Tuesday, July 30, 2013

C IS FOR .......

C IS FOR....
This word is quite familiar to me but I really didn't know what it was, then when I found out, I realized I had a great photo of a really beautiful looking CALABASH

Isn't it gorgeous?  Standing about waist height, this calabash can be seen in the foyer of Gaylord's Plantation Restaurant, near Lihue on Kauai.

A calabash is a gourd, and they come in many different sizes -- not usually as big as this.  They are used for storage of many different things. Smaller one are usually used for holding water.

This one, as large as it is and  highly polished as you can see, is truly a work of art.  So glad I thought of it for our letter C.

C is also for COYOTE and since I have mentioned them frequently as inhabiting our area, I offer the only proof I have:  two very inferior photos,  But there he is, just across the creek from our house.  I took these one evening when it was almost dark.  

Do you think he saw me??

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, now in its 13th round, the highly successful and popular project founded by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and now managed by Roger Owen Green.  Thank you Denise and Roger for maintaining this interesting and educational blog.  To see more entries for the letter C please click HERE.  Why don't you consider joining us to share your wealth of knowledge and photos?

Friday, July 26, 2013


This was the scene outside our little house early last Sunday morning!  Yes, we had to call the paramedics. Earlier, my son had driven over to be with me because my husband was at a conference in Minneapolis and I was getting worse by the minute.  So he called 911 and they sent a couple of fire trucks -- but look what they sent -- the big old ladder fire truck --almost as big as our house !  It had to maneuver down our narrow streets, barely two car-widths wide, not to mention turn the tight, narrow corners. My son had the presence of mind to take this photo as they were carrying me out, (well he is a photographer) and he took excellent care of me through the early stages at the hospital.  Afterwards we asked why they sent the big truck and were told that for our area that is the one they send because it is five minutes closer than any other.

Meanwhile, apparently Scruffy was pounding with his paws on the sun room window that looks out on to the front porch where they were moving me into the ambulance. Glyn had shut him in the sun room so he wouldn't get out while the paramedics were here.  I was barely aware of what was going on by this time.

In the morning, Barry caught the next plane home and three days later most of the excitement was over.  The diagnosis was an intestinal blockage caused by scar tissue from my gall bladder surgery a few years ago. Won't go into details but it was a scary time, if a little surrealistic. The blockage was dissolved but to add frosting on top, I came home from the hospital with an unrelated infection, (lack of proper care), so now I'm on antibiotics.  I love it when, after three days of no food, no water and no sleep, they ask you how you feel!

The result is that Barry missed his speaking engagement in Minneapolis and sadly has decided to cancel his up coming trip to Micronesia, next month.  It's too bad but he doesn't feel comfortable about going away under the circumstances.

My doctor told me today that except for this 'hiccup' I have excellent health -- all vital signs, blood pressure, heart and lungs are in good shape.

Emergency over.  See you on ABC Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

B IS FOR....


Sorry to be so late with my posting this week.  For a while there I nearly didn't make it at all.  Got hit with a nasty   gastro-intestinal episode and just got out of the hospital last night.  Seems it was an intestinal blockage caused by scar tissue from previous surgery.  But I am now recovering.

Enough of that, take a look at these beauties:

We have had a pair of orioles visiting us at the old house for several years and wondered if we would be favored by their presence down here which is only actually about a mile away "as the oriole flies''.  We have found that the greatest lure for them is grape jelly.  So now, half-way through a jar of grape jelly later, we have this beautiful pair visiting us regularly  a few times a day.   They usually only stay around until mid August, so I am hoping they will still be here when my sister Kay comes to visit next week.  The last photo is of the female.  The females are not usually as brightly colored as this one, so I am not sure if it was the lighting, the camera or she was just naturally brighter than usual.

This is my BIRD BOOK which I rely on for so much information:

This is truly a most useful book and I love it.  I have it right by my chair along side my binoculars.

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday about 24 hours later than usual, but at least I made it.  Do visit this new round of ABC Wednesday HERE now in the beginning of its 13th round.  Thanks Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green for their conscientious  leadership


I was so happy to receive this reply from Scriptor Sentex among my comments. I thought others might be as curious as I was about who Anna was.So with Scriptor's permission I repeat his information here.
Scriptor’s Info on Anna’s Humming Bird 
 I hope this isn't too much information, Chris:-
RenĂ© Primevère Lesson (20 March 1794 – 28 April 1849) was a French surgeon, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist. He served on Duperrey's round-the-world voyage of 'La Coquille' (1822–25), during which time he collected natural history specimens including a number of new species. 
Quite often the first person to identify a creature or plant as a new species gets to give it its scientific name. In this case Lesson also gave it its English name, naming it after Anna who had the important role of Mistress of the Household to Empress Eugenie, the wife of Lesson's king, Napooleon III. 
It was quite common in those days to dedicate books and discoveries to royalty and other important persons, often in the hope of patronage or pensions. 
Do visit Scriptor's Blog  HERE.  It is called Rambles from my Chair and he always has interesting posts as well as photos of his very cute kitty, Ivy.

It seems a little strange to have our humming bird who is quite common here, named after someone who lived two hundred years ago and who probably never saw a live one in her life. We have two in particular who are arch rivals for access to our feeder and attack ferociously when the other approaches to take a few sips.I just refilled the feeder this afternoon. It takes a cup and a half of sugar water (one part sugar to four parts water)to fill the feeder and it lasts approximately a week before needing to be refilled.

The clouds are building up for a thunderstorm -- unusual for us on the coast at this time of the year, but I will rejoice if it comes because then I won't have to haul out the hose to water the front  yard (garden).  I did water the back yard yesterday, which is actually a bigger job than the front, but if it does rain I will have to run out to bring the bird feeder tray under cover before it gets flooded.  Seed is expensive!  Whoops!!   Had to do just that.  Big fat drops of rain coming down.  Hope it will be a good rain.

Because we get no rain usually from May to November, watering becomes important if you want to keep your plants and bushes alive.  It is so funny for an English person like me to get excited about rain, but this is only the second rain we've had since we moved into this new house in March.  When I was teaching school it was so funny to see the children get excited when the first rain comes.  It's like British children the first time it snows.

Oh dear!  Scruffy doesn't like the sound of the rain.  He is hiding behind his kitti-litter box where he went when we had fireworks on July 4th.

Wednesday 24, 2013

I had the above post ready to be posted on Saturday, when I was hit out of the blue with a very nasty gastro-intestinal episode and had to be hospitalized for three days.  Getting over it now, but of course they want to do all kinds of follow-up testing.  In the mean time I am now home recovering from not just the episode but all kinds of jabbing and poking, intestinal X-rays and the effects of three days with no food, only ice chips and three nights with no sleep.  SO nice to be home!  I have slept 17 hours since getting home last night.  No confirmed diagnosis, but it doesn't seem to be anything serious.

My next job is to post for ABC Wednesday before it is too late.  I will take a short nap and then put it together.  Fortunately I have the photos already and have the rest of it already in my head.   
See you in a couple of hours.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A IS FOR....


Here we are in the thirteenth round of our wonderful project ABC WEDNESDAY.  I had a couple of options to choose from for the letter A, but I decided to go with 
 Courtesy of wikipedia

My rendition of Anna's Hummingbird
based on the picture in my bird book.  Done in Prisma Color pencils.

It was not hard to think of this bird for the letter A as we are surrounded by them down here in Southern California.  Most of the time if you see a humming bird around here it will probably an Anna's, although we do have others.

Some facts about the Anna's humming bird:

1.  It is only found on the west coast of America from Canada to Mexico.
2.  It is about 4" long, approximately
3.  It has an impressive mating ritual which consists of loud squeaks and dropping like a stone from the sky.
4.  It is highly territorial, feisty and aggressive.
5.  It is the only humming bird that has its head and neck completely covered by an iridescent ruby-red color, that looks black until the sun shines on it. 
5.  It can shake its body 55 times a second, which it does to shake off dust and insects, rather like a dog shakes off water, and thus holds the record of being the fastest vertebrate on earth to be able to do this!  

Now THAT'S a piece of information we can't live without, I'm sure!

Finally, it is named after Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli, (1802-1887) whose father was an outstanding general in Napoleon Bonaparte's army.  Rivoli is a city in the municipality of Verona, Italy.  (So she could be known as "The One Lady of Verona"  -- Groan here! )

The thing I couldn't find out was why the bird was named after her and who named it thus. 
She was certainly an attractive woman and we can surmise why the bird might have been named after her.   I  would love to know more about the connection, but I share with you all I have been able to discover so far.

Anna Messina, Duchess of Rivoli
after whom the humming bird is named .

 To visit more of the letter A for ABC Wednesday please click HERE

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Our topic for Creative Tuesday this session is  SHIPS.

I took a different twist on this topic for my first entry:

The camel is often known as the Ship of the Desert.  I have been thinking about drawing a camel for a while.  I like drawing animals and haven't drawn a camel before so this was my motivation.

By contrast, I have drawn many ships before, but I found a photograph among "My Pictures" on our computer.  It was of a mosaic of a very good-looking ship.  I think my husband took the photo when he was in Australia a few years ago.

This is the original photo:

This is my interpretation or copy of the photo:

As you can see, my drawing is very traditional and usually copied from a photograph or another picture.  But my copying is done by eye -- I don't trace or use anything mechanical or technical.

As for using something technical, I will try this week to post my blog correctly on Creative Tuesday.  I'm so sorry for the past mistakes in linking.  I have asked Wanda of 'Got a Minute or Two' to give me some help.  So here goes...

Please click HERE to see what other participants have done for Creative Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A curious variation on a Z E N T A N G L E

In the midst of our recent down-sizing and going through all the keepsakes of our children's childhood, I came across this:

"Oh!" I thought, "a Zentangle!" It was drawn by my oldest son at the age of seven.  Of course,  strictly speaking it's not a ZENTANGLE.  But it does really look like one at first glance. Those who visit me regularly will know of my obsession, with ZENTANGLES, Doodles or just Tangles.

I looked at this drawing carefully and was quite impressed with his skill here.
It set my creative juices flowing.  What if....

.....I reproduced the basic shapes he used in this drawing -- just the lines, They are a bit like what Zentanglers call "Strings" and on which you hang your various designs....

So now I had a blank sheet of paper with lines on rather like those drawings children used to do by taking their pencil and letting it wander all over the page.  (Sometimes called 'Taking the Dog for a Walk') Then they would fill in the resulting shapes with color.  But my lines and shapes on this paper were my son's lines and shapes.

Then I filled each shape with the various designs and patterns I have used when doing my Doodles
(my version of ZENTANGLES).

After that I decided to color the designs in each shapes using only the colors my son used in each shape of his original drawing.

And this is what I ended up with:

A curious variation on a ZENTANGLE.
His lines, shapes and colors;  my designs or patterns.

Not a masterpiece I will admit, but a mingling of a child's mind with his mother's forty years later.

My sincere apologies to the owners of the word Zentangle.  I should have noted that the word Zentangle is a Registered Trade-mark. _______________________________________________________________________________

This is my entry for ABC Wednesday, for the letter Z.  Congratulations everyone.  We have just completed the twelfth round of this project so ably led by Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green.  Please click HERE to visit the inspiring efforts of all who made it to the letter Z.  Why not consider joining us in the next round?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Y IS FOR .......

Y  is for....
Yes this is a cop-out! Sorry, but the heat and humidity are too much for my brain which is melting. Trying not to put the A/C on as we will probably need it more in August and we're still figuring out cost of living in a place with an HOA.

Speaking of YUCK we and our neighbors are being visited by a couple of skunks! Coyotes are still leaving their footprints.  But Orioles are also visiting and the plants and bushes are recovering from some of their neglect.  Still LOVE the house.

Prayers for the families and friends of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in the Phoenix area.  So tragic -- what's a little humidity compared to that?

Everyone keep dry, cool and safe.

I've already got my Z for next week.  

Please click HERE to visit ABC WEDNESDAY and to read the entries of those who did not Yield to the temptation to give up during this round.  Roger and Denise deserve something  YUMMY for their dedication to this meme!