Monday, August 25, 2014

G IS FOR....

G is for....GUESS Where We Are...





We GORGEOUS GIRLS....
Me, My niece, Wendy and my sister,  Kay
KAY
WENDY
ME, CHRIS

Not the best pictures, but the best location !!  We are in KAUAI.

This is my entry for ABC WEDNESDAY, that fabulous project founded by Mrs. Nesbitt and continued by Roger Owen Green and friends.  Now in our fifteenth round.  For more great entries please click HERE


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

F is for...

F is for...

FLUTTERING BUTTERFLY

We get more butterflies here in our new location than we used to get at the old house.  The problem is that they don't settle very often and it's hard to get a photo.   This beauty, the tiger swallowtail likes the large lantana bush at the front of the house and this time I was ready for him.  I took it from inside the house.  Just pulled up the blinds and took a half dozen shots through the window.  Even then I only got one good shot.  She moved from bloom to bloom so fast, but I managed one last shot before she flew away.  She is really gorgeous with a wingspan of about 4 or 5 inches.

We have quite a number of very pretty yellow butterflies that FLY, FLUTTER and FLOAT throughout the back yard.  They are a very pretty bright yellow though less than half the size of the swallow tail, but I don't think I've ever seen one settle on any thing. 

My mother used to call butterflies 'FLUTTERBIES' so I thought this would be an appropriate word for ABC Wednesday, since they also , FLY, FLIT and FLITTER  as well as FLUTTER. 


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This is my contribution to ABC WEDNESDAY LETTER   F .  We are now in our 15th round of that FABULOUS and FANTASTIC project initiated by Mrs. Nesbitt, and now continued by our  own FAMOUS Roger Owen Green, the "Jeopardy" champion, along with his band of helpers.  Please visit other entries to this FASCINATING  educational and FUN project by clicking HERE. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

CREATIVE TUESDAY- - POPPIES

THE THEME THIS WEEK IS:


POPPIES

This  painting is my submission for Creative Tuesday on the topic of Poppies -- yet it is actually only 2/3 of what will be the finished picture.  There is a background that I want to put in, but I haven't quite decided what it will be.


Here it is still unfinished and still without a back ground.  I will explain in the next round why I have had to leave it unfinished, even though the first drawing could stand alone, (with a background), but I like the full  arrangement much better.  I'm looking forward to finishing it off soon.

In the mean time, here are the details of what I used to create the picture. I began while in the waiting room of our local hospital, waiting for my husband to go through a rather lengthy examination. (It was a two hour procedure and thankfully everything is fine).  The waiting room was comfortable with good light. so I spent the time just penciling out where the poppies would be on the page.  Then I drew in the details, still in pencil. I am using a small moleskin note book about 5 1/2 X 7 1/2 inches.  I then outlined the definition of the poppies and and leaves using a micro-point felt tip pen.  I think I was home again by the time I got to this stage.

All that remained was to color the poppies using Prisma Color pencils thickly, over and over, blending the colors with a white Prisma Color pencil.  I like using this rather than their actual blender. So far I have used probably 15 different colors or more on these poppies,  It took me a couple of evenings to get as far as you can see in the reproductions above.  Then I realized that I wasn't going to get this finished in time for Tuesday as I have a very busy few days ahead.  So as a compromise, I finished 2/3 of it with the promise to myself that I will finish the complete picture, including the background, a few days from now.

Before I will consider it finished, I will go over each line fixing anything necessary and adding more color where necessary, then I will prop it up somewhere on my desk where I can see it for a couple of days and see if there is anything else I need to do.

So there you have it.  The making of a Creative Tuesday Project.. Now I will go take a look at all the others that have been posted.  Why don't you join me by clicking HERE ?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

SOME THOUGHTS ON DEPRESSION

SOME THOUGHTS ON DEPRESSION
I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety for more than thirty years.  I am thankful to say that medication has been very successful in my situation.  Nevertheless there have been some very dark days.

With the tragic death of Robin Williams on everybody’s mind, I have decided that without going into all the details of my experiences which included thoughts of suicide and hospitalization, now is the time to put some thoughts on paper that have proved very helpful to me over the years.

The most important thing to me has been to remember that DEPRESSION LIES.  It tells us that life is not worth living; it’s never going to get any better; the pain is never going to go away; nobody cares if I live or die; it’s just not worth the effort; I can’t face another day; I’m not worth anything to anyone.   You name it. Whatever it is that causes you to despair or give up that is the depression speaking.

Dennis Miller recently said that it is as though you come to a corner in the road and you just can’t get round that corner.  Where you are is the dark place and you find it impossible to see what is really around that corner except more of the darkness. That is when you come to the place when there seems to be no way out.  But remember, depression lies!

For me it has been the conscious work of many years to distinguish between what is the real me talking and controlling my life and what is the depression taking over.  On my good days I worked at recognizing the real me as the basis of what I really am.  Then when depression controlled my thinking, I gradually learned to recognize that the chemicals in my brain were taking over.  There are two sides to this person that I am, and I’m NOT talking about a ‘split personality.’  There is the ‘me’ that I remember as the person I want to be and have been in the past, and the ‘me’ that is distorted  by my brain chemicals making me someone I’m not.  You see, depression lies.

The brain is an organ of the body, just as is the heart, the pancreas or the liver.  We know that organs can develop health issues that affect the whole body.  We have no problem treating diabetes with a chemical to bring that organ back into balance.  So it is with the brain.  The brain chemicals can be brought back into balance.  However it is not always a quick or easy fix to find the right mix and amount of the chemicals.  It requires the expertise and understanding of a psychiatrist and patience and trust in him.   It is simply amazing how far medicine has come in the last thirty years in identifying what part brain chemicals play in keeping us balanced. 

Yes, I mentioned that dreaded word psychiatrist, which for those of us in the older generation has a stigma attached to it.  Today, a cognitive psychiatrist doesn’t have you go back into your childhood and try weird things.  He takes you as you are now, and first begins by finding the right medication (chemical mix) to bring the organ of your brain back  into its normal balance.  It is then that he works with you on changing the faulty thinking and behaviors that may have contributed to your depression.  Just as anger and bitterness can make you a different person if only temporarily, often an over emphasis on certain events, circumstances of your life and the way you deal with difficulties become personal habits which contribute to the imbalance of chemicals.

For those of us who are believing Christians, the idea of tampering with our brain chemicals and who we are, just cuts right across our beliefs.  Yet we must remember that we are who God made us to be.  There is a normal you and me – the normal person with good and bad. Yet each is created very differently from one another, though we are also tainted with sin.  We are who we are because that is how God created us and allowed us to become.  But just as Christians are not exempt from illnesses such as diabetes, nor are we exempt from real life circumstances such as abuse, physical deformities, accidents, and more, yet it pleased God  in these last years to give us medical treatments that were never dreamed possible a couple of generations ago.   Most of us don’t hesitate to take advantage of these modern day medical miracles such as insulin, vaccinations, knee replacements, heart medication etc.  So having established that God knows who we are and what we are really like (the basic ‘me’ if you like) we can prayerfully and with God-given wisdom find a psychiatrist who respects our faith or even has faith such as ours who we can trust; not as we trust God, but as we have trusted doctors all our lives.

An especial thought here for Christians who suffer from depression.  More than likely you will be tempted to think in your suffering that God doesn’t care, that he has closed the door. But he hasn’t.  He is still there and He still loves you.  Somehow you must hang on to the thought that God is good all the time – all the time God is good!  Remember, depression lies.

I realize that this subject raises all kinds of questions that I am not qualified to answer.  I’m not a doctor.  I have just shared with you what I have learned along the way – and left out much more.  Many readers will disagree with me, but I ‘m not prepared to get into an argument on this topic because it is based on my experience. 
I know that some Christians will differ with me and wish that I had said so much more, especially about the work of the Holy Spirit, but now is not the time and place for me to do that.  I know that God has worked in me and used me through this illness – for His glory.

 I don’t intend these thoughts to be only for Christians.  God loves everyone whether or not they believe in Him. The blessings, especially medical ones, that He has allowed to be discovered in this world, are available to all and that includes those who suffer and those who don’t believe as I do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

E IS FOR....

E is for...
EGRET
not just any EGRET but my Egrets -- at least they live in the creek at the bottom of my garden. 

The sun was beginning to set last week when I took these photos, so they are a little over-exposed and probably over-edited.  This is the Snowy EGRET. I see them often but I don't always have my camera with me so when I saw these at the bottom of my garden just down in the creek  and knowing that the letter E was next for ABC WEDNESDAY, I ran inside and  grabbed my camera.

I haven't seen them in the tree like this before. He was about 30 feet up and shining brightly in the sun. The bright white didn't photograph too well in my inexpert hands. At sunset the sun shines directly from the west,  straight down the creek. But you can clearly see his yellow feet, black legs and black bill.

Our poor creek is certainly not looking at its best right now. We have had only a little over two inches of rain since last July on top of four years of drought.  The creek bed is quite sandy and even when  it looks adequately full after rain, it drains away in less than 24 hours, usually leaving a nicely running stream. There is always some water in the creek from the sprinklers.  The park managers allow the gardeners to use them on the banks of the creek twice a week.  This is well water, not city water.   I kept the above photo even though he wasn't looking at me, because at least there is enough water for a reflection.


Sorry these photos are not really as good as they should be, but you can still see the egret's fancy plumes on his head and back.  This is a bit late for breeding season, but our long, long summer has made them a little flirty.  The male sat in the tree for quite a long while looking quite hunch-backed, but when he saw the female arrive, he stretched out his long neck and did a flighty little dance flapping his wings and prancing down after her.


I don't know if this is the male or female but he/she moved quite quickly up stream on his long legs, a little while later. Last summer, not long after we moved here, I only saw one pair of these birds in the park.  This year I have seen at least two pair and there maybe more because I wasn't paying too much attention to them to begin with, thinking they were as numerous as the cattle egrets I had seen elsewhere.  Now that I have recognized them as Snowy Egrets, I will endeavor to get some better photos 

I believe these birds are still on the protected list because of legislation in 1918.  Their numbers were dwindling rapidly around that time because their fine, graceful plumes were highly popular with the ladies for decorating their hats!

What a privilege to have these birds dancing and nesting less than fifty yards away from my back yard!

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This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, that most popular and prestigious project in its 15th round, started by Mrs. Nesbitt and continued by Roger Owen Green along with many other volunteers who help make this an outstandingly successful blog.  Please click HERE to see just how successful it is. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ABC WEDNESDAY

(Creative Tuesday followers please scroll down one page)

D  is for...
A DISAPPOINTING  DOWNPOUR
Here come the monsoon clouds.

The area of Southern California in which we live, officially receives an average of 10 inches of rain a year.  This means we are geographically designated as a desert climate, but thanks to the Colorado River which is piped across the desert to our coastal and inland valleys we are able to have water to live, and live comfortably

From April to October we usually get no rain at all. However, once in a while the weather does something unusual.  Instead of coming from the northwest, it  decides to come up from Mexico and the southeast.  We call this monsoon weather. It is then that we get rain in the middle of summer -- July or August and sometimes a lot of it.

This year we are particularly glad to succumb to the monsoon because we are now in our fourth year of drought.  When we saw the monsoon thunderstorms spill over the eastern mountains towards the coast we were so excited.  We have had less than three inches of rain so far this year.  

But all we got was about three one hundreds of an inch.  Other places not far away received  far more than they wanted.  There were flash floods and mud slides all around our immediate area. 

But all we got was just enough to make the roads wet. We did hear a few rolls of thunder and Scruffy slunk off to the back of his kitti-litter cupboard and couldn't be coaxed out.

The first rain for us is like the first snow to the kids in the northern regions of the U.S.   So exciting!

But we were destined to be disappointed.

Ah well, Moth will be back to watering the flower pots by hand again.  Water rationing has begun, so no hoses and limited use on a daily basis.

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This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday, the meme begun and continued by Mrs. Nesbitt and administrated by Roger Owen Green. Our deep gratitude to them for their devotion. We have some really unique entries, so just click HERE to see the many other entries. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CREATIVE TUESDAY

THE RED BALLOON

This is our topic for this week  I believe it has been a very popular book and movie, yet I have never seen or read anything about it before.  That was good in one sense in that I wouldn't have to rid myself of any preconceived ideas.  On the other hand, it was hard for me to come up with something.  Finally I just put pencil to paper and kind of doodled around for an idea or two.  Amazingly this began to take shape and once I'd got started it wasn't hard to finish.

So here we are:  
The Girl with the Red Balloon.

I really wanted to get the feeling of movement.  My husband tells me these are sharks not dolphins, so if they are they are friendly ones.

Please wander over to Creative Tuesday to see other entries in this project by clicking HERE