Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Dancing

Friday Night Dancing
11" x 15"
Back in the 1950s, when I was in college, there were some popular spots for dancing. Going dancing was a priority to many of us, and we would rather dance than eat-or go to class. There was a ballroom with a jukebox in the the SUB (Student Union Building), right next door to Biology class. The place was usually crowded with students, dancing or watching and waiting to be asked, day and night, unless there was some big event going on, or the administration was trying to crack down and make us all go to class.
The town was "dry", so, in order to get a drink, people had to drive across the river to another county, for drinking, liquor stores, and dancing at the little nightspots that dotted the highway.
One of the most popular of these was the Paper Moon. This was a larger place, that attracted a crowd at night. There were some old songs on the jukebox that were popular for dancing and singing along to. One of those songs, "Faded Love", would be played over and over and even more frequently as people started getting a little tipsy. "Crying in their beer", as the saying goes, might be more accurate. When that song came on, the college students would stand up, sing along loudly and with passion, and raise their drinks. A lot of people said that this was our school song, instead of the approved song that the college band played.
We were kind of lucky in those days. Everytime a team won a game, we had a holiday the next Monday. And we always won during those years. It was a sad day on campus when the team did happen to lose, and we had to go to class on a Monday.
One Monday, we didn't have to go to school. We awoke to see the flag at half staff. And learned that the reason for the holiday was that the Moon burned down. People were crying and so sad they could barely walk around.
There was another place near the Moon, but I don't recall the name of it. It was smaller and didn't have that same atmosphere. But, we didn't have a whole lot of choices of places to go.
Just south of town on the Houston highway, there was another place with a pretty good dance floor and a jukebox, but I don't think that there was drinking there. It was in a wooden building, but I can't remember the name of that place either. That is the one that I was thinking of when I painted "Friday Night Dancing". It wasn't the place that everyone congregated, or the place that you went on a big date. As I recall, we would go there, dance a few dances, then move on to another place.
Another popular place was State Lake. It had one of those rock buildings, sort of like a clubhouse, with a big dance floor, jukebox, and a nice big terrace that overlooked the lake. It was one of the WPA projects. There is a similar building at Ft. Parker Lake, and, I'm sure, a lot more across the country since it was a project built during the Depression. Of course, there was no drinking, and there weren't even tables or a place to buy food. But, it was in a lot of woods, and gave us a place to go away from the scrutiny of the grownups on campus and in town.
In those days, I would have almost killed to have a pony tail that would swing when I danced. (Now my hair is much longer than that, but I can't dance anymore due to bad knees.)
I tried all kinds of things to make my hair grow longer, including pulling my hair as I rolled it. But, it would get almost to my shoulders and I couldn't stand it any longer, and I would have to get it cut in duck tails again. Pony tails, duck tails (or DAs, as some people called that cut), and a medium length hair style that was rolled with pin curls were popular for the girls. Guys had DAs, butch cuts, crew cuts, or a medium cut that allowed the hair to be combed back with a little swirl or poof on the top. Of course, the Aggies had their military hair cuts, with the freshman being bald. We were glad to date seniors, or juniors, who had better hair cuts!
When we went out, we had to have on our beads and earbobs, maybe a watch. We just wore a lipstick called "Natural" for every day. For dress up, we wore "Red" lipstick and, for really special occasions, we would add a little powder or mascara on our eyebrows. Circle skirts were in style and, when we wore those, we had to wear lots of petticoats to hold the skirt as straight out as possible. Six, eight, or even ten or more petticoats were required to make those skirts hang just right. Another style was pencil slim skirts. Those didn't require petticoats of course, but, unless you had an adequate kick pleat in the back, it was kind of hard to walk in those!
To make sure that the figure was held in check, girls had to wear Merry Widows, that brought reminders of earlier days of corsets and tiny waists. If you couldn't breathe, you had the right adjustment on the Merry Widow! To complete the look of the tiny waist, over the skirts, girls wore a wide elastic belt, like a huge rubber band.
Sweaters were popular with the skirts as were simple blouses .
Small scarves were tied about the neck, like the cowboys wore in the movies, only with more variety in color and designs.
Shoes for dancing needed a good leather sole. To keep from slipping and having an embarassing fall on the dance floor, due to shiney new shoe soles, sandpaper could be used to scuff the bottom of the shoe a bit, until it got worn enough from dancing. Rubber heels and some soles were available, but , while they were okay for normal walking, you couldn't dance with those. And, new shoes were usually stiff as boards, which made walking with blisters on the feet, a painful activity. Often, shoes were abandoned in favor of dancing in socks or stocking feet. Guys usually kept their shoes on, unless it was at a sock hop, when everyone wore various kinds of socks.
Ballet or ballerina slippers were popular for dress, dancing, and every day. Penny loafers and saddle shoes were also popular. For dress up, the taller the heels, the better. Three to four inch heels were for dress up, flats were for everyday wear, or if your date wasn't very much taller than you were.
Along with dress up, we wore sheer stockings held up with a garter belt or a girdle. Some ladies could hold up their stockings with just a pair of garters, but that was mainly girls who were on the thin side. Stockings might be worn with flats or heels, but usually not with penny loafers or saddle shoes. For the more casual shoes, we wore white socks that rolled over into a thick top. Two or three rolls were most desirable. In the summer, there were thin cotton socks. Also, sandals were great for hot weather.
We danced to big band music, rock and roll, some blues, and old country western. If we thought it would shock our parents, without actually shocking us worse, we were all for it.
My painting didn't fit on the scanner, so I showed a detail of it, then smaller details from each side. The girls dancing aren't supposed to be anyone in particular. They just show the styles, the movement of jitterbug or jitterbop that we used to do, and the colorful jukebox at the edge of the open dance floor. (Other dances included the waltz and the fox trot, but, in my painting, my girls are carried away with the rhythm of the jitterbug.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Author! Author!

Photo Courtesy of V....Vaughan


I'm so excited about Virginia Vaughan's new book! It would seem to be a really nice book, and very personal, too. It's always so thrilling to see a new book by someone that I know, or know of.

Open land seems to be disappearing all too rapidly-everywhere. This book is an important record of one place in Texas. Many of her scenes are so familiar. Some days, I would paint something that I was watching and she was painting the same thing, only from her farm 100 miles away. I would find out when I read her blog that day. Or, some nights, we were watching the moon, and she was painting it! Pictures would be on her blog the next morning.
My family had cattle, too, so the animals are really familiar. The landscape is so much like the area that I visited or drove through very often in the past.
My sister has been taking workshops from Virginia for quite a while and told me about her blog. Since Virginia and I both taught art, we started sharing. She encouraged me to get back to some painting and to start this blog. She's always a really helpful lady. And so talented!

Virginia documented the last year that she and her family would spend on their farm near Austin before it was to be sold. She chose to do paintings of that time and built a collection of her work. That collection of paintings is being shown in various places around the country. Check out her blog or website for some of the pictures and a list of where the paintings will be shown.
I have a link to her site under Artists and Authors in my sidebar, or you can click on or .
Virginia noted that there are 80 pages in the book , her field notes, and about 150 pictures. That leaves about 200 more pictures that aren't in the book, but are in the collection to be seen while it is on tour.
The book is $29 plus shipping. You can order through her website or send an e-mail to .
And, no, I don't have any financial interest, in case you might wonder. I just wanted to spread the word about this new book on Texas, by someone that I know. Hope that it is a big success!


Dr. James E. Arnett, Rhoda Carolyn Melton Arnett

Unknown Arnett, Sam, Kate, and Emma Arnett

Mechanicsville, Tennessee

(One of my family pictures)

I've finished reading another book, thanks to a fellow family history researcher in Tennessee. I am so excited for her, about her wonderful book, too! I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of her book. If you have an interest in history, or Tennessee, or life as it was, you should enjoy this book, "Mechanicsville", by Melanie Nistad. Of course, I was particularly interested in the parts that had to do with my grandmother's family and where she lived. But the stories were wonderful and I could relate many of them to my hometown in Texas as well. The book contains factual information and maps, but also many wonderful old pictures, stories from people who remembered them, and wonderful writings by Miss Mary Reams in her newspaper column.

I can really relate to that since, at one time, I also wrote a column of happenings for local newspapers. I wish I had read Miss Mary's columns before I wrote mine. I would have looked for different things than I wrote about back then.

I hope that this very important book is a big success, too! I'm so proud of her for doing all this work. It turned out really well!

As for me, I've been doing some watercolors that aren't finished yet. Looking forward to the Brazos Valley Art League show with entries due at the P. David Romei Center in College Station on the 29th. Judging and opening will be on Saturday. There is a link to their website under Organizations on my sidebar.


Don't forget to sign my guest book if you haven't already. It's all the way at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for your comments and your support!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


2" x 2"
This is a very small, circular watercolor that I had made into a badge to wear at times when something western was going on. I wore this with my jeans and a denim shirt or cowboy shirt for such things as the county fair. Showing my art, and the work of my students, was one thing. But, adding it as a piece of wearable art was kind of a fun thing to do. I also had a pair of ceramic cactus earrings that I made and wore at the same times as I wore the badge.
It came out a little off center, showing a bit of the badge backing, but it really doesn't show in the actual badge. And, while the colors in the background look a little splotchy, they really don't show that way on the item. I do like the colors in this and may rework it in a larger watercolor.
Doesn't February seem like it is just flying by! It seems like I just turned my calendar from January.
For those of you in this area, if you planned to go by and see the Brazos Valley Art League show at the P.David Romnei Center this week, you will need to change your plans. I took my entry over Friday and found that it had been rescheduled for February 29th with judging March 1. Show opens to the public at 12:30 that day with a reception to follow.
It seems that the flu struck the members of the Brazos Valley Art League along with so many others in this area, and there were not enough well members to work with the show on Friday.
This means that the Members show is also going to be changed to a date yet to be determined.
I have a link to the Art League and the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley on my sidebar under Organizations. You can check there for more information.
Actually, I'm a little glad for the extra time to do something else for the show, but I'm sorry that there are so many people who feel bad. Flu seems to be in many places, and increasing.
I don't remember that the Art League has had to postpone a show due to so many illnesses in the past.
My computer has been unplugged a lot lately, due to all the thunderstorms around. I was really concerned yesterday, as the worst weather was supposed to be moving in. I noticed that one of the anchors for the Weather Channel was broadcasting from here. I know that they broadcast from where terrible things happen, so I had a lot of anxiety. Fortunately, it all moved east, with just some thunderstorms and badly needed rain. Tornadoes were spotted to the east, but I haven't heard of damage. I was sure glad that their forecast was off. They said that everything was set up for a dangerous situation, but we had cloud cover all day, which kept the temperatures down and prevented the big rotation in the clouds that had been expected. Only 4 more degrees, they said, and we could have had tornadoes, damaging winds, etc. Whew! Now I can breathe again, until the next time!
It's pretty and sunny today and into the 70s. Looks like spring is just around the corner here. At least, I haven't noticed the pear trees blooming, yet. The past few years, they have been blooming in February instead of April or May as they once did. Sometimes the pear and peach trees would bloom early, only to be covered with ice by a late storm. But, that hasn't happened recently.
Those of you who are sick of snow and cold, just know that there are those of us who would love to see some of it!
Thanks for your interest and your comments. I loved getting all the comments during the One World-One Heart event!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Old Fashioned Valentine

An Old Fashioned Valentine
8.5" x 8.5"
colored pencil

When it was close to Valentine's Day, when I was growing up, there were maybe 3 or 4 messages that people would start to write and recite, preparing for the day when they would present a valentine to classmates, friends, teachers, boy friends and girl friends during the Valentine's Day party in class.
"Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you." That one was the most popular one. The very words brought giggles of embarassment or innocence that pretended to be very knowing of the ways of the world.
It was said so much that it became trite and boring, and out of date.
A message that hinted of romance might be printed on notebook paper with a drawing of a heart, then passed on to someone special with the help of classmates. And all involved, hoped that the teacher wouldn't catch them. How awful for that note expressing their love to be read by a mocking teacher to the class, or, worse yet, in front of the whole study hall. And, then, soon, that teacher might have a talk with parents, which brought on another set of problems. Might even "nip that in the bud", and that's what the adults hoped for.

Of course, there was "Be mine, Valentine." and other such traditional sayings.
I just happened to think during a Valentine's Day party at a nursing home, that we don't hear those old sayings at all anymore. I can't remember when I saw a simple, old fashioned valentine. Today's valentines are tiny, at least the ones used for kids' parties at school, and they don't even have an envelope to address. The themes are cartoons or movies, or gimmicks to catch attention.

When I was teaching, I had my students make valentines to send off to VA hospitals, as part of the Valentines for Vets project. If we had an address to mail to service men and women, we would send there. Then we made extras to deliver to the local nursing home and hospital. As I visited in the nursing home, this Valentine's Day, I noticed that local students had made a lot of valentines for the people there. Sheets of construction paper were filled with pop ups, colored shapes, printed messages, and decorated with glitter and string. I was glad to see that someone else was carrying this project on. I thought that my students enjoyed making the cards, got a feeling of pride when they delivered their work, and the recipients got to enjoy some bright and cheerful art work, made with care.

So, at the end of the day today, I wanted to draw something to add to my blog about Valentine's Day. I ended up with the little drawing above. A valentine with an old fashioned message. Not so fancy, but a memory.
Hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!
And now, a drum roll, please.
I was so excited and pleased with the comments I recieved with the One World-One Heart event. I thank everyone who added such nice comments. I really appreciate all the visitors and hope that you come back again.
I was trying to visit each blog, and comment on them, but there were so many to read, and my computer was acting up. So, I didn't get around to seeing all of them. Those links will remain so it will be possible to go back and look as I have time.
There are some wonderful blogs out there!
I had said that, if I got 50 comments, I would add a second watercolor for the giveaway. That was shown on my last post when I went over 50 entries. Today, I received a few more, bringing the total to 60. I left it open until midnight, in case anyone else wanted to be included.
After that time, I made a list of all the names, cut them apart, put them in a hat, shook them up. I wanted to have my grandson draw, but that's a little late for him to be up! My drawing was the old fashioned way.
Congratulations to the winners!
Tammie Lee is the winner of "Fun Tree".
Reeva is the winner of "Dream Tree".
I'll be contacting you by e-mail , or comment on your website, to let you know that you have won. Just in case you don't see it here. In the event that I can't contact someone, I will redraw in a few days.

I want to thank Lisa for all her work in getting this together. It has been a fun event, and I feel like I have really expanded my world in getting to know a little more about other bloggers and their work. The event seems to be a big success. It has really grown!
If you have a blog, and you learned about OWOH too late to participate this year, you might want to think about it for the next time.
Keep checking back here. You never know what ideas I might have added!
Thanks for reading and sharing!
For some reason, the picture of the "Dream Tree" seems to have disappeared from that post where I announced it. So, here are the two watercolors in my giveaway again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Update for One World-One Heart

Dream Tree
5.5" x 8.5"

This little watercolor was done with a limited palette of Winsor Violet, Indigo Blue, and Pale Yellow. The colors didn't scan that well, as the yellow appears to be very bright. However, the actual colors are very soft. The grass is a soft yellow green and the sky is a soft blue violet, for example.
I used Winsor Newton watercolors on 140# watercolor paper. And painted it during a thunderstorm.

In an earlier post, I showed a pencil drawing of "Dream Tree", a place that I had a dream about. It seemed to take place, beginning in Hearne, Texas, and ending with this tree in Franklin, Texas. I remembered a lot of detail about this tree from my dream, and ended my dream saying that I would have to go back there and paint it. Of course, there probably isn't such a tree, but I still had to paint it!
Hope you enjoy it!
The limited pallette was one of the challenges given by Myrna Wacknov on her blog, Creativity Journey. The idea was to list all of the colors on your pallette, then cut that up, and mix them up. Then you would draw 3 colors to use in a painting. My first selection was this color combination of Winsor Violet, Indigo Blue, and Pale Yellow. I kind of like the way it turned out, so I may try this again.

Now, I said that, in the previous post, that, if I got 50 comments on that post for the giveaway, I would add a second small watercolor to that drawing. Tonight, the count reached 54, so I am adding this second watercolor.
There is still time to enter my giveaway for the One World-One Heart event. I will probably draw two names from a hat about midnight, central (Texas) time Valentine's night. I got started late, so I wanted to give a little extra time to anyone who would still like to get their name in the pot.

Just to review, briefly, the One World-One Heart event is an opportunity for bloggers all over the world to get to know each other a little better. Many bloggers who are participating have items on their blogs that they will be drawing for on Valentine's Day. If you have an active blog, just leave a comment in the comments section below the post, and your name will be entered. Be sure that you give some way to contact you in case you win. The idea was to have those who have active blogs to participate in this event. This year, they have over 400 bloggers participating. So, even if you don't have a blog, you might enjoy looking around at the blogs of those who are on the list.
For more information, you can go to .
It's late for this year, but, if you have a blog, you might think about it for the next time. And, also you might just like to look at the blogs of some of those listed. They are very interesting to read, and have a lot of fascinating work to look at.
I haven't had time to read them all, of course, but they will remain there after the event is over.
It has been fun to look at some of the blogs and sign up for things that others have created. I got some ideas and inspiration from some of them as I browsed.
Anyway, good luck to you bloggers. I hope that I win something too!
Remember that, if you have a blog, and haven't signed up yet, I will still accept comments until tomorrow night. I guess that, if you get in before midnight, my time (central in Texas), I can still accept your entry.
I'm so excited that people from all over the world are looking at my work!
Thank you for reading and for sharing with others.
And a big thank you to all of you who are signing my comments and my Guest Book!

Monday, February 11, 2008

One World-One Heart

Fun Tree
3" x 4"

Okay, bloggers. This one's for you!

This is such a neat idea, and I thank Enzie Shahmiri, , for including me through her comment on my blog.

Now, here's the deal.

If you have an active blog, all you have to do is to leave a comment on the bottom of this post and I will include you in a drawing for one of my small watercolors, "Fun Tree", shown above.

On Valentine's Day (well, probably it will be that night. I just got the information so I'm a little late starting. That will give everyone a little more time to participate.) , I will draw from e-mails in a hat to determine a winner. So, be sure that I have your name and e-mail address included with your comments.

If you would like to do this yourself, on your own blog, you will need to get your information in by February 12th. See for more information.

Don't have a blog yet? You can still start one fairly easily.

The One World-One Heart event is a project of Lisa Oceandreamer from Heart of the Nest and Imagination Cafe. The idea behind this is to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact and discover new and wonderful people, and, in the process, possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way. There are over 300 bloggers signed up for this years event. You can find links to their blogs on the One World Event site. The link is above.

I hope that you enjoy my work, and that you will come back and visit often. Periodic give-aways are a possibility, so you might want to sign up to receive e-mail notifications and updates.

My featured give-away item is a small, fun, cheerful watercolor of a tree, with a lot of red in it. Appropriate for Valentine's Day and all through the year.

If there should be over 50 people who sign up with comments, I will add a second tree watercolor. I'll have to post that picture later as it wasn't dry enough to scan yet.

Remember that all you have to do is leave me a blog comment and make sure that I have your contact information. After I draw, on Valentine's Day (night) I will notify the winner and announce the winner on my blog.
Good luck! This is a great chance to meet some new people, view their work, and have an opportunity to own some really nice, original work.
Check my Organizations on my sidebar. The Brazos Valley Art League has their juried show coming up with entries due on the 15th. The Members show will follow that.
Thanks for reading and sharing. Please sign my Guest Book at the bottom of the page, if you haven't already. And join my group, if you aren't already a member.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sick Day

Sick Day
The Land of Counterpane
8.5" x 11"
Sick days, when I could stay at home from school, were good days, for the most part, when I was growing up.
Oh sure, the sore throat, runny eyes, sneezing, and fever were not all that fun, but it sure was better than risking going to school and being fussed at or teased, and also bored and wishing that I was at home.
My mother read to me, or I had plenty of comic books, movie magazines, paper dolls, my baby dolls, cats, and my imagination to fill the day. I could look outside my windows to the south and west, from my Jenny Lind bed, through the sheer, ruffled curtains, blowing in a gentle breeze, at the sunny day outside. I could see the swing that Daddy built from railroad ties, and the shed that he built in the back yard to house the pickup truck that he built from wrecked cars, and Poochie, our dog, wandering around. Not to mention time to sleep, listen to the radio, with Mama and neigbors trying to tempt me to eat with special treats they fixed. I wasn't too interested in eating, even when I was well, though.
Toot would bring cold milkshakes, tinted with food coloring, made in her special metal shaker, from across the street. And Pappy would make homemade chicken noodle soup to bring me. I didn't like it too much. I thought it was watery and greasey. I preferred Mama's homemade "poor man's" soup, with just a soup bone, diced onion, can of tomatoes, diced potatoes, and water, or Jello, or even the glasses of tomato juice with crumbled up crackers, salt and pepper, in it.
Mama had read me "The Land of Counterpane" by Robert Louis Stevenson, and told me to imagine places on my covers to play, if I was tired of reading, and getting fussy. (Of course, there was no tv with stories to watch and entertain us back then. And, not a lot to entertain children during the day on the radio.)
Outside, at the edge of town, there were small hills, where the trains would come and go. We could see their lights in the dark of night. The hills seemed to be just beyond the trees outside, but, actually, it was a little further. The trains would rumble through downtown, along Railroad Street, and enter or exit, depending on whether they were going north or south, around a curve and out of town on the north side. That was a bit out of range of our new house.
But, when I was very small, we lived in great-grandpa's house on Railroad Street, I ran to the windows (as soon as I was able to walk) to see every train that passed. My uncle once told me that trains went by every 15 minutes, night and day, as he was very interested in trains too. They didn't come that often when I was older. And, now, they come, but not as often and you can't keep a schedule by them anymore, either.
As I lay in bed, with my Kleenex and things beside me, I could imagine my own little town on the covers. There were corn fields and cotton fields on the hills that were supported by my legs. There were pastures in the flat lands, with little tanks of water, and farm houses with barns. Beyond my feet, there was the Brazos River, with a boat floating down it. (Although that river is not a place for boats!) The train tracks ran over my knees, through the small downtown. Workers lived behind the stores, toward my ankles. My neighborhood, with the school and football field, lay between my legs. I added a couple of stores nearby, which I thought would be nice to have closer to the house and the school. A good place to stop in for a Coke or some ice cream or candy, or new comic books or movie magazines.
Someday, I would change the little town-maybe even turn it into a city with lots of things to do and places to go. But, I would have to think about that after a story or a nap.
I hope you enjoyed my memories of being sick when I was younger. Sometimes, I sure wish that my mama would bring me some of her homemade soup or tomato juice and crackers, or Toot would bring me a cold milk shake in a pretty color, or even that Pappy would bring me some of her homemade chicken noodle soup. They are long gone, and my own food, with their recipes, is just not the same. And, with the flu or some other ailments, it's impossible to cook anyway. Canned tomato soup or a Pop Tart, are all I can manage, at the most.
Sign my Guest Book at the bottom of my page, if you haven't already. And let me know if you see something of interest to you.
Hope that you miss the flu and those ailments this year!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vision- Migrane In The Eye

Migrane In The Eye
Ocular Migrane
8.5" x 11"
Seventh period. Last class of the day, finally. I stood at the door as teenagers tumbled and dragged into my room, laughing, talking, sulking, glaring.
I smiled, but tried to be firm, as I encouraged them to get in the room before the tardy bell rang. Inside, I wondered what my little mischief-makers in the class might be up to today. It should go smoothly, though. They already had a project started that they were enjoying doing-one that allowed them to visit and talk as they worked. But, this class always had someone who would either come in late, angry, and wanting to stir things up, or they would lose patience, or get upset over having to be in class instead of out playing sports. Those teenage hormones and emotions could spill over at any time.
I walked into the room to my desk, and, one tall, big, quiet, football player followed me to stand beside me. I stood by my desk as the tardy bell rang, ready to check my roll and put it out on the clip outside my door. The football player continued to stand by me. He didn't say anything, but he didn't sit down, either.
I needed to get that roll done, but this one student would not sit down, no matter what I said to him. "Please sit down" didn't work. Neither did, " You need to be in your seat", "I said to sit down," or "You will be tardy if you are not in your seat, " or "Did you need something?"
The assignment was on the board, but the students knew what to do anyway. Projects had been started, and they just waited for their materials to be passed out. For once, they were content to talk quietly as they waited.
I had to get that roll checked and decided that it was not worth an argument at that moment to get this boy to move. I picked up the roll sheet from my desk and started to look at the names.
A cold fear struck me. I'm sure that I gasped as I gripped the roll sheet and my pen.
Across the names on the sheet, it looked as if there was a tear in the paper. Jagged edges that separated and would not go back together. I blinked, I squinted, I moved the paper around, but the two parts of the paper would not go back together. Nothing worked. Was I going blind all of a sudden? I wanted to grab the boy beside me and ask if the paper was torn. But, I couldn't do that. I had to control myself and be the grown-up here.
Instead, resourceful person that I am, I handed the roll sheet and my pen to the boy.
"Here," I said. "You might as well do this since you are standing there. I need to get papers passed out."
The boy smiled and eagerly checked the roll and hung it out for me. Then he sat down at his desk. Maybe he just wanted to be a helper that day. I still don't know, but, I felt like he was put there, at that moment, to help me out. Instead of being upset with him, I was just glad that he was there.
I picked up the stack of art work to pass out, but I still couldn't read any names on them. There was that tear across all of the writing. So, I split the papers up and had three students pass them out, to speed things up. Some students liked to do things like pass out papers, not to help me, but just to give them something to do while they waited.
The students were busy with their projects and I sat in my chair behind my desk. I put my hands over my eyes for a few minutes, hoping my vision would clear.
"Maybe if I just rest my eyes, or myself, for a few minutes, it will get better."
No one asked about me, why I wasn't working along with them that day, or why I was sitting with my hands over my eyes. One girl did look at me, and I offered, "I have a headache." I didn't have a headache, but I didn't want to tell the class that I was terrified that I might be going blind, right there in class, and to go to the office for help.
"Just make it through this period," I thought.
The end of the period came, students put their work up, still engaged in their conversations, and left the room as the bell rang. After they were gone, I picked up my grade sheet, which was similar to the roll sheet, and I could see again.
"Whew! I hope that never happens again! Whatever it was." I breathed a big sigh of relief.
I had not thought that I had to drive home to the next town after school. What would have happened if it had not gone away, and I couldn't see? And, what if everyone left school and I was there, alone, as I often was, working late, and still couldn't see?
I decided to go home early, and call my opthamologist.
I couldn't get an appointment to see him for two weeks. Fearing that it could happen again, I drove to his office and told the young lady at the desk what had happened. She talked to the doctor, and said that it would be okay, and to come in for my appointment.
I spent a very anxious two weeks, worrying about what happened and that it might happen again.
At the exam, the doctor explained that this was like a migrane, but in the eye. It could have been brought on by stress. (I didn't think I was particularly stressed, and had never in my life had a migrane headache. It was just a normal, in fact, even a little bit better, day at school. But, I did have a lot of anxiety as I tend to be a perfectionist. But that was normal for me.) My eyes checked out fine, and he told me that I could get some reading glasses at the drugstore to help when reading, or he could give me a prescription as the distance reading had changed a little bit. I always had 20/20 vision, and used some reading glasses from the drugstore, for some reading like computer printouts and small print in newspapers. I thought that was just a normal part of aging.
The doctor did tell me that, the thing to look for, was flashing lights. If that happened, I should call him immediately. That could indicate a detached retina. But, as for the migrane in the eye, that was not anything to be concerned about. He said that I might call him if it happened again, though.
This happened several years before I had my diagnosis of Macular Degeneration last year. It was probably about in 2002, and has not happened again. The doctors that I have seen told me that the migrane in the eyes had nothing to do with the MD.
On the MD Support list, there has been a discussion about ocular migranes. So, I thought it was time to show my drawing and share my experience with that vision problem, although it is not a part of Macular Degeneration, as far as I can tell.
I have to emphasize to readers that it is important to get a good eye care professional to check your eyes. You can't always tell, either by looking or by reading of symptoms, just exactly what is going on in the eyes. In some cases, an early diagnosis is imperitive. Sometimes symptoms can be of something that is not serious at all, but other times, they can be extremely telling and urgent. Self diagnosis is not the way to go. The only way that some things can be detected is by
a good exam of the inside of the eye.
We can talk about and share experiences, and that can be of help in understanding and in coping. But there is no substitute for seeing a good eye care professional. So, have regular exams, and see your doctor when you notice any changes in your vision. And, of course, you want to do things that will promote good health for your eyes, as well as for the rest of your body.
You can check out some of the links I have listed under Eye Sites to learn more.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Superbowl

The Superbowl
9" x 12"

We aren't big sports fans around here. But, my daughter decided that we would have our own Superbowl party yesterday. She had been invited to a party, but, since we are all just getting over the flu, she thought that there might be a big crowd at the party, and decided to watch the big game at home.

My daughter brought home some chicken nuggets and cup cakes, made some cheese dip, and banana pudding. And, we had chips, and soft drinks. I had already made some tomato soup.

The oldest grandson had to work. So, the youngest grandson, my daughter, cats, and the dog settled in to watch the game.

I had never even heard of the teams, and didn't know anyone who was playing, so it was of no interest to me. I only heard Craig Ferguson on tv determining who would win by their logos. I just like a good band, like the A&M band, and the activity that goes on at the Aggie games. Or, if I know someone who is playing, I might have someone to be "for". There are only so many ways that the guys can line up, throw the ball, kick, and knock each other down, and, after that, I've seen it before.

My daughter hoped the Patriots would win because she liked the movie, "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson. But we never heard of either team before. Craig Ferguson had predicted that the Patriots had the better logo, so they would win.

Youngest grandson was interested in playing with his light sabre, and he was watching the "Puppy Bowl" on tv. I took my art things in the den, and sketched, while we snacked and watched the game.

By the time I got settled, the score was 7-3, and it stayed there until the end of the game. Nothing was happening. It might have been more interesting if someone had made a touchdown every now and then. So, we turned the "Puppy Bowl" on and watched the cute little dogs romp on a fake football field! Tried the game again at half time, but that was so boring, we turned the dogs back on. We never heard of the musicians, and didn't like that kind of music, so we went back to the "Puppy Bowl", and just checked on the game every now and then. We did watch the end, when there was finally some action. And were so surprised by the last minute touchdown that won the game.

As we watched, I did some gesture drawings, and decided that I would draw us at our Superbowl party. Lively bunch, aren't we! Youngest grandson is on the left, with his light sabre. I'm on the right with my sketch book. One of the cats, Simba, was perched on the back of the couch, glaring at us, and hoping for a bite of chicken. We have a little table that comes out of the couch where we had our snacks. My daughter reclined in the chair, dangling one foot and her hand. Her snacks were on the table on the other side of the chair. Under her chair, Pluto, the puppy, settled down for a nap, after he ate too much.

At least, "EastEnders" was good, later, as was "Miss Austen Presents", and even "Corner Gas", "Becker" and "Home Improvement". Enjoyed watching "The Queen Family" about Appalachian music. The scenery was especially nice.
I hope that, if you like football, that you enjoyed watching the big game. Does this mean that football is over with, until the fall and we can get back to local high school and college teams? I guess it doesn't matter, because I always find something else to watch on tv anyway.
Hopefully, you are well, and that the flu will not strike your house as it did ours, for the past week or so.