Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Well, that was the last of the paintings I painted in 2008 (I'm not sure that I actually posted every painting I painted this year--I think I didn't start posting them until the summer because I didn't know if that would be something that would be interesting on a blog or not--I decided of course they belong on my blog, interesting or not).

I think the last of the pictures I took in Nov. are scenery and bunches of beautiful leaves (which I'll now have to post after Christmas). I really haven't taken many pictures in December, probably because where we are walking now is not that interesting, nor are there many bright, beautiful colors to grab my attention. Plus, with the frigid cold, there's no way I want to pull my hand out of my glove and fumble around with the camera (especially with no happy spots of color). I need my bright happy spots of color. The winter with its bare leaves and dead grass doesn't hold much beauty for me. My soul goes into hibernation along with the animals, the leaves, the grass, the flowers, and comes alive again with the spring! (I could not make it living in Alaska.)

Anyhoo, just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We'll be at home for Christmas and I'll be visiting, playing, and helping in the kitchen so you'll have to find some way to live the next few days without a new post from me. I'll be back to posting next week and hopefully with some lovely shots from our time together (will try to get more people in these shots as the people I'm with are very important to me!).

If this happens to be my last post for 2008, then I want to leave you with a blessing (always a blessing): May His love heal your heart, His grace see you through each day, His peace lift your burdens, His arms enfold you to hold you close, and may 2009 be a year of great blessings in every area of your life.

"Lift Up Your Eyes"

"Lift Up Your Eyes" painted 9/12/08

"Vase of Flowers"

"Vase of Flowers" painted 11/9/08

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Flowers and Berries

Here are the last flowers and berries I saw this year (first part of Nov.). I just love the brilliant pinks, yellows, and reds against the backdrop of Fall. So beautiful.

Waiting for Mama

My sister and I went with our mama to some appointments she had in the City (Oklahoma City) in November. It was while we were sitting in this waiting room (waiting) that we came up with some brilliant ideas (which we haven't actually had the time to do yet, with all the preparations for Christmas). As soon as we actually make aforementioned "brilliant ideas," I'll let you know. You can tell by her laughing eyes that along with our sparks of creative genius, we had a lot of fun.

In between appointments, we shopped at several stores and of course, we had lunch. We ate at P.F. Chang's where we had this cute (young) waiter who was really nice to us. When we left, along with his tip, I wrote him a note to tell him how much we appreciated his kindness and smiles. I signed it the "Three Lovely Ladies." I hope it brightened his day. Too often, we don't tell others, especially strangers (or even family), about something they've done that we really appreciate. I think it means a lot to hear that something about you is appreciated. I can still recall going through a drive-thru window at Long John Silvers/A&W and having the guy who took my money inhale and say, "You have the most beautiful eyes." I appreciated it (and continue to remember it with fondness).

I think I've gone off on another tangent, haven't I? Well, I can't use the "I'm tired" excuse, but can I say that all the packing/planning/preparing has gone to my head?

Anyway, we had a lovely day and I'm glad we had the opportunity to be together.

How do you lose a shoe and a sock?

I can't figure out how you can lose a shoe and both socks while jogging (saw the other sock a little ways away from the one shown, but didn't take a picture of it). You can see that the sock is actually on the jogging trail and the shoe was in the grass. I know some people run barefoot, but they probably leave their shoes at home (or in their car). I'm still baffled.

Cute little fellow eating a nut

A cute little fellow sitting in a tree eating a nut. (And you can definitely tell its a fellow.)

"Hosanna 2"

"Hosanna 2" painted 11/16/08

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mushroom Invasion

Just when you think there couldn't possibly be any more mushrooms, here comes the mushroom invasion! These are the last mushrooms I saw this year, also at the end of October. Quite freakishly amazing! (If you stare at them long enough they seem to be moving, hence the invasion.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lady in red coat feeding geese

At the end of October when Brownie and I went for one of our walks, I noticed a lady in a red coat in the park feeding the geese. They were all crowding around her and she was throwing something out to them to eat. I wish I could have gotten a close up on them as it was really very striking. She threw that food out like she cared and they crowded around like old friends. I wonder just how long this lady has been feeding the geese in the park.

I don't know if this means anything or not, but the geese have not left yet. I kept figuring they'd fly somewhere else if it got too cold (like south for the winter?). I figure it can't be going to get too cold yet seeing as how they are still here. Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part as I don't really like the cold (or extreme heat for that matter).

"Refiner's Fire"

"Refiner's Fire" painted 11/16/08

Pooker and Brownie playing the piano

Brownie loves to hear Pooker playing the piano. She stays as close as she can to him while he plays. I admit I helped her up there to sit by him, but she sure didn't mind.

A virtual Christmas party

Well, I've been bad at posting lately (bad being I'm going several days between postings, and all when I really needed to get caught up with all those pictures I still have to post). I finally got all my Christmas cards out and I'm working on the last of my Christmas gifts (I made quite a few of them, which took a lot of time).

The other night, I attended the only Christmas party I got to attend this year. The thing was that it was virtual instead of actual. It was hosted by a wonderful author at a virtual place called "Second Life" where you go in and create a virtual you. Evidently, virtual reality is quite popular. This was my first experience with it and I really wanted to attend this party as it was going to be filled with authors, agents, writers, readers, etc. and I thought that sounded like fun.

I followed the instructions and went to Second Life and signed up. I came up with myself an online first name, then they have a list of last names to choose from (I chose Goldshark--it leapt out at me). Then, it basically deposits a virtual you (that you've picked from a lineup of around 10 avatars) on this island where all newbies go to figure out how to move around, change your hair, shape, clothes, etc.

I was standing there on this island trying to figure out how to move when I was approached by this guy. This is how the conversation went:

Guy: Hey.
Me: Hi.
Guy: So, have you figured out how this works yet?
Me: No, I'm not very good at this.
Guy: Do you know if people can be intimate here?
Me: I have no idea.
Guy: Want to find out?
Me: No thanks. Good luck finding who you are looking for.

Thankfully, he walked off after that. It was slow going getting around, trying to change my clothes (never could get the skirt of the dress I was wearing before I changed clothes to go away so it left me in a hot pink top, white pants, with that pink polka dotted skirt swirling around my hips). I really wasn't very good at moving around, but I thought it was good enough to attend the party.

I started trying to log into the party site at 4:00 pm my time. It took me an hour and a half to get logged in. Turns out that our computer doesn't really have enough memory to run that program, even when it is the only program open on the computer. I finally managed to get into the party at 5:45 pm and I valiantly tried walking around to get familiar with the layout. It really was beautiful. It was this giant tent set up in the middle of this winter wonderland. They had ice bumper cars, ice skates, a sleigh, an ice sculpture merry go round (all of which your character could ride!), and a tree under which you could pick up and open a present! There were three other party "rooms" for this author, but I didn't want to chance leaving the room I'd finally made it into.

I was there really early as the party didn't really get going for another hour. I did manage to get myself (slowly and painfully) into the ice bumper car and tootle around for a little bit. Then I tried to walk around and situate myself in front of the screen from which they were posting the ticket numbers for door prizes (actual ticket numbers for actual prizes!). I couldn't do it and after fifteen minutes the program kicked me out. This kept happening to me all night. It would take fifteen minutes to shut it down and get back in then I'd been in for ten to fifteen minutes before it would kick me out again. Basically, I just ended up standing in front of the screen. It was all I could do. But I did have some nice conversations with a few people, recognize a few authors and tell them how much I liked their books, and generally enjoyed watching other people and reading their conversations. And it was pretty funny to see a few naked people running around because they couldn't figure out how to get clothes on. Or they were bald because something had happened when they were trying to get hair. And there were about four others who basically just stood there in front of the screen like I was.

I really wish I had been able to "participate" more and take a ride in the sleigh, ice skate, open a present, and ride the ice sculpture carousel. Never mind it would have been neat to see what the other "rooms" looked like. I didn't even win a door prize (and there were some awfully good door prizes given out). All in all, I spent six hours sitting in front of that computer and I wasn't even in the program a good four of the hours! But it was fun. I probably won't go back to my avatar in Second Life because without the author's party, I don't have anywhere to go. And I don't want to chance hanging around on that island with weirdos. Never mind our computer really isn't fast enough so we can get around better.

I think this author will host another party next year and I really hope I have a better computer/connection so I can have all the fun I can have in the virtual world (with my clothes on).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Frolicking Flowers"

"Frolicking Flowers" painted 11/16/08

I debated on whether to put this under realistic paintings or not, but decided to because you can recognize the subject matter. That, to me, makes it one of my more realistic ones!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gorgeous Sunset

This is a gorgeous sunset we saw from our backyard several weeks ago. Brownie and I stepped out so she could do her business and I immediately ran in and grabbed the camera so I could get a picture. Love all those little clouds and how they are highlighted by the light, intersperced with dark and the fading orange of the sun as it falls below the horizon.

"Powerfully Protected"

"Powerfully Protected" painted 11/17/08

Walk by the river

One of our long walks by the river at the end of October.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fuzzy Horned (?) Caterpillar

This little fellow looks like he has horns (of the stiff bristly hair variety). Such a beautiful yellow color with his "horns" being slightly more orangey. We saw him on one of our walks at the end of October (when I get totally caught up, I'll let you know!)

"Play Time"

"Play Time" painted 11/9/08

This painting went to my Mama for her birthday. These are the exact colors she painted in her new toy room (because I used the leftover paint she gave me). The walls of her room are painted in a way that they resemble a circus tent. So, an abstract seal juggling balls seemed to be perfect. I did take home the other two paintings I'd done with the same colors so she could pick from the three and this is the one she liked best. Happy Birthday, Mama!

Backwoods Wine & Cheese Party Door Prizes

Backwoods is a wonderful outdoor adventure store near us. Every year, they have a wine and cheese party and drawings for great door prizes. It's always a lot of fun to eat and look around and see what they have. We were each given a ticket when we went in for the drawings for the door prizes and I put it carefully in my pocket so I'd be ready. Meanwhile, we ate cheese and crackers and veggies with dip and some nuts. We had Cokes to drink, not because I have anything against wine, but because the taste of alcohol reminds me of the hairspray I used in the 80's (by the case load) and just makes me gag (although I have no problem using wine to cook with). (I'll have to show you a picture sometime of my 80's hair and you'll understand.)

The time came for the drawing and I situated myself very close so I'd be ready to get my prize. They gave away scarves, gloves, socks, water bottles, and some wine topper extender things (that I didn't want because I don't plan to take any wine into the wilderness and it would be useless to me). I figured Pooker's number was either one up or one down from mine, so imagine my surprise when they called #310 and he pops up from around the corner and goes forward to claim his prize. They put it in a bag and gave him the bag. He walked over to me and gave me the bag and asked me what he'd won. I told him a ladies size medium shirt. He kind of frowned at me then disappeared around the corner again. I consider myself a size large shirt, but thought I could work a medium seeing it was free and all.

I continued to stand there with the medium shirt in the bag tucked under one arm and my ticket clutched firmly in the other waiting for my number to be called. They announced they were giving away a pair of ladies boots, size 8 1/2 and I was chanting "Please call my number, please call my number" as I am a size 8 1/2!!! I really wanted those boots. They didn't call my number and a man came forward to claim the prize.

After the round of prizes, they announced they'd be drawing again in forty-five minutes. Pooker told me he was ready to go, but I wasn't as I knew my number would be called and wanted to be there to get my prize. He agreed to wait and the next round of drawings found me back in the same place, waiting for my number to be called. More scarves, socks, gloves, coffee, wine extenders, and water bottles. Then they said they had a pair of glove liners and called ticket #314. That was me! I happily went forward to get my glove liners. Pooker bumped my knuckles in congratulations and we made our way to the door to leave.

We got home and I put on my shirt and my new gloves. Love 'em! The shirt is for layering and you can pull the sleeve down over the hand a bit and there is a hole for your thumb on each sleeve (to keep your sleeves from riding up--Fun!). I just love parties with food and door prizes!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our booth at the Rejoice Craft Fair 10/25/08

Here is our booth at the Rejoice Craft Fair on October 25th. This is the last show we had our booth at this year. I did sell lots of gift tags and a Barbie sized pillow at this one for a total of $12.50 minus the $2.50 it cost me for lunch (not counting my sweet sister had taken care of the booth fee, otherwise I'd have been in the hole for sure on this one). I'm still not sure why our stuff didn't sell better. We've got lots of great, reasonably priced, interesting things. All I can tell you is what was really walking out that door were these Christmas wreaths and Christmas greenery arrangements for a table top. We had scouted things out before the fair started so we know those pups were selling for $40 each. The people that bought them walked out with at least one, and sometimes two, three, and four! So I know it wasn't for a lack of money or people not wanting to spend money in this economy.

At any rate, making my own wreath (and the apparent popularity of wreaths) made me think I could do some to sell but then I wondered where I'd store them to make them (I have a limited amount of space), then where I'd store them until they sold, then what I'd do for a full year with ones that didn't sell. No, I don't think I can get into selling wreaths this year. And no, I don't think we'll do this show again next year. I can't say for sure we won't because they may catch us at a weak moment next year and we'd do it again.

Thanksgiving pics

Well, what can I say. These are my pictures from Thanksgiving at home on the farm. It doesn't appear that I took any of people inside (or many people at all for that matter). I'm not sure if it was because I was busy with food prep (still could have gotten my camera out and taken a picture) or if we had people missing (which we did) or if it was because I didn't really want to have pictures of people at Thanksgiving. Not because I didn't want them, but maybe I didn't want pictures where we looked a little sad. Not that Thanksgiving wasn't wonderful and warm and relaxing, but it was the first in where we start new traditions and some of our losses have left little holes in our hearts. Maybe I was afraid those little holes would show up in the pictures. At any rate, I'll try to do better at Christmas. That way if you happen to notice the little holes at least you'll know why they are there.

And now, about the above picture. Those are now my faucets. I've got plans for them involving paint. It's just that I had no room to get them back to my house and no room to store them at the moment. Maybe this project will have to be when we go home for a nice long weekend when it is warmer and I can take care of them there.

Here is Brownie in her new purple sweatshirt. Some of the mornings were downright chilly for a city dog used to mainly being indoors. I know she's okay when she's moving around, but it was the fact that I can't be outside with her all the time (refer to my help with meal prep) and it makes my heart sad to see a little girl shivering on the porch. The sweatshirt at least helped with the shivering, but didn't stop the doe eyes from pleading with me to come outside and play with her. (Be assured, we played and walked and sniffed a lot. She loves going to her Nana and Papa's.)

This faucet was put in when I was four. It was covered with a thin sheen of ice that was melting off when I ran across it. I just love the bright orangey/rusty/reddish tint and the shape of it. It won't be joining my pile of faucets as it hasn't been having any problems, therefore it doesn't need to be replaced.

A lovely rusty wheel, complete with axle. Again, the shape and colors drew me in.

Dad put this bale here at the entrance to the driveway to welcome us home with "Howdy Partners" on it. (I think this is the bale from earlier this year that has "Ooops" painted on the end of it meaning the baler went crazy and this one is full of the string that is used to make the hay stay in a bale.)

My brother and brother-in-law working on putting in not only a new faucet (the old one joined my pile), but in digging holes for new posts for this corral. (This is the only pic I took with any of my peeps in it! As you can no doubt tell, all my pictures seemed to focus on things outside.)

There you have it. My Thanksgiving without pictures of food, hardly any of family, but with faucets and tales of meal prep and beautiful little dogs in purple sweatshirts.

Thanksgiving Sunrises and Clouds

Here are some sunrises and clouds from when I was home for Thanksgiving. I definitely was not up at 7:00 am or whenever the sun actually peered over the horizon, but I still consider it sunrise as the sun was rising when I went outside to go for Brownie and I's morning walks. After a review of my pictures, I didn't seem to catch any of the sunsets. I'm not sure why as they are always a highlight of mine. Could be because when it gets dark around 5:40 pm, I'm helping with supper preparations.

My Christmas Wreath

I had a wreath previously that I left up year round. I showed it to you before, or possibly just showed you the cute little bird's nest in the upper part of it. Anyhoo, my Mama pointed out that my old wreath was past its prime and she encouraged me to get another. I still would have put it off, but she said that I should get one while they were half off and while the selection was good. So, I went into Hobby Lobby and looked at them.

I could not believe it--the price before 50% off ranged from $39.99 to $99.99. I have to say none of them looked worth it. I still could not bring myself to spend $20 on a wreath. That's when I saw the blank wreaths for $7.99 ($4.00 half off!) and I thought that sounded much more reasonable. I then went and looked at ornaments and such to see what I wanted to put on my wreath. I have to admit that I stuck with the cheaper stuff (ornaments were also half off). As I was looking for wording to put on my wreath (I settled for "Howdy"), I noticed the bird ornaments and thought that I needed a cardinal to put in my old nest to put in this new wreath.

I came home and instead of taking care of the things I needed to around the house, I sat down and made my wreath! I really do like the shiny red and silver balls. They kind of reminded me of disco balls (and I do like a good disco ball). I even liked the "Howdy" as I am a country girl at heart. I carefully extracted my nest from the old wreath and deposited it in the new and carefully put my cardinal in and tied him and the nest down. I put it on my door and stepped back to look. I absolutely love it!!!!! What a cute wreath (if I do say so myself)! It brings a smile to my face when I see it and I'm so happy to be able to have a bird in my nest. And the best thing of all? It only cost me $12.00!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fall trees

The trees sure were beautiful as they changed colors. I never really found ones that would make a really great picture, but this yellow/green one was kind of glowing with the morning sun and I liked it because this shows you the trees by where we walk and what we were seeing.

Unfortunately, we haven't been for a walk this way for nearly three weeks now. Brownie and I were attacked by two stray yellow labs as we were walking home on Oct. 17th. It was a strange and vicious thing and the attack plays in slow motion in my mind. I was scrambling to get them off her and she was trying to fight them off me. I yelled "Help" and as suddenly as it began, it ended. We were both scared and shaking. She had some punctures and cuts that were bleeding, so I took her for the vet for help (with tears streaming down my face--I hadn't known the stray dogs were vicious, merely thought they were someone's pets who had momentarily escaped their fences). I feel differently now. Especially since it took me more than four calls to animal control to see if they couldn't get them picked up. Even today, I have no idea if they've been picked up or not. I'll know they haven't been only when I see them again and that wouldn't be good as it could mean we were out for our walk.

Brownie and I are both fine. Her cuts healed. I only had a large bruise. We were protected (although it didn't feel like that during the struggle, but it truly could have been so much worse). I have no idea what mushrooms, leaves, etc. we're missing by not being able to walk where we always do but I'm not able to chance it anymore. I'm having to drive to other places to walk and I'm not seeing lots of things that caught my eye like in this two mile area between my house and here. No beautiful mushrooms. No caterpillars. No lovely leaves. Perhaps the season is over for mushrooms and caterpillars. But I should be seeing some striking leaves unless by now they are all just dull yellow and brown. No more reds and greens and golds and oranges. Pooh pooh. There is something so sad about a naked tree.

Friday, December 5, 2008

German Pancake looking Mushrooms

These German Pancake looking mushrooms are very similar to the hot cross bun looking mushrooms, only bigger and flatter. I have to say that these and the hot cross bun ones are quite beautiful! I should have shown you these instead of the tree fungus mushroom thing, but when would it ever be a good time for that?

Leaves that caught my eye

I just keep running across leaves that catch my eye while we are walking, especially the ones with droplets of water on them. I find them so beautifully fascinating. Then again, I love water. I love to swim in it, bathe in it, watch birds bathe in it, watch the movement of water, listen to water drip, drip drip from a faucet, and more! I have to admit, though, that water is not my most favorite drink. I drink it because it is refreshing and my body needs it, but a nice icy cold Coca-Cola that burns going down my throat is my all time favorite beverage. How did I get from leaves to Coke? I must be a little tired as it seemed a natural progression.

Nail polish and a book left on a bench

Truly, this is exactly how I found these items as Brownie and went for our walk on the trail by the river. It had rained during the night so I think they had been left there the previous day as the book is slightly warped and rain damaged. I know because I moved the nail polish and opened the book to see if anyone's name was written in it. No one's name was there and the first few pages were stained green from the ink on the cover running. I wrote down the title of the book on a napkin in my hip pack so I could let you know what it was. I just searched my pack for the napkin and I must have used it sometime in the past month to blow my nose. The title had something to do with God in it and the author's first name was Margarett (I could be wrong about the two t's). This would have been a much better story if I could have remembered the title! At least I didn't have to blow my nose on my sleeve....