Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Y is for YOU

Yes YOU !
Without YOU how could we play ABC Wednesday?  You are what makes it work.  Without YOUR effort in finding something interesting to say as well as some thing to show, what would we have?


Then there are the comments.  Your comments are what give the rest of us the impetus to keep posting.  When YOU post a comment, we comment right back.  That's the fun of it all.  I can't tell YOU how many wonderful people I have met through ABC Wednesday and how many fascinating things I have learned just because YOU took the time to participate regularly and enthusiastically.



Apparently in 2006 TIME magazine portrayed their Person of the Year as YOU.  (The gray square was silvered like a mirror).  This was to acknowledge the enormous part that YOU, (and me), the online community, contribute to the internet  by means of blogs, You Tube, Wikipedia and other user generated information pages. At the time,there were some people who thought TIME did a giant cop-out in not coming up with a real person of the year.

Interestingly enough there are still a good number of folk who do not use the word 'you ' in their everyday conversation.  They regularly use, thou, tha,  thy, thee, or thine instead.  This is particularly prevalent in Yorkshire. in the U.K.  The village where I grew up on the coast of East Yorkshire used this dialect.  At school the children soon learned the correct usage of 'YOU' but effortlessly became bilingual , slipping into the old usage of 'tha' as soon as they were at home or with friends.  Because I was actually born in London and didn't move to Yorkshire until a few years later, I never picked up the northern usage, but never questioned that that was the way my friends spoke.  I understood them and they understood my 'posh' English accent usage of 'you'.  In my mind there was no stigma to the broad dialect.  That was just the way my friends talked and it was fine with me.

A common way of expressing their dialect would go something like this:

        "Didst tha remember to bring tha Dad's paper? Tha'd better go gerrit afore he comes           home.  Tha'd forget thee 'ead if it were loose! " 


********

Now all that is left for me to do is to wish YOU and YOURS  ---


A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR !
May the Lord bless you with good health, happiness and blessings beyond that which any of us deserve, because He is good all the time.  All the time He is good.

This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday , begun by Mrs. Nesbitt and continued by Roger Owen Green and his worthy team of helpers.  Please visit the many other who contribute to this amazingly successful meme, now coming to the close of its 13th round, by clicking
HERE

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FRIDAY MY TOWN SHOOT-OUT

HOLIDAY TRADITIONS
The main holiday tradition in our house now that our children are grown and we are retired, is the Christmas Dinner, usually served around 2:00 p.m. on Christmas Day.

MENU:  Roast Turkey, with roast potatoes and whole carrots, roasted around the turkey.  Then there are the side dishes of dressing (or stuffing), green bean casserole, marshmallowed sweet potatoes and cranberry/raspberry jello salad.  Then the most important item of all -- the gravy!  My husband's Grandmother taught me to make this and it is an absolute must with any roast dinner.

Dessert -- a little later comes Tollhouse cookie chocolate chip brownies - -- again a 'must' at Christmas and Thanksgiving.  If that is too much sugar, there are also Harry and David pears, sent to us every year by a favorite friend of ours from our church.


At least one of our two sons and their girlfriend/wife will join us.  In this photo, son #2 from Boise, managed to include himself in the photo because of the mirror in the background.

There is another tradition at Christmas at our house, because Christmas Day is also my birthday.
You can see my birthday cards on the hutch.  

In this photo you can see our 'Charlie Brown' Christmas Tree, which is actually quite pretty this year, the mirror behind it enhancing the lights.  Gone are the days of 7 foot Christmas trees! After 54 years of decorating the tree we not only down sized our house but also our tree and decorations.  My birthday cards can be seen to the right of the tree.  I turned 76 this year and I received 16 birthday cards!

Another tradition  we used to have was that of including a chocolate birthday cake for me, but in the end we had so much food it just seemed unnecessary, so we haven't done this for about the last ten years.


However, all of these celebrations are preceded by the Christmas Eve Service at the Carlsbad Community Church, where my husband served as pastor for 28 years before retiring in 2001.


These are just some of the traditions at our house at Christmas.  There are more traditions  that are important to other people, to be seen by visiting FRIDAY, MY TOWN SHOOT-OUT.  You can easily visit by just clicking HERE.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

STOP PRESS

Prayers Needed for People of Toronto -- and Others

Just heard from my sister in Toronto, Canada. After 3 days  without power with temps around 10 degrees F  indoors! and cooking on a camp stove, they have decided to move into a hotel.  No power expected until the weekend.  Trees down everywhere, transformers exploding etc. etc.  We are thankful they at least had the means to do that and that she has family close by.  They have been heating water on a camp stove, filling hot water bottles and holding them against them while wrapped in comforters and haven't eaten a proper meal for three days.

I'm sure there are plenty of others in similar straights.

Please scroll down for recent blogs including ABC Wednesday.

CHRISTMAS DAY 2013...Some observations.

(FOR ABC WEDNESDAY PLEASE SCROLL DOWN ONE PAGE)


Just a Christmas tangle.  This is the first art I have done for a while.  I will get back to it again once the holidays are over.


******

The Tuesday Bible Study hosted a Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long in the Park's clubhouse followed by Christmas cookies and punch.  This was the first time we have done this and we were very happy to have 50 people attend.  They all seemed to enjoy the fellowship and hung around visiting afterwards.  There were more than plenty of delicious cookies to go around.


This was another Christmas entertainment in the Park last week.  It was preceded by a traditional Christmas Dinner.  Shall I be honest and say, when I saw the ages of the singing ensemble, I was a little skeptical about their talent?  Ten lashes with a wet noodle for me!!  They were fantastic! The room was beautifully decorated throughout and the food was first-rate. There was one lady there who was 107 years old. Just amazing. A good time was had by all.

Below is a poem I wrote more than ten years ago.  I published it on my blog several years ago, but many of my friends who visit now probably haven't read it before, so here it comes again:

CHRISTMAS IN THE NINETIES

Cars and people, slush and mud.
Puddles, splashes, rain and snow.
Noise and bustle, laughs and tears, 
Christmas music, mistletoe.
Merchants worry, mothers anxious,
Children restless – time goes slow.
Frosty, Santa, Rudolph, Grinch,
TV specials – ice skate shows.
Wrapping paper, Christmas trees
Glasses filled with cheer o’erflow...
...Gifts are opened, stomachs filled.
Where did such excitement go?
Where’s the wonder, peace and awe? 
Where’s the time o’er which to pore
The mighty miracle of God made man?
The God-man given, life death to span.
Mistaken jubilation,
His birth to celebrate
Without a thought of cost, rejection,
Spawning death and hate!
Christ’s mass, so sweet and merry –-
For Christ, penurious stall;
Inevitable steps move on
T’wards Herod’s Judgment Hall.
Rejoice!  Ah yes, with reason;
Birth, death, are intertwined.
True Christmas celebration sings,
For Easter is behind!
                     Empty Christmas preparation
                        If all unknown His resurrection!
                                       (Copyright by Chris Jones 2003)

Christmas Berries in the Park
CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS TO ALL

Monday, December 23, 2013

X IS FOR . . .


Couldn't be more appropriate or timely 'though definitely obvious.
(But I had fun and learned a little more about designing on Word.) 

You may be surprised in light of past blogs that I am using 'Xmas' but I read on someone's blog that the Greek letter 'chi' that looks like an X was also used by early Christians in place of 'Christ'.
So having made peace with my conscience on that score, I can only add that I think He is much more concerned about the attitude of my heart than me using any abbreviations.

Just wanted to say to all my blogging friends, to all the ABC Gang and especially to Denise (Mrs. Nesbitt) and Roger, so glad to get to know you all and hear all your news and views.  The Lord bless you all.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas or Holiday that includes much loving time with family and friends.


This entry is for ABC Wednesday a wonderful project that was begun by Mrs. Nesbitt and continues by Roger Owen Green.  We are ending our 13th round of the alphabet.  This has been an amazing experience of making new friends and learning many new things. There are so many participants and they all add their own unique contribution with a wealth of information and wonderful photographs.  To see what all the other participants have so conscientiously contributed, please click HERE

Saturday, December 21, 2013

FRIDAY -- MY TOWN SHOOT-0UT


COLORS OF THE SEASON 





This is our first Christmas in the Park.  We didn't know what to expect in the way of decorations in this day of being politically correct.  Our city seems to be more prone to the sensitivities of being PC than some.  We are very happy to see that all the park-owned buildings are beautifully decorated.  These photos are of the bridge over the creek that leads directly to the clubhouse buildings.

The brickwork under the railings in the middle photo gives the impression of snow.  Let me assure it is not snow.  We are expecting a temperature of 74F degrees on Christmas Day! (23C)  Now I know why I love living in Southern California!  We had a total of 13 years living in Toronto, Canada and Minnesota and I'm sorry to tell all you snow lovers out there, I don't miss the snow one bit!

The third photo is the same view as the second photo, only I took the third photo using the flash. I'm not in any way a professional photographer, but somewhere I read that it was better to take Christmas lights without using the flash.  Looking at these two photos, I guess it depends on what kind of a result you want. I like the third photo better because I like the rustic looking fence.

To see more photos contributed to FMTSO please click HERE

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

W O W !!!

Here's WHY I'm surprised.... . here's WHAT happened...


On Friday, my beautician (poor girl, and she has to work with me! But that's what they like to be called professionally) Anyway she had this Christmas ornament on the shelf in front of the mirror:


Maybe you have seen it before, but I haven't and it certainly made an impact. 

Now I'm very conflicted about Christmas. Truthfully, I wish everyone would leave it alone so I could celebrate it the Way I Would like to. (Please don't respond to this part of the blog because I don't mean to get into this issue. It's just background information.) Just suffice it to say that the ornament touched a chord in me that reconciled my two elements of conflict: commercial and religious .

This is where the W0W comes in.  I am also very conflicted about my relationship with computers.  I think most of us have experienced this.  It's a love/hate relationship.  So much potential for good, so much that is frustrating and aggravating.

Here's the good news....

I saw this ornament for the first time in my life on  Friday afternoon. I immediately decided I wanted to buy one each for some friends, but WHERE am I going to find them???? After my appointment, I tried a few Christmas stores in the mall and soon realized I wasn't going to get anywhere with that.

So the WEB was the next obvious step.  That night (WHEN...only a few hours later) I found it  on the Web...I ordered three of them.....they were delivered to my door Monday evening !!!
WOW!!!
When could that have ever happened before computers?  I am very impressed.


This is my entry for ABC Wednesday letter W.  Many, many thanks To Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green ( I have to put his full name because my son's name is Owen !)  for their wonderful willingness to continue this meme week after week.  Please visit HERE to see other entries to our project.  They maybe whacky even, but I guarantee you will find something of interest.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

FRIDAY - MY TOWN SHOOT -OUT...


         ...LIGHTS

Christmas lights will be different for us this year. At the old house, after so many years we had all the hooks and nails in place for hanging the stars, lights and bows.  But at this house there doesn't seem to be any where to hang things without climbing a ladder and getting busy with nails and hooks.  

I told my husband no climbing ladders.  Whether he will listen to me or not is another matter!  We also have an HOA who are rather careful about what you put at the front of your home, (which I think overall may be a good thing). I think we shall have to take a look around the neighborhood after dark and see what things have already been approved. 

In addition there are no window-sills or ledges, only what is part of the furniture -- AND we have a cat who does love to chew grassy-looking things, which has unfortunate (and messy) consequences.

  For more Our Town Photo Shoot-Outs please click HERE


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

V IS FOR....

...YOU'RE  VICIOUS, VIOLENT  AND A  VANDAL  !!!

Who... me?
video

Yes, You!

Nah...I'm just having fun.



But you've only had it a week and it's supposed to be indestructible!

Well I can't help being a tough guy.  That's why they call me Scruffy and not Fluffy!

I like it better without the collar anyway.  Then I can really get my teeth into that stick-thing.  I have a VORACIOUS appetite. 

The batteries are going to run out soon.  Then what will you do?

Then can we buy another one, Mom?...Huh, Mom?...Huh?

Scruffy, you're a Villain!
*******

My contribution to ABC Wednesday for the letter V.  Thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen and their team of VOLUNTEERS.  To VISIT this fascinating project for more entries, please click HERE

Friday, December 6, 2013

RUSH HOUR

FRIDAY -- MY TOWN SHOOT-OUT

I intended to start this project last week, but my timing was off but I think I've got it right this week.  Now if only I can do the LINKY thing....

Here's the nearest thing we have to a rush hour in our neck of the woods:




 
About an hour before sunset, several of our residents walk up to the lake to feed the ducks.  They use cracked corn as bread pollutes the water.  At our house we see the ducks skimming up the creek to join the crowd at the lake which is just up stream a little way and across the road.  There must be at least a hundred of them when they all arrive.  There are mallards, coots, one lonely moorhen and a couple of others which look like they may be a mixed breed.  I'll have to check my bird book.
  After a while the big, fat, white Koi fish arrives because he knows he will always get a couple of crumbs of bread which one of the residents saves for him.   The ducks are waved away after they have had a good feed, and the resident practically hand feeds the fish, one bread crumb at a time waiting for him to chew and swallow each one before giving him the next one.

This is the kind of rush hour I like!

Please visit the others who participate in this blog who can be found HERE

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

U is for...

USHUAIA
Tierra del Fuego
(Added Later....Guess I should have included a pronunciation:  Ooshwhya)


One of the most fun things in my life has been the opportunity to visit some of the places I read about as a child and never dreamed I would actually visit. 

Ushuaia is supposed to be the most southerly city in the world. It is part of Argentina and is located on the most southerly tip of South America.  It is part of the province of Tierra Del Fuego -- the Land of Fire. The Beagle Channel runs between the city and the island of Tierra Del Fuego.  The Beagle Channel is where the HMS Beagle sailed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.  This saved traveling around the Horn thereby avoiding one of the most treacherous stretches of sea in the world. 

Probably taken in the summer. (Our winter)

As you might expect, Ushuaia is quite similar to the cities in northern Alaska, and is set against a background of snow covered mountains. It was cold, especially the morning I got up very early to ride the catamaran that took us around the rocky islands to see the bird life and the seals. I was so excited I felt I must be dreaming. Almost everyone else aboard the catamaran was sitting in the warmth of the cabin, but I, my face beaming, just had to stand out on one of the floats and survey the landscape as we chugged through the water. What a memory! 



Birds in the Beagle Channel
Seals in the Beagle Channel

Returning from our trip in the Beagle Channel.  Our cruise ship in center.

I learned about Ushuaia from my Geography class. Do they teach Geography any more? You might wonder, if it's so cold why do they call it the Land of Fire? No, not because of volcanoes. Apparently the passengers of the Beagle were treated to the sight of near naked Indians who lived on the island. At night the island was dotted with fires from their encampments, hence the name, Tierra del Fuego -- the Land of Fire.
 

We did actually sail around the Horn on that trip, but it was sunny and the sea was as flat as a millpond.  The captain said in his 45 years of sailing he had never seen the very tip of the cape so calm.  Consequently we were able to spend more than half an hour just sitting in place and taking as many photos of the tip as we wanted.  That's another blog.

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, so ably and faithfully led by Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green.
Please click HERE to see more interesting and educational entries.

  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

T is for....

....TEACHER
I have been one since 1957 and I have taught in three countries: England, Canada and the U.S. Over the course of 55 years of teaching, I have taught every grade from K - 12. My last 35 years have been primarily teaching Junior High and High School (i.e. ages 12-18 years).  I retired from full time teaching in 2002 but continued tutoring in math for another 5 years.  In addition, I am still teaching an adult Bible Study class weekly. In 1991 I became principal of our school in addition to teaching four or five hours a day.

1979


1980

Moving into the Principal's office 1990

Working on the Yearbook 1991

Which grade did I like teaching best?  Probably 10th and 11th because they really are more focused on learning.

What subjects did I like to teach the most?  Of course, Bible.  I truly LOVE teaching Bible, especially Bible History.  I find it fascinating.  But of the other subjects, I love teaching English literature, math (fractions) decimals.

Are students today worse than they used to be?  Oh yes!  Children are not restrained and not taught respect.  This is the parents' fault, who in turn can lay the blame at the feet of today's culture which is the result of mass media which has been pushing the boundaries of decency and morality for decades. Parents, hold on to your standards no matter how unpopular it may make you. Your children will thank you when they have to hold down a job and have their own children. Believe me!  Be fair but firm.

You may have other questions, but here's another piece of unasked for information.  I believe one secret to better  results in education (definitely not the only one), is to have separate classes for boys and girls from approximately 6th grade.  It totally removes the peer pressure sensitivities...and surprise, surprise, the kids like it better.

We are now into the final run of this round of ABC WEDNESDAY, so ably adjudicated by Denise Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green.  Please click HERE to take a look at other entries for the letter T.  You will be entertained and maybe even educated.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

S IS FOR....

...THE STAR OF INDIA


She is the oldest iron-hulled sailing ship in the world -- and she still sails!

She was built in 1863 in Ramsey on the Isle of Man and today resides at the Embarcadero in San Diego. What a beautiful ship she is!  She is open to the public and I and my family have all explored aboard her.  This year is her 150th anniversary, and as she has many other years, she took to the seas again just to prove she can still do it. It is a magnificent sight to see her sailing the beautiful San Diego Bay.  Of course we are all very proud of her. 

She has had an eventful life, having sailed around the world 21 times.  Her first voyage involved a collision and a mutiny.  Later she was caught in a cyclone and barely survived.  In addition her first captain died aboard and had to be buried at sea. Not an uneventful life.

Originally her name was Euterpe and she was used for the Indian jute trade.  Later she was employed in carrying passengers and freight to New Zealand for 21 years.  Each voyage was made by travelling eastward around the world and at one point she ran aground in Hawaii.

In 1901 she was registered to the United States where she was employed in ferrying fishermen, cannery workers and supplies from California to Alaska. That was when her name was changed to "The Star of India".   In 1926  having come to the end of her trading and commercial career, there was a movement to have her restored to the grand old ship that she was.  Economic setbacks such as the Great Depression and World War ll took their toll but in 1976 she was finally ship-shape and sea worthy and put to sea once again from her home port of San Diego with great celebration.  I'm happy and proud to say that I was there to see it!   It was a momentous occasion for San Diego! 

Soon after that I did a water color painting of her in full sail (about 10 X 8 inches). It is the only one of my paintings I have ever tried to sell.  I donated it to a silent auction to raise funds for our small Christian School. I was blown away when it was sold for $70!!  Sadly I never kept a copy because computers were not all the rage back then and we didn't even own one never mind know how to use one.  Too bad.

So the STAR OF INDIA has special meaning for our family, the Isle of Man being only a stone's throw from Liverpool where my husband grew up.

The Star of India docked in San Diego

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, the weekly meme set up by Mrs. Nesbitt and now continued by Roger Owen Green.  To see other interesting and often educational responses, please click HERE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

R is for...

ROUGH SEAS
Growing up as I did on the tip of Flamborough Head, a promontary that thrusts out into the stormy North Sea, I am quite familiar with rough seas, but I never cease to get a thrill out the power of the wind and the waves.

R IS Also for....


ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION
A few days ago I saw this video taken by the RNLI of a lifeboat and helicopter searching rough seas for a teenager who had been washed away in the raging waters in the midst of the hurricane strength storm that hit Britain last week.  Imagine being in THAT lifeboat being battered around by the wind and the waves. Please click on this link to see REALLY Rough Seas.

http://www.rnlivideolibrary.org.uk/getvideo.aspx?vid=bjA2KOui

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution of the UK  is made up of some of the most courageous men in the world.
Painting by B.F. Gribble, courtesy Wikipedia

Most of the lifeboat crew are unpaid volunteers. The RNLI was founded in 1824 and was granted the 'Royal' part of their name by Queen Victoria.  They have approximately 444 lifeboats around Britain and Ireland and are responsible for saving thousands of lives since their inception. They are funded by donations and legacies.

I have seen the launching of a lifeboat many times both in an emergency and in practice mode.  In the village of Flamborough, the lifeboat crew was summoned by setting off a rocket just down the road from where I lived.  If it was the middle of the night, of course I woke up and would run to the window to see the lights from the local fishermen dashing down the road to the landing on their bicycles.  None of them had cars in those days.  This would be in the late forties.  The old lifeboats were large shiny ship-shape vessels  and had to be launched down the slipway and over the sand into the bay, using long beams of wood set across the sand to aid its progress as it gathered speed down to the water.

My experiences of rough seas come mainly from my time of living in Flamborough.  I well remember the storm of 1953 when the waves were so big they were breaking over the headland and washed out and destroyed a field of barley. The cliffs at that point were about 50 foot high and they say the spray went over the top of the lighthouse (85 feet or 26m).  I was about 15 years old at the time and we had moved just a few months before from the village, a mile, away to the tip of the headland at the lighthouse. I used to have dreams about those massive waves surging into the small bay. Sadly I have no photographs to document them, only memories. 

However, in 2005 when we were in North Wales, we experienced a strong storm passing through. Llandudno on the coast of North Wales has often experienced flooding and this photo is testimony to the rough seas it sometimes experiences. This one was taken by my husband.


There was a great gale blowing that day and I have to say that the stormy weather delighted our whole family.

The next couple of photos were taken here in Southern California where we have no storms worthy of comparison to those I witnessed in England.  But we do have some rough seas here in the winter. These high waves breaking over the Oceanside Harbor breakwater in these photos have been generated by big storms that were located down off New Zealand.  That seems a long way for these large waves to come, but that's what they tell us and sometimes if  there's not too much wind associated, the surfers are overjoyed to find some large waves with good form.





As much as it is exciting to watch these kind of ROUGH SEAS, the kind of wind and seas generated by the typhoon this weekend that passed over the Philippines is not fun and exciting.  As we have seen, it is downright dangerous.  We have a large population of Filipinos in our area and our prayers and support go out for them as they wait to hear from their families as well as to those on the islands who are trying to recover from the great loss of life and property.

This week is the letter R in the weekly meme ABC WEDNESDAY.  We are now in the 13th round of this project, which was begun by Mr. Nesbitt and is now continued by Roger Owen Green and other helpers.  Thank you all for your faithful commitment.  To see more of the fascinating posts presented in this project please click HERE.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A QUESTION...?

When is a Creek not a Creek?



When it becomes a river!



We had a good rainstorm last week.  In the midst of all our wonderful weather, the rain, which we badly needed, chose to come overnight.  I think we got only about half an inch, but it was enough to make a difference to the creek.  We have been holding our breath waiting to see how far the creek would rise.  

In all the years we have lived in Carlsbad there was never any flooding in this park but I have see quite a bit of flooding in the 70's and 80's elsewhere in the three cities that make up our area.  Since that time there have been a lot of drains put in, as new areas of the cities have  developed. 

There was one year in the seventies when there was some small flooding in one part of the park, but that was because some debris got trapped under the one bridge we have and the water backed up.  As it is we estimate that our house is about 20 - 25 feet above the summer creek level, (which is so low the ducks have a hard time swimming! ) You have to remember that the house is raised up off the ground base level by about three feet. Then the back garden slopes down to the actual creek bank, which then slopes  to the creek bed, dropping down about 15 feet.

We are definitely not expecting any flooding We did quite a bit of research through city hall to make sure of that before we bought this house.  We're just excited to see the creek actually look like a river.  In fact, the rain stopped in the very early morning.  It was blue sky and sunshine before I put my nose out from under the sheets and by lunch time it had nearly all gone.

Confession:   My husband took the photos.  Not even the 'river' could get me out of bed -- though I did go to the window and look out.


But all was not well with Scruffy. 


The rain on the roof really spooked him.  It was quite heavy at times and this is our first rain of the season.  It sounds much louder in these 'manufactured' homes than in a normal stucco house. I couldn't get him to eat the night after the rain. He kept looking around expecting the noise to come back. He was back to normal the next day, but rain is forecast for Tuesday -- and well...it is the rainy season and he will just have to learn how to live like a California cat!

This is my contribution to ABC WEDNESDAY which is in its 13th round and so ably led by Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green and their trusty band of helpers. Q is quite a struggle for many of us who have been through the alphabet a good many times before, so why don't you pop over to see what masterpieces of imagination have been conjured up for us by other participants. Just click HERE

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

P IS FOR .....

 PHYSIOGNOMY
(fiz-i-og-nomy)
The features of a person's face.
On and off over the past year or so I have been telling myself I need to  start practicing drawing faces.  Just drawing faces is difficult enough but to actually make the drawing have any kind of a likeness to the subject is very, very difficult for me, but I know I will improve if I practice.

I have been working on the PHYSIOGNOMIES of these two faces for over a week.

The first one, my first attempt in well over a year, was completely made up out of my head:
Well, it was a start, but I could list all the things wrong with it.  I seem to be able to draw eyes, but not as a pair or suitably placed in a face -- yet!


This has quite a pleasing effect, until you know that it is supposed to be from a photo of Margaret Thatcher.  There is a very slight resemblance in it somewhere, but again the eyes are too overpowering. I have to admit that I did a little editing with the contrast and highlights through Picasa on both pictures.

I know I am very critical of my work, but I have to know where to improve and how.

I bought some pencils tonight after doing these -- an HB, a 2B, a 2H and an ebony.  I can see that if I am to do more faces I will need different pencils for the PHYSIOGNOMIES of the faces.  I think too that I must practice different physical features without the rest of the face.  It is amazing to me how just a very little change in the direction or strength of a line as well as exactly where the shadows come can totally change the look of a face.

This is going to be quite a project, and one I will not be able to do for long lengths of time because of the close work and concentration, but something I can put down and pick up again later.


Now here's a true story about the effect the word 'physiognomy' had one year in my life as a teacher. 

This word lost me the good will of one of my students about 25 years ago.  I was teaching 11th Grade English.  Part of the course meant the students had to read "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We were a private Christian School and this student discovered that the 11th grade in the public school only had to watch the movie (a really poor production anyway) and not read the book.  Since our students were later expected to take the SAT exams the book was required reading and introduced the students to a whole host of difficult vocabulary.  

I won't bore you with the way I attempted to make the book more palatable to them as well as useful, but when we bumped up against the word 'physiognomy', this particular student had a melt-down!  Sad, because she was a really nice girl, but was simply strong-willed.  All year long she never let me forget how much she resented having to read the book.  Ours was a small school and a small class so the strain on our relationship suffered and now all I remember when I come across "The Scarlet Letter" or the word physiognomy is the student's tantrum -- 25 years later.

This is my contribution to ABC Wednesday which is in its  13th round of the alphabet and at the letter P.  Our many thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt , the founder, and Roger Owen Green the next in line and to a whole host of others who help to keep this highly successful meme functioning.  To see the contributions of other participants, please click HERE

Sunday, October 27, 2013

TREES

Here are the trees that are showing  signs of fall that wouldn't post on ABC Wednesday.  

The leaves close to the lens and slightly out of focus are actually falling as I took the shot.  

There are a couple of others that are just across the creek that are actually prettier and getting prettier every day. I took this next shot for the sunshine and shadows.
It is by the small golf course that borders the park.

Look at this scruffy old eucalyptus tree (no offense to my Scruffy ! )  I just think it has fascinating texture and the small palm tree shows just how large this old tree is.

I went for a walk by myself today.  I have been walking almost every day since Kay was here in early August.  She gently nudged me to get started.  At first I just went to the first bench by the creek and then gradually extended my walks.  I always go with Barry (since Kay left) because of the vertigo which has reappeared, though it is not quite as bad as it was.  Today I went on my own, down to the bench, across the bridge over the creek, over to the lake, then back to the far side of the creek where there is another bench and home again. A good accomplishment for me. 

The Lake

The temps were in the sixties and it was warm enough to be without a jacket. At the lake the ducks and coots came zooming over thinking I was going to feed them.  The water was kind of scummy there because of the ducks,  The park gardeners have cleaned up all the grass and road from where the ducks make it so messy.  I don't usually go there because some park residents love to feed the ducks and it just gets messy.  I was really surprised to find it all cleaned up.  Our gardeners are SO conscientious.

As I left the lake I saw a turtle sunning itself on a flat rock.  He soon plopped in the water when he saw me. Then I crossed back to the creek again and sat on the bench that marks the furthest point of my usual excursions.  There I saw several phoebes flitting out over the creek and back again. (They are flycatchers).  A lady came by with her dog, a rescued spaniel named Andy. We talked for a while and  I discovered she attends Barry's Bible Study in the park.  I don't go because I use that time to prepare for my Bible Study which is the next day. 

So after my rest on the bench I walked back home, having picked up a couple of light branches (or large twigs) to add to the the tall vase on the deck.  Got home just in time for a cup of tea. 

Next time I must take my camera so you can see where I go.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow and Tuesday, which is fine because we need it.  I suppose Scruffy will retreat to the back of the closet where his kitty litter is.  He jumps up to a shelf at the back and then sits looking very miffed.  He doesn't like the sound of the rain on the roof of this house.  Well winter is coming so he'll have to get used to it. 

Oh, and here's some good news:  I have discovered the name of the yellow flowering shrub/tree that I showed on my last blog.  It is the cassia fistula or Golden Rain Tree  -- or a variety thereof.

 My, what a long blog I have written today!

See you again soon.