Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Good and the Bad...

The good is that I have had a chance, after a month off, to go back and do some painting. The last two weeks I did watercolor instead of acrylic, which lends itself to softer colors. These pictures are the result. The flamingo was taken from a photo I found in the newspaper, and the winter scene was copied from a plate. I must admit that in the case of the winter scene, my colors are still brighter than the original picture. Seems that subtle is not a characteristic of my work...
The bad is completely unconnected to the good. The bad is a lament about the lack of civility I have been witnessing over the last several years. I know I am no spring chicken, but I think that decent and respectful behavior should be practiced by every generation. I guess the recent political campaigns have just reinforced my belief that people are just less polite than they used to be. I imagine there is always rhetoric in campaigns, but in other instances, civility is crumbling, too. Letters to the editor of the newspapers and celebrities on television who blatantly call the President of the United States and idiot or a clown just astound me. Even if you don't like the President or his policies, it is possible to discuss this without such disrespectful name-calling.
Another instance of this disrespect comes from people who are stopped by the police for doing something they shouldn't be doing and then blame the officers for their problems. I recently read a newspaper article about a police department where the "investigative reporter" had an ax to grind. The article was bad enough, but the comments that were left online by about one-third of the readers were truly appalling. They called the officers names and stated baldly that the officers sped just so they could get home or to the next drug deal to get their fix. You also see it on television on the many "Cops" shows where the people are belligerent and abusive toward the arresting officers. I can't imagine such horrible behavior. If I ever got pulled over for something, I would be too terrified to do anything but say "Yes, sir" or "No, sir" when questioned.
There is also disrespect for public spaces. Just witness the litter everywhere. This morning I was waiting in a hospital waiting room for my son to get some bloodwork done. They called a woman's name, and she got up, knocking some books and papers to the floor, and walked off, just leaving them lying there. Several people walked over them before someone finally stopped and picked them up. Many times I have stopped people I have seen in stores and told them they dropped something when they intentionally threw a wrapper on the ground. I have not done so lately because my husband says I might get shot, and he's right.
Last summer, in a parking lot of a popular suburban grocery store (in a nice neighborhood), two vehicles failed to yield to each other, and words ensued. Pretty soon guns were drawn, and one of the men, the slowest shot, I guess, ended up critically wounded. He now has the brain of a three-year-old, and it seems that is the best he will get. Was it worth gunplay to end up a virtual baby forever? Over who goes first from the stop sign?? The man who got the shots off (8 of them) was a retired police officer who I'm told is trained to shoot to kill when he sees a weapon, but I wonder if he could have just as easily backed up quickly and cleared the scene. Perhaps that would have given the other guy reason to put his gun down. We'll never know. I'm told he reacted as he was trained to do. However, a little civility from both men could have kept this from escalating to a deadly situation.
Of course, this is an extreme example of the lack of civility we see today, but it shows how fast disrespect for others can escalate out of control. And it's starting younger all the time. The way some elementary students talk to their teachers or strike them, and they do, is horrible. When you call in the parents to discuss it, you see really quickly where the kids get it. Here's hoping that people begin to realize how far down the wrong road society has traveled and turn around and take the high road. I'm afraid that's just wishful thinking, though..Life is good, but only for some, I guess...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just Checking In..

..since I have nothing important to write about. However, I am just letting the world know I'm still alive. January is like that, at least around here. After all the whirlwind of activities from October through December, things slow down to a crawl. I am glad for this month of January, cold weather notwithstanding. While I absolutely abhor cold temperatures and my mantra is, "I hate winter!," I must admit that I do enjoy hibernating when I can. I like days when I can curl up under my faux mink throw and watch episodes of very old television shows and movies, or lose myself in a good book. It's peaceful and relaxing.

Now, though, we have gotten a call from our realtor telling us they are ready to start working on the interior of our new patio home. We will be choosing the interior appointments and probably going by the home site most every day to check on progress. It's time to pick out some new furniture and start cleaning out stuff around this old house in earnest. We have done some desultory clearing of drawers and cabinets, but now I think we will be picking up the pace. I imagine things will be very busy for the rest of the year from about February 1 on.

However, it is still January, and I'm still being lazy. I'll be busy soon enough! :) Isn't life good?

Friday, January 11, 2008


Here is a happy picture of my dad, taken as we were heading home from Panama City Beach after Thanksgiving. It's a favorite of mine because he looks so happy and healthy. However, since he came home at Christmas time, we have been pretty worried about Dad because it seems the aortic aneurysm that he found out he had in September had grown and had now become a serious condition. Surgery was recommended by Dad's cardiologist, but he warned us all that it would not be an easy fix. So the doctor made an appointment for Dad with a cardiothoracic surgeon, and Dad gave up the idea of returning to Florida for the rest of the winter and resigned himself to undergoing and recovering from this difficult surgery. By listening to the cardiologist, we had the feeling that if something wasn't done sooner rather than later, the aneurysm would rupture and end Dad's life. Even though he is 84 and has had a good life, none of us, least of all Dad, were ready for this, so the surgery seemed the only solution.

So it was with trepidation that my dad, my sister, and I headed downtown early yesterday morning to see the surgeon. Much to our surprise, the surgeon painted a less dire picture, and said that at this time there was about equal risks in the surgery and in waiting a few months for another CT scan. He wants to wait 3 months and do another scan at a different facility, where the picture may be clearer. Don't get me wrong. An ascending aortic aneurysm is a serious condition, and Dad's is large. However, the surgeon said there was less cause for worry because large people like Dad often have larger hearts and vessels anyway. He said that he will re-evaluate the situation in the spring, and then we could decide if the risk of rupture had grown larger than the risk of surgery. After I opened my big mouth and said something in the office about Dad going back to Florida for the rest of the winter, the surgeon chimed in and told him by all means to go and have a good time. The risk of rupture is only 3-5% over the next three months, not imminent, as we had thought. Dad was still not sure, but you could tell he wanted to go. He just didn't think he should in case the aneurysm ruptured while he was away from home. He said it would be more trouble for us to get him home that way, to which I replied that at that point we would have more to feel bad about than getting him home! I don't want to force Dad to go back to Florida if he will feel better here, but I truly feel he will be happier there. He loves the pool, the warm weather and sunshine, and his network of friends who have been burning up the telephone wires calling him to see how he is. He sees people every day there, and at home, he sees us, his family, a few times a week at best, and he sees friends seldom. At this writing, I believe he has decided to go ahead and go back on Sunday. We'll miss him, but I, for one, am glad he will be where he is happy. It may be his best opportunity to go. While he has plans to go back next fall, he will probably have surgery and recuperation and rehab before that time and may not feel like going then.

After the visit to the surgeon, we could all let out the breath we'd been holding and relax a little. We were so giddy that we celebrated with a breakfast out. I am so glad that Dad has gotten this reprieve and will probably take the opportunity to do what he likes where he loves being. I'm sure everyone's prayers have helped him, and we are all grateful for them. Like I said, life is good-indeed!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Imagine That!

My first public exhibit! Of course, it is on an art wall in the county public library's main branch, so it's not exactly the big time. However, it does give you a thrill to see a collection of your work on display for everyone who chooses to look at it. I tried to choose a variety of subject matter, but my work tends to lean heavily toward tropical scenes or silhouettes. Most of my paintings are pretty small in scale, so I had to have a lot to cover the space. It will hang on the art wall until the end of January. If you get to Shepherdsville, KY, drop in and see my exhibit--it may be your only chance ever to see a large selection of my work in public! Life is good...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy Birthday!

The old guy turns old enough to collect social security tomorrow, January 7. He will be 62 years old, and he is glad to have reached this milestone after all he's been through the last several years. He wishes to celebrate his birthday by not celebrating, so we will pretty much honor his wishes.
While I grew up in a family that made a big deal of birthdays, Terry did not. His mother might bake him a cake, and his present from his parents, I believe the only one he received, was new t-shirts and jockey shorts EVERY year. Birthdays were "celebrated" on days when it was convenient, not the actual day. It's no wonder his birthday is not a big deal for him. Many times I have tried to have family gatherings in honor of his day like the rest of us do, but he really didn't enjoy them, and he is not comfortable receiving gifts and attention, so we kind of let it drop. The kids and I still get him gifts, and I usually bake a cake, but that's about it. Of course, it doesn't help much that his father died on Terry's birthday six years ago. It has virtually ruined his birthday for him, even now.
Most of our family members don't really understand his reticence to celebrate, but we respect it. He has told me he wants lots of doughnuts for his birthday tomorrow (he's going on a diet Tuesday), and Doug and Kellie are having us over for sloppy joes. We will celebrate when we finally get that social security that he has earned. I believe we have been told the first check will be deposited in the bank March 12. Meanwhile, we remember that life is good....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year! 2

Here we are at another new year. 2007 is in the record books, as they say, and I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. After Terry's numerous health problems that took up over half the year, the rest of it was pretty good, especially Chip and Shira's marriage, but now I'm ready to move forward into 2008.

This year promises to be a year of changes for our family. Dad is not going back to Florida for the remainder of the winter as he usually does, due to an unexpected health problem and looming heart surgery. I'm sorry he won't have the opportunity to go back and enjoy what has turned out to be a really mild winter there and the opportunity to swim every day, but I'm sure he has his reservations already for next year, so he can look forward to that. Doug also is facing surgery-his to replace his ACL in the knee. Once he gets it repaired and rehabbed, I know he will go back to pursuing his ambition to be a firefighter.

It seems that Terry's health problems are behind him for the time being, so we can focus on preparing for our big move from our home for the last 29 years. This is a huge deal for us, and one I hadn't anticipated for a few more years. Terry loves his farm and his tractors and all that. However, after last year, he decided he was ready for a simpler lifestyle. Our small farm entails a lot of work, and the house could use some serious updating. We have decided to leave that to Doug and Kellie, who seem eager to get started on a life in the country, and we are going to move to a patio home in the spring. It's a little closer to town, but still in a rural area. We are excited at the prospect of choosing all the interior appointments for our new home, and we are also looking to get some new furniture. However, before we move, we face the daunting task of going through 38 years of accumulated stuff and deciding what to keep and what to toss or give away. This is not going to be easy, but I feel it will be easier now than if we stayed here another 10 or 20 years and then had to do it. We are excited to be moving this spring and beginning a new phase of our lives in a brand new house.

I know that 2008 will hold other changes and events, too, but those haven't yet been revealed to us. We will just have to enjoy life and hope the coming surprises of the year are good ones. Meanwhile, today,life is good...