Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crashed Laptop

So in all my haggling around with G mail and blogger and probably other things I managed to crash my lap top.  It's hard on my back to use the regular computer, so I guess I'll be off line for a little while.  Of course it's the weekend and I don't know if my computer guy is in town.  But I'll be back ASAP.  Sorry to miss making the comments on ABC.  I WILL be back.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Over the years I have counted more than 25 different species of birds in my back yard and that doesn't count all the varieties of sparrows who visit.  I'm not expert enough to tell all the different sparrows apart.

This photo amuses me because there are almost a dozen sparrows who frequently line themselves up on my fence in the mid afternoon especially if it has been a cold day.  There they try to soak up the last of the warm sunshine before night falls.

House Sparrow

White crowned sparrow

House finch

Scrub jay

Common yellow throat

American Goldfinches (Mostly Lesser goldfinches here)

California Towhee (We called this one Peg Leg.)  His offspring are
all fine.

Female Bullocks Oriole

Western Phoebe

Cooper's Hawk

There have been a few others passing through, but these are the main ones.  Identifying birds is pleasant hobby for me.  Often we will go to one of the nearby lagoons or larger parks to expand our experience.  It's a fun, peaceful and interesting hobby.

I'm a little late with this post.  Blogger tells me I have exceeded my allotment of space for photographs. Didn't know I had a limit!  So I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out a way around it and to see if it was a legitimate message.  Finally I ended up having to pay $2.50 a month  to continue my blogging!  Has any one else come across this charge and since I just finally updated my interface as they asked months ago, I wonder if it had anything to with that.  Then to add  insult to injury my credit card notified me of an extra $1.00 they charged -- for what??

This is my submission to ABC Wednesday, the project started by Mrs. Nesbitt now in its 11th round.  To see more excellent  expressions of the letter B please click HERE.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The subject this week for Inchies on Monday is GLASS.  Since I draw my Inchies this is a hard subject for me.  Glass is not easy to portray.  However my interpretation is here:

The best glass of lemonade I EVER had was a couple of years ago when I went to the river with my son.  It was 106 degrees and we spent the afternoon on the boat and swimming in the river. We had plenty of food, snacks and drinks all afternoon and when the afternoon was over we went for dinner.  I ordered a lemonade and it tasted WONDERFUL!!  I have never tasted lemonade that tasted so good. Of course it was just ordinary lemonade. I must have been more dehydrated than I realized!! 

To see more Inchies interpretations please click HERE

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


(Beep, beep!)

   Have you ever noticed how much our lives are being regulated these days by alarms and alerts.? We wake up to the incessant demands of the alarm clock. Well, that’s one out of the way for the day.  Then there is the welcome beep of the coffee maker. In our house if you have the toaster on too dark, or if you are cooking something in the oven at a high temperature, like frozen French fries, then the smoke alarm goes off – scaring the cat half to death.  So we have to remember to open the patio door a few inches to alleviate the smell of ‘burning’ before burning the toast. 

The microwave beeps when it is through; the oven also beeps when it reaches the required temperature. Of course the kitchen timer buzzes loudly when I set it to remind me to turn off the sprinklers after watering the thirsty back yard.  If my husband decides to take a ‘power nap’ in the afternoon his little pocket timer alarm beeps mercilessly to tell him when his time is up.  In addition I have another small alarm which beeps insistently for a full minute to remind me to take my six o’clock medication. The computer comes alive with the familiar chimes of Windows powering up.  New e mail reminders pop up with a ding—or heaven forbid you try to do something Windows doesn’t want you to do there comes the long series of beeps. 

Telephones are just as bad, who hasn’t heard the words at least once a day, “Leave your message after the sound of the beep…” My husband’s iPhone chimes when there is an important news alert.  Of course it’s important that you know there’s been another shooting in San Diego!

But it doesn’t stop there.  You get in the car and it beeps if you didn’t buckle up, or if you leave your keys in the ignition -- or if you leave the headlights on after you get out. When you leave the car to do the shopping you press the beeper in order to lock it. Our car makes such a loud beep that it makes the little old lady passing by jump out of her skin and I have to apologize.

But we’re not through yet.  If by any chance you inadvertently take some merchandise out of the store without paying for it, or the sales clerk has forgotten to remove the magnetic tag, another loud chime will alert you and a voice is heard reminding you to take the merchandise back to the register, while all heads turn and look at you, the red-faced pilferer.

When you get home, you sheep-facedly have to ring the doorbell to alert your spouse to the fact that although you have the car keys, you forgot to take the house keys. (Well thank goodness for door bells). But take care, if you step out of the car into the street because the automatic ‘backing up’ beeps on the trash truck are sounding. And don't you love it when the neighbor's car alarm goes off by mistake in the middle of the night?

After all that, we now get messages two days before, reminding us of our doctor or dentist appointment and our pharmacy has added to its automatic service the benefit of automatically refilling a prescription you use regularly, without you ordering it, and then phoning you to remind you that it is ready to pick up.

Whatever would we do without all these reminders?  I wonder if they will change the way our memory works since we don’t have to remember all this for ourselves.

Would you believe it?  That ever present reminder that someone wants to talk to you, the telephone, just rang and my sister from Canada was on the other end. (True!) So we had a good natter for about an hour just to keep in touch. No ‘time’s up’ beep on this phone call.  Those beeps went the way of the coin change phone booths. 

Today we begin our eleventh round in the AUSPICIOUS project begun by Mrs. Nesbitt, ABC WEDNESDAY.  This is my entry for the letter A.  Won't you join us?  To see what others are doing for the letter A please click on the link HERE

Sunday, July 15, 2012


The theme for the Inchies this week is
Could have gone a lot of different ways with this, but it's summer time (even though I understand from today's paper that Britain is being inundated with rain ) and I'm thinking a lot about birds.  The English Blackbird is a great singer.  For some people he becomes a bit annoying because he is so loud and is usually the first bird awake in the morning -- around 4:30 a. m. in June. 

When I was in college all we students who were studying Natural History had a special 'field trip assignment'. We had to set ourselves up in the college grounds, which was out in the Derbyshire countryside, at 3:30 one morning to document the beginning of the Dawn Chorus of the British song birds.  It really is quite a spectacular event every year in the spring, culminating in a great crescendo of birds singing their hearts out in mid June very early, every morning.  Of course the blackbird is the first to wake all the others and that's what we were there to document.  

I suspect he is also one of the later singers in the evening.  A few years ago I was in England at Hothorpe Hall for a conference.  I wandered out into the beautiful gardens one evening to seek a little peace from the variety of activity at the conference.  Sure enough, as it grew dusk, it was late June and the blackbirds were lustily singing away in the surrounding woods.

 So my Inchie this week proclaims the earliest, loudest and probably the latest singer, the English Blackbird.

To see more Inchies illustrating the theme BLACK please click HERE

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I watched a TV program a few days ago.  It was about California but more specifically it was about the Jacaranda Tree of which there are many in California.  They all bloom about the middle of June and to my mind they are probably my most favorite tree.

To my astonishment this program was discussing the fact that there are many people who don't like Jacaranda Trees.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  What's not to like????

I took these photos of our tree about three days ago:

It has been in its best bloom for several years this year.  So full and so blue!

So why don't some people like them?  Because they're messy!  Well yes, they do leave a circle of blue petals  on the ground, but the circles are almost as pretty as the trees.  The ground around our tree is covered with crushed red rock, so we don't even attempt to rake up the petals.  Ah well, to each his own I guess, but I am SO enjoying our tree this year.

Oh and who is this going under cover?

This sheep rug has been in the same place forever in front of the patio window.  Why on earth Scruffy decided to hide under it here, we have no idea, especially as it was one of the first warm days we'd had this year and he usually likes to lie in the sun.  He doesn't even hide under bed covers or blankets.  Maybe the mourning doves were harassing him at the window, I don't know.  He doesn't like the whistling swish of their wings.  But he's never done this before .... or since. 


Friday, July 13, 2012


I'm not really sure what I am letting myself in for here but I figured I'd try it out and see if I fit in.

The theme for the Sketchbook Challenge this month is: 

My artwork is usually fairly formal and traditional -- and that includes the materials I use.  I've been reading about Tangles recently so I decided I would start with many circles, quite a bit of color and some texture.  I used a fine black ink pen and Prisma color pencils.

I like the idea of being given a theme each month to explore.  I think one of the things I would like to explore is being less formal in my art, since I nearly always draw from a picture (I'm not what I would call a true artist)  So I want to be a little more free with my drawing and use a little more of my imagination.  

I'm not sure if I can do this because I'm a very organized and detailed person.  I'm not what you'd call free and easy.  I like boundaries and goals and things that make sense. I'm always looking for the right way to do things and to do things properly.  It's hard for me to be slipshod or slapdash, but I'm not too worried about that because that's who I am and have been all my life. What can you expect from an English teacher and high school principal? But I think I could break out of my 40 years of self imposed limitations to some degree and still be me and be happy with what I produce in the process.  WE WILL SEE!

I will add the details of where you can find the Sketchbook challenge hopefully tomorrow.  It's late and I need to quit.

Here is the link to The Sketchbook Challenge so you can learn what it is all about and join if you wish.  Please click HERE

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Z IS FOR....
based on the letter Z

We have a little business to do first, before I tell you more. I must tell you that the word 'zentangle' is a registered trade mark. (Sorry I don't know how to do the recognized symbol for this on blogger). 

In addition, for my Christian friends who may have thought that I have departed the faith(!) I need to mention that the 'zen' part of the word for those who invented it, does signify some connection with the value of meditation and intuition as found in Buddhism.  But many of us of many faiths, or no religious faith at all, exercise these gifts; and 'tangling' is a style of art engaged in by many people.  So I enjoy doing zentangles without the religious overtones.  I could just call them tangles, but the word zentangle has a certain cadence to it that I like --  and I need a letter Z!!!

These are some of the zentangles I have made in the past few weeks.

So what exactly is a Zentangle?  The best way I can tell you is to quote from one of the certified Zentangle teachers:

Zentangles are miniature pieces of unplanned, abstract, black and white art created from repetitive patterns on a 3.5-inch (89 mm) square paper tile. They are not only exquisitely beautiful, they are fun and relaxing to create.
The process of creating a Zentangle® is a form of “artistic meditation” as one becomes completely engrossed in making each pattern, deliberately focusing on “one stroke at a time”®. The creativity options and pattern combinations are boundless. And anyone can do it!

Cited from Linda Farmer CZT

Although I don't prescribe to her "artistic meditaion" viewpoint, I do find them fun to do. There is much more and some of it has to do with particular patterns used in Zentangles.  If you are interested I suggest you Google Zentangles and acquire much more information.

The definition above states they should be in black and white, but because I am so fascinated by color, I decided to color a couple of mine, simply using Prisma colors.  But it is your art so you can do what you wish with it.

The first one is done on a 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inch card (ATC size) and this particular card had a linen finish to it. I quite like the effect.  

The second one is 3 1/2 ins. square, the usual size of a Zentangle.  I don't know which I like the best, the black and white or the colored.  I think I have more fun with the colored.  I don't choose the colors until I have finished in black and white first.

The thing I like best about Zentangling is that the finished effect looks so intricate and difficult, when actually it is quite simple.  However there are a number of Zentangle patterns that they teach you how to do if you subscribe to their newsletter. If you like them, they can be incorporated into the Tangle.

Later this week I will post  a  piece of art that is similar to Zentagling but is based on "CIRCLES" the theme set by Sketch book Challenge which I found through blogger Arty Stuff.  Her link is HERE.  I haven't decided yet whether to join Sketchbook Challenge officially.  I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.  So I shall dabble for a while and then decide.


This is my submission for ABC WEDNESDAY for the letter Z.  This wonderful project, the brainchild of Denise Nesbitt, has now completed its 9th round.  It has been an enjoyable, educational and inspirational effort.  If you would like to see more of the amazing and exceptional entries others have contributed for the letter Z, please click HERE

Sunday, July 8, 2012


INCHIES ON MONDAY's theme this week is MOUNTAIN.  

The eye doctor told me last week that I have 20/20 vision in the eye which had the cataract.  Now I need new glasses to accommodate the left eye  and so I can do more close work. That will not be for about a month.  In the mean time I was told I cannot harm my eyes by using them.  So I have been doing quite a lot of drawing.  I was missing it.

The theme of 'MOUNTAIN' takes me right back to our Norwegian tour a couple of years ago.  Every day we were surrounded by magnificent mountains.  It was a wonderful time.  So here is my Inchie, (not Twinchie) based on the mountains of Norway.

Not quite sure why it has reproduced in such a blurry manner, but there it is.  Drawing on an inch square is quite daunting.  It really is a very small 'canvas'.

If you would like to see some more INCHIES please click HERE to visit Every Inchie Monday

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Y  is for ...YOUTH


  Me, at two years old........                                    Me, at fifteen years old.....
Me, at 74, last year.

It has been said that if we all died young like Marilyn Monroe, we would forever be remembered as young and beautiful.

I was only a year or two older than the Beatles when they arrived in the U.S.A. to adoring accolades.  I remember  thinking at the time that they'd got it all and they were so young.  I really wondered what was left for them to achieve for the rest of their lives.

For John Lennon the end came  much sooner than anyone expected and he was still at the height of his fame.

But then a few weeks ago I watched Paul McCartney perform at the Queen's Concert.  I had such mixed feelings.  Here he is at age 70 singing for the Queen but he could hardly hold a tune. (No offense intended.  Neither can I at my age). If he lives much longer his gifts will fade away with him.  

Which would be better do you think, to die when you are young and at the height of your fame or to live a full life and die almost forgotten with your achievements all behind you?

I have often asked myself why God lets most of us dwindle away with sighs and groans instead of dying in the midst of our acclaim.

For me, this I know, how much more will I appreciate heaven and a perfect world after all I've seen in this world in my 74 years!  And how much more will I appreciate my new body without its aches and pains and shortcomings!

Artwork credit to Eugenia Clara
Click for credit for this artwork

This my entry for Mrs. Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday for the letter Y.  To see more entries from those participating, please click HERE

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Yes, I did say INCHIE, not TWINCHIE.  Inchies are one inch square as opposed to Twinchies which are two inches square.  For the last 6 months I have been joining in Every Inchie Monday but have done my contribution as a TWINCHIE.  However since my eye surgery last week I decided to bite the bullet and attempt an Inchie.

This week's topic is  BORDER  and here is my INCHIE:

It is the edge of a footstool or perhaps a bed (because it is imaginary) -- a border of a fabric or piece of furniture.

I do not have my new glasses yet, so I will either do a twinchie or an inchie for a few weeks depending on how I feel my eye concentration is at the time. 

This is a fun project, so if you would like to see more contributions please click on this LINK