Friday, December 31, 2010


DECEMBER 31, 2010 --2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010



In among my Christmas presents this year came a DVD of Handel's "Messiah".
So after a quiet day of opening gifts and enjoying a turkey dinner, we sat down to watch the video from beginning to end.  Now I  know just enough of the musical world  to admit that I don't know much about music at all.  But I have heard, sung and watched this great oratorio performed many times in my life.

However, tonight I had a booklet with the words to accompany the music in my hand. 

As I listened, my immediate and most overwhelming impression was that this man must have thoroughly known the Scriptures and not only that, but he fully understood the teachings of the Old and New Testaments as I understand them.  In a word, the person who wrote this was an " Evangelical"!  Was it possible that this piece of music, so greatly hailed as a masterpiece for some 400 years,  was actually a portrayal of the gospel in a nutshell. And is it possible that people had read, sung and listened to this oratorio all these years, and yet had no idea that they were singing the Gospel?  How could this be?   How could great musicians, singers, symphonies, and choirs, many of whom would not tolerate evangelical beliefs, be actually praising, enjoying and even raving over Handel's "Messiah"?

My next question was, "What kind of a man was Handel to have written this oratorio?"  I had never heard of him as being a 'religious fellow'.

That's when I discovered Handel did not write the "Messiah"!  
He wrote the MUSIC to "Messiah".
The words were actually written by a man names Charles Jennens.   In fact it is not really true to say that even Jennens wrote the words, because they all come straight from the Bible. What Jennens did was to compile Scripture verses  from the Bible. The verses he chose and which we sing today, clearly spell out man's condition and God's remedy. Jennens placed them in the correct sequence, from the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah who is to come, to the message in the New Testament of the Messiah who came.  The famous "Hallelujah Chorus" is the ecstatic overflow of praise for His coming, His dying and His resurrection which fulfilled God's ancient promise and purpose.

The third part of the oratorio is almost anticlimactic after the "Hallelujah Chorus".  It tells of the promise of life after death;  that death is not the end, but the beginning.  It's harder to understand because we are still here on this earth in this present time. Yet just as the first two parts of the oratorio have been fulfilled, so the third part will be fulfilled.  Death will be swallowed up in victory.  God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. He makes intercession for us and our sins are forgiven. We are not worthy, but WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN!

Of course the music is brilliant and Handel skilled beyond measure.  But the music is only a part of this miracle.  If you are only uplifted by the music, you have experienced only a part of what the whole oratorio is about.  The greatest thrill is to hear the music and fully understand and believe what the words are saying.

That, my friends, is the joy of Handel's "Messiah."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


  ... and what is Xylem you may ask?  Although with the very limited number of X words available, someone has probably used this word before and you probably already know. Ah, but did they illustrate it I wonder?

 I hope you appreciate this. You have no idea what trouble I have gone to to get these photographs.  My printer will not accept my camera's  image card to transfer them to my computer. So to transfer them from my camera I had to use our lap top, which is temperamental at best and SLOW.  It needed an hour and a half to be updated before it would finally accept the image card.  Then the images had to be stored on a flash drive and transferred to my computer.

Look at these pretty flowers.

See how perkily they sit upright on their stems? 

That's because in their stems are  tissue and cells called XYLEM.   Water and nutrients flow from the roots through the stem's XYLEM and keep the flowers firmly upright for all to see and admire.  It almost acts like a straw. 

However, cut the flowers off from their water supply so there is nothing flowing through the XYLEM and 12 hours later this is the result:


So if there is no water flowing through the XYLEM the flowers WILT -- which would have been a good word for last week's ABC WEDNESDAY!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My best two photos of all the hundreds I have.

Me and son # 1, Glyn

Me and son #2, Owen

What can I say?  My two most favorite photos of my two most favorite people, not counting their dad.
These are the photos I'd rush to save if there were a fire or flood or I would take with me on a desert island.

When we decided to have children, I could never have dreamt to see them at this point in their lives, both so happy, healthy, fulfilled and a joy to be with.
Coming from a somewhat strange family myself, these pictures represent my dream come true.  How I prayed for a happy family and how I praise God for answering my prayers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


May it be a wonderful time of rejoicing with family and friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

W is for...

 Wet, Windy, Wintry, Weird, Weekend Weather -- We're certainly not Walking in a Winter Wonderland!

ABC WEDNESDAY with Mrs. Nesbitt and friends

They tell us we will have had 7" of rain by the time this storm is over.  Considering we only get 10" a year, that is a LOT of rain for us.  It has been accompanied by wild wind gusts (25-60 mph) and fog! Up to 12 feet of snow in the Sierras!  The whole of San Diego county is on flash flood alerts. Definitely weird for us.
I know most of the US is suffering from much snow, not to mention the UK and Europe.  So maybe I'll take the rain over the snow.

W is also for Wound -- the cat bite kind. No photos of this, but I'm sure you won't mind that.  

We had an 11 month old, sleek, handsome, black cat called Midnight, at the shelter who so badly wanted to be petted, but then after a moment or two couldn't handle it.  I had been warned of his sudden changes in behavior and had actually dealt with it a time or two during my visits. So last week I decided that I could still tame this Wild cat.  I took a small towel into the room with me, to throw over him when he got too excited.  He came over to me and jumped up on my knee while I petted him very gently and talked softly to him.  Before long he was purring up a storm.  Then suddenly he jumped down, ran to get a toy, changed his mind  and raced back at me and grabbed my arm.  Too late with the towel!  He broke the skin in two places, but it wasn't too bad.* 
However one of the cat carers noticed the WOUND a little later and insisted I have it looked at  etc.  I ended up filling out 6 sheets of paper work. Then I continued with my rounds.  But a little while later I saw a worker go into Midnight's room with a cat carrier, and sure enough he had to be taken in to be quarantined for rabies.  Apparently I was the second bite of the day.  He had already been in the shelter for 16 days  so the rabies thing is not very likely, but this is the County Animal Shelter and "Rules is Rules".  Now I'm greeted by my fellow workers with, "Have you got rabies, yet?"

*Footnote:  I know I have taken this incident very lightly, but that's just for ABC Wednesday.  I do know how dangerous cat bites can be, not to mention Rabies and Cat Scratch Fever. Anyway the scratches and bite marks have gone and I think I am still in my right mind.  To make up for this unfortunate incident, we have at the shelter four most adorable older kittens that would make absolutely wonderful pets, and the nicest one of them all is a Siamese mix.  I have spent some good times cuddling with them.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I am  a very strong visual learner and in recent years have discovered that color has become very important to me. However, my usual media for art work is water color or colored pencils. Not conducive to bright colors -- at least my style isn't so far. You have to work really hard with colored pencils to get depth of color.  So  every now and then it is not unusual for me to get a strong urge to use bold, bright colors on something.

At the end of our cruise last month, and after doing five or six of my usual  paintings, the urge for strong color hit me again.  So I started a piece which I suppose you would call abstract art.  I finished it last week and this is how it ended up:

I called it.......... ...       .........................."After the Rain"

The title came very naturally to me as I worked with it.  I was thinking of how everything is bright, clean, sharp  and shiny after a good, cleansing rainfall.  At least that is how it is for us in Southern California.  After months of dry weather, the hillsides turn from brown to green and in the spring the bright, almost gaudy flowers burst forth.

I thought I had finished this piece about a week earlier, but after I had settled on the title, I decided I needed some rain drops in it.  Typical!  I am never satisfied with any piece of work I do and always want to fiddle with it in some way.  My black pens ran out of ink so who knows where it would have ended.!!!

Anyway:  here is the piece BEFORE I put the raindrops in .  So you can compare the two.

What do you think?  With or without raindrops?  If you decide to reply to my question, I would really like to know why -- too busy, --adds to the overall effect -- if it has raindrops in it it isn't really abstract -- or whatever.  All you artists out there, feel free to comment.  I just can't judge my own paintings objectively.  May be in six months or so I will be far enough removed from them to decide which I like best.  These are approximately 6 x 3 inches done in Prisma color pencils on bristol card.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What IS Christmas all about?

Santa Claus, gifts, Frosty, Rudolph, the Christmas Tree, turkey, cookies, shopping, sales,... you name it and Christmas has become all those things.

But it is really  about the coming of the Messiah, (in Hebrew), the Christ (in Greek).  He is also called Immanuel, which means "God with us."   If Jesus, the Christ, is really God who has come to dwell with us, then among all the other things we do at Christmas surely we should be asking ,"Why?"

Why has God come to dwell with us?  If there is any meaning to Christmas at all, it has to be found in the answer to that question.  If you take the time to listen to the carols; if you read the Bible verses about Christmas; if you remember what you learned as a child about the coming of Jesus; if you pray in a heartfelt way to ask God for the answer to that question, then through all the other clutter ('though fun), of Christmas, the answer is there to be found:

 "for he shall save the people from their sins."

That's why he came!

"And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor
the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." 
 Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6.

ART WORK Done while on cruise 11-2010

The first one you have already seen and was posted on My Laundry Room Studio, Wanda's Art Challenge.

Raccoon based on photo taken by Abe Lincoln. Used by permission.

This is the only water color I did as the vibration of the ship, tho' not excessive, was just enough to make my hand shake more than usual.  The unusual thing about this painting is that it was my first try at doing something out of my head -- that is, no copying from another photo or picture.  Need more practice at this and some touch up could still be done.

 This was also done for Wanda's Art Challenge .  My main concern here was to make the water look like water.I also love pilot/tug boats and Wanda's topic was boats.

 This was based on a photograph from Notes From the Rookery. Used by permission.  I saved this photo for several weeks to take on the trip with me.  Thanks Danielle.

This kitten has a history.  She is named Junie and I picked her out from the shelter as a possible adoptee for my friend Evelyn.  ( I volunteer at our local cat shelter, if you are new to my blog.)  I wanted to paint her looking warm, comfortable and happy, because that's what she is in her new home.  That makes me feel warm comfortable and happy too.

But then I decided I needed one of her with her bright yellow eyes wide open because she is a bundle of energy and this painting shows her in a more typical pose.

All these paintings except the one of the girl with the black cat were done in Prisma Colors Pencils. None of them are very large, about 5x7 down to 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.  I'm still trying to find just the right kind of paper to use for Prisma Colors. These papers were too rough for me to get a smooth painting-like finish.

I did one other, but I am saving him for ABC Wednesday for when we get to "Z" 

I am also going to post a completely different kind of painting that I did in a day or two.  I'll be interested to see what kind of a reaction I will get to this one. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

V is for....

...VARMINTS in my backyard...
I have a love hate relationship with these creatures.  I truly love all birds and furry animals, but these you see here give me a headache because they eat all my bird seed for which I pay about $35 a month.

 Wood rats that live in the palm trees and ivy.

Ground squirrels that go to great length to get at the bird seed.  I don't think these are quite the same as ground hogs.  They live under our deck. 

Caught in the act! 

 Looking for more!

 Rabbits that eat all my young plants.  They play out in the circle without any fear.

Raven or crow.  This one made a particular nuisance of himself a year or so ago.  I almost wondered if he had been tamed.  He certainly showed no fear of me. 

The Coopers Hawks who feed on the little birds, especially the gold finches, around my feeder. 

Yes, I even consider the Mourning Dove a varmint.  Although he is quite pretty to look at and has  a soothing call, yet he scoffs the birds seed as fast as he can go and will eat what would last the little birds a day, in a half an hour or so. 

And this is Henrietta, whom I loved, yet she is considered a varmint because she really belonged to the children next door but chose to make her home with us for 10 months, not only eating the bird seed but scratching dirt all over the patio.  Ask my husband if she was a varmint.  He had to sweep the patio!

Oppossum -- haven't had one of these for a while.  We threw mothballs all over the yard to get rid of them and it worked!  Our indoor/outdoor cat at the time, who didn't have a mean bone in his body, would prance along behind them, inviting them to play!  They have nasty teeth and claws.  Photo courtesy of Google.

And this is my last.  I have only seen one or two raccoons in our back yard.  This drawing is based on a photo by Abe Lincoln which I did for Wanda's art challenge.

  That brings me to my next blog topic:  My Artwork Done on our Cruise. I hope to post these tomorrow.


Saturday, December 11, 2010


These are the "best of the rest" of our cruise.  Colorful, cute, funny and interesting, -- I hope:

Modes of Transportation:


Cathedral across the street from the Iguana Plaza

These two in Lima, Peru



Guatemala (My prize shot -- hopefully to paint one day.)



Pottery on sale in Acapulco

On board the Rotterdam
(My shaky hand blurred this, but I still like it).


Chiapas, Mexico

The 'eye' at Cabo San Lucas and a good looking yacht.

A shanty town in Lima, Peru

This I took as a possible picture to paint.

Miguel's photographer's eye.  He liked the one that was determined to be different.

For more photos of our cruise to Peru and back, scroll back to November 30th

Thursday, December 9, 2010


It may be that you have seen this before, but when I received this link earlier this week, it blessed my socks off! Already 15 million people have seen it, so probably you have but it's worth seeing over and over again.
So turn up the sound and watch.  You won't be disappointed I promise you. There is no preaching.  It's the best bit of Christmas I've ever had...Click below:

  And a very blessed Christmas to you all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

U is for...

.....which is what I am for today's ABC Wednesday.  It's not that I haven't given any thought to it.  I have for days, but nothing seemed to click.
We passed a UNIFORM shop today as I was scurrying to the dentist.  Didn't have time to stop and wasn't in the mood after I left the dentist with a prospective bill of $1300 !!
        Then I thought about doing something about the difference between 'un' and 'in', as in 'inappropriate and 'unappropriate"  Didn't find anything fun there.  They mean just about the same  -- except for me when I hear an 'un'  where I think there should be an 'in' or vice versa.  And that might be accounted for by differences between English English and American English.

      Then, to prove that I did care and I did put forth some effort, I counted all the words beginning with 'un', used as a prefix, in my Oxford American Dictionary.  Yes, I did!  
There were 37 pages encompassing 1228 words. 
And there are some words for which 'un' just isn't acceptable. (I didn't count these). 'Acceptable' isn't one of them.  According to my dictionary inacceptable is just as acceptable as 'unacceptable' although Blogger and/or Word doesn't accept 'inacceptable'.  However 'undefinite' is NOT acceptable.  Only 'indefinite' is.

Are we having fun yet?  You could try checking my figures.  It is more likely that I made a mistake in addition than in deciding which words were definitely using 'un' as a prefix, since I am not good with numbers.  Incidentally, ('in' is not a prefix here) undecisive is acceptable and so is indecisive,  but indecided is not! You might also want to know that 'incidentally' is frequently spelled wrong. Nevertheless, 'infrequent' is quite acceptable, although 'unfrequent' is not!

I began by saying that I was 'unprepared and that is true, however this post sort of evolved 'on the fly' so to speak. No doubt you can tell.

After all that, you may not be surprised if I recommend  Simon Winchester's book which is described as "a tale of murder, insanity and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary". It was published in America  with the title, "The Professor and the Madman." It tells the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.  It was first published in England as "The Surgeon of Crowthorne." ( Why not confuse everyone with two titles for the same book!) If you're not familiar with Simon Winchester you have a delight in store.

Can't possibly imagine what I'm going to do with 'V' next week!

ABC Wednesday is to blame for this blog. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Peruvian Adventures

 Don't want to bore you with more vacation photos, but I have picked out a few more which are perhaps a little out of the ordinary and hopefully of interest.

A real volcano with smoke coming out. (That's not clouds).

Iguanas in the park.  This was in a plaza in Lima, Peru, in which dozens of real live, large iguanas live. People feed them so naturally they stay around.  I didn't take a chance on petting them.  I don't think they bite unless provoked, but they do carry salmonella disease.

Then there was the wild life in the cabin....!

I love this one -- a sleeping sloth.  There was a different one made from folded towels in our cabin every night.  Very creative!

The divers at Acapulco (look between the two rock faces.)

The Adagio Strings -- four very pretty and talented Ukranian young ladies who played every evening.

Whoops!  Whatever could this be???  Cream teas, every afternoon at 3:00 p.m? 
(Well not every afternoon).

How about a multi-colored Peruvian canine?

Well you get the idea!  Between us we had over 800 pictures and there are so many more I could have shown -- like Incan ruins, Mexican dancing spectacular buildings   -- and so on.

But enough!

Still looking for a letter U for tomorrow.