Thursday, September 27, 2007

Making Art?

Last night, I was up late messing with my computer, doing some lengthy uninstalls of some programs I had just installed and if you're wondering why I haven't been commenting lately, I'm having computer issues. While the late-night slow-mo uninstall was going on, I drew and painted this picture (see top) with watercolor pencils and water color paints. The top scan is prolly a little lighter than the orginal painting (which was actually done on real paper, not on the computer), the second one I tried to adjust a little on the computer and the third one, I added crabs. Why crabs, you might ask? Well, this is a painting or drawing (?) titled "The News." It's for Monday Artday's weekly theme, which this week is cancer. The girl in the picture has just learned she has a tumor. The crabs are a sort of play on words (Cancer the Crab), but make a sort of good symbol of this invasivre thing. (Nothing against real crabs, of course).

I'm not very experienced with watercolor pencils, and not that great an artist, either. So these aren't that great. To see the final piece, which I further manipulated digitally, visit Monday Artday.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Check List of paperwork needed for Piano Boy’s Adoption

I spent a large part of the day today filling out an eleven page adoption application.  Still need to round up all kinds of paperwork before we can go in for our interview:

Biker Buddy needs to round up or acquire:
  •  a certified copy of Piano Boy's birth certificate
  •  Biker Buddy's birth certificate, certified
  •  Nightingale and Biker Buddy's marriage certificate, certified
  •  PL and Biker Buddy's marriage certificates, certified
  •  PL's death certificate, certified
  •  Biker Buddy divorce decree from Nightingale, certified
  •  Paperwork all filled out (including last page)(?)
  • Biker Buddy's driver's license (in Biker Buddy's wallet)

Mary needs to round up or acquire:

  •  Mary's birth certificate, certified (in leather travel fanny pack)
  •  Mary and NB's marriage certificate, certified
  •  Mary and DA's marriage certificate, certified
  •  Mary's divorce from DA, certified
  •  Mary's divorce from NB, certified
  • Mary's driver's license (in Mary's wallet—TAKE WALLET!)

We both (or either of us) need to round up or acquire:

  •  Our marriage certificate, certified
  •  Paperwork all filled out (including last page)(?) [This is done except the last page which Biker Buddy needs to do.

Strike News

We just got news that there is a tentative agreement. Biker Buddy is supposed to report back to work tomorrow morning.

We don't know:
*whether the tentative agreement will be ratified
*whether he will still have his job once the contract is ratified
*how it will affect our health insurance
*how it will affect our retirement
But we're hoping this will be the end of it and that we won't have lost too much--no job loss, no health insurance loss, no retirement loss.
Posted by Picasa

Wordless Wednesday

for Wordless Wednesday.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Equinox (Leaf)

For the equinox, we went up to Indian Springs and took the longish hike up to Timberland Lake, which is a bog, in hopes of seeing the early bog fall colors, the brilliant reds or red and silver maple and all the gold of the tamaracks, but we were too late! The bog was naked. All the leaves and needles had already fallen. (Click image to view larger.) We also went to the conservatory Saturday. And yesterday watched a preying mantis catch a beetle.
Posted by Picasa

What I ate for breakfast: Cabbage, parsnip and spinach omelete

I made a cabbage, spinach and parsnip omelette for breakfast this morning, not as a new taste treat, but because we're almost out of food! That's all that was left in the vegetable drawer. This has nothing to do with the strike that started a half hour ago (see previous post), but may contribute to my concern because it reminds me of when we had no money when I was a kid. Just a coincidence, though, at this point, anyway. The omelette actually tasted good, though! :-D

Biker Buddy ON STRIKE!

The UAW and GM have been negotiating. Biker Buddy called this morning to say they were probably going out on strike at 11 AM. He would have to walk the picket line. At 11 AM, I heard on NPR that in fact the UAW has gone out as of 11 AM on Nationwide strike against GM for the first time since 1976.

I started crying when I heard the news. I guess I'm worried, more worried than I realized. Maybe it is bringing up old stuff from when my father was out on strike so often and so long against American Locomotive when I was a child. Strike times were scary times for me, my father home but not on vacation, pacing, worried, low on money. I was more scared then than I realized until just now.

My father finally changed jobs and went to work for General Electric instead. He worked at Knolls Atomic Power Labs, and changed again when we weren't allowed to go fishing in Canada because of the high security of the work he did. This was not as much a financial issue, but a matter of principle. He did not feel like a free man, and he wanted to be free, so he moved his family at a critical time in my life--I lost an opportunity to go to France as a foreign exchange student, was no longer in honor society, etc.

None of this has anything to do with Biker Buddy's circumstances, and my current ones, I hope. Except that they strongly affect my feelings about it and I am still in useless, pointless tears.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Candidate Calculator

Try this and see if you get who you expected to and if your chosen candidate is anywhere near the top.

Not Quite over but finally getting there

My Mom died January 16. This picture was taken when we were there trying to clean and sort her stuff. Monday we had a closing on her house. Today, we are trying to get the power and water shut off or transferred, the insurance terminated and all that. The lawyers have to deal with the fees and money. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope so; it's been a long row to hoe. I miss my Mom--a lot, but I won't miss all the bull$#\* that followed her death!
Posted by Picasa

Bawling my Eyes out

I'm trying NOT to read, even though reading is a favorite activity of mine and important to me as a writer. I'm trying not to read because I have too much else to do that is pressing DOWN HARD on me. But I do allow myself to read this book a little at each meal I eat alone. And today's chapter (which has taken several days to read) made me cry my eyes out. I cry over happy stuff as much as sad. This was the chapter about Barbara's 50th birthday. I love all Barbara Kingsolver's books!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Self-portrait by Moonlight

This was an unintentional self-portrait. The camera is sitting on the rocks at my feet and I am taking a moonlight picture of the little beach at Lakeshore. The moon is at my back. It didn't seem QUITE that bright, LOL!

I would normally post this to my self portraits blog, but I am thinking of consolidating and getting rid of some of my blogs. It's too much work for me and too confusing for everyone else.
Posted by Picasa

Wordless Wednesday

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pier Park Companions

Posted by Picasa

Not Martha Stewart (What I ate for breakfast--raspberry syrup)

Today I made blueberry pancakes (same recipe as yesterday) with raspberry syrup. I didn't look up a recipe, I just made it, and it tasted great, but was messy. After eating some of the fresh raspberries fresh, I covered the others with water, added sugar and a squirt or two of lemon left from making yesterday's lemon sauce and voila, syrup. I'm not Martha Stewart and I made a big mess on myself and in the kitchen and really enjoyed the food but not the mess. I should have added a little cornstarch for thickening, but it was fabulous! And I have enough left for another meal! YAY! The lower photo is the actual syrup in the pan before I got it all over my clothes, counter, floor etc. I did not strain the seeds out.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 17, 2007

What I ate for Breakfast: Vegan Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Sauce

Setting Out the Ingredients, by Mary Stebbins Taitt, click image to view larger. I made Blueberry pancakes with lemon sauce for breakfast. Boy was it good. Whole grain and vegan.

Here's the recipe I used for lemon sauce. It makes a big batch which keeps in fridge about a week or more. It also divides well.

3/4 c sugar
1/4 c + 2T cornstarch
2 1/2 c rice milk
2 T lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
pinch salt (opt)
1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice

Mix sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan, add rice milk and zest and stir well, heat on medium until it thickens, remove from heat, add lemon juice, stir well, chill or serve hot. This can also be used in pies or as a pudding. You can adjust the cornstarch to meet your needs for thickness. If you are not a vegan, you can use milk and eggs. Substitute 3 egg yokes for the 2 T cornstarch. If making pie, use the whites to make meringue, if making pudding, beat the whites and turn into the pudding to make more fluffy or make meringues and serve the pudding in them. Also you can add a couple T butter to the sauce for a richer taste if you aren't vegan or allergic to dairy like I am.

For the blueberry pancakes, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 c whole wheat stone ground graham flour, 1/4 high fiber hot cereal with flax seed (uncooked) or oatmeal or mixed brans, 1 T baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt (opt), 2T canola oil (or other favorite oil)(or 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine), about 3/4 cup rice or soy milk (or milk), 1/2 cup blueberries or to taste (also other berries are good too). This recipe makes about 12 large pancakes. It divides well for smaller batches. If you are not vegan, you can add eggs; use liquid eggs to make smaller batches and cut back a little on the milk.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The yellow primrose stained glass Light-catcher

I had a dream about this last night (and wrote a poem based on the dream). Click image to view larger. (Art piece by me.)
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Geese and Goslings

Yep, I took this this spring. The goslings all look like geese now. And essentially are. Click image to view larger.
Posted by Picasa

Choosing to be PC

I am tired of people who make fun of and criticize those of us who make an effort to be "Politically Correct (PC)" because they, the critics, want to do and say mean things. How "tedious" those critics say we are when we try to be sensitive to the feelings of others, as if tediousness were a worse affront than what they are perpetrating with their thoughtless (or intentional) meanness.
I'll be the first to admit my own occasional hypocrisy in that I, too, have said, upon occasions, "forgive me for this un-PC remark (or joke), but . . . " and then proceeded to say something that might offend someone else if they were listening (I'm assuming [and hoping] they are not.) However, I try to be careful, to do it as rarely as possible, be aware of the possible harm of it, and feel appropriately guilty.
These days, (some) people (alarmingly many) seem to have lost the ability to feel shame and guilt for inappropriate behavior. Strangely, the radio, which happens to be on as I write this, just repeated the exact words I was writing, a synchronicity that echoes and underscores the spiritual nature of this quest. "What quest?" you might ask. Why, the continuing quest to live honorable lives and to make honorable choices, of course. To be good, to live a life based on making loving and thoughtful choices. Is that not what we all hope for, to be the best people we can be? This is why we need to examine our choices, our words, and our behavior.)
Do I, as an imperfect human, have the right to criticize others when I myself sometimes act out, act shamelessly. When I'm in a shamelessly negative frame of mind, I tend to be belligerent about my right to be wrong. Don't criticize me, my behavior seems to say, or I'll slap you down, if only verbally. It seems possible that other people might be following a similar script. (Where'd it come from?) I do not know why I am sometimes like that but I wish I weren't. Luckily, I'm not that way too often (I hope). I do tend to sometimes ignore my own foibles, but then again, I tirelessly beat up on myself, too. The point is, someone has to bring up issues like criticizing the PC. Not airing the dirty laundry keeps the elephant in the room endlessly, to mix metaphors. So yes, I can talk about this, even though I am imperfect. We must talk about it.
I would prefer that people would get over their objections to making a real attempt at being PC and stop hassling and criticizing those who attempt to express kindness though considered political correctness. Being PC means being kind, considerate, loving and caring. It means being inclusive rather than exclusive. It means being able to follow the golden rule at a deep level and to truly do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It means being sensitive to the needs and feelings of other. It means that if you have to laugh at someone, laugh at yourself, not someone else. I guess that's not cool in our brash new society, but I'd like everyone to get over a version of "coolness" that requires meanness (in my opinion, there is nothing cool about cruelty) and consider a version of coolness that involves love and consideration.
OK, so I'm a Goody Two-Shoes (where did that expression come from--if I knew, I've forgotten) and sounding almost religious and preachy. I don't want to be preachy or offend or be offended. I don't want to be mean to others or have them be mean to me. I don't want to make blond jokes or forgive me Polak jokes or jokes about fat people or stupid people or "retards" or anyone else. No jokes about old people or short people, either.
Why is it that we want to join others in laughing at someone else? Is it an instinctive behavior, like chickens pecking to death an injured comrade or wolves attacking and killing a non-pack-member that inadvertently wanders into their midst? Is it like sororities and fraternities? If you laugh hard enough at someone else's expense, you get to be in the in-group? I wish that we could be civilized enough to rise above that pack-mentality behavior. Must we be sheep? Need we follow the hurtful examples of the lowest common denominator?
I want us all, including me, to be aware of what we are saying and speak and act with love in our hearts in an honorable thoughtful way and I want others to treat me that way. It's not always easy, but I'd like us to work at it and have others do the same and not criticize those who try--in my mind, it's the constant critics who are tedious, not those who try to be PC.

Friday, September 07, 2007

In all the vastness of the Universe

In all the vastness of the Universe, it's amazing Keith and I met, and I am glad we did.

I am studying Adobe Illustrator and this is lesson 1: open a document, make a shape, fill it. Click image to view larger.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

At the Butterfly House at the Detroit Zoo

I'm home from my trip to California but we've been away over Labor Day and now I am leaving for a two-day sleep study. There are gazillions of butterflies at the Detroit Zoo, more than I've ever seen before, flockinge everywhere! (I think they said over 300, but it sure seemed like more than that!) WOW! It was amazing! See another here, at IMAGIK.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Back from California

I'm back from California but may be going away again for a few days. Here I am inside a redwood in California, photoby Gail at Eureka Community Redwood Forest.
Posted by Picasa