Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Wishes

Good evening!  Just a quick message to send happy wishes and good feelings out into cyberspace.  Julie, if you read this, I am thinking of you...squished into a suburban with 7 kids, two dogs and a cat and blue dishes:)  I hope you are traveling safe...and switching off with Randy every once in a while.
Things are very quiet here!  And I hate to admit it, but it is really nice:)  I guess I will miss the noise soon, but right now I am liking the quiet.
I took Mel out to lunch today...Red Robin.  It is fairly close to work, and we split the lunch so it is also pretty cheap, and yummy!  I also did a little shopping.  Brown sugar was on my list along with yogurt and Ben and Jerry's.  I miss ol' Ben and Jerry when I don't see them around.  They are small and expensive though, so not too easy to share with 10 other people.  I shouldn't have too much of a problem sharing them with Mel.
Mel found a frame I had in the is large, 3' x 6'.  So we will stretch the canvas on tonight.  Then I will paint on the gesso tomorrow and Monday.  I am glad to not have to make a new frame.  They are lots of work.
Well, I really have no news.  I just like to blog.  I hope all is well in cyberspace!!!  Take care and travel safe!!!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVwonderful evening!!!!  Melody


Hola!  I am having trouble staying asleep.  The Zzzquil is empty and I keep forgetting to get more.  Oh well.  It is nice to have an empty house.  I don't have to stay in my bedroom at night...I can wander around!  That is one nice thing about having our house back to ourselves.  I already miss everyone, but I am excited for them to finally be off on their big life adventure.  I hope that Oklahoma is fun for them.  I guess I will be glad for an excuse to travel.  I have never been to Oklahoma, so it will be fun to see it.
In other news...class was good.  I turned in my homework, or actually hung it up on the wall of our classroom.  There is a very sweet young man in my class.  He is always so nice to me, and he said, "Wow, I love your self portrait!  It looks just like you."  That was nice...I guess.  It is hard to admit that old person in the mirror is really me.
It was our last day of work on our latest painting.  We had a model with a mirror behind him, so we had to draw his reflection too.  It was hard I thought.  It was interesting to see what everyone else did.  We have some good artists in there.  And each person has their own way of painting...some are quite abstract while others are very realistic.  I tend to be realistic because I feel very uncomfortable painting abstract.  Our next assignment may help me to try new things least that is what the teacher promised.  He said I will learn to love colors more.  I told him I love color...I just feel uncomfortable using it.  He said that this next assignment will help that.  So that is good.  I need to stretch a canvas and paint it with gesso before next Tuesday.  He is encouraging us to do something "large".  I like painting large, so it should be fun.
Well, I am flabbering again.  But I am starting to feel tired, so that is good.  Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the weather!!!  And remember I am pulling for you!!!  Sweet dreams!!!!  Melody

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wild and Blue

Good morning!  I am adjusting to life at my house today.  Lots of quiet!  I am surprised.  But soon it will be all hustle and bustle as Julie, Randy and seven children load into their vehicles and head off into the wild blue yonder.  It is raining here today.  I figure I am not the only one sad that they are leaving.  But we will all adjust.  That is life as we know it...full of change and new attitude adjustments.  Most of the kids are pretty happy about this move, but I think a few of them are feeling the anxiety of new home and friends and school.  I remember in a grieving class I took through the university, that moving was considered a grieving time.  I can believe it!
So I just had to write a little for my own sanity this morning.  I hope all is happy and well in cyberspace today!  Take care and HAMWD!!!!!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Hi!  I am obsessing....can you tell?  I had to go back and fix the painting.  I couldn't stand that it looked so sad.  So here is the revised version.
She still looks serious, but not quite so sad.  Maybe just tired:)
Julie and Randy are leaving tomorrow!!!  I guess that  is what has got me going.  I am kind of reeling.  Randy came home from work excited that his boss told him he had two more days of work, but that he didn't have to come in for them.  So he is done.  He brought a big truck home with him and they are putting all of their stuff inside.  They plan to leave here by noon tomorrow.  So then I will be back to a very quiet house.  Weird!!!!  I thought I had a couple of more days to adjust to this.
I am not good at packing trucks.  I can't carry boxes up a ramp.  I can hardly walk up a ramp anymore.  I can't believe that once I moved so easily...over and over and over again.  I think we moved something like 20 times...mostly back and forth to school, but also back and forth between Utah and California.  I am not sure how we ended up in Idaho.  At any rate I am not good at moving now.  But Randy's dad had his knee replaced last year, and he can't go up the ramp either.  So I guess I shouldn't feel too bad.
I may not be able to get a knee replacement.  At least that is what the vascular surgeon said.  Blood clots are really a possibility with those, and so I may not be able to take that risk.  I see him next week again for further consultation.  I guess they are doing an ultrasound of my legs....vein wise.    I should also see my regular doctor.  I still have to make an appointment with him.  I get kind of tired of all of it.  I would just like to be well please:)
So I hope things are well in cyberspace.  Have a good night!!!  Sweet dreams!!!!!!!  Melody

A Painting Day

Good day!  It is lunchtime here.  This morning I have spent working on my self portrait.  I know, I said it was done.  But paintings are never really done...until you are good enough to know when to stop.  I have to learn that still.  I think I made myself look more serious:)  Or Aunt Agatha, or whoever this is.  Oh well.  Here it is.
I am glad I can leave it alone.  Now I can work on helping Julie and Randy move....maybe.  I think they are mostly packed.  Tomorrow they have people coming to help pack their truck.  Then Friday they will gather up anything they've forgotten, or hire a trailer!  It's going to be a long way to Oklahoma with a truck and van and a car to get there...let alone all of the kids and keeping them entertained.  They plan on being there on Monday if all goes, tiredness, etc.  It makes me tired just thinking about it.  That is what is occupying my mind.  I also have visiting teaching in about 30 minutes.  I enjoy visiting our ladies, and I think they will all be home today.  We haven't gone before this because I have been sick, and Jodell was out of town.
Well, I hope things are happy and well in cyberspace today.  Take care!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting Late!

Good evening!  Mel has gone to shut off some machine he left running at the shop.  It's not carelessness, he left it running on pupose.  And although he has a couple of employees still at work over there, it is an EDM machine, and I guess he is the only one who knows how it works.  EDM stands for electrical discharge machine I think.  It creates an electric arc that cuts through the steel.  It is really precise and a great machine.  He used to run one at Micron.  He has to train his employees to run it too.  Anyway, I have a few moments to kill so I thought I would relate my adventures of today.
I went to class.  I wasn't the first one there!  Usually I am, but today another student got there first.  She was working on her color chart!  She is one of the better students in there.  I like her work a lot.  She was in one of my drawing classes.  She has a lot of talent, and more experience than me.  She is maybe twenty one or two.  I can get a little discouraged if I think about the age difference too much.  But it is OK.  I think I like being towards the end of things, rather than at the beginning.  I feel like I have learned so much.  And I think my perspective is very different.  
At any rate it wasn't long before most of the students were in class, and they started asking when the homework was due...was it today?  I was sure it wasn't.  Then the teacher walked in and they asked him, was it due today?  He said, "Yes!"  I think at that point I exclaimed,"Oh, no!"  And he said, "Well, next class is fine.  It is now due next class."  That was a relief.  I had it done, but I had left it home, as had a few others in the class.  
In class I received more instruction on my current painting.  More color!  I am being too I did add some cadmium red and yellow, lots of Prussion blue, and some horrible pink, that I wiped off.  It is hard for me to use color.  I am always afraid it is too much.  The people around me seem so brave, they all use color with abandon.  I don't know why I have such a difficult time.  I feel like I am being judged somehow.  Nobody ever says anything except how much they like things.  So I don't know why I feel like that, but I do.  At home I do better I think.  But mainly I think I need more practice.  It is still sort of scary to think I may make some horrible mistake.....I know how silly this sounds.  Sigh!!!!  I guess I am afraid of criticism still.
All in all I do feel like I had a good painting session.  Then I went swimming.  That was great.  I love swimming.  It is nice to feel weightless.  My knees don't hurt at all, and I can jump and turn and dance in the water like a ballerina.  I know Joy likes it too, and we have fun visiting.  I am always glad when it is over though.  I get worn out!  We usually do about forty minutes of laps.  Then we sit in the hot tub.  I feel like I am getting my exercise, and I think it keeps my mood elevated.
Well, I have certainly filled the page.  I hope your day has gone well.  Take care and sleep well!  I will do the same.  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVGN!!!!  Melody

A Sunny Day in Nampa

Good morning!  I guess there's not too much left of it.  I have been kind of lazy this morning.  I woke up kind of nauseated and weak feeling.  It is getting better as the morning goes on.  I have class this afternoon, so it is motivational in getting me going.  I am hoping I have a good session of painting.  Last class was pretty bad.  So today is bound to be better.  At least I won't be drugged out on cold medicines!
So my little puppy is definitely still a puppy.  He dug up one of my house plants this morning.  It is a large palm type, and I have had it for about 20 years.  I think I rescued it in time, but I was not happy with little Mugsy this morning.  I guess puppies, no matter how cute and adorable, are still just dogs...not all that smart about houseplants.  I will have to put a barrier or something around the plant...or put it in a different room.  I can do that when Julie and family leave on Saturday.  I am trying not to think about that much though.  I will deal with that Tara:)  I think that is how Scarlet O'Hara handled everything.  It is sometimes easier not to face things head on.
Well, I had better get my things together for class.  I hope you have a wonderful day.  The sun is shining here which makes everything much better.  I am pulling for you!  Melody

Monday, February 24, 2014

Learning My Colors

Hola, and happy day!  It is a beautiful day here today.  The sun is shining and no wind is blowing and it is actually kind of warm.  A few days ago we saw robins in the least 4 or 5 of them.  Mel said it would make a nice picture, but I was too sick to comply.  I could take a picture today if they would like to come back!  I am feeling tons better.  I am still snuffling and coughing, but not as much, and I seem to have energy for things.  I painted for a few hours.  I mostly worked on my color chart.  It is really cool.  I am glad he has us doing this.  I can already tell it will help me to see what colors to use.
 I worked on my self portrait a little too.  I am not very happy with it, but I am never very happy with self portraits.  So I am just figuring I have done my best and it will be good enough.

I went to Costco this morning after I took Taylor home.  He was cute.  He asked me if I had a weed whacker.  I said yes.  Then he said, well, if you have a weed whacker, you must have a lawn.  And if you have a lawn you must have a house.  And if you have a house you must have a job.  And if you have a job, then you are smart.  I asked him what that was all about.  He said he and Jacob and Nick had been watching a "hillybilly" program.  One of the hillybillies went to school and took a class on logic and this is what he learned.  Taylor laughed and said he asked another of the hillybillies whether he had a weed whacker or not and when he said he didn't then he told him he must be stupid.  Taylor thought that was hilarious!!!  I laughed to be polite, then told him they were hill billies, not hilly billies.  Then I said, maybe the other hill billy was super smart and had a really good job, so he was able to hire a lawn service, then he wouldn't need a weed whacker.  He thought about that, but I think it sort of spoiled the joke for him.  I don't know why I spoiled it for him.  I guess I don't want him asking the neighbors questions like that!  Not really.  I guess I am just doing the grandma thing.  Amazing him with my vast amount of incredible knowledge!
Well, I don't have a lot to report.  I am tired and so I think I will take a lie down.  Julie and all the kids left for the other grandparents' house so it is really quiet....which I am beginning to appreciate:)  I used to hate how quiet it got here....silly me.
I hope things are not too quiet where you are in cyberspace this afternoon/evening!  I am still pulling for you!  We're all in this together.  HAVVVVVVVVVVVGFHE!!!!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Evening

Good evening!  It has been a pretty good day today....not perfect, but pretty good.  Which reminds me of something Mel said today.  We were talking to our home teachers, exchanging stories, and Mel said, "When I was a pretty little boy...."  I laughed right out loud.  I know I was rude, but sometimes he can say the funniest things.  Of course what he meant to say was that he was a young boy when the story happened.
Anyway, things keep hopping around here.  Julie and Randy have much of their stuff packed up, but are still gathering things from around the house.  Of course, Sunday is a day of rest, so they did no packing today.  But they did do a bit of scurrying around before the home teachers came....picking up after children, who seem oblivious to the fact that things should be put away occasionally.  I will not miss the clutter much.  But I will miss the sweet sounds of children commenting on life around them.  Naia is probably the most vocal.  At 5 years old, her vocabulary is astounding, and her understanding amazing.  She is always making us laugh.  Tonight at dinner she did not really want to eat her dinner....only dessert.  So we played the "San Lorenzo bird" game.  It is where you put food on the fork and then start looking for that San Lorenzo bird who is always so hungry and will rush in and grab the food off of the fork when you are looking under the table for him.  Julie and Mel were looking under the table, Naia snatched the food off of the fork...and saw me looking at her...knowing that I knew she was the San Lorenzo bird.  Julie looked up, saw the food gone, and said, "Wow, the San Lorenzo bird got that piece of fruit.  It couldn't have been you, right Naia?  You are just chewing your mashed potatoes."  Naia nodded, and then looked over at me and winked and smiled!  She is so funny! I will miss her little pranks!  Oh and just in case you are wondering, San Lorenzo is the town where I first learned the game...hence the name.
An interesting thing happened in church.  Last week I received the nicest note in the mail, from a lady I admire in our ward.  It was about how she admired me, and appreciated me.  I was very surprised to receive it, and flattered.  And it also made my had been kind of a hard day.  Anyway, I went up to her after Relief Society to thank her and to tell her how much I appreciated it.  She got tears in her eyes, and said she had worried all week about it.  She was afraid I would think it was weird or something.  Anyway, it made me think how hard it is for us all to really know what is in each others hearts.  I assured her that her note was most welcome and had cheered me and given me the courage to keep on going.  In my heart I feel like she was inspired to do that and it really came at a time that I needed encouragement.  I guess we all need to follow those promptings and to encourage each other along this rather rocky and challenging path.
Taylor came with us to church did Liz and little Alex.  Liz and Alex left after sacrament meeting, but Taylor stayed.   He will miss his cousins too.
Well, I had better get on with things around here.  I hope all is well and happy in cyberspace.  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!!!  We're all in this together!!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVGN!!!  Melody

Saturday, February 22, 2014

House Bound

Good morning!  We are having a fun although somewhat chaotic morning today. It is Josie's 12th birthday. And if Tommy was still here he would be 37 today. Tomorrow Kenny turns 35. And yes, I am feeling old...and still sick. I stayed in bed all day yesterday so I should be all better. But I am still coughing like little Linda Spindlemeyer (from Frank and Mike in the morning:)
Kim and Shawn and three of their children came to help Julie and Randy clean and pack. They will be moving this time next week if all goes according to plan. They are very excited. I am too I think. I have very mixed feelings. 
I think Mel & I may leave for awhile. He has some clerking to do for church and I am feeling like a nice ride would do me some good. I am feeling a little house bound from my one day at home:). Really I would just like to ride around in the sunshine. 
So I am hoping all is happy and well out in cyberspace today. Take care and HAVVVGW!!!!!!  Melody

Friday, February 21, 2014

Good morning!!!!!!!!!!

Good merry morning!  I am hiding out in bed today....watching netflix and coughing!  I decided I should take a day off so I am postponing visiting teaching til next week.  Hopefully I can be well by then.  I also decided with a few minor adjustments, like cropping and painting in a background I can salvage my homework and not start all over again.  I have already spent plenty of time on it and I think I am obsessing just a bit.  I tend to do that just a little:)
I guess that is all.  I just wanted to write a cheery hello.  Take care!!!  And HAVVVVVGW!!!!!!!  Melody

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Good evening!  I am home and feeling like there's no place like it.  Class was hard today, partly because I am sick, but mostly because we were using a full palette today.  I was really struggling with mixing the right colors.  I knew I wasn't getting the shaded flesh colors right, but I couldn't figure out how to get what I needed.  My teacher came by and offered a few suggestions, but I still struggled with it.  I will have to practice mixing colors this weekend.  I can work at my color chart and learn that way I think.  Skin is very hard I think to get to look right and painterly and all of the rest of it.
In other news I have gotten sicker.  I took three cold medicines today trying to mask symptoms so I could function at school.  I would have stayed home, but I miss so much when I don't get to class.  I guess I am a little silly, but we really do learn so much each class period.  I am going to try to rest tomorrow...after we go visiting teaching.  Oh dear!  I may have to wear a mask!
So that is my day today.  I did stop and pick up dinner at Cafe Rio for Mel and I.  I stopped at his work and ate there with him.  He is so busy!  He will probably be gone til late tonight.  Such fun to own your own business.  So have a gute nacht.  I am still pulling for you!!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Knocking on Wood!

Good morning!  It is a gorgeous sunny day out today.  I guess we have another storm headed this way, but it is nice to have a bit of sunshine in between.  And all of the rain is making our farmer neighbors very happy.  They had been saying that they wouldn't bother to plant if there wasn't more water.  I hope that they get enough water to make it through the harvest.  I am glad that Father listens to our prayers.
I have decided to restart my homework assignment of the self portrait.  Yesterday in class my teacher said a few things about the assignment that made me think I had done it wrong.  Then today rereading the assignment I realize that I really didn't do it right.  So I am putting matte and glossy medium on a piece of pastel paper.  It needs three coats to work, so I will get that done today.  Then I can begin the assignment again.  One of the hard things for me is to put the subject into a total picture.  I am good at floating heads!  And looking at what I have done so far...the head is floating:)  So it will be good to start again and do it right this time.  And it is also good practice.  And it will keep me from worrying about Julie and family leaving for Oklahoma a week from Saturday.  Ha!  That would be a trick.  I suppose I will just worry.  It is what I do best.  But hopefully I can worry less.  I kind of go to a very pleasant place when I am painting, except when I can't find the color I need:)  I am getting better at mixing colors, but I am still a long way from really knowing what will work.  Yesterday I was telling my teacher that I couldn't get the flesh color to be more yellow even when I added a whole lot of Naples yellow.  So he suggested using yellow ochre instead....and it worked!  I want to be able to know this stuff.  I am working on a color chart for his class that should help a whole lot with that!  It really is pretty fun when I can look past the frustration.
So what else?  I am still sick.  I took an antihistamine I use for my allergies occasionally and it seems to have helped.  I like it because it doesn't make me tired.  I just seem to be taking so many pills any more.  Last night I dreamed about it.  I was at girl's camp...there was no food for breakfast and I was running around solving that problem when I remembered I needed to take my medicine.  Then someone walked up to me and said they had just found out I had lung cancer!  Dreams are weird like that...things will seem very logical and then not so logical.  I was glad to wake up and realize I was still lung cancer, just an annoying cold, and no girl's camp!  I had fun at girl's camp oh so many years ago...and not so much fun.  I guess one of the benefits of getting old is that I won't be called as the girl's camp anything!!!!  I'd better knock on wood!
Well, I guess I had better get on with my day.  I hope all is well in cyberspace today!!!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Useless Cares

Hola!  It's been a good day.  It seems like the days I have class speed by much faster than normal.  It was a good class, although my teacher thought I was being too timid with color.  So he asked if he could paint on my picture and show me what he meant.  Of course I was delighted.  He gave me my own private lesson on how to use color.  I love watching other people paint, especially when they know what they are doing.  And he explained what he was doing with each color.   I hope I can remember it all.  I think it will help my confidence a little.  I guess I want to do things right, so I am too careful.  One of my teachers last semester told me I needed to make more big mistakes....with painting, of course.  I guess I just have to be braver.  It's hard to be an artist.  You have to be brave, and thick skinned, confident in your own abilities, and leap tall buildings in a single bound, no doubt.  I will keep at it.  But my body is complaining.  I am limping like an old pirate with a wooden leg today.  I think the weather has something to do with it.  I think that the rain and cold weather somehow bothers my arthritis.  I can really feel it in my left leg tonight.  Or maybe it is because I swam for an hour after class today.  Joy took about a half an hour to show up, so I swam all that time, plus the half an hour we normally swim.  I may have done too much.
Now I am watching the olympics.  The contestants really do make me feel older.  But it is fun to see people work so hard to do their best.  I must admit I am kind of hiding out.  I guess I am just tired, and also this cold makes me feel a little grumpy.  So I am here in my bedroom, waiting for Mel to get home from work.  He has a lot of work right now, and it is hard for him to leave I think.  The day is just too short!  Mugsy keeps me company though, so I am not totally alone:)  But as I am writing, I am thinking I really should just climb in bed.  So I think I will.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVGN!!!!!!  Melody

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grace Shall Be As Your Day!

Good evening!  I had an interesting day today.  I started out this morning painting my homework assignment.  It was not good!  I had a luncheon to go to, so before I left I wiped the oil paint off that I had painted today.  I went to Carl's Jr. to meet my oldest daughter Michelle and her whole family...except for Madeline who is in college.  Anyway, it was fun.  I picked up Liz and her boys, and met Kim, and Julie and Randy and their group.  My dad came too.  So it was like a mini family reunion at the burger joint.  Ha, ha!  And then to top it off, I saw a couple that I haven't seen much lately.  They used to live in Manteca when we did, and then they followed us to Boise.  We have been friends for a long time!  It was fun to see them with their two grandkids.  We had 14 of our grandchildren there.  It's a good place to go because you don't have to keep kids too quiet:)
So then after the fun lunch, I came home and painted a while.  This time it turned out a little better.  I kinda like it, though I still don't think it looks like me.  It's a good start though.  And it is good enough.  It is hard to paint me....I don't hold still enough...and I keep moving.  But it feels good to have my homework done.  I am hoping I can enjoy the evening.
Well, I can't think of much else to share.  Life is good....except I feel kinda yucky with this cold.  So take care and HAVVVVVVVVGFHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 16, 2014

But with Joy, Wend your Way

Good evening!  It has been and continues to be a good Sabbath day here.  But I am coming down with a cold.  The kids have all had it, even Mel caught it, and I was feeling pretty good that I had somehow escaped it.  But my throat is scratchy and my sinuses are starting to get that familiar feeling of being kinda stuffy.  Rats!!!  I don't want to get sick.  So I will keep telling myself..."I am well, healthy and feeling great!"  That actually works sometimes:)
I went to the marriage relationships class for Sunday school today.  Mel said that maybe we can get through another week if we go to that class:)  It is a good class.  But most of the couples are young or have teenagers.  We are a little out of the norm.  I like hearing the comments though.  I think they are a lot smarter than we were.  I think we have been successful as a married couple because we just love each other so much....foibles, and idiosyncrasies and the whole thing.  It is good.  I suspect we have known each other a lot longer than just this life.
Today we sat at the table after lunch/dinner and just talked and shared stories with Randy and Julie.  We are really going to miss them.  They are moving in 12 days!  Sigh!!!!  I might even miss the dogs.....naw!  I really won't miss the dogs.  But the kids...yes!  I am glad we have had the chance to get to know them all better.
Well, I would write great words of wisdom here, but I am kinda tired.  So instead I will just wish you a great rest of today.  I hope things are going well in cyberspace!  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!  Melody

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Just Another Day in Paradise

Hola!  I am enjoying today. Mostly enjoying the company of kids and grand kids, eating Valentines candy and taking it easy. I did work on my painting a little. Julie says it looks like me...only I look high or something. The eyes are kinda weird.  But that has to do with the medium I think. I can correct it with real brushes and painting....hopefully. I doubt it will look much like me even then. But it is helping me to learn and practice.
 I thought I would share the painting I did in class the other day.  I like it.
It is only painted on the left side. It is the second step of the indirect painting method. I think it is so fun.  But I have probably said that enough!  I hope with practice I can learn to do this well.
So what else to write about today?  Bunnies?  Puppies?  How about laundry?  I had forgotten about the piles of laundry that go with a large family. Currently we have quite a few loads.  The hard part is to keep it going. I tend to forget it.  I don't think a picture would help, but just imagine the way it used to be when all the kids were home;)
I hope life is good for you today.  Take care. I am still pulling for you!!!!!!  HAVVVVGRest of Today!!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rainy Night News

Happy Valentines Day!  I spent today painting. I worked about 9 hours!  It was so hard!!!  I finally got an image that looks like a distant cousin. It really doesn't look a lot like me. But it's just the first layer. Hopefully I can fix things as I go. I got so into painting though I forgot to eat lunch. So when it was time for a special Valentines dinner at my sisters I was super hungry. She made Calzones. Yummy!!!  I was glad to be hungry. They were delicious. 
Anyway I thought I should send happy thoughts and good wishes out into this rainy night. Hope all is good. Take care and HAVVVGN!!!  Melody

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Day, All is Well!

Good evening!  It has turned into a pretty good day.  It started out kinda sleepy.  I took some Zzzquil about 4 am...just a third of a dose....cuz I couldn't sleep.  So I had a hard time feeling awake.  And because I had class today I was a little worried about it.  But by lunchtime I was wide awake and feeling happy to be me again.  So I went to class.  I had a little catch up to do in there since I missed class on Tuesday, but I feel like I made good progress.  They have changed the models, so it is harder since I am not familiar with the new models.  But it was challenging and fun.  I really do like this method of painting.  I brought home my painting from last time so that I could photograph the face and share it, but I waited too long to take the photo and it is pretty dark and hard to see the colors.  So maybe a suspense sequel!
Anyway, I barely got home before Liz called and needed me to come and get Taylor.  I guess with home school she needed a break.  I love being with Taylor, so it is fun for me.  We should have a great weekend!  And Liz can rest up a little.
So that is all the news of today!  Ha, ha!  I left out the part of the long commute....back and forth to Boise.  It does take about 45 minutes.  But I listen to the Mormon channel and NPR and the time goes by quickly.  How are things in cyberspace?  I hope well.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVGN!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday's Child is Full of Woe:)

Good afternoon/evening!  I never know what to call this time of between I guess.  It's nice to be home, but I have certainly been lazy...which is nice.  I have just rested mostly.  I should have started on homework, but my paints are at school:)  I guess I will do it over the weekend.  This time I won't forget the medium.  We are supposed to do a self portrait...classic, nothing immodest, just head and shoulders.  It is always so challenging to paint myself.  And we can't use a photo.  So that should be even more fun.  We get to do imprimatura and a dead palette though, so I think I may really like the process.  And the more practice the better!
I have been thinking of Liz Swindle's painting a lot.  I really enjoy the way she paints.  It is what I would like to paint like...only Melody style.  But I like her ideas.  I think I first saw her paintings in SLC at the JS Memorial building.  They had a display of her paintings of Joseph Smith.  It was so beautiful!  And of course it was only originals, so it was even better.  We had foster children then, and the oldest boy, Jonathan was about 6 or 7.  He was really impressed with the paintings, especially the one of Carthage jail where Joseph is holding his brother, Hyrum.  It is quite emotional.
Jonathan told me he could tell how much Joseph loved Hyrum!  I guess that is quite evident.  I love how good paintings sometimes tell stories that are hard to tell in any other way.
Well, hmmmm...what more do I want to write?  I guess I want to say our trip to Oregon was a little like going to another planet for a few days.  It was so surreal.  Friday and Saturday felt like we had taken a flight to Alaska, the snow was unbelievable!  And the inability to get anywhere was a little frustrating!  And then to be in Sutherlin where the storm didn't hit....or at least only rained.  It was so warm and pleasant!  Driving out to the coast felt like a summer day.  We really enjoyed the sunshine!!!  And then driving back up to Portland was like going back to a bad weather day in Boise, only 100 times the people and cars!  I got one truck driver very mad I guess.  I couldn't see because of all of the trucks throwing water into my vision and I almost ran into this pickup truck in the next lane.  I didn't see him, though I looked before I switched lanes.  I suspect he was speeding!  Anyway, it was tense and I was very glad to leave our Toyota Corolla at the rental lot at the airport in Portland.  I drove behind Mel and my dad all the way up from Sutherlin, and it was not much fun....for any of us.  So it was nice to all be in the same car...and my dad's van is much more stable than a little Corolla!
Once we left Portland and drove along the river, it got much easier.  The road cleared, the traffic cleared, and the view was gorgeous.  I did stress quite a bit when my dad was driving.  But he did well, and I think he takes some pride that he can still drive.  I wish I didn't get so nervous:)  But experiences like that make me very confident in the power of prayer.  I know we had special blessings and help.
Here's a few photos of the gorge.  It really was so beautiful.
This is Multinoma Falls in high speed

Looking over at Washington across the river.

So that's it.  I am sorry the photos are from the car.  We didn't do much stopping with the weather so crazy.  We just wanted to get home!  And now that I am here I wonder why we left in the first place.  My dad is glad to be here I think.  But I am going to try to figure out another way for his next visit.  I think it might be easier to have him take a plane from Roseburg if we could just figure it out.  I know he likes having his own car, but I think maybe we could more easily rent one for him here.  We'll see.  The next adventure will be getting him back to Oregon:)
I hope all is well and happy in cyberspace this evening!  Take care!  I'm still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!!!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVGE!!!!!  Melody

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Good Night!

Hi!  We made it home, safe and sound!!!!  So now I am signing off.   YAWN!!!!!  HAVVVVGN!!!!!  Melody

Slip Sliding Away!

Good mornin', good mornin'!!!  My dad is at the wheel. It was inevitable I suppose, but it makes me super nervous. He drives great but he gets confused easily. Luckily the road is clear and straight. And I am praying!!!  No joke. And blogging in the back seat.
So according to our gps we'll be home in about 7 hours. That's if the roads stay clear and the fog melts away in Boise. I read it was terrible last night. I keep checking the weather reports. 
Obviously I will miss my class today. I emailed my teacher who promised to save me a spot in the lineup of easels. It's a small class so it shouldn't be too hard. 
It's funny. I guess I really am becoming an artist. Every where I look I see a painting. And when I daydream I think of the latest thing I've painted and sort of go over it again and again in my head. There's no escaping now I guess. I kinda like it:)
So think of me sliding along the freeway today and say a little prayer in my behalf. And have a most joyous, happy, inspired day!  I'm still pulling for you!!!!  Melody

Monday, February 10, 2014

Checking In

I am sure enjoying this drive by the beautiful ice covered Columbia River...sitting in the back seat of my dad's Honda Odyssey listening to James Taylor.  It's nice to have a driver:). Thanks Mel!  I think we may stop before the mountains.  Give it one more day to warm up. 
Hope things are swell in cyberspace!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ocean Side

Good evening!  I walked on the beach today and thought of one of the lines from a favorite song of mine. "His love can be seen in all directions!"  It was so beautiful, sunny and clear and warm!  I will add a few photos so you can see too.  I am so blessed!  How many sunny days are there at the beach in the winter?  And in the middle of a huge storm?  Well maybe quite a few. I am glad we experienced one. 
Tomorrow we are headed back to Idaho. First to Portland to return our car rental. Then on along the Columbia River. I hope the roads are a little better than when we came!  And I hope I get back in time for class....I to be safe. We will be careful. 
One nice thing is we've been able to listen to the Mormon channel. I especially enjoy listening to conference talks. It keeps things in perspective. 
So I am hoping all is well in cyberspace. Take care!  Have a wonderful and peace filled Sabbath evening!   Melody

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Storm Stories

Hi!  We are in balmy Sutherlin, Oregon. It doesn't even seem like they have a storm here. It was 61 degrees here and according to my phone it was 26 degrees in Portland at the same time...about 5 pm.  Crazy!!!  
Well, just had to share. We had a great dinner at Red Robin and now we are just chillin', watching the news of all the power outages in the area north of here. I'm glad we are here, warm and safe. Hope all is well in cyberspace. Good night!!!  Melody

Ice and Snow in the Forecast

Good merry morning!  We're sitting here at Les Schwabbs in Salem, Oregon waiting for our newly purchased tire chains to be installed. They are required. So we are complying. We are headed south towards more snow and freezing rain. And yes we will have vivid memories of this trip. We are being careful and Mel grew up driving in Logan area so he is good at it. 
So that's the weather report from our side. Hope all is well where ever you may be today. Take care and HAVVVGeat one!!!!!  Melody

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Perfect Storm

Good evening!  We are in Salem, Oregon this evening.  I guess we have managed to come here during the worst storm of the century...or something like it.  The roads are really bad, at least going from Portland south.  The I-5 is packed with about a foot of and trucks sliding off...traffic going 35 mph tops.  Mostly we went about 5 mph, until about 3 miles out of Salem, where traffic just stopped altogether.  We knew it was going to be bad, but not this bad.  We missed the party for my dad at Red Robin with Barb and a couple of her daughters.  So we will have to make up for it tomorrow!  I hope we can get there.  Dad says they haven't had snow, so maybe after we get away from Salem it will get better.
We did get to see really beautiful snowflakes.  I think I was 12 before I saw real snowflakes falling.  So it is still a treat.  But I will admit I was a little upset when the snow built up so bad on the windshield that the wipers couldn't wipe it fast enough...and then froze!  We had to stop and clear the windshield, which as it turned out wasn't hard since all of the traffic stopped anyway.  Crazy weather!!!
So I just had to share our fun adventure.  Hope all is well.  HAVVVVVVVVVVGN!!!  Melody

Off We Go!!!!!!!!!

Good morning!  I am very excited for today.  It is my dad's 91st birthday and we are flying over to meet him in Oregon today to celebrate with him and Barb.  The weather is going to be interesting I think, but I can't complain since we have prayed and fasted for rain and snow.  We are planning to drive with him back here.  He likes to have his car with him when he comes.  I know....but he does drive pretty well.  We keep good tabs on him.
The other very cool thing was my painting class yesterday.  It was our last day to paint on the picture we are working on.  And I was trying hard to paint everything all at once.  My teacher came by and said that he wanted me to only work on the face.  Then he opened a book he had of a fantastic painter and pointed out how he painted a similar thing.  He talked about what he had done to solve the problems of shadow and light.  Then he left the book on the floor for me to see while I was painting and said to use it as a reference along side the model.  It was so fun!  And I ended up with a fantastic painting of the face.  At least fantastic for me.  I am getting better!!!!  How cool is that?  It gives me such pleasure to paint well.  I love this class!  Have I mentioned that before?  I forgot to take a photo.  I will next class.
So now I am washing and drying and packing clothes for our trip.  The flight is after lunch.  We are flying into Portland and then driving down to my dad's.  I think we will go to the ocean tomorrow.  I need an ocean fix.  Then we will start back, weather permitting.  So, have a lovely day.  I am still pulling for you!  We're all in this together!!!!!!!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!  Melody

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fear Not

Good morning!  How are you?  I get kind of tired of talking about me and all of my stuff.  But it does help my mental clarity and outlook, so I guess I will continue.  I like to think that I bring a little humor and sunshine into the world each day.  But I know some days I am just silly and very self absorbed.
Today however I will be different...and tell you of my birthday adventures with Naia.  She is my adopted granddaughter, although she feels as much a part of the family as anyone.  She turned 5 yesterday and we had a small party last night.  She was quite excited about it!  She is a very positive, mostly happy personality.  And we all enjoy her presence.  She loved having candles on her cake that kept relighting.  It is a bit of a tradition in Julie's family to get those kind of candles.  Anyway I took a few pictures.

She got a few special presents.  A purse, a necklace, and the little plastic rings on her cake. She got lots of other gifts, but those were the things she was wearing this morning....oh, and a unicorn shirt I got her.  She is really a sweet little girl.
So today is art class again.  I have to bring in my blue painting.  Didn't Picasso have a blue period, where he painted a lot of blue?  I might try that.  It is so interesting.  Unfortunately, I put a little tear in the picture as I was untaping it from the board.  I am usually more careful, but I was rushing.  That will teach me!  I hope it doesn't get noticed in critique today.
Well, I guess the only other thing I would add is from a friend's blog.  She wrote about the power of positive thinking.  I like this hymn and especially this verse:
How Firm A Foundation",Verse 3:
"Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand"
It is so easy to get discouraged, and feel like the world is plotting against you.  So it is good to be reminded once in a while of the true order of things.
I like the story of Elisha and his servant, when they were facing many armies.  The servant was afraid, but Elisha knew the Lord was near.
2 Kings 6
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
I love that.  I think sometimes that we have that too, when things seem especially hard.  Maybe not an army, but angels that help us and protect us.
Well, I had better get on with my day.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!  Melody

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Under the Dryer

Good afternoon!  I am sitting under the hairdryer at the moment. Yep I am getting my hair colored and cut. The hairdresser noted my thinning hair. It is getting bad with the blood thinning medication.   I guess it is one more of those old age perks....less hair to worry about!  I am lucky I started out with more than my fair share!
I am enjoying this day pretty much. I gave Mugsy a much needed bath and trimmed his bangs. He can hardly see if I don't cut them...he's a little like an English sheepdog only very tiny. I am enjoying him. He is a very sweet little companion. He is smart too. He learns so quickly!  
After I finish here I will go visit my granddaughter in the hospital. It is the same hospital I was in last October. It's funny to go there. It all seems like something I dreamed now. Until I get a tiny scratch and bleed everywhere. At least I know the blood thinner works. 
Sorry.  I know I sound a little down. I am feeling fine but I am typing on my iPhone so I don't write as well I think. Anyway just wanted to say hello and send best wishes for a happy day out to the vast reaches of cyberspace. Take care and have a gut wan!!!!   Melody

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Grandmas to the Rescue!

Good morning!  I am off early today.  We have a granddaughter over in the hospital in Boise.  So I am going early to visit her with Mel.  Then we will eat the sack lunches I prepared and then I am off to class.  I hope I can calm down.  I always get so emotionally scattered when someone is not well.  But she should be fine.
I guess I am also a little bothered by the fact that my house will soon be empty.  One month left of fun and chaos.  I will really miss the noise...and especially the people.  But life is a constant change.  You don't know from one day to the next what new challenge will present itself.  And it is all good I suppose.  Some days it is easier to see the good.  Today I am struggling just a bit.
I am glad I can go and paint.  I really like this method of indirect painting we are learning.  It helps me to see value and temperature so much better.  It is like putting on paper what should be in my head as I paint.  It slows me down and helps me to see things more purposefully.  I guess I need to do that in real life too.  I suppose it would be like reading your scriptures and saying your prayers before you start in on your day.  I do pretty good with the prayer, but I often save scriptures until the end of the day.  I do listen on my way into town though, so that helps.  I especially like to listen to conference talks.
Well, I had better scoot.  I hope your day goes well.  Maybe this little incident will help.  As Julie was leaving for a song practice, Naia wanted some of Matthew's apple I had cut up for him.  Julie thought he could share and gave her one of his pieces...which started him crying.  Luckily I was putting cookies in the oven and the bowl still had a few good licks in it.  So I offered him a lick...and Naia followed suit.  And then they both marched happily off with Julie to the car.  Grandma's do have a few tricks up their sleeves...and in their mixing bowls!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGD!!!!  Melody

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sharing My Homework!

Hola!  I am sharing my homework assignment.  We had to do an imprimatura still life painting, using a glass object, a ceramic object and a shell.  Oh and a piece of fabric.  This is what I came up with.  I hope the teacher likes it:)  But even if he doesn't ...I do.  Amazing for me!  I probably should have cropped out the edges...but maybe this makes it more real:)

Today has been a great day.  Mostly cuz I have my homework done, but also because the sun is out and life feels good.  It's amazing how a little sun can light up your soul!  And a few words from President Eyering.  I have been reading his talk, " O Remember, Remember" and it has such a good message and feels so good reading it.  Here's a link again from yesterday if you want to read it.
 I think we might have a FHE lesson with that theme....oh wait!  It's empty nester's tonight.  That should be fun.  I had forgotten til I wrote that.
Well, I guess that is all for today.  I hope life finds you happy and well.  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVFHE!!!!  Melody

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Howdy!  It has been a very nice Sunday.  Church was especially nice because Taylor and Alex came with Mel and I.  But also because the whole Tongan LDS community of Nampa and Caldwell came to our ward.  There was a baby blessing, very sweet little baby girl.  After the blessing, several of her family got up to bear testimony.  Pure, sweet testimonies, that brought tears to my eyes, even when I wasn't sure what they were saying.  A couple of the older men had very thick accents, and it was really hard to hear every word.  But the feelings were so strong, of good will and strong testimonies of the Savior.  It was quite an amazing meeting.  I didn't bear my testimony until Relief Society.  But the spirit in that meeting was also very strong, and I have grown so close to the sisters in my ward.  We were reminded of Pres. Eyrings' talk from 2007, Oh, Remember, Remember, about recording each day the way that the Lord has touched our families.  I thought that I should work harder at that.  It is probably not the proper forum to record it here.  So I am going to record it by writing it down in a journal each evening...after we have our scripture reading and prayers.  The teacher is a good friend of mine, in fact my next door neighbor who shares my name, and she used a story about a walk we took together with my grandson Taylor.  And how he sang a Family Home Evening song we sing in our family.  She said he knew every word, and he was only about 4.  She said she recorded in her special journal that she had felt the evidence of God in her life that day.  It really touched me that she would remember that.  And it made me more determined to be a good grandma!!!! Not just to Taylor, but to all of my wonderful grandchildren.  They are each so special, and I love them so much.  I want them to be sure and know that!  And a journal would help me to remember to tell them.
I have been impressed with the Tongan family in our ward many times.  I guess I don't really think of them as "the Tongan family".  They are the Vassi's.  And their daughter, Lupe, was in the MIA maid class I taught a few years ago.  She always impressed me with her warmth and pure love.  She always thanked me for my lesson and told me I was her favorite teacher:)  I think she tells that to all her teachers.  Anyway, I have been so impressed with her family.  There is so much love and regard between siblings, and real fondness and concern.  I have wondered how her family has fostered such good feelings.  It is pretty amazing! Of course they are not perfect, but this is an area that I could learn from them I think.
In other news, we have had a great day here at home too.  I keep thinking how I am really going to miss this rowdy bunch of grandchildren.  They are a real joy.  And of course, Taylor is going to miss them even more.   He told me they are his best friends.  I can remember feeling that way about my cousins.  We always had such a great time together.
Well, I should get back to the family.  I think we have Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes lined up for this least on the DVR.  I doubt I can stay awake to watch it all.  But it is nice to record it and watch it later at a better time.  I am pretty sure the Superbowl is being recorded for later watching too.  I hope all is well in cyberspace.  I listened to Click and Clack on NPR and thought I should end this by saying, "Don't drive like my brother!"  But actually my brother is not a bad driver....anymore.  He used to scare me when we were younger:)  Oh well.  Take care and remember I am pulling for you!  And HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVPeaceful Sabbath Evening!  Melody

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Lovely Saturday

Good evening!  Today has been a perfect day!  We ate out for breakfast and dinner....with a smoothie in between!  I love eating out.  And the fun part was that we went swimming at the hot springs pool in Murphy....Givens Hot Springs.  It is kind of an historic place.  Unfortunately, it has a great need for remodeling!  But the water is amazing!  It is sooooo warm, and it is really like swimming in a big bathtub.  Also it is not too crowded.  I suppose in its heyday it was really great.  But it was a fun diversion for today....and I got my third day of swimming in for the week!!!  So that is good.
The restaurant where we had dinner is really good.  It closed for a while during the recession, so we are thrilled it is back.  It has gotten national attention in years past.  It is funny too, because it is located in Marsing, a tiny little town on the Snake River.  It's kind of a fun drive...maybe 20 minutes from home.  I enjoy good food when it is not super expensive.  This place is a lot like the little restaurants we would find in SF...the really good, kind of hidden places that people overlooked.  Anyway, it was fun.
Now we are home, and the dogs are too:)  They get soooooo excited to see us.  It is a little overwhelming.  I have mentioned I will not be too sad when the dogs depart haven't I?  Probably the most annoying part is that none of them are neutered, and there are two males and two get the picture.  Luckily, the two males are ours:)  I feel kind of sad...and a little envious, for Julie and Randy with puppies coming in the next couple of months.  But we will probably be having kittens....the male cat is theirs and the female is ours:)  I guess it's only fair.  And yes, we should have gotten them all fixed.  We just hadn't planned on the circumstances that have brought this about.
So on to funny things.  Mel and I were talking about hearing problems tonight.  He has one ear that is prone to ear wax buildup...sorry, is that awful to share?  Anyway, I was trying to persuade him to see an audiologist, so he could get his ears cleaned.  He said, "Yeah, I probably should." And then, "Hey look, Doc!  I've been looking for that piece of plastic for years!!!!" He is so funny!
Well, I hope all is well out in cyberspace.  I love saying that!  Take care and HAVVVVVVVVVVGE!!!  Melody