Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Why are they messing with Blogger?  Don't they realize that every time they update and make it 'user friendly-er' we have to learn to use it all over again.  I don't spend all day on my computer reading and writing blogs.  It's like going to the grocery store you've been using for years only to find they have moved all the stock around to different places.  The grocery store is not number one in my life and neither is Blogger.  They are both enjoyable and useful but don't keep changing them!!

It's also like telephone salesmen and door to door salesmen trying to sell me something that is better, easier, more effective than what I've got now.  I'm sure it is, but tell me about it some other way without invading my territory, I'll look into it if I have a need.

I must be getting old and grumpy, but I bet there are others who feel as I do.  I don't do twitter, I don't do texting, I don't do face book and I don't do apps.  Hey, I don't even do cell phones except in an emergency!  Something else I don't do is the next dozen or so tech updates, fads or inventions that will come out in the next 12 months.

Something else -- if my  spell check can't keep up with the new techie words or alternative spellings without underlining them in red, then maybe someone should be working on that instead of getting fancier than some other product.  It's getting so that when I see 'user friendly'  or 'more intuitive'  I think,  then it's not for me. It's not my greatest thrill in life to learn how to do something new on the computer. Give me a break. I don't need you to take over my life.

Come on now, let's be honest. It's really all about getting people to use your product more than someone else's. ($$$$$)

Some young man recently expressed himself graphically when going through TSA security recently which caught on as a catch phrase.  I'm a lady, so I won't repeat it here, but all the same, Stay out of my Yard, --  please!

WHOOPS! I can't believe I really wrote that last paragraph!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

G is FOR


This gift came out of the blue.  A lady in my Bible Study saw this set in San Diego and said to herself, "This set looks like Chris Jones, and she should have it!"  So she bought it and gave it to me.  I'm not sure why it looks like me because I am not a pink roses and china kind of person, but it is very pretty and it was a very kind thought.  However it should be said that I have to drink my tea out of a china cup or it just doesn't taste the same.  But really after 50 years over here that's about the only thing of being British that remains, as far as I know.

This is a --  (Whoops! Forgot its name.  Happens all the time)-- which is unusual to me because it has a rich red color instead of the usual pink ones I see.  MOTH (Man Of The House) saw it and bought it for me as a small surprise gift because he was going away on another one of his world travels -- this time to Portugal, for a Conference of our churches from around the world.  This happens only once every 3 years. I used to be able to go on these exotic trips.  The last one I went to was at Hothorpe Hall in England  and it was spectacular.  A beautiful venue followed by a bus tour of some of the loveliest spots in England (we planned the itinerary) and a whole week of gorgeous weather -- the last they had in England that summer!


I think I am contradicting myself here.  I forgot about my weakness for British goodies, as you see above.  I went down to the British Foods Store yesterday and bought a packet of Maltesers, (malted milk balls but a much better tasting chocolate) a Crunchie bar, (it is chocolate covered cinder toffee) and then TWO of those wonderful Cadbury's Chocolate Flakes -- thin, thin chocolate, scrunched together to make like a chocolate log.  Mmm!  Only one left now and the other won't be around long. :)   In England you can buy an ice cream cone and they will stick one of these flakes in it and it is called a "Ninety-nine"  Not sure where the name came from, but who cares about the name? 

Today's entry for ABC WEDNESDAY.  Do click on the link and visit other participants.  You will be surprised how much you can learn  Thanks Mrs. N. and company!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


This is the truth that I am writing here: --

Last night I noticed that the first bloom on Bunny's African Violet had died and dropped off the plant.  This morning I received a phone call to say that Bunny went to be with the Lord last night.

She will bloom forever with the Lord.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

F IS FOR ...

F is for FLOWERS -- not a very original choice for F but I had a reason for choosing this word. There is a story to it:

I have a friend who calls herself Bunny.  She is a warm and sensitive person as well as being extremely capable, efficient and organized having held several jobs for high up authorities over the years.

Bunny started a group  in our church called Women in God's Service (WINGS).  The ladies in this group then proceeded to make themselves responsible for elderly and unwell ladies in our church who can no longer get out and about.  Each lady regularly visits two or three of the home-bound ones, checking on their welfare, their needs and just generally giving them encouragement by chatting and of course praying with them.

About two years ago, Bunny held a luncheon for all the WINGS ladies as a way of saying thank you for their support.  At this luncheon she gave each lady a small African Violet in a pot about 2" in diameter. I brought mine home and put this tiny plant on the side board because, although it had no flowers, the leaves were a pretty shade and organized in an attractive whorl.  I've done nothing with it over the two years except give it a drop or two of water when I think about. Really I expected it to die long ago.  I'm not very good with plants.

In May of this year, Bunny was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. What a blow this was for all of us to whom Bunny seemed invincible! Last month she entered hospice care.

That was when I noticed a tiny bud growing on Bunny's plant. Over the next couple of weeks the bud grew and opened into a tiny African Violet. Then two more buds appeared.  Today there are three blooms and another tiny bud growing on this miniature flower.

Every time I look at it I think of Bunny.  Now I'm not sentimental at all or given to fanciful ideas, but it seemed to me that this tiny plant putting forth its beautiful blooms was symbolic of Bunny.  She knows she is going to die and she doesn't have much longer.  She knows the Lord so she is not afraid and just like her plant she will bloom with beautiful new life with the Lord when she leaves us.

Here is Bunny's tiny African Violet -- a flower  with an indomitable spirit.

Pencil added to show the size

Three blooms

Can you see the fourth tiny bud just under the middle bloom?
Praise the Lord for Bunny.  Her work continues. And praise for He who is the resurrection and the life!

And now finally, two more of my paintings  done this month, of FLOWERS:
Bird of Paradise  (watercolor 5x7")

Day Lily  (Prisma colors 5x7")

For more entries to ABC Wednesday click on the link.  Thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her enterprising and hardworking crew, there are always many fascinating blog posts to illustrate the letter of the week.

Whoops!  Sorry forgot to post.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

E is FOR....

I like the idea of elegance.  It can be applied to so many different kinds of things.  It also has quite a subjective quality to its definition.  So first of all I decided to write down what I thought of when I thought of something that is elegant:

Then I went to Google to see if they could give me any ideas and this is what came up:

Frederick Soulacroix - "Elegance of the Epoque"

By contrast, I found this painting by the same artist:  
This is called "In the Garden"
Which one do you think depicts ELEGANCE most effectively?

Since I know very little about the world of art, I decided to find out more about Soulacroix, but interestingly enough the information on the web was quite confusing.
 Frederick's father was also an artist.  However his name was Charles Joseph Frederick  Soulacroix.

This is a good example of why it is important to check one's sources when seeking information off the internet.   Frederick is listed as both an Italian painter and a French painter.  His death is listed at both1933 an1955, depending on where you are looking, and even some of his paintings are attributed to his father.  Since I am not  too knowledgeable about art and artists, you will have to do your own research or take your pick.

I must say I really liked the paintings I saw posted on various web sites.  They are nearly all of people of the late 19th century dressed in costly fabrics  and in a wealthy setting.  What fascinated me the most is the meticulous detail he has included in the settings of each painting.  Each piece of furniture, wall, or other accoutrements are exquisitely reproduced.  I would really like to see these paintings in the original in order to study just how he has produced these realistic details. The only negative thing I noticed, in my uneducated opinion, was that each lady's face has rather heavy features, with faces that are somewhat flat and unflattering straight noses.

This is my contribution to Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday, which is in its ninth round.  Click on the link to see more intriguing contributions for the letter E.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Thank you everyone for your sweet, heartfelt replies to my computer woes.  However the RAM was only half my problem.  The other half was that Google, or gmail, insisted that I had two accounts with them and I had to change the user name of one of them.  I think they took over Blogger or something, so that made two email addresses including my existing one.

I didn't WANT to change either of my user names.  But they got me!  They locked me out of my blog!!!!
I tried every which way to get into my blog  for days and I read pages and pages of instructions that always ended up "Was this information helpful?  Check the box yes or no."  You know which box  I checked. Nothing worked.  At one point I was not only locked out of Blogger but I couldn't get into my special blogger gmail account which held all my Blogger contacts and their letters for about the last 4 years.

I tried Google Help.  Absolutely no help.  Blogger Help was a little more forthcoming, and told me that my blogger account was now linked to a new gmail account with a new user name extended. I  now have to  enter 31 letters, followed by the password of course,  just to get into my blog. I've tried book marks and tabs and all kinds of stuff, to make it easier.  The 'stay signed in' check mark doesn't work for me either. So I have ended up putting a document on my desk top containing my new blogger address via gmail, so that I can copy and paste it into the 'sign in' box without making any mistakes.

Later, when they have all forgotten about me I may try to change my new gmail address to something shorter.


Now ask me about upgrading from Microsoft Word 2003 to Microsoft Word 2010  ---- No, don't bother....
I'm still haggling about that.  2003 was so simple.  2010 has way too many options.  But I'd been told, "Sooner or later everyone will have to have 2010.  Besides it's so much easier".

You know when you go to a restaurant and all you want is a turkey sandwich, this is what happens:
      "Would you like to sit inside or outside?"
      "Do you want oven roasted turkey or deli?"
      "What kind of bread would you like? White, wheat, sour dough."
      "What kind of dressing would you like?  Thousand Island, Italian, French, Honey mustard, Ranch."
      "Would you like it toasted or plain?"
      "With French Fries or sweet potato fries?"
Just give me a turkey sandwich!

 Well MS Word 2010 is 'way worse than that!

Ah well, I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff!

{You know what's really funny?  When I decided to look for a piece of clip art for this post, I entered the word 'frustration' and almost every option that came up was a picture of someone  frustrated with a computer!  Do you think they knew something we didn't, when they set up MS Word 2010.}

Thursday, August 11, 2011


DO I LOVE COMPUTERS??  I don’t know.  Sometimes they just take over your life.  I have been struggling with numerous computer problems for about two weeks.
First we needed more RAM.  “Oh it’s a simple task”, they said, "just take out the two old sticks and put in the new ones. Nothing to it".

So we bought the two new sticks, and one day when I felt like wrestling with the computer we made the move.

Now our computer desk looks pretty good from the front most days.  But I’ll bet your computer from the back looks like ours does.  Less than three foot square to get into, the darkest place in the room and a mass of wires plugs and what have you, including dust.

O.K. So all I have to do is get into the space with a flashlight, pullout all the plugs attached (and remember where each one goes for when we put it back together again) then pull out the unattached computer.  Now I’m not skinny or small, and getting up and down out of a chair is sometimes not so easy, but I thought it might save us a hundred dollars or so if I did it myself.

It took me about 45 minutes to get into the space, pull out all the cords, label them and then get around to the front of the computer to pull it out into the room.  DONE.

O.K. so now I’m breathing heavily and my knees are hurting but I’ve got the computer at hand.  So how do you get inside it?  I naturally thought of a screw driver, but didn’t see any screws that looked like they would give me access.  Then I saw a part that said ‘Lock’.  What was it locked with? I pushed and pulled and fiddled -- very gently, in case I broke something. 

Aha! Half an hour later I found the secret:  push the ‘lock’ part back and carefully wiggle one side of the computer off, without bending or breaking anything.
Behold!  The inside of the computer! 

What?  Where? I wish I’d thought to take a photograph.  The whole inside was covered with a thick layer of dust and I couldn’t see anything that looked like the sticks of RAM I needed to take out.

I found one of my largish paint brushes with soft hair and began to remove the dust.  Dust bunnies everywhere!  But I was very careful.  Half an hour later I could actually see wires and soldered bits and a small fan, but I couldn’t see anything that looked like the sticks of RAM I needed to replace.  Maybe if I turned it on its side I would be able to see better.

Carefully I tipped it on its side like it was an unexploded bomb. All I knew was that I had to treat it carefully or – just like that – we’d be shelling out several hundred dollars for a new computer.

Success!  There were the two memory sticks tucked away where I could now see them. I’m not sure how I got them out without breaking the little plastic tabs that held them in, but I did.

Quickly I replaced the old sticks with the new ones. Then I put the computer back together and replaced it in its slot in the desk. After squeezing into the space at the back of the desk again, I carefully replaced all the plugs.  

An hour and a half. Job done!

Feeling smug I turned the computer on and checked to see how much RAM it was now showing.
WHAT?  No change? One of the new sticks was not working.  “Probably not tightly in place,” my son said when I called him.  This time I went to the computer web site where I read that to place the RAM in its appropriate slot, one must PUSH HARD – perhaps with as much as twenty pounds of pressure!  Should have looked at the web site in the first place!

I made a cup of tea and sat down heavily in the arm chair.  I’m not going to go through all that again today, I thought.  But after sitting for half an hour and enjoying the cuppa’ I decided that the second time through shouldn’t be nearly so bad, since now all the dust was gone and I knew what to do.

I was right!  Twenty minutes later the computer was up and running with the right amount of RAM and I decided I deserved a degree in computer technology.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

D IS FOR....

Trying to think of something special for the letter -- 
this week, I couldn't get the phrase "dappled things" out of my mind.  It had popped up from my High School English class from about 55 years ago.  So I looked up Gerard Manley Hopkins on Google (at least I remembered the name of the poet!) and there it was -- "Pied Beauty".

 Pied Beauty
         Glory be to God for dappled things—
        For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
            For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
        Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
            And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spáre, strange;
        Whatever is fickle, frecklèd (who knows how?)
            With swíft, slów; sweet, sóur; adázzle, dím; 
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is pást change:
                                            Práise Hím.
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Here are some "dappled things" from among my photos

Look around you.  You'll be surprised how many dappled things there are.  Anyone
got freckles?  Then you're one of them!

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday -- the Letter "D" run by Mrs. Nesbitt and her fine group.  Click on the Link and see how others from around the world have dealt with the letter D.

Friday, August 5, 2011


We have been fortunate enough to have orioles visit our back yard for quite a few years.  We have two kinds that visit here --the Hooded and the Bullock's. This year it is the Hooded Oriole who has come to us.  
Male Hooded Oriole
(Taken last week)

Female Hooded Oriole
(Taken last week)

They usually arrive in April, hang around for a while then move further back from the coast, not very far, but back to where the sun shines most days and there isn't any coastal cloud so they can raise their little ones where it's warmer. 

(Not sure if this a female or a juvenile.  From what I read on the internet it is probably an immature male. That's nice because that means he will probably be back next year. This was also taken last week.)

Then around the end of July, when our coastal weather is hopefully warmer, they come back again.  But they only stay until the middle of August.  They spend their winters in western Mexico. So you see, with just a small window of time when they are around, we are very happy to see them.

Do you think he sees me? He doesn't look very happy.

Whoops! Bottoms up!

We feed them grape jelly. Three or four tablespoonfuls barely lasts them two days, though I have to say the house finches like their share also. The male oriole visits the jelly every 7 or 8 minutes most of the day.  He only stays about three seconds, literally, so I have to tell you these are the best of about 20 shots that I took and they were taken through the kitchen window.  The female will stay a little longer at the feeder but she doesn't come as often as the male.  Probably only another week or so and then they will be gone until next year.

I'll be back!



First I have to confess that my title is taken from our local newspaper  The North County Times, who uses it weekly for one of their editorials.

So here's my rant...!!!

Along with all the hullabaloo in Washington about the National Debt and the budget cuts I kept hearing through the media, who are far from guiltless in this, that there may not be enough money to pay the elderly their social security.  RASPBERRY!  I don't believe it. There are plenty of places they could cut without depriving the elderly.

Then there was the General -- I'm sorry I don't know who he was but I saw him on the TV NEWS.  He was addressing some soldiers in Afghanistan(?) or somewhere and  one of the soldiers (was he a plant I wonder?) asked "Sir, will we get paid?"  The general put on this wimpy look, spread his hands and said "I don't know!".

Honestly, I could have slapped him!  It is absolutely wicked for politicians and others to stoop to fear-mongering among our elderly and our troops and their families in order to bring pressure upon the country. They were deliberately stirring up fear and anxiety among our nation's most vulnerable just to further their own political ends.   A big fat raspberry to them and to the media who love the newsworthiness of this kind of blather.

Well now I've got that off my chest I can move ahead with another kind of post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I know I like animals, but I think I love cows from a discreet distance.  I'm never quite sure how to take a field of cows.  Are they just curious when they come towards you or are they unhappy you're in their territory?  I remember someone telling me that if you're not afraid of cows and you walk across their field, you're not as brave as the person who is afraid of them yet still walks across the field. Anyway I must like them because I have three paintings in my collection that I have done.

I truly forget whose photo I used for the black and white cow.  (If you recognize it please forgive me and feel free to claim  the original photo as yours in the comments). The Jersey I copied from Abe Lincoln's photo (click on link), and the one below you may recognize as based on the banner photo  belonging to  The Weaver of Grass (click on the link). I did ask permission before using all three of these for my paintings.

One of the world's recent and most useful inventions is the humble  CHIP CLIP:

They come in all sizes and colors and are useful for all kinds of things...but THIS is my most favorite and handy use....

Actually this would be more appropriate for paper back books, but oh so handy!  I chose this book for my photo here because it is the next book I am going to read.

C is for Churchill...
 The next book I am going to read is Churchill's
 "History  of the English Speaking Peoples."
Not going to say much about him here as he would need at least one whole blog to himself.  I have already read it once (the short version), but so many people ask us questions about English history and some Americans know more about our history than we do theirs. I would really like to read all five volumes because he is such a fantastic writer, but I daren't commit myself to so much reading all at once.  Of course if I were going on a 'Round the World Cruise' I could do it then !  :} But think of the luggage problem.

Now speaking of reading, I would like to introduce you to my
Snafu, of the blog Incultus. Through the wonders of the internet, my sister and I have recently hooked up with him. When we were young children, I spent quite some time in their home and with his sister, before my sister was born. But we lost touch  over the years.

Here we are in about 1944.  That's me with my mouth wide open! Of Course!!  Snafu (not his real name) is the youngest standing at the back.  Snafu's sister on the left of the photo and my brother, Michael, who died at age 48 (pancreatic cancer) at the front.
What has this to do with reading?  Well let me urge you to visit Safu's blog INCULTUS by clicking on the link.  He has a wonderful description and photographs of his recent visit to Las Vegas, and even though he is my cousin, I must say I do think that he is a gifted writer and really should have many more visitors. I have never been to Vegas but I loved his descriptions here.

That's it for ABC WEDNESDAY this week. Click on the link and visit some of Blogdom's brightest and best.  Thanks Mrs. N and team, for your hard work.