A Clip to Share

I don’t usually find video clips that I would want to share with others. Particularly, sports videos. However, the video clip I found today is one I think everyone will enjoy. I had received my issue of “Almost a Newsletter” from Boogie Jack recently and the clip was featured there. If you are in to web design, or, even if you aren’t, this site is one worth checking out. Not only is “Jack”, nee Dennis, a guru in web design, he has a wit about him, that of which I could not help but become endeared. There is always some feature, such as this video, at the end of each newsletter that gives one cause to think.

Here, then, is that video:


Key West, Cookies and Child Rearing 101

Conch Republic

It’s 3:30 in the morning. I have to come here to my blog covertly, under the cover of the night, as I have my two grandchildren staying with me. LOL It’s hard to get anything done with them here! I’m a ‘hands-on’ kind of granny. When the children are with me, I am interacting with them constantly. I can catch a few zzz’s tomorrow while they are at school/day care.

This weekend is my daughter Sarah’s birthday. She is the grandchildren’s mommy. She loves to go spend time at the beach for her birthday. Last year, she went to Daytona Beach and took the children with her. She couldn’t let loose and really party. Rather than me going with to help with the children, I agreed to let them stay here with me. Kind of a birthday present. She, her sister, and several friends are going to Key West, Florida. This US southern-tip island is not a place; it’s a state of mind. Imagine being able to watch the sun rise and set from the same spot!

First, though, one has to navigate miles of bridges just to get to Key West.

I mean miles!
But, Key West is so worth the trip. Some images associated with Key West:

A local bar where Hemmingway was purported to have been a regular customer. The name is supposed to be a nickname the author called the bartender.

What a beautiful sight!

The infamous “Hemmingway Cats” have an extra toe on each paw. The anomole is actually a result of inbreeding. However, Hemmingway’s affiliation with the Conch Republic, as Key West is known as by the locals, and the increased presence of these feral felines, led to them being given the author’s name.

Finally, the 2008 winner of the Ernest Hemmingway Papa Look-Alike Contest.

Key West is a world all it’s own. Perhaps, one’s interest has been piqued from this.

It is good for all involved. Sarah gets a much-needed break. The children learn about lots of things! We have a cookie baking party scheduled for Saturday, or Sunday, afternoon. I try to teach them how to behave when away from home. I also try to make them feel good about themselves. Finally, the benefit to me is some quality time with the grandkids. With age comes wisdom and confidence with children. I wish I had been this knowlegable and assured while raising my own three. I just hope they don’t wear me out too soon! LOL My back is already sore. I really love to have them around. The best part, though, is when I grow weary of the little buggars, I can give them back to their mommy. After all, there is a reason women my age don’t have babies. LOL

It’s so hard for a single parent, working full-time, to spend very much time with their children. So often, the kids get lost in the shuffle of every day life, often by a parent who is most likely tired and/or stressed out, as well. So, I occasionally try to help my daughter, mainly for the children’s benefit. The way I look at it is this: I have raised my own three children. I’m through! I gave some of my best years, and did so gladly and with a lot of love. I “did my time”! LOL The children are her responsibility. I will support her in raising her family, but, I won’t raise them for her. She accepts this to the point that she has never taken me for granted. When I do something for the children, or Sarah, it is because I want to, not because she won’t do it herself.

I have to admit that my stance on assisting my daughter with her children is mostly selfish. I have things I want to do in my life. One of them is learning Photoshop and designing with it. I guess I always thought that the day would come where I didn’t have the children around every day. We would visit regularly, but, they would move on and see to their own lives. They have mostly done this. Most days, though, Sarah prefers my company and being here, because she knows I am around and will help her with the children. We do dinner together. This insures that we all get a good meal. She has showed me that she can take care of the kids. That is why I don’t mind keeping the children for her to go away, occasionally. The remainder of the time, if she needs help, I try to show her how to help herself, rather than me just picking up her slack.

Aside from my selfish motives, I am all about teaching my daughter responsibility. Child Rearing 101 stuff. If I don’t allow her to have her issues and woes, having to answer for her actions, I will not be doing the girl any favors. I know this first-hand. Being the ‘baby’ of the family, myself, my folks coddled me all of my life. I had to learn some new coping skills after both parents were deceased. They had always been there to help me cope. I don’t want my ‘baby’ to be put in a similar situation.

This next few days will be great, hopefully. I have lots of craft stuff, papers, paints, dress-up clothes, clay dough, books, and always some goodies in the cupboard. I really love being a granny. I’ve found a peace in my life and I enjoy sharing it with the grandchildren. Kids, today, have it hard enough, as it is. Any time I can do something to help a child be a child, I’m there!

Vintage Postcards from Playle’s Auctions.

If I can ever get over this damned flu!

How come? How come it is that the flu seems to be worse each year? My gods! This thing needs to GO! It’s almost as though my body knows I have things to do and it just will not cooperate with the rest of me. LOL Hmmm….. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something.
Somehow, in the middle of this dreadful bout, I have managed to transcend, yet, again. I’ve noticed that my ‘interests’ are evolving. From the awakening that I got when I met up with Snowy, and the others, at Magickal Scraps, I began to realise that what I adore in scrapbooking is the art. It isn’t grabbing up some goodies and making a photo layout with them. It isn’t creating a kit or the elements. It is in the techniques that one can use, along with the program’s abilities, combined, that make up the artistic value of a design.

I am one of those people that has to realize a concept my way. I tend to think linearly. I am drawn to a particular design, yet, don’t understand, right away, what it is that draws me in. It is only after I see other designs and what they do for me, that I begin to understand what it is that I like. This is when I go in search of tutorials and/or resources to create those aspects I admire. Getting ‘side-tracked’ doesn’t even begin to explain it. LOL I could peruse the creative sites forever. I love to see what people have done. I’m so in awe. I have to make myself stop.

This pattern has tottered along for a few months, I guess. Then, Friday night, I joined in on a chat at Magickal Scraps. The subject was collages. Snowy gave us the resourses, a bit of this and a bit of that – ephemera, I would call some of it. (My new word for the week. LOL) She included some flora, both images and borders and several vintage images of Victorian ladies. The concept was to use flowers, all or any of your own, in a background, then, ‘collage in’ the images. The resulting layouts by all those who joined in are just amazing. They will all be made available in QP’s in a blog train soon. I found my creative juices gushing as I attempted to apply her suggestions. I love the results! I still want to ‘tweek’ my results with some applications, but, I am in my element!

The next morning, while recooperating from the side-splitting laughter during the chat, I happened upon the “art-e-zine” website. I found nirvana! LOL Check it out. Click on the numerous links and take a look at some of the images! There is list after list of resources, as well. The designs were what I interpretted as what Snowy had been alluding to in this chat challenge.

(click on image to go to art-e-zine)

So, in a matter of a day or two, along with a bad dose of influenza, I think I have found the stirrings of a style of my own. Just the stirrings, mind you. I don’t want to just mimic what others before me have done. What I want to do is take this concept and run with it. I have other ideas that should couple nicely with this abstract style of collages. So, I go off to my CS3 to practice using the many styles, brushes, patterns, images, etc, as well as some of the techniques I am learning, to come up with my own interpretations.

Botticelli had the little flowers spilling down his paintings. Picasso, his abstract masterpieces. da Vinci is an island unto himself, but, his style is well-known. I don’t plan on being another da Vinci, but, his love of understanding images is one I, too, possess. Let’s see what I can do. If I can ever get over this damned flu!

Editor’s Note: Some six hours after posting the above, I realized one other thing. Music. Music has always been a mood-altering ‘drug’ for me. It was pure coincidence, however, that I stumbled upon a blog with some cool music. Copying over several of those songs to my own ProjectPlaylist account, I added to my collection of songs that I like very much. I am pretty sure that much of my progress over the past weekend has had a whole lot to do with music. In the piece I am doing for the Magickal Scraps chat challenge, Enya gave me the inspiration for the word art. Here is the song:

Music Playlist at MixPod.com

See what I mean? LOL I can hardly wait for my finished piece!

Mother and I and a Celebration

Ah, the big day is coming, at last! After months of anticipation, the long-awaited first day of spring is just around the corner. Everywhere I look I see signs that mother is preparing for a good year. The Full Worm Moon she turned on the other night was breath-taking, to say the least. Now, the earth begins to warm and soften, allowing worms to move readily. Thus, the name. Birds begin to return, as the wiggly, crawlies work their ways to the surface. Life cycles in action! Isn’t is wonderful?

The bottle brush tree in the garden is just popping out fiery-red ‘brushes’, while the azaleas regurgitate their pinkness. Everywhere I look, the shocking pink of this evergreen Rhododendron is almost overwhelming, as it in season with blooms right now. All the pink is most striking!

With the promise of a prosperous season, I, too, look forward to my own personal growth. I like to think I am conquering Photoshop, little-by-little, as a means of expressing this new awareness of myself. I think it interesting that my computer, where I spend a good deal of time, with all the metallic, plasticine, technical hoopla, is about as far removed from mother nature as one can get, yet, therein lie my interests. My purpose in having a PC is to explore, and celebrate, my relationship with good ol’ mom.

Here is one of my own azaleas, tweeked with Photoshop’s saturation feature, to give three different-looking flowers. I realize there is nothing spectacular about this image and process. But, for me, for whatever reason, observing the flora, capturing an image of it and ‘playing’ with that image, is nothing short of spiritual.

Spring isn’t quite here, but, I can’t wait for her official entrance. Now, how shall I celebrate her arrival?