Monday, November 30, 2009

Reflections

Good morning! I hope all is well with you and yours. Things are back to normal here, although I need to clean up from the festivities today. It's not too bad, so it shouldn't take long. I want to be able to put up the Christmas decorations and tree this week, so it would be better to start out organized. Then I would like to paint a little before my class tonight. I feel a little rusty as I haven't painted at all in at least a week. I really can't paint with so many little kids around. Not just the distraction of little bodies asking questions and wanting to help, but also I can't focus. I need to be able to really focus....in fact that is the part I look forward to. I am excited to return to class tonight. I always like the feeling that I am learning new things and cool techniques to try. I am also thinking I may move all of my painting to the upstairs now that everyone is gone. I can lock it up tight and so I could leave things ready to paint. That would be amazing. And I probably can warm it up enough to enjoy it up there. It's too hot in the summer and cold in the winter. But portable heaters are great and we have several. So I will try it.




Tommy's kindergarten picture.
The talk on prayer yesterday was great. I didn't feel too uncomfortable, although it did bring back some painful memories. I guess I like to shelve those memories and not look at them too much. It was a difficult thing to have a child so sick. But it was definitely a time when prayer was needed and answers felt. I know we were watched over in so many ways. Even our move back to California was a blessing. We had no health insurance before our move back. Then Mel got a wonderful job in Oakland that had excellent benefits with Kaiser Permanente. So all of the medical costs were covered almost completely. Even when the recession in '83 caused him to be laid off, we still were able to retain our medical coverage. And that is just one of the blessings. But it was also a time of extreme challenges. It wasn't just Tommy having cancer. There were a myriad of events that kept happening. I remember thinking if I wrote about it nobody would believe it wasn't fiction. Just an example.....the month Tommy had surgery I was due to have a baby- our Julie. So they induced the labor two weeks before his surgery so I could be there with him at the hospital. We had quite an adventure. I came very close to death giving birth to Julie. The doctor told me he wasn't sure he would be able to pull me through. But I never felt too worried because I had a priesthood blessing that assured me I would be fine. Then the adventure got very interesting as I handed my brand new baby over to our bishop's wife for a month while we lived in San Francisco through Tommy's surgery and recovery. He was in intensive care at UCSF for 11 days. And Kaiser another three weeks. During that time we had a friend that worked at the Chronicle that Mel would meet as he left work each morning at 5 am to hand him the bottles of frozen breast milk I had pumped the day before to take to little Julie so she would have a good start. Crazy days! I used to wonder if life would ever be normal again. But I would go back there if I could hold our sweet Tommy again. How I miss him! What a bright and wonderful little person he was. I look forward to seeing him again someday. I do feel him very close at times. He is an inspiration to me each day as I try to be worthy to be with him and all of my family forever.
Tommy painting his Christmas tree salt and pepper shakers.
Well, this got a little serious today. Sorry about that. I guess I miss my son.... especially at holidays. I suppose that is normal. It just makes me reflective. And the talk yesterday was a bit of a catalyst. I hope you have a wonderful day. Keep your stick on the ice. There is ice here in the mornings these days as it is around 23 degrees. Brrrr! HAGW! Melody

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning!

I liked this Tucanos tree.
My sister's name is always to be found at Christmas!
Mel highly enthused about the celebration:)


The crowd



Good morning and Happy Sabbath to you! This morning is rather peaceful, even with 8 extra bodies in the house. I think everyone is worn out from all of the festivities. We had fun at the tree lighting last night. It was a little anticlimactic though. A lot of hoopla about how fantastic it will be to light the tree, than a countdown and then boink....all the lights came on and they were pretty but....I guess I was expecting more...like the Griswold's lighting their house up and then blowing all the fuses or something:) The festival of trees was pretty. Lots of lights and pretty decorations. But I miss real trees and that forest smell as you walk through a tightly confined path through the decorations in a small florist shop in SF. This was in a huge building with lots of space and echoeing and many distractions on the stage and outside on the other stage. Lots of noise and people and we were glad to leave after we saw the trees. I guess I sound like I am complaining, and I am really not. I did enjoy the Christmas feeling. I just miss the old days:) Mel noticed that no one even said the Christmas word in the speeches and presentations. All that was said was "holiday". Things have changed. Too bad:(
Well, I have choir practice this morning. That should be fun. But I am a little worried about sacrament meeting. A friend in the ward is speaking about prayer. She asked if she could use some of my experiences with prayer from when Tommy was sick. It seemed fine then. So she came over and did an interview and took all kinds of notes. She also interviewed our last bishop and also the young women's president. I am not sure what she will use, but I am a little nervous. Probably not as nervous as she is this morning though. I am glad I am not the one speaking. Maybe I'll sit near the back in case a hasty retreat is necessary:)
Well, I will upload a few photos from our tree adventure. I have tried to upload a video of the countdown, but I guess that will have to wait til the internet is not so busy. I hope you have a wonderful and inspirational Sunday. Melody

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Winding Down

Fabulous locks of red!
Randy and H

H is a cutie. He had three surgeries this last summer for an infection in the bone beside his ear, and a couple of other things.


Julie with baby M.
Good morning! Things are definitely winding down around here. Julie and Randy & family are headed off to his parents to spend some time with them. They have been so fun to have here. 5 little boys are quite a bunch. And she does very well with all of the hassle and constant drain on her attention. Her baby, M is quite a cutie. He smiles constantly and is very content to be on his own. He sucks the same two fingers Julie used to favor.
Michelle & Gary will leave next with their 6 kids. Her oldest is 15. I will include a picture of him with his fabulous long red locks. He's lots of fun. Of course they all are. Her baby is 6 years old, soon to turn 7. Unbelievable! Time passes so quickly!!
After everyone leaves it will be back to the two of us plus Liz and her 2 boys. So life will proceed as normal. Mel and I will probably go visit the Festival of Trees later this afternoon. It's not as glorious as my childhood memories, but I still like to see all the ornaments. And of course I like to do fun things. That may never change:)
Hope your day is going well. HAGW! Melody

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Morning After

Mel, Jamie, Eric, rob
Rob, Julie, Diane



The buffet line.
Taking a break!



Good morning! I hope you are feeling well and happy. I am feeling great, I love having kids back home with their kids. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. Barb passed out her cute hats, and even a brightly crocheted tie for Mel.










Diane and Rob came after all. They had been sick, so I didn't think they would make it. That was a nice surprise. There was tons of food left over, so I guess we will work on it this weekend with Julie and Michelle and their families still here. The kids are having a riotous time and creating memories to last a lifetime, which is what this is mostly about I think. I still recall holidays at my grandparents' with my cousins. It was always so much fun! When you are small you don't realize all of those wonderful people will not always be there at every holiday. I sure miss my grandparents and great aunts and uncles! And of course my cousins! I always enjoyed being with them so much!














Well, I hope your holiday was great too.
I hope you have a splendid weekend with your family gathered close around you. HAGW! Melody

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks!

I am taking a break from the preparation of the BIG FEAST. Everything is just about done. But I discovered we have fruit flies earlier today. And just now I figured out where they are coming from. I had a bowl of potatoes sitting on the counter that I had dug up a couple of weeks ago. And we haven't gone through them fast enough, because that's where the fruit flies were coming from. So I took the bowl outside, but now there are a few little left-over pesky flies zooming around the house here and there. They are rather annoying, but they are hard to catch. So I guess we will have Thanksgiving with the fruit flies this year:) Luckily we don't have to impress anyone.
So far we have lots and lots of rolls, jello of green, red and orange, candied yams, pies from Sara Lee, honey-baked ham, Lou Madsen's recipe for green salad, (she had a wonderful dressing you make with anchovy paste), chips, dips, scalloped potatoes, pickles- sweet and dill, olives of green and black, whipped cream and ice cream. Have I left anything out? I have a list on the frig so that I don't forget anything. But I usually forget mustard, or butter or jam or something. It is a lot to keep straight.
Well, I hope you are having a good day...wait, make that great! Happy Thanksgiving! Melody

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ocean and Rocks


OK. I admit it. I am addicted to blogging! Why else would I sit down in the middle of the busiest day of the year to write about nothing in particular? Well, it may not be the busiest day of the year, but it is a busy day. I have already gone shopping to three stores, cleaned the upstairs, washed the towels, straightened out my desk, made roll dough, whipped up some jello, and deleted weird noises from my iphone. I guess I had sound effects on my movie making program and itunes loaded it all on to my iphone. There was a boing, a cow, a whistle, even a burp! And a hundred other sound effects. It made for a funny playlist! I am enjoying the songs I do have loaded. Even a couple of Monty Python ones I had forgotten I had:) It has helped me to stay cheered, even with all of the busyness of today. Right now I am waiting for jello to gel, and dough to rise. And Mel to come back from helping one of his home teaching families to obtain wood from the orchard. I am hoping he can take a load to the dumps. The garbage man comes on Thursday morning, and since we leave so early for the temple on Thursday mornings, we often don't get the garbage out. Luckily the landfill is only a few miles away. But with everyone here, it would be nice to have a fresh start. I also have some curtains I want to hang in the dining room...well, drapes really. I figured we've been here almost 9 years, it's time to cover the front window:)
I am all alone at present. That is always a little weird for me. So much of the last 39 years I have had lots of people in the house, and not very often do I find myself completely alone. I don't mind it as much as I used to, now that I can paint. But I don't have enough space to leave my painting out with everyone coming, so I won't be painting this afternoon. I would like to be painting though. I keep thinking I want to paint a seascape that is in this book I have. It is really pretty and I would like to try it out. I even got veridian green and some cool yellow that he suggests you use with some other colors I already have. I'll see if I can post the picture on here. That way, you'll think I painted it until you get to this part of my blog:)
Well, I hope your day is going great, and that all your Thanksgiving wishes come true! Be happy! Melody

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cake with no candles!

There were no candles to be found in the house....except for the very large, cake smashing kind, so sorry .....no bonfire:) And this is very short. Not meant for Hollywood. Just thought I'd include all my cyberspace buddies in on the big celebration. The cake was good! And yes, I made it myself; Mel forgot they had closed the Baskin Robbins near us and so we went with Plan B:) HAGW!

Birthday hats!







Buenos dias! Espero que hayas dormido bien. Me estoy divirtiendo con mi nuevo telefono, como usted probablemente sabe. I really like the translator app. It is pretty fun! I am still learning what is available. I figured out yesterday how to use itunes. So I am learning slowly. I am watching little boys today, for a little while. Otherwise I would go walking and try out the ipod feature. Mel wants me to deliver some parts to Micron in a little while, so maybe I will take a walk along the green belt after I do that. I down loaded a few podcasts too. That should be fun. I am so amazed at what is possible.
I included a picture of our sunrise this morning. I blurred it a bit, but it was sure beautiful. I also included a picture of grandkids with the new hats Barb crocheted for them. I tried to upload a short video from last night. Didn't work, so I will try again later.
Well, ham day is fast approaching. I am getting excited for all of the fun. And noise. And chaos! I hope I can get everything done I need to by Thursday. I am trying to keep everything as low key as possible and just enjoy the day. But I am kind of wired to fuss and fret, so it is hard not to bake and clean! Funny, huh? Oh well. They say habit is a friend or foe. I will have to make it my friend and change a few of the habits that stress me out. And add a few that help me to enjoy my time here on the earth. I suggested last night that maybe we ought to skip presents this year for Christmas, but no one seemed too interested in that:)
Well, I hope your day is great and happy and filled with fun. Take care. Melody




Monday, November 23, 2009

The sun is also rising











Good morning! I hope your morning is going well. I am having a nice day so far. I have already been reading my new kindle book. I down loaded the new Barbara Kingsolver book "Lacuna". She is a good author. I love how descriptive her writing is. I was going to download the scriptures, but I wasn't sure which version was best. It didn't look like Kindle's version was as good as the church's version, but I couldn't figure out how to download the church's version, or if I even could. I have a few geeky friends here that have iphones that should be able to show me how. Ha! Not really geeky, just into new technology.
Yesterday, we went to the Cottonwood Grill. We don't usually eat out on Sunday, but we were on vacation:) Anyway, I took a few photos. I really liked the window paintings at the restaurant. I may try them on my front dining room window. Then I also took some for artistic reasons....trees, and a jogger on the greenbelt. And Mel snapped one of me. So I will include those.
Well, morning is calling. And little G is really needing my attention. I hope your day is great and marvelous. HAGW!! Melody

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last Day!







Well, this is the last day of my 59th year. It's kind of weird to think tomorrow this body of mine will be 60 years old. Of course, in sixty years every cell has probably renewed or replaced itself several times, it just isn't having such an easy time as it used to. And in the morning, those sleep wrinkles and baggy eyes don't disappear anymore. When Mel and I were first married I used to look for signs of aging, and they were hard to spot. Now they are hard to hide. Ah well, such is the stuff of mortality. I wonder what age I will get to be for eternity. I think my body was strongest and healthiest about 18. But then I think wisdom always is associated with aging. So...I guess I'll wait and see:)
Well, today we are going to go to church with my dad and Barb. It's something we don't get to do much. I hope the bishop understands why I need to get away so much lately. Actually I'm not sure I do, but we have been taking a lot of weekend jaunts, and that is not usual for us. It has been nice though. I suppose we will have to knock it off and get back to being serious and responsible. Sigh!
Yesterday I took some photos as we were walking around downtown. Boise has a lot of art in the actual city. I had never noticed this little path of leaf impressions before, and I liked it. A lot of the art does have to do with leaves, as Boise means trees in French. Some explorer said, "les Boise, les Boise" when he first saw Boise. Of course it was just a few trees by the river back then. They like to call it the "City of Trees" here. Of course it does look great compared to the desert surrounding this area. I've always thought it was a good story anyway.
Well, I am hoping your day is wonderful, restful and inspirational. And that you can "be happy!" I will be working on that from my side. HAGW! Melody



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Remembrances of Christmas Past

Good morning! I hope all things are wonderful out there in the great unknown cyberspace. I am having a great day already and I haven't even had breakfast. Mel brought me all the way to.......Boise! Actually that is kind of nice. We were both so exhausted, that a long drive anywhere would have been counterproductive. So we are staying here by the river and it is soooo nice. I miss being in Boise where all the action is. I guess when it comes right down to it I am more of a city girl....or at least a suburb girl.
Today we are going present shopping for my birthday. I get an iphone! Yay! So that should be fun. Then we may do a little Christmas shopping. I love the stores downtown. They are old and smell right, like the Capwell's or Macy's in Oakland. We always shopped there when I was small. I also remember the City of Paris department store in San Francisco. They always brought in a huge Christmas tree and we would go over to see it each year, and also take a tour of Pedesta Beldocchi's. I'm sure I slaughtered the spelling on that. It was a florist that did a kind of festival of trees. The ornaments were fabulous and unique, and each year my mom would buy a new one. Her ornaments were unbelievable. The line to just walk through the florist's shop circled around a few blocks. It was something else! They moved the store now, and I don't think they do it quite the same. We went about 15 years ago, and it was disappointing.
Well, I know this is crazy to be blogging. Mel is still getting ready for the day, and the computer was just sitting here:) Hope you have a wonderful, fun-filled day! Take care! Melody

Friday, November 20, 2009

Progress!

Good morning! I am feeling great today! I discovered something very cool. I have a book about watercolor that I borrowed from a friend a few months back. I need to return it, but I thought I would look at it one more time, and guess what? It made sense to me this time! I really didn't understand it before, but now it is so interesting! I guess I will have to ask if I can hold on to it a little while longer. There is all sorts of good info about mixing color and techniques and what brushes he used, etc. I think I will use this as a trainer for the next two weeks while my class is on vacation. It will be challenging and fun!
This morning I am headed back over to Boise. Mel has parts I will deliver to Micron. But the wind is back!!!! It is really blowing out there. I will have to drive carefully. Of course, I always drive carefully, but I guess what I really mean is I will have to drive defensively. There are lots of big semi trucks on our little freeway. And they are very aggressive. So I will have to watch out for them in this wind.
I think while I am over in Boise I will stop by the art store and pick up a couple more colors. I am gradually filling out my base of colors, and I think it adds interest to my paintings. I have only one green and no purples, and pinks. So I may buy a couple. And I also love the new brushes I bought. They are really good. So I may get one or two more. Everything is very expensive. I should probably be getting things online. But I really like seeing things up close. I think I may have a coupon in my email box. I will have to check it out.
Well, sorry this is so boring. I hope your day is great. Keep your stick on the ice. Oh, I found out what that means. I guess it is a way to say stay in control. When ice hockey players take their stick off the ice it is often to whack someone else with it. Or at least that is what Mel says. He did go to Quebec on his mission:) So keep your stick on the ice:) And HAGW! Melody

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coola, Coola!

That is one of Jodell's favorite expressions! I love it. I think this painting is kind of "coola, coola". it is very fun. In a matter of a few minutes you can have all sorts of little pictures...all originals. I know they aren't fantastic, but they are fun. And I think it is good practice. So I plan to do a lot!
This is the set-up. You just tape off 5 X 7 little pictures and then you kind of do assembly line. First the sky, then the background trees or mountains, then the snow, then the trees and brook and shadows. Voile!

This one is from my teacher. It is pretty cool.


I like the sky on this one. I may add a little more....just not sure what. Maybe a moose:)
Well, just had to share. I am trying so hard not to hide my talents. But I still feel very uncertain about it. I just keep reminding myself that the guy who got in trouble in Jesus' parable, was the one with the least talents. So I guess that just shows you, or me rather. HAGW! Melody

Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee!

Good afternoon! I hope you are having a good day so far. I've had a pretty good one thus far. It always helps to start the day out at the temple. And it was nice to go as a regular ordinance worker, with no extra responsibilities. Someone even commented to me how relaxed and happy I seemed compared to last week:) I didn't think I showed my stress so obviously. But I guess I do.
Well, turkey day is fast approaching. I have all the dessert made. Actually I got quite a bit of help from Sara Lee. She's a pretty good friend of mine, and her pie is not too bad either. Actually they were running a special last week, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to give myself a little break. If someone is too disappointed, then they can make pie. It's something I shouldn't be eating much of anyway. I have really been considering ham instead of turkey too. It's a heck of a lot easier. No gravy or mashed potatoes to fix at the last minute. I am still mulling it over in my mind. Which is part of the problem. I can't seem to make these hard decisions any more. It used to be I could make up my mind and stick with it. Now I feel like I need to confer with all of the guests first! There is something wrong with this picture. I guess it is something I will have to work on. Maybe next year:)
Well, I am feeling very tired. So I am going to try to get a little sleep. Then I probably should clean, clean, clean. But I would rather paint:) I guess I'll decide after I take a lie down. HAGW! Melody

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Musings!

I finally have a moment for the computer! I left this morning at 8:15 to go to the foot doctor. My foot is much improved! Yay! Then I went to the art store for supplies to get a few brushes, paint, and paper. I was planning to go to the library but instead Julie called me and I talked to Julie for about an hour in the library parking lot before I had to pick up Kim's little guy from his preschool. I got home in time to fix Mel's lunch, then we went to deliver parts for a customer on the other side of Nampa. Then it was time to take S back to his mommy in Boise. I just got home in time to watch T for Liz to go to school. Her other little guy is with his dad, so we will pick him up about 8 after our tithing settlement appointment. I am a little tired! What a day, but I feel happy for Mel. It is a real relief to feel he is OK. His older brother does have prostrate cancer, so we really feel for him. It seems like a tough road, even with all of the advances of the last ten years or so.
One nice thing about today is I got to listen to lots of Christmas music while I was in the car. We have one station that only plays Christmas music for the season. So it kind of got me in the mood for the holidays. Everyone should be here for Thanksgiving except Kenny. But we'll be seeing he and Cindy in January at the temple, so it is worth the wait. We should have quite a house full of overnight guests.....I haven't even counted up how many will be staying over. I know of three families for sure. Should be chaotic and fun!
I love Christmas! I am not sure if it is the season, or the way people seem nicer at Christmas time. I really don't enjoy the weather. But today has been much calmer wind wise. It really can blow up here on our little hill! It does wonders for your hair! It reminds me a little of Maui. The wind was terrible when we were there. Of course that was in '83. Do I sound like an old timer? I am practicing! Only 5 more days and I are one!
Well, I hope your day is going great and less hectic than mine. HAGW! Melody

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good News!

Well, I was totally wrong. Mel's test came back normal! I am so relieved, as is he. They will follow him now and test every 6 months. But that is probably a good thing.
Today has been long and tiring. I am sure not 30 anymore! Watching grandchildren is a chore. I used to love watching kids. Now I love it for a while and then I am ready to lie down. Reminds me of my Uncle Duffer. He used to take an "afternoon lie down". He lived to be 91 or so. So I highly recommend it:) I miss him and my Aunt Edith. They were such happy people. They had 6 kids and I admired them so much... that it is probably the main reason we had as many kids as we did. I wanted so much to have a big, happy family like theirs.
I hope your day is going well and your evening too. I am reading the latest book by Dan Brown. It is pretty good. I guess I will read a little tonight. It takes place in Washington D.C. A friend of mine was just there and she said there were all sorts of people trying to tour the basement of the Capitol building because they had read the book. It was pretty funny I guess. Well....HAGW! Melody

Good Wishes!

Good morning! I have already been to Boise and back to pick up Kim's little boy to watch today. He's a fun and easy little person. We had to stop at Krispy Kreme though to keep him happy and full. I just hate that:) Actually I don't like their donuts very much. They are not as good as Winchell's. That dates me huh? Oh well.
So how is today treating you? I hope you got better sleep than I did. I think the wind kept me awake last night. It was so loud. It is still blowing, and there is some sort of wind warning out for just north of here. 45 mile an hour winds! Not quite a hurricane, but it gets tiring. I think of one of the stories in the book Centennial by Michener, where this mother living in a soddy out in Nebraska or somewhere, goes psycho from the wind and kills herself and her children. Not that I feel psycho or anything. I just think wind like this could drive you crazy if you were stuck in a little soddy, all winter, alone, with lots of little children. That's a good book if you haven't read it. It was also made into a miniseries for TV.
I think I will do laundry, paint, and put out any fires today. Mel still hasn't heard about his test results. They called yesterday when no one was here. But when he called back they said they would call back. The doctor was with a patient. So I am thinking the results were no better than the first test. Otherwise, they would just tell us...no need to talk to the doctor for good results. I hope I am wrong, but we have played this game before. Anyway, I suppose the next step will be a biopsy. Then more waiting. Sigh! Anticipation.....I talked with my counselor about this yesterday..for quite a while. She thinks it is probably a catalyst for my sad moods. Anyway, I am not going to feel sad today. I really feel pretty good. And I believe we are watched over very closely. So que sera, sera...whatever will be will be. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path." I really believe that is true. And painting helps too!! Hope your day is swell! I will send good wishes your way! HAGW!! Melody

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Chicken Tale

Good morning! Writing that always makes me smile. I hope you are having a great morning. I am feeling pretty good, but I plan to feel even better. I am headed out to the canal road to take a walk. I waited around for my neighbors to come walking by, but they never showed up. It is very blustery and cold today, so I suppose they chickened out. Speaking of which, a fox got our chickens:( Mel is happy I think. I am a little sad. But I guess it is my own fault. I haven't been taking good care of them, and Mel has kind of taken over, but not happily. Anyway, the gate didn't get closed night before last, and the foxes must have had a feast. There were white feathers all over yesterday morning. Sigh! They are tasty little birds! But at least we don't have to worry about keeping them warm all winter. I'm not sure we will get more. They are a lot of hassle for a few eggs. We have never butchered any. We both don't have the heart for it. So I suppose my chicken days are over.
Today I go to see my psychologist. It's a good thing. I suppose she will have good advice for me. She always does, and makes me feel like my life is not in ruins. I am beginning to see that. It has been hard to see though. It is not what I thought it would be. I guess life is really a proving ground. And experience of all kinds should be for our good. Even when it doesn't feel like it. Boy, I can tell I need to walk. I am really OK. I didn't sleep well again though. It always makes things seem a little bluer. I hope you had great sleep, are full of new and fantastic ideas, and that life is greeting you with a smile today. HAGW!!! Melody

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fishing Buddies

Well, I must admit, I painted just a little today. It was bothering me that my little boys didn't look quite right, so I fixed them. For some reason I can't get my camera to take the picture and preserve the colors of this painting. All of the green is lost and the paint looks washed out. But you can see that the boys look better. Still not as good as I'd like, but better. I think I got the skin tones better, and their pants don't look like they are falling off:) I am laughing as I am writing this. I must seem a little possesed by this painting. And I guess in a way I am. But now I think I can sleep tonight. I hope this doesn't get worse! It probably won't unless my subject matter continues to be personal. But I think it is probably good to tell a story with painting. After all, art is about feelings....right?
















The feelings I had while painting this is that I really miss my boys, and the times when they were still young, and I wish that Tommy could have stayed long enough to be pals with his little brother and that they could have gone fishing together.
Well, hope you are having a nice evening! Take care! Melody

Happy Sabbath!

Good Sabbath morning to you! The line, "Now we rest from every care" keeps going through my mind. I think "not every care", but many. I have always liked Sundays. When I was little it meant we would visit with someone....grandparents or friends. My parents always had a lot of friends. I suppose it was because of the study group they were in. But they had many good friends out of the church too. I guess they were good at making friends. I am not so good at making friends. But the friends I have I feel very close to. I guess I have a lot of acquaintances though. People I care about, but don't know very well. A psychologist friend of mine said that to be a real friend you have to be emotionally close, and that is why you can count your dearest friends on one hand. I find that that is true. Of course, that is not counting my children and Mel, who are of course my dearest relative friends. How did I get off on this tangent? I guess I have been thinking that we need to extend ourselves a little and invite friends over to socialize. I didn't used to like to do that because I was always so worried about our messy house. Now I guess there are usually little grandkids running around, but I figure I'd better get used to that. It may go on for years like this:) And I like having friends.
Yesterday was kind of a sad day for me. I don't even know why. It seems to come in waves. Maybe it was working on that painting. I really miss both Tommy and Kenny a lot lately. That must be it, as I am tearing up as I write this. But maybe I need to be sad. I do miss my boys! They are both special individuals....caring, and kind. I think those are rare qualities in a man. And I am glad my sons have those qualities.
Well, I'd better finish getting ready for church. The choir is singing today in Sacrament meeting, and we have a practice today. Jodell is our choir leader:) She is a good chorister. I hope you have a peaceful and happy Sabbath! HAGW!! Melody

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brothers 2 or 3

Here it is:) I kind of like it. I drew the boys looking at each other this time, and I kind of like that. I think with some help I could put some finishing touches on this one and frame it and wrap it and give it to Kenny for Christmas. I definitely need a couple of brushes that will paint detail better though. I had such a hard time painting the little boys. Oh well.
Well I hope your day is good, errr.....great! I am going to relax and watch TV I guess. TTTT Melody



Ocean Dreaming

Good morning! It snowed here last night....big, beautiful, lacy flakes. And this morning there is a dusting on the lawns and gardens. It is very pretty, but very cold. I think I will stay home if I can....and paint. Mel is already in the shop, working through a material problem he is having. One of his plastic suppliers fell through with material he needs to do Micron's trays, so he is having to mix and experiment with different plastics. It has been a difficult week for him. I wish I had learned something in all the chemistry I took that could help him. But alas! I can't remember most of what I learned back then.
Last night when I couldn't sleep I got to thinking that I haven't tried the cold press paper I got. It is very smooth. I have only tried the rough. So I think I will try it today and see how that effects (or is it affects?) the way I paint. I am not real happy with my painting yet anyway. I would like to try a few different things and see how it comes out. My instructor says that every painting is flawed, you just look forward to fixing it in the next painting. And besides, it's Saturday and I should be going somewhere fun:) So painting it is the next best thing. I guess. It really does sound fun to go for a drive to the mountains.....or the beach. I sure am missing the ocean. It's a good thing we have a trip planned there for January. I love La Jolla. There is a beach there where the sand just glistens with broken sea shells. It is wonderful. But there is a sign that you must not take any, or shells either. I did sneak some once. Mel was kind of dismayed that I didn't obey the sign. I think I still have the shells in my jar of shells:) I love shells. Maybe I can find some while we are there.
Well, I am hoping you are having a great and wonderful Saturday, full of laughter and smiles. Take care and keep your stick on the ice. I'm pullin' for ya! Melody

Friday, November 13, 2009

Brothers

Well, here it is. I like it except for the road rising up in the distance. I got it too dark, and you know that is just too bad when it comes to watercolors. I think I won't keep working on it though. Instead I'll take it to class and see what Mr. Fagan thinks. I can see that I am improving with each painting, but I need to improve a whole lot more. I am not very good with a lot of things. I was going to say I am not very good with putting the final touches on. But it starts way before that! Still, I enjoy every second of it. It is so nice to be so absorbed in something. I know I've said that before, but I haven't felt this way about something for a long time. And it feels so good! I have most of the paint I need now, and good paper, but I think I could use some better brushes. I will keep replacing what I have with better quality.
So, I hope things are going great:) Things are much improved here. Take care! Melody

Good Day!

Good morning! It looks like a beautiful day here, although there is supposed to be a cold front with snow headed our way. You sure wouldn't know it looking out my window this morning. The sun is coming up and the sky is clear and tinted with a pink glow. It really is beautiful.
I think I will paint today. I would like to paint that last picture again with good light and enough time to do a proper sketch. And I can put into practice what I have learned in the painting of the last one. And if that doesn't work I have a stick handy:) I also have laundry to do, and Liz and boys have gone for the day, so I could probably sneak in their rooms and grab some of theirs to wash. It might help her out.
So how are things in your neck of the woods? I hope happy and good. I'll post a picture of my latest painting later today if it works out! Have a gut wan! Melody

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yes!

I did it! I was pretty nervous, but I did the instruction for the new bride, and I think I did OK. She even told me she was glad that the assistant matron was gone, because she liked so much the things I said. So that was nice. And very sweet. I can do hard things, although I felt like I could hardly do things:) OK, now I have to tell you the miracle part of it all. From early morning until just before I was to give the instructions, the temple was quiet and I had lots of quiet time to study and meditate and prepare. Then just before I was to give the instructions, people came to do baptisms that weren't in the schedule. So I delegated to another sister and to Mel and went to give the instructions. Then when I came out, it never let up. There were unexpected things that required my attention until it was time to go. Pretty amazing. We even had an epileptic pregnant sister that had to leave a sealing. But I was able to handle all without any hitches. The temple really is amazing! Things just work out for the best there. I can see why Pres. Hinckley said that things will work out. You begin to see how they will in the temple.
After coming home today I went to a friend's house to finish some little candy bar holder things we started on Saturday for the super Saturday crafts. They are really cute. I plan to make some for my grandkids for birthdays and maybe Christmas. I had fun chatting with the other women who came. I am lucky to have such nice friends. And glad for this last week. I feel a renewed sense of good feelings. I hope your day is going well also. ATB Melody

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gray with storm clouds approaching:)




Hello there! I hope you are having a great day. I had a fun time at book club today. And I am glad I did not read the book:) Apparantly it was very graphic in detail about the genocide in Rwanda. I will read it sometime in the future though. It sounded like the woman who wrote it was very spiritual and was able to forgive the people who murdered her whole family. That would not be easy. It made me feel so grateful to be here, where our freedoms are protected and I feel pretty safe.
After book club I went to visit my daughter Kim and brought along some food from Costa Vida. It is a really good Mexican grill near her house. I love the food, and I can stay on my diet...not so possible with most restaurants. We had a nice visit.
I found out tomorrow I will have double duty at the temple. The women's coordinator is out of town so I am taking her place, but the assistant matron called to say she has a doctor's appointment in the morning and she will not be there either. And we have a new patron coming. So I guess I will be learning rather quickly in the morning. I hope I can do things well. It is a little scary to me. But I can do hard things!! I think I'd better try to get a power nap this afternoon, as I am really exhausted. Tomorrow morning comes soooo early! No, I'm not complaining...much:) I just keep thinking I would like to paint. But it's a pretty dark day here with lots of clouds, it might be hard to see well - such a contrast to yesterday's brilliant sunshine. It's supposed to get cold here again in the next few days. Maybe I'll take advantage of the gray and get some good photos of the river or lake or something:) I liked this photo of the storm coming over the mountains in Brigham City. Seems to go along with my title:)
Well, I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods! HAGW! Melody

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good Day! Sunshine....Again!

Today has been a good day. I have felt very happy and normal! I hope you are having a good day as well. I have been trying all day to get back to my painting, but I have had grandkids since early this morning, and Liz just left for school so I have her kids (also my grandkids) for this evening. I did buy the "Up" movie so we could have a bit of fun with movies and popcorn this evening. Mel will probably work. So I figured it would be a good activity without too much stress.
Well, we had another accident in the driveway today. This time it was not me though, so I should count my blessings I guess. Liz backed into one of my visiting teacher's cars! She was in a hurry and didn't look first. Luckily no person got hurt, and the V.T. 's car did not suffer too badly. But Liz's taillight ended up on the asphalt. I think it shouldn't be too bad to fix. It actually seems rather minor to me. But Liz was very upset.
So, what interesting has happened today? I guess I have spent much of the day in the car driving back and forth to Boise. Then tomorrow more of the same. I have book club in the morning. We are reading a book called "Left to Tell". It's about a Rwandan youth who survived the holocaust. It is so sad, that I only read the first two chapters before deciding this probably was not the best time in my life to be reading this particular book. It looks really wonderful, but I have such a hard time with world angst just now that I will wait to read it til I am in a better place. I will still go to book club though. I love the ladies there and they will understand if I just say I didn't get around to reading it. I need to leave a little early anyway to help Kim out for an hour or so with her little guy.
Well, time to fix dinner. I hope you are well and feeling fine! Keep your stick on the ice....although there's no ice here. We've had beautiful sunny weather today. HAGW! Melody

Monday, November 9, 2009

Warm and Cool



Well, this is tonight's masterpiece. It's not finished of course, and I will probably paint it a few more times before I am happy with everything. But it sure was fun. I spent most of the class smiling, giggling and laughing. I really am having so much fun. I still have so much to learn, but that is part of the fun I think. I thought about turning these two little boys into two missionaries and instead of a cooler and fishing poles they could be carrying their scriptures. Tonight's lesson was warm and cool colors and producing light. I think I did that part well. But as usual I did not do the initial sketch too well because of the time factor, and so I got off on a bad foot with perspective in the road and also in the fence posts. Picky, picky:) Also the teacher keeps coming over and telling me to loosen up. I paint like I am holding on for dear life I guess. Maybe I am:)

I hope your evening is going well also. I think everyone should paint! It's the best therapy this side of playing an instrument. Maybe even better. Gute nacht! Melody

HAPPY- YES!

Well, we sat at the doctor's for quite a while, just to learn that they didn't get the results back on Mel's tests. I think not knowing is very difficult. I do better with things when I know what we are dealing with. Oh well. Such is the world of medicine. Hopefully the tests will come back normal, but if not he will have a biopsy next.
Well lucky for me, painting class is tonight. In fact I will get to leave in about twenty minutes. Yay! I love going to this class. It really helps me to be happy and focused on other things. I really prefer to be happy. And it's a decision I guess. At least that is what I have been told all my life. So right now I am deciding! I will be happy...no, I am happy! It worked:) Hope you are happy too. Keep smiling! Melody

Saturday, November 7, 2009

River Dance!

Good morning! I don't have any pictures to post today. But I may later. We are going over to Boise to meet Amy and her hubby and then watch their little sweetie so they can work at the temple. We are pretty far out here and it adds another hour to their travel time to come out here to drop her off. Soooo.....I am hoping we can walk on the Greenbelt. The weather is clear and gorgeous again today. A good day for a walk and pictures and maybe lunch at the Cottonwood Grill:) I may have to settle for Subway, but that is fine too as long as we eat by the river.
I think I would like living by the river. But this river floods occasionally. When we lived in Danville, CA we lived by a little creek, and each winter it would swell and get really wild. It was beautiful and intimidating. It never actually went over the banks, but we used to worry that it might. In the summer it was just a trickle, but the kids would go play down by the water and get into the poison oak. They didn't usually get it. But I did...from their clothes when I would do the laundry. I guess I am allergic to it, because I used to get a rash from it quite regularly. One time when I got it the worst was from the smoke of someone burning it! As I recall that was miserable, because I was 8 months pregnant with Amy or Kim. Anyway, Idaho doesn't seem to have that awful plant. So it might not be too terrible to live near a river...if it didn't flood:) My dad's wife Barb used to have a little home by a river in Oregon. It was so beautiful! But they sold it...too much upkeep.
Well, I hope the rivers where you are, are happy and calm and that you are too. And that you have a wonderful day! And if you are near an ocean...dance on the beach for me:) I miss the ocean!!! HAGW! Melody

Friday, November 6, 2009

Good Day, Sunshine

Not really! It is actually raining out. But there's sunshine in my soul today! Thank you for that!
Well, this is it. I feel like this is a finished product. Finally! I still haven't signed it, but I have to come up with a signature that looks fantastic:) Actually I just don't know how to do that right. So I will get some advice from my teacher. This photo picked up the reflection from the camera. The sky is actually a very plain, light wash. I still don't like the fence, but oh well. I did find a better brush to paint it with, but too late. Sigh!
Today I am going to pay all the bills and then I am going to do some shopping. We are out of a lot of things, so it is about time. Then I will probably figure taxes. Sounds fun, huh? I feel so much better today. Thursdays continue to be my most challenging day. I get soooo tired. Fridays feel wonderful in comparison. And I feel rejuvenated getting enough sleep for a change. The word is that we will be changing shifts at the temple in December or January, so it won't be much longer before the early stuff is over.
Well, not much to write today. I am feeling pretty darn good as they say here in Idaho. Hope you are too! Keep smiling! I'm pullin' for ya! Remember, we're all in this together:) HAGW! Melody

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One More Time!


Yesterday I took my teacher's advice and bought some better quality watercolor paper. Then I came home and painted the lighthouse another time. I am pretty pleased with the results. OK, the picket fence is a little weak and the eaves need to be defined. But over all I like it. Especially the little American flag. It still needs some work, but it is the first painting I feel some real satisfaction in the results. I guess using the right paper makes a big difference. It seemed so much easier. Did I mention I like painting? And this is watercolor. I may like oil and acylic even more. Although I have distant memories of oil taking forever to dry. And I have heard other people complain that acrylics don't mix well. I figure I'll give them both a try. I am thinking of going back to school and doing a second major in art. It might be fun. I wouldn't have to take all the core classes, just my major. What a kick that would be!
Well, today should be great! I am loving the sunshine. I wish I could talk Mel into going somewhere, but his work is pretty busy right now. He worked late last night and the night before. It's like that though. He's either swamped with too much to do, or worried that there's not enough to do. And he has been doubly stressed. He had an elevated PSA level when he went in for his physical. So now they are doing more testing. Such a worry! But I am beginning to think it will just be like this. If not worried about one thing, then worried about another. Sigh! Well, I hope your day is worry free. and even if it's not.... smiling always helps! HAGW! Melody

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

THANKS!

I'm sorry, but I laugh each time I look at this photo. It is the painting I started in class last night. In the photo it looks like the leaning lighthouse of Maine. But in real life the paper doesn't bend like that. It was an interesting lesson last night. We painted in washes. Blue, then yellow, then red. Sort of like a newspaper printing the Sunday funnies:) Anyway it was fun. And I thought how grateful I am for a dear friend who encouraged me to take my art up again. Not just encouraged, but led the way. Thank you so much for that. You have changed my life! I really can't express in words how much I appreciate that. And your friendship! I don't know if you are still reading my blog, but I hope you are and that you know how much our friendship meant and means to me.
So anyway, I hope all my cyberspace buddies are having a great day. Hang in there. Remember we're all in this together! I'm pullin' for ya! HAGW! Melody

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guten Morgen

Same picture, just different camera settings.
Good morning! I like when we go off of daylight savings time. I just wish we didn't ever go on daylight savings time. It's hard to readjust. I think it just makes sleeping more challenging. But once I got to sleep...I slept OK. But then up early. Sigh!
So today looks like it will be a beautiful clear and crisp fall day. I love days like this. I will have to find a sunny window to sit in while I paint. I may even go walking. My foot is starting to feel pretty good. I have not gone walking for a while, just trying to heal. And I miss walking. I have gone cycling, but not much because it has been so cold lately. I really should use the stationary bike I guess.
Tonight is my painting class. I turned my painting into a hurricane I think. I kept trying to fix things, and I guess I should just let well enough alone. But I will post a picture and you can see for yourself.
Well, not much to report. Just wanted to say have a good day and keep smiling!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Musings

Happy Sabbath! I hope you have a good day. I am planning on having a gut wan! Next week is my lesson in Relief Society, so I guess I will spend some time researching the restoration of all things. So far it has been pretty interesting. This will be the first time I have taught a lesson since Yellow Pine. I have been out of town, or there was stake conference. But I think I will enjoy teaching again if I can just not get NERVOUS! But I just do, so that is a given and I will just deal with it. I can do hard things!
Speaking of toes... and we were:)... I found out I have a bunnion on my left big toe. My foot has been hurting for a couple of months, and so I finally went to my foot doctor and found out what the problem was. It is no big deal, except that I am diabetic and have to be careful of my feet. So I have an orthodic to put in my shoes now. And I do feel better. But my Sunday shoes don't accomodate the little device so I will have to get a new pair of shoes! Darn, I hate when that happens:)
Good news, I have lost 6 more pounds! So the diet is working again and I am excited that it is. I really don't care what I look like....it is more that I want to be healthy. And of course that 60 year mark is an incentive too. It's weird that I am motivated by growing older and sicker. Like I told Mel, I hope there is more left in life. I guess the trick is to pretend like age doesn't matter and just forge ahead as if you have a lifetime to accomplish whatever. (Standing on my soapbox) There are no guarantees about how long your turn is in this life, so you just do the best with the turn you have. And I figure that eternity is waiting .....so that should be enough time to accomplish anything!
Well, I guess I should end this note. I hope you have a lovely day. And remember as someone once told me, "You've got a friend...and it's me." Keep smiling! Melody