Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday Muse--On Wednesday?!

Okay, so I'm a little late in getting this posted. After a hiatus of a few months due to Terry's health problems and a few holidays, I returned to the library for the weekly painting sessions a few weeks ago. These are my two latest efforts, both taken from photos by Alissa. I am attempting to branch out from my beach pictures to other scenery and flowers, but I think I am still better at the beach pictures. I guess they are right when they say you should paint what you like, and the beach and the desert are what I really like. Not that I don't like other scenery or flowers, but they are not my strongest talent.
Having said that, I will say that I entered two pictures that were previously posted here (March 31 and April 7) in the Bullitt County Fair just to see what would come of it. I ended up winning a blue ribbon for my watercolor of the mountains and lake and a red ribbon for my picture of Alissa's country road at dawn. I actually liked the red ribbon picture better than the blue ribbon one, but I wasn't the judge. I also won $8, to spend on art supplies, I guess. I was pleased, but I suspect that my two paintings were the only ones entered by an adult. I don't know that for sure, as I didn't go to the fair, but I can't imagine winning both first and second place in a pool of other entries. And none of the artist ladies that go to the library on Mondays entered anything, either. Anyway, I was pleased for the ribbons and for my pictures to hang somewhere for awhile where someone besides my family sees them. I truly think I have painted better pictures than the ones I entered, but most of my best work is in the homes of Alissa and Doug. They like my beach and desert work, too!
I guess next week I will try a watercolor again, as I've done acrylics for the last three weeks. I am not as comfortable with watercolor as acrylic, but I think I need to do one every once in a while just to keep from forgetting how to do them. Of course, many of my watercolor pictures end up looking like acrylic ones anyway, but that's okay. Art is all about what the beholder sees, anyway. I am always striving to make my work look like the photo or the scenery from which I am painting, but a lot of people are a lot more abstract and less detail-oriented when they paint, and their work appeals to many viewers, too. I guess that's what makes it art!
(P.S. I just went back to proof-read this, and I noticed that I scanned the flower picture upside down. I don't think it matters a whole lot, except that the shadowed petals were on the bottom when I painted it. Of course, when Terry looked at it, he said it looked better sideways because what I painted as buds on the side looked like a stem to him! Like I said, it's all in the eye of the beholder!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


When I was at the doctor with Terry last week, I asked the doctor to write me a new prescription for my allergy pills. He said he would, and I should ask the nurse to pull my chart so he could note it. They couldn't find my chart since I hadn't been there for myself in over 3 years. That's when he said that maybe I should come in and have some bloodwork done. Now I have bloodwork done every month at the rheumatologist's office, and he checks everything under the sun--except cholesterol. So my primary care doctor wanted a cholesterol check. Since I haven't had it done in almost 10 years, I readily agreed. I didn't expect a problem, in spite of my generous size. The last time it was checked I was as large as I am now, and it was 200, which was at the high end of normal. Since that time, I have improved my diet and my exercise routine. My cholesterol was bound to go down, right? Not! When the doctor walked in the room with the results, he had this long face and serious manner. He said I was not all right, after all. My cholesterol was 265, and my bad cholesterol was about 65 points higher than it should be. I think my triglycerides were high, too, but the good cholesterol was okay. Go figure. I asked him how this could be when I eat a low-fat, low cholesterol diet and exercise regularly. He said it was probably hereditary. Anyway, he sent me on my way with samples of Crestor to take. He acted as if things were serious, but I noticed that he gave me the pills with the minimum dosage, so I doubt that I am in danger of having my veins clog up tomorrow. He also didn't tell me to change my diet and lose weight. I am to take them for a month and see if they make a difference. Surely they will.

I have managed for many years to escape issues with blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol in spite of my weight. I guess I was bound to get caught sooner or later. At least the blood pressure is still good, and the sugar is fine. Overall, my health is very good, in spite of the rheumatoid arthritis, so I'm not worried about a little cholesterol problem. Things could be SO much worse. Life is good...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day.. all the fathers everywhere who love and care for their kids. I know several who fit that category, starting with my own very wonderful dad, continuing with my kids' equally wonderful dad, and going on from there to the next generation. I think being a father is a very tough job that is sometimes underappreciated by society. While becoming a father has always happened in the same way, the being of a father has changed a great deal, just in my lifetime.

When I was growing up in the 50's, fathers had very defined parameters. They were the "breadwinners" who mainly were responsible for outdoor jobs and home repairs. Many, if not most, fathers were the main disciplinarians for the family. "Wait until your father comes home" was a familiar refrain for mothers, and it was expected that father would deal sternly with misbehavior when he came home from work each day. Most evenings fathers would come home to a home-cooked meal and then relax the rest of the evening. I must say that my dad did not necessarily fit that stereotype. He did do all the outdoor work and repairs, but he also cooked once a week to give my mom a break. He was not above housework and he played with us kids. I remember him lying on the floor many a night and "flying us like Superman." My mom mainly took care of our punishments as the misdeeds occurred, but if Dad was around he took equal part.

Of course, things began to change in the 60's. Many women began exercising their abilities and talents with jobs outside the home. It was expected that dads carry equal parts of the household load, and this was naturally not well received among many males. Change was slow. I think it was hard for the dads to relinquish their "sole breadwinner" status, although it became increasingly necessary to add second incomes to families.

Things progressed slowly in the 70's when Terry became a father. He was a great and involved dad, but since I was a stay-at-home mom, he didn't feel the need to be involved in the daily running of the house and childcare. He played with the kids and taught them lots, but as he told me, "Changing diapers just didn't do much" for him (like it did for me, apparently).

Then during the 80's, I became a working mom, and Terry stepped up and helped with some of the household chores and the childcare, but he was still more interested in his farm than the house. I can't complain because I had absolutely no interest in the farm and more in the house. We balanced out pretty well. The kids helped him outside, and helped me inside. Life wasn't all work, but you certainly couldn't say that we didn't expect the kids to do their part!

Fatherhood in the 90's and up to now has really become a full partnership. A father is no longer the distant authority figure that existed in the early part of the 20th century and before. A good 21st century dad changes diapers, drops off the kids and picks them up from the babysitter, babysits so Mom can get a break, picks up the toys, and cooks meals as well as playing with and disciplining the kids. I think this is a great change, and I admire all those young fathers who want to be and are so involved with their kids.

Of course, we still have the uninvolved and distant fathers. I feel sorry for them and more for their kids. They are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures. Being a father is a huge responsibility. I am so glad that the men I know take it seriously. Happy Father's Day to them!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I've Been Tagged..

..and I thought it would be easy, but my computer wouldn't copy the list of questions from Alissa's blog, so I am having to try and retype them. Hope I am fairly accurate. These questions are supposed to have one word answers, I believe, so I'll try, even though I am definitely a more wordy person than that...

1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Relationship? married
3. Hair? blonde
4. Your sister? younger
5. Work? retired
6. Your favorite thing? peace
7. What was your dream last night? unremembered
8. Your favorite drink? Diet Dr. Pepper
9. Your dream car?convertible
10. What room are you in? family room
11. Shoes? sandals
12. Fears? guns
13. How do you see yourself in 10 years?content
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? Terry
15. What are you not good at? math
16. Favorite muffin? lemon poppyseed
17. Wish list item?RV
18. Where you grew up? Louisville
19. What is the last thing you did? shower
20. What are you wearing? Pajamas
21. What aren't you wearing? robe
22. Pet? cat
23. Computer? two
24. Life? Good!
25. Mood? pleasant
26. Missing? grandkids
27. What are you thinking now? remembering
28. Car? Blazer
29. Kitchen? messy
30. Summer? favorite
31. Favorite color? yellow
32. When was the last time you laughed? today
33. When was the last time you cried? Wednesday
34. School? career
35. Love? certainly!

Whew! I did it! Now anyone else who cares to do this can do so with my encouragement.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Birthday Season Is Here!

I'll bet most people don't think of birthdays as having a season, but in our family, they seem to. Of the 18 family members that live in Kentucky, 14 of us have birthdays in June, July, and August. Isn't that amazing? Those other 4 must feel like the odd men (or women) out. :) This probably isn't a big deal in most families, but ours goes all out for birthdays, which means an active round of parties every summer.

I guess we need a little history here. When I was just 5 years old, my immediate family (parents, brother, and sister) moved to Kentucky from Pennsylvania. We were apart from all the extended family, so we had small birthday parties. I don't ever remember having a party that was for other kids to come. However, my mom made birthdays a big deal for us kids, all of whom had summer birthdays. We didn't have to do any chores on our birthday, got a supper of our favorite foods, and the cake flavor of our choice, with homemade 7-minute frosting in the color or our choice. Yum! Added to this was a generous portion of presents. In short, our birthdays were special, and I loved being "queen for a day," so to speak.

Even as we grew up, birthdays remained a big deal. We all married, and 2 of the 3 spouses had summer birthdays, too. They were added to the party list, but to be honest, I don't think they understood or appreciated (at least Terry didn't) how special the birthdays were. Terry caught on and had a couple of big surprise parties for me, but he never wanted to do anything special for his.

As we started having kids of our own, my brother Bob and his family moved out of state, and they fell out of the party rotation. However, my 3 kids and my sister Peg's 2 kids all had summer birthdays, some quite close together. Alissa and Chip, for example, are only 6 days apart. At this time, Terry lobbied for us to combine their birthdays into one celebration, but I steadfastly refused. Like my mom before me, I wanted each child to feel special on his or her particular birthday. There were already a lot of parties and birthday gifts, but it was still a manageable amount.

Then the kids started getting married. Of the 5 kids, 4 of their spouses or fiancees have summer birthdays. Now the number was getting unwieldy. Add in 2 in the next generation and one on the way, and it's really out of control. The grown kids couldn't always get to every party due to work, being out of town, or other obligations. It was getting very expensive to buy presents for every birthday, especially for the young people. A few years ago, it was suggested that we do one big celebration for the whole family on one day and draw names for gifts. We did this, and it was a fun event, but it seemed that my sister and I were probably reluctant to let our family tradition die out just like that. We continued to host parties for our own kids, and we invited all to come if they wanted. Just no gifts were exchanged. That us how we have continued. My dad continues to host parties for my sister and me, and we still get to be "queen for a day." People come when they can, but there is no pressure, and we no longer exchange the gifts with extended family, which came as a relief, I'm sure to the younger generation!

At any rate, the birthday season begins today with Neshira, Chip's fiancee. She is 24 today, and she doesn't like big deals for birthdays, I'm told, so there won't be a big party for her. However, we still wish her a happy birthday! On Monday, I will be the next, celebrating year number 59, the last year before I am officially old, I guess. We'll go to Dad's that day. On Wednesday, we will be celebrating Doug's 27th. The party will be here. Then we'll have a break until July, when most of my sister's family and our Kellie will celebrate. In August, we'll have Matt, my nephew, Dad, Alissa, and Chip and the new great nephew. That will wrap up the party season, I guess. It will be a busy summer, and I love it! Life is good...