Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cabin Fever

It is almost August in Mississippi and I have a bit of cabin fever. With temperatures hovering close to 100 degrees with high humidity, MG dictates when I can get out and when it is best to stay in my (thankfully!) air conditioned home. 


Heat this high is a hazard for anyone who is out in it for any length of time. And certainly miserable for most people just getting in and out of a hot car. With MG, this heat makes it dangerous for me to be out much at all. So far, the DVR, Netflix, Facebook Scrabble, and watercolor painting are keeping me from going any crazier than I already am. 


Maybe I should paint a snow scene. That could work. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Carmen

Tomorrow, my niece and I are set to see another filmed MET performance. This time, the opera is "Carmen." 


I love this opera for many reasons. It is sung in French, for one thing. I love the way this language flows, especially when sung. I love the fiery passion of Carmen and her lover, Don Jose.


Most of all, I love this opera for the memories it brings back of my mother. She used to tell me about going to New Orleans with her music teacher as a high school student to see Risë Stevens in the title role of the doomed gypsy. This was a highlight of my mother's life. I think she wanted me to know that she had a life before she got married and had us kids. 


So, tomorrow I will share my mothers favorite opera with my niece, the grandchild my mother did not live long enough to meet. I like to think that Mama is smiling in Heaven as I share a part of "her" world with the next generation. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Disappearing Background

When I went to write my blog post this morning, I noticed that my "Cutest Blog on the Block" background was missing. I could not find my background on their current website, nor could I figure out how to put a new one on from the instructions given. 


So, I looked around at the Blogger choices and chose this one. It is clean, easy to read, has colors that I like, and reminds me a bit of some of the abstract art I have been doing. 


Change can be good.

Sephora Seduction

Yesterday, I found a candy store for grown women. It is called Sephora.

As I walked into this wonderland, I was greeted by a pink haired (seriously!) beauty consultant, who handed me a cute little basket and pointed me in the direction of the "Bare Minerals" products. I selected the product I had come for and added a new moisturizer as well. Then I went looking for a new lipstick.

Not particularly enthralled with the Bare Minerals selection of lip enhancers, I went wandering over to the Laura Mercier aisle. I found a lovely, bronze tinted lip balm that I simply could not resist.

I was able to navigate past the adorable sample-sized products at the checkout counter and get out before I had gone too far over budget. But, it took almost as much willpower as it would have taken to get me out of the Godiva Store.

I know that the economy is in a slump, but this was not evident in the crowded Sephora store. Whatever else they may have to give up, many women are going to do what it takes to look their best. Including me, I admit.

Thank goodness this "candy store" is a two hour round trip from my house! Otherwise this could be extremely hazardous to my wallet.




Monday, July 19, 2010

iPhone Adventure

Yesterday as I was taking the small elevator down from the third floor of First United Church (the kind that has the grill that has to be closed for the elevator to work) my iPhone fell from my fingers. Between the second and third floors it skittered through the grill and plunged down to what I thought would surely be its demise.

When I bought this iPhone, my first ever, I purchased a case with a screen protector and had an Apple Store employee put it on before I so much as touched my new toy. I truly believe that my case is the reason my phone survived. It is the iSkin Solo FX, a silicon cover with a thicker screen saver that becomes a mirror when the phone is off. It was a bit pricey, but was worth every cent even before yesterday's plunge.

A lovely gentleman from the church fished my phone from the bottom of the elevator shaft for me. Aside from a few small pockmarks on the case, the phone works perfectly (except for the crummy AT&T service in my town right now, but that is another story!). Once again, I can play Scrabble, keep up with my calendar, Facebook, read, listen to music, and manage my Netflix queue while never leaving the comfort of my sofa.

The moral of this story? I will not try to walk and carry my phone at the same time.

Especially in an elevator.




Saturday, July 17, 2010

Like Family

Yesterday I found myself trying to describe to a friend who is "not from around here" how I feel about a number of people who are not "blood kin." These attachments largely come from a combination of having lived (except for going to college less than an hour away) in the same city since 1968 and the kind of person my mother was.

When we moved to Vicksburg in 1968, the first person we met was Miss Juanita, our next door neighbor, who came over and introduced herself with baby Todd on her hip. Since then, our families have been "chosen" family with each other. Juanita and her precious husband, the late "Mr. Don" were the kind of friends who would wake up at 3 AM and rush my mother to the emergency room far quicker than an ambulance could get all the way out to the county. Our families have eaten holiday dinners together, rejoiced at weddings and births, and mourned the deaths of my mom and Mr. Don. These people are family in every way that counts.

Another member of my extended chosen family are my sister's in-laws, whom we have called Granna and Papaw since my sister's children arrived. They have been part of my life since my sister began dating their son when they were both 14. My mom and Granna decided early on that they would have each other's entire families over for holidays. We still spend Christmas at Granna's house and Thanksgiving at the Nelson house. Granna is like a second mother to me and she and Papaw are family in every way that counts.

My friend Teresa is like a sister to me and has been since I met her in college. We have been there for each other through each other's joys and heartaches. Her mother "adopted" me long ago. I call her "mom." Again, she is family in every way that counts.

And because these people are "family", then the people they care about become important to me as well.

Added to my biological family, my extended family makes for a large brood sometimes.

But I would not have it any other way.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

La Bohème

I will never forget the first time I saw Puccini's La Bohème. Someone had managed to get student tickets for my friends and me to see a traveling production at our local city auditorium. Pam, Donna, Becky, and I all dressed in our Sunday best and one of the mothers (can't remember which) drove us. None of us had ever been to an opera and we had no idea what to expect.

By the end of "Che gelida manina", I was totally enchanted. I looked down my row. Donna and Becky seemed to be moderately enjoying Bohème. Pam was asleep and was actually snoring. By the end of the opera, I knew I would be a Puccini fan for life.

Tomorrow I will drive a two hour round trip to a Jackson theater to see filmed MET production of what is still my favorite opera. My 17 year old niece is going with me.

I wonder if she will come away as enchanted as I was all those years ago?

I hope so.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunflowers


Last Friday, I took my long awaited 50% coupon for Michael's and purchased a table easel. Many watercolorists do not use easels, but some do.
I decided to try it.

These days, I pretty much paint without any kind of guiding sketch, so I just decided I wanted to paint sunflowers and dove in. I was surprised to find that I did not try to grip the brush as tightly when I painted on my easel, so my hand did not get as tired or shaky. I also got a much desired "loose" effect that I have been striving for.

Response to this painting has astonished me. People on both my Facebook accounts have commented. And I have had lovely response from my Flickr watercolor group friends. One professional artist made my sunflowers a "favorite" which is quite an honor. Especially as I greatly admire her work.

My new easel is a success and I look forward to creating more paintings on it.






Monday, July 12, 2010

MG Monday

Looks like today is going to be an "MG" Monday. It is only 8:45 Central Time and I am already short of breath, have one fall under my belt, and sound like Otis Campbell on a bender.

Back to the sofa for me.

Bleh

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Answering Machine

I am about to buy my first answering machine. Bill and I have resisted having one for the past 26 years.

When I was caring for my mother, in the pre-cellphone days, I would let her know where I was going to be so she could call that home or business if she needed me. It worked out.

Once I got my cellphone, I just asked folks to call me on my cell if I did not answer my home phone. I could collect messages from that, if need be.

Yesterday, Bill and I were both away from home all day. And neither of us noticed the blinking light on the Caller ID until this morning. My sweet father-in-law had called. He was in a (thankfully minor!) car accident yesterday. He refuses to carry a cellphone and did not think to call MY cell number. Bill and I did not find out about the accident until this morning.

Since we are the only children in town for my dad and Bill's dad, it looks like we are going to have to get an answering machine and/or call forwarding to my cellphone.

Off to buy some peace of mind.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Breathe Out

When I got news this morning that my friend's pathology report after lung cancer surgery was good, I think I truly exhaled for the first time in weeks.

While I know there are survival stories out there, I personally do not know ANY long term survivors when it comes to lung cancer. And, ironically, it seems that the non-smokers died more swiftly than the smokers. One of those "life is not fair" things.

But, today, the sun is shining a little brighter, the birds are singing a bit more sweetly, and the "c" word is at bay in the life of my friend. At least for now.

I'll take it.







Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Favorite Star Trek Movie Quote

Kirk: Spock!
Spock: The ship... out of danger?
Kirk: Yes.
Spock: Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh...
Kirk: ...the needs of the few...
Spock: ...Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution?
Spock: I have been and always shall be your friend.
[Holds up his hand in the Vulcan salute]
Spock: Live long and prosper.



Monday, July 05, 2010

Collage

In my continuing quest to find ways to "do art" I have turned to mixing collage elements with watercolor painting. I am experimenting with Japanese unryu and masa papers, as well as painted tissue to add interest and texture.

This works well for times when my hand control is not good enough to get the proper grip on my paintbrush. Subjects do not have to be precise, because they will be overlaid with textured papers.

The jury is still out on how popular these pieces will be. I have sold one of the three I have made and I was asked to place one in Fondren Art Gallery. They are definitely a bit off the beaten path. Most of all, they are fun.

Fun is good!




Sunday, July 04, 2010

Greatest American Hero Intro



I used to love this show. And this song. It sums up very much how I feel right now! :)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Lovely Day

Today has been a lovely day. First, I took lunch to my sister who is laid up from foot surgery this week. Then I found out that my 17 year old niece has discovered music from the thirties and forties and loves it as much as I do. We had a ball singing snatches of Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra songs to each other while my sis polished off her fried dill pickles and mozzarella cheese sticks.

I met up with my dearest friend, Teresa, and we saw the movie "Eclipse." It was a vast improvement over the first two "Twilight" movies and quite enjoyable. A trip to the Pie Factory for BBQ pizza and Barnes and Noble, where I found an amazing new watercolor book, rounded out the evening.

I know that tomorrow I will "pay the piper" for overdoing today. But, today was totally worth it. And I would not change a thing.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Grandma's House

While Bill and I were down in Hazlehurst on Tuesday, I asked him drive over to the street where my grandmother used to live. I spent many hours in that house on St. Charles street, reading books and playing with dolls that used to belong to my mother. Many holiday meals took place around my grandmother's table, served on china she got as a young bride. Pictures were taken in front of her beautiful azalea bushes and games were played on her front lawn.

It has been about 10 years since I last saw my grandmothers' house, but I was not prepared for the sight that met my eyes this week. Her house was unrecognizable. The once lush and well kept lawn was covered with trash and junked cars. Window screens were torn and shutters were sagging. Paint was peeling and the beautiful azaleas were gone.

I now fervently wish that I had not had the impulse to drive by. Honestly, it would have been better for the house to no longer have existed than to see it like this.

Thank goodness I still have my memories, and they are of a humble, but pristine white house kept with love.