearable.  Again, not a cat person, but boy am I a this cat person.

Hope you're having a nice Sunday -- will get around soon --

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More on Little Buttercup


Buttercup is thriving -- here she is playing with one of her favorite toys:

See the yellow ball by her paw?  She bats it one way and watches it go around (through an opening on the side), then she bats it the other way and watches it go around.  Must be kind of like meditation.  :)

We've been having some success with the clicker training -- kind of a hiatus while we were on vacation, but now we're starting again.  She has so far learned that to get a treat, she touches her nose to the end of a chopstick, and when she does it, we click the clicker.  She's really good at it.  Next step:  to get her to stand on something like a placemat -- basically, "stay."  It's interesting how she really gets it.  Who knew that cats were trainable?

We've started giving her the run of the house at night -- when she first came to us, she was so tiny that we were afraid to let her run around at night, so we kept her in the (pretty big) crate we've used when fostering small dogs.  She seems to be fine now, except for the part where she comes in to snuggle up with me at 5 or 6 AM.  She lies close to my head (or on it, sometimes), she purrs like a machine (very loud in your ear), and worst of all . . . she periodically farts.  Seriously.  But still, it's pretty sweet.  Except for the part where I'm awakened at 5 AM . . . .  But still, I love her.

Here are a couple more pictures from the vacation:

It's a little dark, but I like the tree silhouetted against the sunset.  I like the way this one came out, too -- the light was nice.

These were processed with Nik Software, which I'll talk more about another day.

Hope you're having a nice weekend -- oh, and welcome, hoppers, from Say Hi Sunday 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Family --


(Linkup to Pink Saturday)

I love my family.  We hardly ever get together, but when we do, we have a wonderful time.  Two years ago, my brother, sister and I met in Phoenix for my cousin's 50th wedding anniversary (way to go, Marianne and Jack); my brother's girlfriend (now wife) came, but no other spouses or kids.  Before that, I took my son and daughter to Minnesota to stay with my sister, but my brother and my Loved One weren't there.  This time. my only niece was getting married, and we decided to get all siblings, spouses, and my kids together (of course we saw niece and nephew).  So only my brother's kids weren't there.

I was so excited to be at my niece's wedding.  She's a lovely person -- a pistol, actually -- full of fun and kind and smart and all of the things you'd like a kid to be.  Her new husband is a wonderful man, sort of quiet until you get to know him, but so kind and patient and hard-working.  I sent them the picture above, printed on canvas, as a wedding present, and it came out very nicely. which made me so happy. 

The wedding was lovely,   The color scheme -- white, red and black -- was terrific, and Aubree's dress was gorgeous -- white with dark red embroidery around the train, bodice, and veil.  It was so pretty.  And the wedding had nice personal touches, readings and especially the music, which was non-traditional, lots of old love songs from the 60's and 70's.  The best moment came when they were pronounced man and wife, and from the speakers came "Ooga shaka, ooga, ooga, ooga shaka, ooga, ooga" -- B.J. Thomas singing "Hooked on a feeling."  Suddenly any solemnity was gone, and Aubree gave a whoop and they danced down the aisle to applause from everyone.  The reception was great -- good food, good times -- all in all, a wonderful day.

The next day, we all -- bride and groom, sister and her husband, brother and his wife, and me and my Loved One with our two kids -- headed north to Mille Lacs Lake, a big beautiful lake in northern Minnesota for the next three days.  The house we had rented was gorgeous, with a private dock and beach, and we settled in for a good time (the newlyweds stayed a short distance away, in a place of their own).  We played a game where you throw beanbags into a hole cut in wood (I can't tell you the name of it), had a real tournament, which my brother and my daughter won.  One night we sat outside until midnight, laughing and laughing (I never laugh so much as with my brother and sister).  We went to a casino for prime rib, and a local restaurant for walleye pike. 

(Linkup to Fabulous Friday)

Of course, we took lots of pictures.  The sunsets were terrific -- I hadn't brought a telephoto lens, just my 50mm, so I knew the sunset was going to look pretty teeny, far away across the lake.  I liked this one I took of my son, taking his own picture.

I like this one too -- so many beautiful clouds.  We really had a wonderful time, no squabbles or disagreements, just lots of laughter and silliness and fun.  We're all really glad we went.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ah, Summer Vacation --


We're off to my niece's wedding in Minnesota today -- I'll take lots of pictures and be back next Wednesday!  Have a great time, everyone!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Continuing Adventures of Little Buttercup


We are gaga about this cat, just crazy about her.  She makes us laugh all day, she sleeps in my arms like a baby, she cuddles up with our big cat, plays with him -- she's such a joy to have around.

She really likes to go outside, but I can't imagine just letting her out, and when we go sit on the porch with her, she's down the steps, under the car -- it just doesn't feel safe to me, that she could dart out if a car is coming down the street.  So . . . we're trying the harness route.

 (Linkup with Camera Critters)

Doesn't she look spiffy?  She didn't protest too much, when we first put it on, just rolled on the ground a little to see if it would come off.  Now we're taking her out a couple of times a day on a long leash, letting her explore for 15 minutes or so, and she seems to be doing fine with it.  A little cautious, but that could be the strange environment, too.  When we come in, I immediately give her a spoonful of canned cat food, which she loves and which we're saving for treats at this point.  When she's finished with the cat food, she goes right over to the door and cries to go out again.  Here she is exploring an empty box.

I think she's going to like it, eventually.  I also got a book on clicker training for cats, which we're going to try, because going the spray bottle route to keep her off the tables doesn't seem to be working.  She waits until I walk over and pick up the spray bottle, then she jumps down before I can use it.  There must be a better way.

Any tips on cat raising, much appreciated.  My Loved One, who has a very laid-back attitude toward cat raising, is very dubious about any of this working, but we'll see.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bummer . . .


I once stopped at the ATM on the way to work, on a morning in which I had about five errands to run before I got to the office.  I was flustered and in a hurry and somehow managed to walk away from the ATM without taking my card, without even closing the transaction.  When I got to work, I realized what happened, that I didn't have my card, and so looked immediately at my account online.  The person behind me in line had taken $200 (the maximum) out of my account.

This bewildered me to no end.  If you or I found someone's card still in the ATM machine, we'd be running off down the street after them, saying "Excuse me!  You left your card!"  I don't understand the mentality of someone who sees such a thing and immediately says to themselves, "Whoa -- a golden opportunity."  What kind of person is ready to just take advantage of someone instantly, if the opportunity arises?  I wonder how that person is brought up -- certainly not the way I was, because I feel guilty finding a $20 bill on the floor in a store and even thinking about keeping it.

Of course, we can always be wrong about people.  I had a student once that impressed me -- the wrong way -- on the first day of class.  Wife-beater t-shirt, tattoos all over, my immediate thought was oh, this guy's in class because he's not doing well with his writing and was told he'd better do something about it . . . here's where stereotypes can be wrong.  He turned out to be a wonderful writer, the best student in the class, one that I would from time to time have to say "John (pseudonym), please give someone else the opportunity to answer."  I ran into him in the parking garage one day, and said hey, what's up, and he told me he was going over to the corporation yard to return a wallet he'd found, one that had $200 in it.  When I saw him in class later, I said, did the guy give you a reward?  And his answer was well, he offered me $60 but I didn't take it -- I just wanted to do the right thing.  

So all of this is apropos of what?  The other night, someone went into my car and stole my iPod.  They went through everything, left the car doors open (the policeman says they always do that -- closing them makes noise).  They also stole our daughter's bike, but abandoned it when they found out one of the tires was flat.  Luckily, for some reason, they didn't go into my loved one's car, because they could have had a Kindle, in addition to his iPod.

Unfortunately, our daughter has some rather unsavory acquaintances, and I suspect it was some of them.  These kids stole a $5000 custom-made bike from a guest of the guy across the street, in broad daylight.  The guy eventually got some of the parts back, because the bike was broken up, and they went to juvenile hall over it.  But what I don't understand, if it was the same kids who stole my iPod, is how you can steal from your neighbors, people who say hello to you and would help you any time you needed it.  And their parents defend them.  I just don't get it.

Here's a flower to brighten up a gloomy post:

Trying out some new textures that Evelyn at Within My Focus alerted me to -- two of the textures I used are from Pixel Dust, the other from Flypaper, my favorites.

Have a great weekend --

Oh, P.S., the bank gave me back the $200, and I think they caught the guy.  And I have a new iPod -- I can't live without my audiobooks at this point.  I hope they enjoy the 27-hour biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer I was right in the middle of.

Oh, and I thought I'd hook up with Camera Critters,  with a picture of our Little Buttercup, who is growing by leaps and bounds.  Four pounds, now!

Oh, to be able to sleep so sweetly!

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's almost over --


When school gets out at the end of May, it seems that the summer will go on forever, and is full of endless possibilities . . . But it's not even August 1st yet and I'm already getting emails about the beginning-of-semester meetings, and reminders that for all intents and purposes, my school year will start on August 15, rather than on the 22nd when things really start.  And I'm way behind on planning my class . . . so what else is new??

I'm participating in the "Friday 56," in which you pick a quote from page 56 of whatever book you're reading.  Here's the book:

 And here's the quote:  "The most emotionally compelling of those private obligations was protection of men's dependents.  Thus wars were increasingly explained as being fought for hearth and home, most especially 'to protect our women.'"  This is a very interesting book about the American family, especially myths that have grown up about it -- for example, that it's evidence of our country's decline that so many teenagers are having babies these days, when in fact, the rate of births by teens 15-19 is actually half of what it was in 1957.  In this quote, she's talking about what happened as a government could no longer count on the fact that people had an obligation to be obedient to the state (i.e., to fight for it in times of war), so they began arguing that people had private obligations, to protect their women and children, in order to get them to enlist.  It's a very interesting book.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boy, it's been a while --


I was so busy, getting ready for my "Summer Art in the Garden" show, I was kind of a basket case.  It happened last weekend, and although it was not a huge moneymaker, I'm really glad I did it for the experience of getting ready for something like that.  Of course things went wrong -- on the last day, I ran out of double-sided tape and the tape dispenser exploded, and my staple gun quit working.  But the show went very well -- even though people weren't buying much (they were there to buy plants, not pictures), they were very complimentary about my work, and that was very gratifying.  Also, the store wants me to give them one of my great big pictures, so we'll see how that goes.  The picture below is one that a number of people were interested in -- personally, I don't think it's that great, but who am I to argue?

I'm forging ahead with new things --  today I submitted a couple of things to a juried show at the Santa Cruz Art League called "Works on Paper" -- first time I've ever done something like that.  I also put in an application to the "Aptos Artisan Fair," which is a charitable event for a big Methodist church.  Because it's a fund raiser for the church, I'm figuring that people will come ready to buy :)  So I'm crossing my fingers for both those things.

At the bottom of the blog, I've got a ticker going, counting down the days to my retirement -- 346 today, I think.  I cannot, cannot wait -- I'll be able to devote myself to photography and art, and I will be soooo happy.  

I'm going to make the rounds and see what everyone has been up to!

Linkup to Still Life Standouts -- 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More of What I've Been Up To


Things are progressing slowly with my tendinitis -- it's better, but definitely not gone yet.  It's been hard to type and I haven't been able to think about using the mat cutter to get things ready for my show.  I still have two weeks, though -- 

Here's the latest glamor shot of my new baby:

She's so pretty, isn't she?  This is one of her favorite spots, sitting on the bathroom window ledge, looking out at the patio.  She still looks small, but we realize that she's twice the size she was when she first came to us.  Little Buttercup . . . 

We didn't do much for 4th of July, just hung out with some neighbors for a bit, and then set off a few fireworks in the street.  Of course, I had to try to get a few pictures:

They were just little rockets that sat on the pavement, but they were pretty.

We could also see various fireworks in the sky -- fireworks aren't legal in the county, but people manage to set them off, big ones, too.

 What did you do on the 4th?  Anything fun?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Kitty Chronicles


When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?  ~Montaigne, 1580

Oh boy, it's been way too long since I've posted.  Between tendinitis, a new kitty, and watercolor class, I've had little opportunity to post anything.  But I want to do a kitty update.  

As I mentioned, I'm not a cat person, so I'm shocked at the amount of devotion this little bitty thing has evoked in me.  I've been thinking about living an authentic life, and thinking how a kitty (or dog, or any non-human thing) lives authentically -- she plays when she wants to, sleeps when she wants to, is fairly unaffected by the opinions of others (except when she's on the dining room table), freely gives and receives affection, on her own terms, when she wants to.  Of course, people also supply her with food, water, a cat tree, treats, toys galore . . . what's not to like about her life?

 [Terrible cell phone picture, link to iPhoneography]

This is her favorite people-related way to sleep -- curled up on someone's chest.  Sometimes she lies like a baby in my arms, or wraps her legs around my neck, so it looks like I'm wearing a fur collar.   She's happy, and I'm happy too, because what is nicer than having something soft, warm, and furry on you, purring?

She is the most happy-go-lucky creature, a ball of energy, pouncing on our big cat, chasing little mice around the living room, leaping on and off the cat tree, racing from the armchair to the ottoman to the couch to the coffee table and back to the armchair again.  And when she's exhausted herself, she drops -- 

and sleeps the sleep of the innocent.

She already knows that if someone gets up from the couch, there will be a warm spot where they were sitting.  She knows that when the lights go out at night, it's time for her to go in her crate, and she starts the game of running and hiding until someone catches her.  She knows that she can only push October (our adult cat) so far, then he will squish her and that's not fun, because he weighs 25 lb. and she weighs 2 or so.  She's learning fast.

Anyway, it's a great feeling to have such a little creature happy to see you.  She makes me very happy, too.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sleep on It . . . or Not


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.  ~Fran Lebowitz

It's 4 AM, and I've been up for about half an hour -- I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep.  When I first looked at the clock, I misread it and thought it said 4:40, and I thought well, it's almost 5 AM, I can get up.  But when I did get up and turned on the coffee and looked at the clock again, it was 3:40 . . . It was.  I checked all the clocks to be sure.

So here I am, up with the little kitty, who of course wanted to get up too, the minute she heard some action happening in the kitchen.  

[Linkup to Color Splash Sunday]

I feel as if I haven't had a decent night's sleep since I was pregnant, 27 years ago.  Of course I know that's not strictly true, but that's how it feels.  It's hard to sleep when you're pregnant, and then when you have a child you never get any sleep, what with getting up to make sure they're still breathing, getting up to nurse, getting up to walk a toddler back to bed, getting up with a child who's sick . . . on and on.  And then, if you came to motherhood late, as I did, before you know it, you're heading toward menopause, and then you can never sleep.  And of course we know that seniors live on about 3 hours of sleep.  So there you have it.

I wish I could nap, but I can't, generally.  My Loved One, who spends most of his working day in the car, can pull over to the side of the road and nap for a refreshing 10 minutes, or take a quick nap before dinner (or after dinner), and when he goes to bed at night can fall asleep almost immediately, while I'm left staring at the ceiling.  I, on the other hand, have to go through a ritual to get to sleep in the daytime -- set the alarm for 90 minutes, turn on a fan for white noise, turn on a babbling brook for relaxation, read for half an hour, catch myself at just the right sleepy moment to close the book and close my eyes . . . and then half the time I don't actually sleep.  Sigh.

More and more, researchers are finding that sleep is critical to our well-being.  I'd like the opportunity to find out if that's true, but it's now 4:18 and I don't think I'm going to get that chance today.  How do you get to sleep -- and stay asleep?

Oh, by the way, here's the fellow who can fall asleep at the drop of a hat -- he looks pretty well rested, no?

[Linkup to Texture Tuesday]

Monday, June 20, 2011

Everybody, have you heard?


You have to be a certain age to understand the title . . . 

For the last two days, I've been awakened sometime between 6:00 and 6:30 by a mockingbird.  My neighbor across the street wants to shoot it, but I really like it and don't mind being awakened so early by the beautiful song (and it's light outside, anyway).  I love how in the animal kingdom, males have to strut their stuff in order to get a mate, and the mockingbird certainly has developed an attractive lure.  

The song of the one hanging out in our neck of the woods is extremely long.  I don't hear any of the sounds other people report, though -- cell phones ringing, car alarms, etc.  It's just beautiful bird calls, on and on.

 [Linkup to Quotography]

[The quote is from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which is another blast from the past.  My past, anyway.]

I don't have a picture of the mockingbird, so you'll have to make do with flower pictures.  Have a great Tuesday.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What I have been up to . . .


Hi everyone -- I've been so busy!  I had to do the final for my pastels class, and then I started a watercolor class, and the kitten has kept us hopping -- 

So here are the first two things I've done in watercolor -- 

This is an African sunset that the teacher had us do in class.  It was pretty easy -- we copied it (with our own spin on it)Then I started something on my own -- I have a book of botanical illustrations from the 1600's called "Mr. Marshall's Flower Book."  I love botanical illustration and would love to be able to do it, myself.  So I copied a sunflower -- 

I think it came out okay, and I learned a lot from doing it about mixing colors, and which brushes to use and so on.  I am terrible at doing washes, however -- I've been starting each day by doing a couple of washes, and they're awful.  Anyone have any advice on that?  (By the way, the teeny bird, smaller than a sunflower leaf, was in the original.)

Then I bought a bunch of peonies at Trader Joe's and I loved them so much that I went back and got some more.  I love peonies but they don't grow here, and I hardly ever see them in the stores.  They smell heavenly and they're so beautiful, of course I had to take pictures.

[Linkup to Texture Twist]

Is it too dark, do you think?  Here's another one.

[Linkup to Show Off Your Shot]
I have a lot more to look at, but it's a start.

I also have been having terrible pains in my thumb, which the doctor thinks is tendinitis.  It's been well over a week and it's been very difficult to 1) type, 2) paint, 3) lift anything, e.g. my camera, so I haven't been having fun.  But now I have a thumb splint, finally, and am taking Naproxin regularly, so it's getting a little better each day.

How is everyone else?