Friday, February 26, 2010

Sketch Crawl Tomorrow

26th World Wide Sketch Crawl
Saturday Feb. 27
In Bryan, meet at 9 a.m. at the Clara Mounce Library downtown
In Calvert, meet at 9 a.m. at Mud Creek Pottery on Main St.

The above sketches are from my sketchbook, done while waiting. I have all kinds of sketches from experiences to what I observe, journal pages to gesture drawings, memories to imagination.
Different people are going to interpret what they put into their sketchbooks and journals differently.
The first sketch is one I did yesterday, while I was waiting in the Social Security Office. Light reflecting off the tin roof of this office building (which looks like a big house!) and the strong shadows from morning light, were very interesting. I also took a photo of the building, but it doesn't show the shadows as I saw them. The guard asked me what I was going to take a picture of, so I showed him my sketchbook and talked to him about drawing. I'm glad that he decided that I wasn't up to no good-just an old lady drawing!
The next picture is one that I did while I was waiting to be hooked up to a monitor and checked in at cardiac rehab. I only had time to do a gesture or stick drawing of a lady on the treadmill. They don't let you sit around there! But I had enough information to finish the drawing later and add a little bit of watercolor. No detail but I captured the pose and the moment.
I did the next drawing at supper while we waited for our food. Very strong shadows in there due to low lighting so I was more interested in that than in food. I didn't take pictures there, but maybe I should have. I thought it was kind of funny to have supper in the cotton patch! They got my order wrong, which was sort of nice. Gave me more time to draw. Had to send it back again because instead of fixing me another plate correctly, they just scraped off the wrong stuff and sent the plate back, dirty and cold. By the time I got mine, everyone else was ready to leave. So I brought my food home and ate part of it later. Wasn't too good warmed up, so it ended up going in the trash. But, I got a pretty good drawing, I think!
The last sketch is of some kind of object, hanging over the door to another part of the Longhorn Tavern, a fairly new place in downtown Bryan. They used to be out by the auction barn on north Hwy 6 going toward Hearne. But, they recently moved into the old Coca Cola bottling plant in downtown Bryan and the old building on the highway was torn down. At night, the dining room with all the old license plates, etc. and the room with big windows, was closed. The slilding doors were partially opened, and it was very dark. Some VIPs came in and the waitresses showed them into that room, which was then very light!
I thought that this object looked like it might have been one of those old railroad signal lights, of some sort.
I drew while we waited.
This place has huge amounts of food, cooked like it should be. Like we used to get in the old days! There wasn't any way that any of us could eat that much food! But we were really glad to see that.
It's very disappointing these days, to order southern fried chicken, for example, and all you get is this tiny little chicken patty, lightly fried, with hardly any batter. In this place, they have big plates or platters, filled with chicken fried steak, gravey, homestyle french fries. Glasses are big, rolls are big. Steaks are huge. You do get your money's worth!
Of course, I'm usually more interested in sketching than in eating. I always end up having to take most of my food with me.
My little sketchbooks, pencil case with pens, pencils, eraser, sharpener, water brush, little spray bottle, a set of travel watercolors, and my camera, in my purse, make me prepared for any wait time!
And they are ready to go for tomorrow.
I hope that you, too, will be going out to sketch tomorrow. People all over the world will be doing this.l You can start looking at the results on the Sketch Crawl website later tomorrow. Some countries have probably already started.
Remember, it's FREE and open to everyone! You can draw where ever you are, with a group, by yourself, someplace interesting or at home doing laundry!
Monday at noon, the Brazos Valley Art League will meet at the Art Center in College Station. There will be an artist's demonstration of encaustic painting.
I need to update their events for March. I received the newsletter, but, for some reason, it won't open.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Was Sunbathing That Much Fun?

Take a look at Susan Lucy's blog at . She has an excellent post on her experience with basal cell carcinoma, or skin cancer. I'm going to add her link in my sidebar so people can refer to it if they need information on skin cancer.
There is more information on the internet on sites like Mayo Clinic, if you need to know more about symptoms, images, treatment, etc., so I won't go into all of that here.
Several years ago, I decided to work on a career in teaching skin care and had the time in the summer for that activity. I dressed up and, as I fixed my makeup, I noticed a pimple, right on the end of my nose!
I surely couldn't teach skin care or sell make up, looking like that! So, I waited on it to heal. It didn't go away and my summer was passing quickly. I went to a dermatologist and was told I had a skin cancer. He took the bump off, leaving a little hole in my nose. I doubt that others noticed it, but I did. My primary doctor reported that it was okay. It wasn't the bad kind of cancer, but was a basal cell carcinoma.
At the same time, that dermatologist froze several other moles. Someone told me that they would return. And, they did.
A few years ago, I felt a little rough spot on my back. I couldn't see it, even with a mirror, so I had mydaughter take a picture of it. She did, but deleted it before I could really look at it. I just remember seeing a red spot.
I tried to have her "doctor " the place, cleaning it with peroxide and applying Neosporin to it. But she didn't want to do it and I couldn't reach it. So, it got doctored, occasionally.
When I was in the hospital, having my knee replacement in November, I noticed a spot of blood on my bed. The nurse told me that spot on my back was bleeding, so she put a band aid on it.
At home, it kept bleeding and oozing pus- looking material. Again, I tried to get my daughter to doctor it, and she did, twice.
When I went back to my primary physician, with my list of things that needed checking, I included the spot on my back. She had measured the place at an earlier visit and said I would need to see a dermatologist. Now that it was bleeding and oozing, she referred me to the dermatologist.
I was able to get in to see him and he examined the place, deadened it, and took a biopsy of it. He put a bandage on it and gave me some ointment to put on it. Of course I couldn't reach it. My daughter would put the ointment on a bandaid, put that on my back, and put tape , loosely, all around it. But, she wouldn't do it on schedule and the tape irritated the place and the surrounding skin.
I went back to see the doctor because the place was oozing green, smelly fluid that seemed like infection. He said that is just what it was supposed to do, and would form an ugly looking scab. The nurse advised me to leave off my bra and shirt at home and let air get to it. No more tape!
At this visit, the dermatologist told me that this was a basal cell carcinoma and asked if Iknew that. I told him that I didn't. I thought that they were supposed to let me know.
However, I had not been concerned about it. I thought that we were just not able to reach it and doctor it properly. But, I was concerned about getting an infection. The Orthopedic Surgeon warned us not to get any kind of infection because it would go straight to our new knees. So every little thing became something that I thought should be checked for infection!
The dermatologist told me to return in 2 months for a check up. He told me that he had removed the carcinoma when he did the biopsy.
Last week, I went in for the follow up appointment. My stomach was not happy that day and I took extra Lomotil before I went to the appointment. At the clinic, I had to stand back and wait at the designated spot, where there were warning signs and hand sanitizer! A woman fumbled in her purse and I felt like I might just have an accident right there in line, if I didn't get to the bathroom immediately. But I waited and rushed to the restroom before going to the area where the doctor was located.
Why was I getting so sick at my stomach again! I wasn't anxious or worried. I looked at the visit as an opportunity to sketch!
The nurse called me in, and commented about the beautiful day outside.
In the examining room, a young medical student sat down with me to ask questions. He was thin, dark, and had straight black hair that seemed to go everywhere. I wondered if he was "in style" or just couldn't make his hair do anything that day. He wore a gold dress shirt and matching tie under a long lab coat. He seemed very serious and forthright.
Soon, the doctor came in. He looked at my back and said that he didn't like the way it looked. He touched it and announced that it was still there. All I could see at home in my mirror was a purple spot.
I told him about some other spots and he announced that most of them were to be left alone, but he had the student freeze a couple of spots that were a little itchy on my back bone.
He sketched a little oval on a piece of paper and said that is about how large the skin cancer is. He said the next step is to cut it out. He said it is about the size of his little finger, showing me up to the first joint on his finger. They would cut out an area around it, then sew it up with a lot of stitches, in 2 layers. The first layer would close it, the top layer would tighten it up.
He asked if I am taking any blood thinners and I told him what I'm taking for my heart and stent.
After the doctor left, the nurse returned with a chart of his available appointments. Iasked her about being NPO and being asleep. She said that they will just do it in one of the examining rooms. I can eat and drink and won't be put to sleep. I am to lay on my side and they will deaden the area with Litocain.
I would rather be asleep and not know. But I'm going to have to think of it as being very interesting. Of course, I won't be able to see it anyway. It should be easier than having teeth cut out, I hope!
I talked to the therapists about going to cardiac rehab afterward. They told me to see how I felt. They didn't recommend doing the back machine or anything that might pull on the stitches. We will just have to see how that goes.
The doctor is nice, soft spoken, and patient, so I feel like it will be alright. I just hope that my stomach will cooperate! I've been having stomach problems ever since I had my knee done and they gave us all a stool softener. It got worse after I had a colonoscopy to see why I have so much stomach problems. So far, they didn't find anything and just told me to take Lomotil regularly. It doesn't always work.
I don't think that I am particularly afraid, but I guess I must be some, because I keep thinking about it. Ialways have a little dread about what someone is going to do to me. Even if I think I am okay with what is going on.
The sketch of the bottle is something I do while I'm waiting in the doctor's office and other places. I always have my sketchbook, so I practice, and look for interesting things to record. In the dermatologist's office, over the sink, there was an unusual looking bottle on a little shelf. Often, there are bottles of liquid soap or disinfectant of some kind. But this one reminded me of a bottle that might hold a genie, or, at least, some exotic kind of perfume! There was no label, but all these diamond shaped designs across the bottle. It was a sort of grayish green that picked up bits of refletion from the lights.
I had to work fast, so I just put in the important shapes and shadows. Sort of like taking notes that can be completed later.
I'm having a hard time figuring out how to cut and paste part of my posts into an e-mail to send. These computer things keep changing and it takes me a while to figure them out. I was doing it previously. It gets really frustrating.
It would probably help to just send these e-mails to subscribers. So, if you haven't subscribed to my blog, please do so. And tell others about my blog! Thank you for reading and sharing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Patriotic Day

Patriotic Day
Friday was Patriotic Day, winding up a week of different themes at Cardiac Rehab. Again, the lady on the treadmill just had to be the winner for the best costumes. Her sparkling red, white, and blue top hat left glitter around, but it looked great! A trail of fairy dust, I teased.
I wore my blue shorts and blue t-shirt with a spangled Lady Liberty. Also I wore dangly star earrings and a matching necklace. Those of you who went to HHS will remember my denim stars and stripes shirt that I wore on patriotic occasions, and also when I needed to keep warm! I loaned it to one of the therapists while we took the picture. It still comes in handy. It's too hot for the Fourth of July, which is what I bought it for, but great for cold days.
It was kind of a quiet day Friday with not as many people there. I guess some were sick and some were taking a long weekend.
Two of the therapists showed their skills with hula hoops and encouraged some of us, who were not using machines, to try their hand with the hula hoops. I thought that these things were after my time! I was grown and this was something that the kids played with, way back when!
I took my sketchbooks of my experiences, since some had said they had not seen them. But only one therapist took a little time to look at some of these sketches. They were busy helping people set machines, watching monitors, taking blood pressure, checking people in and out, taking care of some folks who didn't feel so good.
As I look around at the other people, sometimes I wonder what I'm doing there. I think I am so much better off than those who have had their chests cut open for heart surgery, are on oxygen, etc. My one little stent and high blood pressure, etc. seem pretty minor. Oh, well. It gets me out of the house and gives me something to do-playing "P.E. person"!
Hopefully, it's going to keep me from having futher problems. I'm going to be so "in shape" after "pumping iron"!
It's one thing after another. Monday, I'm having a place cut out of my back. They did a biopsy and said they took it out before. But, last week, the dr. said it is still there and the next step is to cut it out. He said they will deaden it, and there will be lots of stitches, in two layers. They aren't going to put me to sleep. I thought that surely they would!
The dr. said that your skin is like a Pine Tree!
"What?" I thought.
"You get a little spot or imperfection and it's like a knothole in a tree. Other spots then cluster around it."
I don't like moles or knotholes in my skin. I was hoping he would take them all off, but he keeps saying, "We'll leave that one alone." So places I would like to have removed are still with me. I can't see the one he is taking off next week. I can only see a bit of a purple spot on my back, sideways in the mirror.
I just know that this"place" is from one of the sunburns I got when I was younger. In particular, I remember having a horrible sunburn, with bad blisters, when I was in high school at the end of the year.
Mrs. Sullivan, the homemaking teacher, arranged for us homemaking girls to have a day at the Country Club. It was too cold to swim, but we wore our bathing suits, hoping to swim. It was sunny, though, so we took sunbaths around the pool. I got the choice spot on the diving board. I went to sleep and spent the morning " getting a tan".
When we went into the club house to eat, then go home, my skin felt stiff and prickly. I put on my jeans for the ride home, and they really rubbed my legs.
I was staying with Pappy, then. When she saw my back and legs, she got some Hinds Honey Almond lotion to rub on my back and legs. By then, I was bright red, especially on my back side.
She put that cold lotion on me and I felt like I was going to faint. I begged her to stop and I lay on the bedroom floor. That hurt even worse because the floor was covered with a wool rug!
Blisters formed all over my back side from my legs to my neck.
That night, there was a softball game in the park, that I just had to go to. Pappy wanted me to stay at home, but I persisted. She tore white sheets for bandages to cover my burns, and fastened those with big safety pins. I had to go to the ball game, wearing those under my peasant blouse and circle skirt. But I went to the game to be with my friends, and look for cute boys! I was a bit embarrassed and a whole lot miserable with all those blisters.
Eventually, it got better, and there were more times of getting blistered while trying to make my fair skin tan over the years.
Anyway, that's what I think of when I think of these "knots" on my back and skin. It just had to be that day at the Country Club, so long ago. Plus a few other days of sunbathing.
Plan to join the 26th World Wide Sketch Crawl Saturday Feb. 27th
in Calvert, meet at Mud Creek Pottery on Main St.
in Bryan, meet at the Clara Mounce Library at 9 a.m. (downtown)
meet by the bell, or, if it's bad weather, meet by the entrance on the south

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tie Day

Tie Day
Tuesday was Tie Day at Cardiac Rehab. Some of the therapists and a couple of participants gathered by one of the treadmills to show their ties that they wore for the day. I don't really have things like ties or belts (which were included in the attire for the day). So, I found a genuine 1950s/60s neckerchief, like we used to wear. This one belonged to Toot, my great-aunt, so it's extra special.
Today is Patriotic Day. I have a denim shirt with stars and stripes, a t-shirt with the Statue of Liberty, and some star earrings that I plan to wear. The shirt actually has the Fourth of July embroidered on the shirt pocket, but it is way too heavy and hot to wear in the summer time. I've worn it to school when we have had patriotic days, or when I just needed something warm!
Cindy, at rehab, asked me to e-mail her the photos, but, sorry Cindy. The computer there wouldn't let them go through. Maybe she will see this post!
I'm moving up in the rehab program. Higher levels on the machines and heavier weights. I don't think I can handle those big 5 pound weights that some people are using. I can barely pick those up! And, to think, I used to drag tables around, scrub them and the sink, in 2 places, pull on that heavy kiln lid, lift 25 and 50 pound bags of clay. I'm just amazed that, now, picking up 4 pound weights seems really heavy!
I laugh when people at rehab mention "pumping iron". That is so not me!
National Heart Month
Plan to go out and sketch for the 26th World Wide Sketch Crawl, Saturday February 27. It's FREE! Just journal, sketch, draw, paint, journal, or even doodle about your surroundings on that day, along with others all over the world. Work all day, or for a little while.
Go to the Sketch Crawl website to find others near you, or start your own group or crawl where you are.
Locally, meet about 9 a.m. at the Bryan Public Library, now named the Clara Mounce Library, in downtown Bryan. Or, in Calvert, meet at Mud Creek Pottery.
I hope that others in the various communities in the Brazos Valley will draw their own places and participate, or join us in Bryan or Calvert.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hat Day

Hat Day

at Cardiac Rehab

February is National Heart Month, so I wanted to pay tribute to all those therapists, doctors, nurses, patients, etc. who are involved with our hearts and health. Of course, since we all have hearts or we wouldn't be here, this does involve everyone and every living thing.

Barbara Bush spoke at a luncheon to raise funds but, at $50 a ticket, that was a little pricey for me. I tried to watch the live streaming from KBTX tv, but there was no sound. May have been my computer, but I would have liked to have heard what she had to say.

Tomorrow, there will be a speaker at the College Station Convention Center. They told us about it at Cardiac Rehab and gave us a slip of paper with the details. But, like everything else of mine, my daughter threw it away when I tried to show it to her. It's at 6:00 p.m. I probably won't get to go because of my transportation problem. If I want to go to something, my driver doesn't.

At Cardiac Rehab, this week, they are doing something a little different, with a theme each day. Monday was hat day, as in the picture above. I know that Hazel should have been the winner, for sure, if we had had a competition. She's the lady on the treadmill, with the tall hat with a handle on it! That was some hat! I just wore the cowboy hat I got at Target for painting outside. As it turned out, I discovered that it may not be so good for outdoors, though, with the sides permanently turned up, and it's so loose that the wind blew it down the driveway when I started to get in the car! One lady had on a straw, wide brimmed hat. And, of course, Cindy had on her hot pink cowboy hat, with rhinestones around the brim. Several men had on their baseball caps, as did some of the therapists.

I had to take my hat off to exercise, though.

They also had a bean bag toss game. I thought I wouldn't be able to do it with my vision, but I got 3 out of 4, and got to draw for a little prize from a bag. I brought home a cute little soft toy St. Joseph's Hospital ambulance.

Today, we are supposed to wear a wild tie or belt. I don't have any of those but I'm planning to wear a genuine 1950s neckerchief. That's sort of a tie, I think! It was a little neck scarf that belonged to Toot, my great aunt, back in the 50s and 60s.

Friday is Patriotic Day. I know what to wear for that. The denim shirt with stars and stripes that I always wore to school to keep warm, and to show my support and love for the United States. And some star earrings.

Dr. J. James Rohack of Bryan/College Station, is going to be honored at one of the local country clubs at a fund raiser for the heart association. He is a cardiologist and president of the AMA. And he lives just down the road. He was my first cardiologist here, years ago, and he has the most interesting eyes! Anyway, I'll have more information on that event in another post.

I'm thinking of starting another blog, just for my heart drawings and experiences.

There seems to be so much heart information, discoveries, and problems out there, these days. When I see what others are going through, mine seems to be so small and I feel like I am so much better off than so many people.

I just have to find time to start the new blog! Everything takes so long, the way my computer is.


I set everything up to participate in the One World One Heart event, and, when I checked, my blog was not listed on the site. I wondered why I was not getting any comments. When I contacted the site owner, I was told that she didn't receive an e-mail from me. I guess that it didn't go because of my computer problems. At that time, I was getting a lot of error messages, this program is not responding, and out of memory. I did get one comment from Robin, so, I guess that she is automatically the winner! I don't know since I was told that I am not participating due to the owner not hearing from me. I thought it was all set. But, since my computer was acting up, I didn't go to the site and check until after the deadline.

Well, maybe another time. Actually, I heard about it a little late, too. I just found out about it through someone on the Everyday Matters group.


It's cold in "the neighborhood", as Mr. Rogers would say. Warms up to the 50s in the daytime, cools to the 20s at night. Really clear cerulean blue skies!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day
personal photo
I wanted to post something about Valentine's Day, but I have been fighting my computer all day, it seems. It keeps telling me I am out of memory and things like that. I guess it is getting old, or needs some work that I don't know how to do.
Valentine's Day is just another day, around here. No romance at all. Except for ads on tv and all the balloons and such in stores, I wouldn't know that it was Valentine's Day.
I guess it helped at school with all the flowers, balloons, cookies, parties, and, of course, valentines. There still was no romance, though, for us. One principal gave each of the lady teachers a rose, and that was about all I ever got. Otherwise, we just bought some special candy, the day after, on sale.
We looked forward, as children, to the Valentine's party at school. Parents would bring cookies. And we always had the valentine box at the front of the room to look at. A decorated box that held all the valentines. One year, I begged Grandpa for a big round hat box to take for our box in our class. A group decorated it with crepe paper and it was one of the most beautiful valentines boxes I had ever seen. I looked at it and smiled all through the boring school days.
We hoped for lots of valentines from our friends. But, even more so, we hoped that there would be a valentine or two from an older boy-preferably a good looking, nice one! But, those never came in all our years. Maybe some girls got them, but not the girls in our class. Of course, we were pretty limited because we could only get valentines from the other kids in our class, except maybe when we were in the big study hall with 3 grades together. I'm sure that the teachers made sure that there was no funny business going on and kept us all separated!
The photo above is of some earrings that a boy from another town gave me for graduation from high school. I always thought that they were appropriate for Valentine's Day. So, I always wore them on Valentine's Day.
I hope that you had a wonderful, romantic day this year.
Be sure to sign up for the give away in my last post. All you have to do is leave a comment and a way to contact you if you win. I will draw for the winner about midnight (central time) on the 15th. So you still have time to get your name in the pot!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Magic Carpet Ride To February 15

Dream Tree

Take a magic carpet ride with a ticket for the 4th Annual One World One Heart give away. The magic date is February 15, when participating bloggers, world wide, will give away something with a drawing from people who have left comments on their blogs.
Click on the logo in my sidebar, or go to Lisa Swifka's blog, A Whimsical Bohemian, at for more information. If you are a blogger who would like to participate in this year's event, be sure to sign up by Feb. 8 at 11:50 p.m.. If you would just like to get in on the free items, you can find a list of participants on her blog. Just click on the link, go to the blog, see what they are giving away, and leave a comment on the individual blogs to be a part of the drawings.
Last year, they had bloggers from 28 countries. This year, so far, there are over 1,000 participants.
The idea is to find others who have things in common with you, finding kindred spirits, and giving from our hearts.
So, if you would like to win my little watercolor, just leave a comment on my blog and let me know that you are interested.
On Feb. 15, at midnight, I'll draw a name out of my hat from the comments that have been left. I will contact the winner and find out how to mail the art work to you. So, be sure that I can either click on your name to contact you, or leave an e-mail address so I can find you! I will also post the winner's name on my blog.
My give away is an ACEO of the watercolor above. I had scanned the larger version that I did, originally. The actual watercolor that I'm giving away is an ACEO size, on watercolor paper, of 2.5" x 3.5"-the popular trading card size. It will be in a protective sleeve, in an envelope.
A lot of people are getting ready for the big Super Bowl game this evening. I can't get interested. I don't know any of the players, so I don't have anyone to cheer for. I've never heard of either of the teams, not being a big sports fan. Now, if the Aggies were playing, I could cheer for them and look to see the band perform, Parsons Mounted Cavalry, and all the really interesting things that go with a football game here. I'm sure that my daughter will turn the game on, have some food ready for us, and I'll have my sketchbook out to occupy my time. I probably won't know anything about the game. I think that people just waste a lot of money on these things! I'd much rather watch a good British comedy, an old movie or cowboy show! But that's just me.
Speaking of sports, John Randle from Hearne is in the news. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday. Congratulations to him! It's good to see so many former students being successful in their various pursuits! John told me, in my art class, that he would play football, and he did!