Thursday, March 18, 2010

Colonscopy-The Hard Part

Everywhere I look, there are ads about getting screened for colonoscopy, jokes about it, or some comments about Harry Smith's colonoscopy on tv last week. I thought that I would add my experience, that I kept in my sketchbook. Scott & White Clinic, St. Joseph's Hospital in Bryan, Texas, and Mayo Clinic, and CBS and KBTX tv websites, all have links to information. And, online, you will find everything from pictures to forums on colon health.
Because of the way these things appear on Blogger, I started with the last, first, and now I'm putting the first part of my experience. That way, when someone looks at it, they will, hopefully, be able to read it in the correct order-first to last.
Maybe someone will be able to identify with my experience, or feel a little better about having the procedure, if they are reluctant. I think that sometimes, from what I've read, it can be a lot worse than it was for me. But, maybe if you know that you can ask your doctor for something that is not as bad to drink, for example, that will help.
Of course, there is the issue of the cost, if you don't have good insurance, etc. I always think of that when I see the ads encouraging people to have tests that insurance may or may not pay for. That's a whole different issue! You may need it, and be willing, but can you get it?
I've already talked a bit about my stomach problems that have plagued me over the years. My doctors thought I should have a colonoscopy and encouraged that for years. I knew that I couldn't drink a big jug of nasty tasting stuff. It takes me all day to drink a can of Sprite! I've had swallowing problems, too, that required stretching of my esophogas-similar to the colonoscopy, only the other end and I didn't have to drink anything. Just had to not eat or drink anything after midnight, which seems to be standard operating procedure for so many things.
But, with all the other things that have gone on, I knew that I needed to try to find out what was going on and try to resolve my stomach problems. I decided that it must be Social Anxiety, but there could be something else that we couldn't see. So, I had them schedule the appointment after a conference with the gastrointologist. (I probably spelled that wrong. That's a real tongue twister!)
The above are some pages from the new sketchbook I started January 1. While I'm sitting, I record my memories and thoughts, and, my experiences.
This starts with the dread of the year to come, starting with the thought of the colonoscopy, that loomed over me.

I continued to show pictures and experiences about the colonoscopy in the previous posts. You can scroll down and read more about it.
The preparation part is the hardest part. For some people, it seems to be worse than for others. The main complaint is having to drink a lot of unpleasant liquid, then having to spend a lot of time in the bathroom. And there is the dread of the test itself. The worst part of that, for me,was trying to get an IV in, which happens a lot of the time, in my case. Once you get the "sleepy stuff", you just nap away and don't know a thing.
I went home and had a nice nap with my cat for the rest of the day!
This test, like everything else, came back okay. I sort of wished they had found some reason for my tummy upsets, but I know that it was good that it was clear.
Started reading "I Hate Red, You're Fired!" by William Stubbs. You can see his tv program, "Moment of Luxury" on Houston PBS and other stations. I really enjoy seeing what he has created.

St. Patrick's Day

These are some pictures from Cardiac Rehab yesterday-St. Patrick's Day.
I thought that the girls looked cute with their little green hair bows. And asked why the guy didn't have one. He did, but it was in his pocket. He put his on, as a bow tie, for the pictures.
I thought that we should have thought of something like this, when I was teaching. Instead, we just gave the kids a piece of green paper to wear, if they didn't have something green to wear to school-so they wouldn't get pinched.
We always seem to take photos when Hazel is on the treadmill. And she always has a great hat or outfit to wear.
I wore my green Tigger shirt, socks trimmed with green "racing stripes", tennis shoes with green "racing stripes", and even green undies. I also wore my ear bobs that I got for high school graduation so many years ago. I always wear them on St. Patrick's Day. They have little four leaf clovers in them. I had 2 pair of them, but one had a clover that started to turn brown, and I lost those somewhere. I also had my green sweater as the wind was a little cool. Oh, and my purse was green!
They didn't have an official dress up day at rehab as they did for the week when we had a theme week, when they told people to wear green, but, like school, many people participated.
One girl, in the next room, had one of those great, Dr. Seuss-looking tall green hats on, but she went back to that room before I took pictures.
One man said he thought it was okay for people of Irish decent to wear green, as he answered another man who asked why he didn't wear green. But he wasn't Irish, so he didn't participate. Then he proceded to tell about his travels to England, Scotland, Ireland, etc.
I'm always amazed at people who have been somewhere!
Tomorrow is my last day for rehab. I have to decide what I can do after that. My driver said that I am staying at home. She's tired of having to take me places.
I think I have found our Irish connection, regarding family history. That would be through the Days, and "Old Club Axe" Davis, the fire and brimstone Irish Baptist preacher in Alabama. I've posted a picture of his daughter, who married Aquilla Miles, of Georgia and Alabama.
So, it really was appropriate for our family to wear green on St. Patrick's Day, if we went by who is really Irish.
Of course, on St. Patrick's Day, isn't everyone, at least a bit, Irish!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Colonoscopy

Top Photo-My face turned red and puffed up after the prep for my colonoscopy. They didn't seem concerned. It was sort of like the time I got a large vitamin hung in my throat and broke the capillaries in my face trying to cough it up. I looked like I had a sunburn! Maybe it was a reaction to something or maybe from straining. I asked, but they didn't know.
The day of the procedure, my daughter and oldest grandson drove me to the clinic. They waited in the exam room while I changed clothes in the bathroom, then sat on the guerney, waiting for the nurse. Those IV bags always look so ominous. And I felt silly, sitting there with a hospital gown over my blouse! And I thought that my new haircut looked like someone put a bowl on my head and cut my hair like in the Depression times!
I asked the nurse to not probe for a vein and told her some possibilities. My veins do not want to be poked and do not cooperate! She probed anyway and I thought I was going to faint or cry. I just covered my eyes and hoped she would get it soon. She finally got it in and I was afraid to move, fearing that the needle would come out.
She rolled me to the surgical area, with its monitors and machines. They rolled me in backwards from the way I had been for the endoscopic procedures.
Drawing 2- The nurse busied herself behind my head, and I could see the various monitors and machines. I hoped I would be asleep quickly. I sort of wanted to see, but thought it wold be best to sleep through it all.
Dr. D. came in, listened to my heart, said "Hello", and busied himself behind me. With the last endoscopic exam, I didn't go to sleep right away. They put the "muzzle" on my mouth and the dr. came toward me with the wand. I tried my best to tell them that I was still awake, but that was hard with a "muzzle" on my mouth. The dr. and nurse pushed on the needle in my hand until I finally went to sleep. I didn't want this to start while I was still awake! I panicked before.
The nurse told me to turn over and face her. I wondered if I could do that with my knee still sore from the knee replacement surgery. I did and held onto the rail.
Picture 3-The nurse balanced 3 huge needles in her hand. I hoped that those were not going in me, but in the IV. She asked, "Three?" And she shot them into the IV. She told me that I would be going to sleep soon, and she turned back to the counter.
I waited. Seemed like I was wide awake, despite having little sleep the night before.
When am I going to get sleepy!
Picture 4- I watched the clock on the wall and waited, with the nurse and dr. still busy at their places where I couldn't see them very well. The room was bright, the clock was very white. Time didn't really seem to change much. This was taking so long, I wished I had my sketchbook, or my camera.
The numbers on the clock seemed funny. Why was there the numbers 10, 11, and 12 on the side where 1, 2, and 3 were? I guess that was the way they kept time there in this room. Different from normal clocks.
Bottom Picture-Suddenly, I was telling some kind of a story, probably about Calvert or ancestors, and being rolled into a cubicle that had curtains that looked like quilt blocks. Squares of fabric in blue, soft pink and purple. There was a chair in the corner by the curtain. The IV was gone and I sat up on the bed.
My daughter and grandson came in to sit down for a short while before I was sent home with instructions.
Dr. D. came in and and stood by the bed. He said that all went well and everything looked good. All he found were some internal hemorroids and I would get a report within a week.
I don't remember putting on my shoes. Maybe I left them on. I don't remember leaving the building. I remember riding in the car. I had to put on my sunglasses.
At home, I got on my bed and curled up with the cat. We had a good nap..... All afternoon!
I didn't hurt, didn't have the gas problem that some people talk of having, and wasn't particularly hungry afterward.
It wasn't all that bad. The puffiness and redness in my face went away after a few days. It happened again a couple of weeks later, so I'm not sure what is going on with that. I asked the dermatologist about it and he just advised using glycerine soap and moisturize twice a day. That doesn't work for wrinkles!
Anyway, I survived the test and had a good report. Maybe I won't have to do that again.
I still don't know what causes my stomach problems. The dr. advised using Lomotil every 6 hours, or take 2 in the morning, another at lunch time. Sometimes that helps, sometimes, it doesn't.
They're still talking about Harry Smith's Colonoscopy-live on tv. On their own program, Harry Smith was teased about the pictures. They laughed about using those on his Christmas cards.
An actress made a joke about it, but she used some word that had to be bleeped. I couldn't understand what she said. And, of course, David Letterman was talking about it.
I guess it is good if it gets the message across to those who might be reluctant.
One thing that might help would be to develop a prep procedure that wouldn't involve drinking nasty stuff, or spending uncomfortable hours in the bathroom. And, to let people realize that the test itself is not that bad.
I put a box at the top of my blog, saying Contact Congress. I hope that D.C. gets the message that this Health Care bill is wrong. We need reform, not takeover and what is being proposed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

After the Colonoscopy

Harry Smith was all over the news and internet last week, with his colonoscopy, broadcast live and in color, on morning tv. Jimmy Kimmel and others made jokes about it, which you can see on You Tube and other places. The colonoscopy can also be seen as a repeat on various websites from KBTX to CBS. Live-Harry's Colonoscopy. On You Tube, you can also see an informative Lower GI Colonoscopy and Colon Hydro Therapy. There is even a listing for Colonoscopy Karaoke, which is supposed to have someone singing during the procedure. I only found a picture, but wonder what it actually is. I imagnine someone kind of out of it from anesthesia, singing away, during a colonoscopy, but I don't really know. I wonder what people do. I thought they slept, but maybe they talk-and sing! Could be embarrassing!
Katie Couric, who had a colonoscopy on tv about 10 years ago, stood by Harry's side during the event last week, and joked, as well as tried to inform viewers about a very serious health issue.
Of course, they didn't show the really difficult part, which is the preparation day-the day before. They just said that it was hard, and involved going to the bathroom a lot, and drinking a lot of required fluid.
Well, I thought, "How timely!" They should have showed it last December!"
For probably 20 years or more, my dr. told me that I should have a colonoscopy, especially considering all the stomach trouble I've had. I knew that I couldn't drink all that bad tasting stuff, and I was really scared to go through what I had heard about and imagined. I thought about it for years. I decided that I had social anxiety from things I had seen on tv, and nothing really wrong, physically.
The last straw, though, came when I had my knee replacement. All went okay, except for pain, until they gave everyone in the "class" a stool softener, the day we "graduated" and could go home. I was planning to stay an extra day, anyway, while they tried to get me in a rehab facility. (I didn't qualify.) Their reasoning was that almost everyone gets constipated after surgery, so everyone got a stool softener.
At the graduation ceremony, I felt a little gassy, which I was told was normal after surgery. However, when I had to stand up and walk to get my diploma, there was a little puddle of brown stuff in my chair. I was soooo embarrassed! But no one could see anything on my dark clothes and it was on all the padding they had on the reclining chair.
When I got back to my room, I told the nurse and she said that was normal. But, all the rest of the day, it got worse.
I couldn't get to the bathroom or a potty chair fast due to my knee. So, they finally put me in a hospital gown and a diaper. I just kept going and going and had to have the nurses change me.
They gave me lots of Immodium and it didn't work. They finally switched me to Lomotil and that didn't seem to work either. They took stool samples, which came back negative. Nothing seemed to work, and they didn't seem too concerned about it. I quit eating, just taking my meds and sipping Sprite or 7 Up and nibbling on crackers.
When my fever was clear and they couldn't find a reason for the diarrhea, they sent me home. I had bad diarrhea for a solid week after taking that stool softener. I thought that the hospital should have kept me and tried to find out the problem. But, no. They sent me home.
I still wasn't able to make it to the bathroom fast, so we put a potty chair by my bed, which my family didn't like. They refused to help me, so, eventually, I drug myself to the bathroom to clean everything up myself. Home Healthcare came to the house, and they wouldn't do that either, and got mad because my family wouldn't help. They weren't around very long.
Eventually, I was able to get to the point where I could get to the bathroom on my own, and take care of myself. But it was a miserable time!
When I went back to my doctor, she was horrified that I had never had a colonoscopy, at my age. These are supposed to start at about age 50.
I decided that I just had to do something about the stomach problems, so I agreed to schedule a colonoscopy again.
Dr. D. wanted to have a consultation with me before hand, and said he wanted to wait so many weeks after I had had anesthesia, so he scheduled me for January 4. A terrible way to start the new year, I felt. He had done two endoscopic procedures to check my stomach and stretch my esophogas, already. I think he joked about now checking me from one end to the other. It's hard to tell about him, in my observation. Maybe I was just scared.
The nurse gave me a little brown paper sack with instructions and two small bottles, like the old milk bottles, of a fizzy liquid, and 2 small brown pills. I put it in the cabinet in the bathroom and thought that I would probably back out and never use those things.
I worried all during the Christmas holidays and heard others talk about how bad it was to drink all that big container of nasty liquid. I looked for information online and thought, "I can't do this. I'll probably cancel."
But, with each thing that I had to avoid doing because I got sick at my stomach, I thought, "I had better see what the problem is and get it fixed."
"You're not going," my daughter told me. She said she had one, but I don't remember it. She said she drank a big jug of stuff, and others said that too. I wondered why I had only a couple of small bottles. I read the labels and it said that it was the same size as a Sprite. If it isn't so nasty, I can probably do that, I thought. The directions said that you only had to drink one at 5 p.m. and another one at 8 p.m., and the two little pills at 10 p.m. That shouldn't be so bad.
I worreid about this all through Christmas and decided that I should record it in my sketchbook.
My daughter told the dr. she wanted pictures, but the nurse said that he doesn't do that. I thought that he is behind the times, or, maybe he is really ahead of things, by not offering a big jug of nasty liquid to drink. I guess the little bottles are probably new, and improved, from everything I have heard and read.
I can't swallow big pills and have to crush them in ice cream, so the small pills were a plus, too.
I still told myself that I would cancel, so not to worry about it. But I did, anyway. One worry was what would happen if I took a strong laxative, considering how just a mild stool softener had affected me. I could imagine really terrible diarrhea, for a long time, that nothing would stop!
I was assured that, once everything was out, it would stop. I didn't believe that after having bad diarrhea for a week!
For years, my stomach would hurt when I had to go somewhere, even a place I looked forward to going. I couldn't go to the grocery store, shopping, to work, on a trip, without taking Immodium first. Otherwise, I was sure to get there and be miserable with a stomach ache, or just had to leave when my stomach started hurting. I decided that it was social anxiety, or something. I would be fine when I left home, looking forward to whatever I was going to do, and, when I got there, or got close, here came the stomach ache.
I told Dr. D. this during the consultation. He just listened, then said that it was good that I understood this. He said that some people can't go anywhere without taking something first, or they just quit leaving home. That's not an option, I thought. Surely there is some kind of medicine that works, if that is the problem.
Instead, he just scheduled the colonoscopy.
The New Year arrived and I started a new sketchbook. Of course, the first thing to document was the dreaded colonoscopy.
"You're not going, are you?" I knew mydaughter didn't want to take me anywhere, but she has always wanted people to go have surgery, etc. She should have worked hard at school and become a dr. or researcher, I thought. But, no, she just enjoyed it, like ghost hunting. Now, though, when I needed some support, she became squeamish and also didn't want to be bothered taking me places.
"I have to try. I've got to get over this problem." I said.
I took out the instructions and read them a few times.
My birthday came and I thought I should enjoy it, while I could. Who could tell what might happen if I had that test. I dressed up and even treated myself to a new camera and a haircut for myself and my grandson. I thought we would go out and eat and have someone sing to me. But, my daughter brought me home, then went to Rudy's and brought back some barbeque. I could have stayed in my houseclothes!
The next day was Preparation Day. The day that was supposed to be the worst of the procedure.
I slept late, then spent the afternoon in the stores, trying to figure out what I could eat. The instructions said,
Liquid Only
Nothing with fat, milk, or cream
Nothing with red or purple
You could have clear broth, but doesn't that have fat, and also salt which is not on my other diet
And that canned broth is really nasty by itself, and so are those cubes.
I wondered what ever happened to lime and lemon Jello! The shelves were full of orange and red Jello, and only one package of diet lime Jello. I bought the one little package, made it up, but couldn't eat it, it was so nasty. Threw that away and found an old package of lime Jello and made that. I ended up eating only Sprite, all day.
I had chilled the bottles of laxative, as directed, and started sipping that at 5. Not too bad, if you like sour things. Very strong lemon flavor, that fizzed, like champagne, I told myself. After a few sips, though, it was too sour, so I would drink a sip, eat some lime Jello, and wash it all down with Sprite. That worked okay, but the second bottle was harder. I got it down, though.
I had put new carpet in my bedroom, so everything was in the living room. I decided that I needed to be close to the bathroom, according to what others had said. I moved the trundle bed near my bathroom, temporarily. Put the potty chair beside it, in case! My grandson's tv was small, so I put it in the bedroom, temporarily. I put some plastic drop cloths in the bathroom, also in case... I put extra toilet paper, wipes, magazines, and adult diapers in the bathroom. Then the top light burned out in the bathroom. I couldn't climb the ladder to change it, due to my knee. I asked the tall people in the house to change it, and they all said, "Later." Weeks later, the youngest changed it for me! So, I couldn't read, but I had lights from the next room, so it was okay.
"Haven't you gone yet?" My daughter asked.
10 p.m. and it was time to take the pills and I still hadn't started going. I decided that I hadn't eaten much in a few days, so there wasn't a lot to get rid of.
I thought that I might vomit if I had to drink anymore of that sour stuff by the time I finished the second bottle.
I thought about when my grandmother, great aunts, and aunt used to go to Marlin and had those high colonics, and thought it was wonderful! I thought they must be a bit sadistic, to think that was something to do willingly!
And I thought of Katie Couric, doing this on tv. I sort of would like to watch, too, but I think I am too cowardly.
By 5:30 a.m., I was getting sore from going so much, but a warm, wet cloth helped, more than the wipes. Couldn't make it through the 2 rooms to the bathroom, so I used the diapers and was glad I had them from the hospital. I was getting too miserable to read the magazines, if I could have seen them in the dark. I wanted to sleep, but couldn't stay in the bed long enough. Finally dozed off for 30 minutes about 6 a.m. By then it was time to get up and get dressed to go to the clinic.
I worried that I might have to go and couldn't wait.
My daughter and oldest grandson drove me to the appointment. The nurse took us all into the exam room. They sat in the chairs and I looked, nervously, at the guerney with the IV, waiting. The nurse told me to go into the bathroom and take off my lower clothes, put on the hospital gown. I asked about leaving the diaper on, for now, in case....
She said they could work around it! It was okay.
In the above drawings, are some of the things after the colonoscopy. More in my next post about the actual colonosocopy.
"I Finally Had A Colonoscopy". This was in the New York News.
The top drawing was started in the waiting room of my doctor's office.
Second and third drawings were a few days when I was sick at my stomach at home, after the colonoscopy. Maybe it was something going around, or maybe it was my usual self!
Fourth drawing was on Daddy's birthday, when I got my results. My daughter spent the day sleeping, as usual, and I was in the bathroom, fixing my hair, when the nurse called with my results from the colonoscopy. Everything was okay. Just keep taking my meds, I was told.
I felt like I had been shuffled through the door and didn't learn a thing or resolve the problem.
I guess it was good that I finally went through with it, after backing out for years.
In the last drawing, I was standing in line at the clinic, waiting to see the dermotologist, when the old stomach pains hit, and I really couldn't wait for my turn at the window. I wanted to run around to see the other doctor for Help! I managed to check in, then run to the bathroom. I could hardly focus on my dermatology appointment.
If you need to have a colonoscopy, maybe the experiences of others will help you get through it. Or maybe you can identify with these experiences. Or maybe I'm "in style" with Harry Smith on tv. I didn't have a camera crew and news anchor to go along with me. I was sure wishing that I had someone to help me through it! But I survived, with a good report, and another "adventure".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Riding Around Calvert

Last Saturday was a beautiful day. A day when lots of people were talking about getting outside, gardening, taking a walk, or just going somewhere. Our youngest wanted to get out of the house and go for a ride to Calvert, so that's what we did. We hadn't been riding in quite a while, so we went.
I thought that downtown Calvert was the place to be on a Saturday. But I was thinking of the crowds we used to have on Main Street, busy days at the dry goods and grocery stores, a good "shoot 'em up" at the Eloia, ice cream or a Coke at Taliaferro's drugstore, french fries and a Coke or an open face sandwich at the City Cafe, or a bowl of stew or chicken and dumplings from Bienski's, or, before it closed after the big fire in the 1950s, a wonderful hamburger from Miss Mollie's (Tucker) beside the dry goods store. Saturday was library day and hair washing day, before going to the show or to work at the store, for me. It also meant walking from my house to the library and back, and walking from my house to town and back, to various friend's houses. It was great when we got to use the car, sometimes.
I thought of going to Calvert, now, and seeing some people walking around, sunlight reflected off the same concrete that we walked, as did our ancestors. Of seeing some of the same buildings and homes that I had seen throughout my life. And I thought of, perhaps, enjoying some ice cream as we used to do.
The picture show closed years ago, the drugstore was torn down, and all of the stores have been sold or are different businesses now. But, I can still go in and visit with some people I know in the buildings that I grew up around. I can remember the spaces where stores and homes used to be, and the people who made regular trips, walking around town, and on Main Street.
Dairy Queen has ice cream and I can go into my grandfather's old dry goods store and reminise with the new owner, potter Sonny Moss. And we can talk about the old days, and art and artists.
Saturday, we rode around town and, while I talked to Sonny and looked at the old mirror, shelves, and cash register from the old store, and all of Sonny's clay and creations, my daughter and grandson rode out to the Brazos River and took a couple of pictures. I had ice cream from the DQ and enjoyed that while we rode around.
One thing that brought about the visit was the tv segment, and an e-mail from Esther, talking about the house in Calvert that is for sale and is advertised in the "New York Times".
Wow! Calvert in the NY Times! That sounds amazing, but it isn't the first time. In looking up articles on Calvert, and for family history, I've found quite a few listings on Calvert over the years. Tex McCrary was from Calvert and he and his wife, Jinx, were often written about in the Times. We had baseball teams that were written about, there were events, and there were even ads that appeared in the Times. A Google search or one of the sites dealing with family history can turn up items in the Times and other newspapers around the country.
Some people asked me which house was advertised in the NY Times. There was a picture, and a video on KBTX tv.
The house is the old Randolph Field House that belonged to Mrs. Doremous and her daughter, Pauline Burnitt. Mrs. D. and Pauline lived in the big house on that block, just around the corner from this smaller house. A barn or carriage house was on the back corner of the block. I can't remember the exact street, but I think it is on East Texas St.
Pauline rented the house and, when she died, the property was sold. Since I had moved away, I'm not sure who bought it. The house was always white, with green shutters, until recent years.
I always thought of this house when the tv program, "Designing Women" came on. This house looked very much like the one in the opening of that program, to me. This is the house in the top photo.
The second photo is of St. Mary's Church. This small Catholic church was also white with green shutters, that stayed closed, when I lived in Calvert. It seemed very mysterious. In the 1980s, they were talking of restoring this little church and I got to look inside. I was amazed! It was just like it had been in the early 1900s. It needed some repair, not modernizing. The historical commission tried to make sure that it was saved and repaired. I haven't seen what was done, but I hope that it is still the same beautiful little church that it has always been.
The third photo is of the First Presbyterian Church. This historic church was moved on logs, pulled by oxen, from the original settlement, Sterling, near the Brazos River, to town. It was first placed near the railroad tracks, and then moved to its current location. The windows are called Ruby Glass and are a cherished feature of this church.
The fourth photo is of the bandstand in Virginia Field Park. The park dates back to the early days of the town, and was the location for a sky prison where the Yankees kept Southern sympathizers at the end of the Civil War. Another sky prison was located where the current Brazos County Courthouse stands in Bryan.
The bottom picture is of the Brazos River as seen from the bridge, west of Calvert, on Saturday.
It looks like there is plenty of water in the river, which is good for the farmers along the river's path to the Gulf of Mexico.
I have a few more pictures of Calvert, today, or last Saturday.
If you are on FaceBook, be sure to look at Kyle's pictures of CHS and Calvert. There are some that need to be identified.
Also see my sidebar to join Calvert groups on Yahoo. I have the same things on FaceBook.
Add your pictures and stories.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

26th World Wide Sketch Crawl Bryan, Texas

These are my sketches from the 26th World Wide Sketch Crawl, Saturday February 27. I used a Pitt pen in a 7" x 10 " sketchbook, with a touch of Winsor Newton watercolors to add a bit of color.
Sadly, the LaSalle Hotel coffee shop, downtown in the LaSalle Hotel, is being remodeled, so we couldn't meet there as we had before. I thought the library might be a good, family and artist friendly place to meet and hopefully, we might have a group. I asked people to meet at the old fire bell, unless it was too cold, then we would have to meet inside.
Skies were blue and clear, and the north wind was strong and cold, so I walked around outside for a bit, looking for anyone who might like to sketch that day. I didn't see anyone, so I took a few photos of things I would like to draw, if the weather had been warmer.
Inside, I picked a table by a big window, thinking I might draw the backs of some buildings downtown. But, I looked at all those windows and decided that would take too long. I have photos that I could use later, if needed. While I decided what to draw, I did a title page, showing flapping flags, bare Crepe Myrtle, colorful pansies that were planted beside the library, and the library with sun on the front.
I was in the section where the computers are located, and I was amazed at people coming and going, working on the computers and making copies, and I wondered what happened to the microfiche machine. I did some sketches of some of the people at the computers, and activity in the library. Of course, as soon as I would start to draw someone, they would either move or leave.
Some of my drawings were on the order of gesture drawings, just to capture the pose or the moment. Good practice!
My daughter and grandson picked me up for lunch. We thought that the Longhorn Tavern was a pretty "Texan" type of place to eat. The Longhorns (University of Texas) are Aggie rivals, but this place was named for cattle and not the university. It was located north of town, beside the old auction barn for years. Last summer, that building was torn down and the restaurant moved to downtown Bryan in the old Coca Cola bottling plant. An interesting place to eat with old pictures and collectables around, sort of dark, but they have huge servings of food, cooked the way it should be!
After lunch, my family took me back to the library for more sketching. This time, I shared the table with a nice lady, Deborah, who said she likes to draw, but had to make out tests.
I sketched a boy and girl at the next table. The boy seemed like he didn't feel too well and was coughing, (like so many people!), but he was engrossed in his book. The girl was reading and working on her tiny little laptop. There was an older boy, working on a computer, behind the pair. I decided that this must be a family, using Saturday to learn. About the time that I started sketching the girl, they all left! I had to finish her from memory.
I planned to go upstairs and sketch the doll house, grandfathers clocks, etc., but they announced that the library would be closing. My tablemate thought they closed at 9:00 and I thought they closed a t6:00 perhaps. Not at 5:00.
Instead of drawing the dollhouse, I went outside to wait for my ride and took a few more photos, with afternoon light. Reference material for other drawings, possibly.
It turned out to be a good day, with a good place to work. It was warm, comfortable, safe, with tables for working, fairly quiet, with water and restrooms nearby.
The next Sketch Crawl will be May 15.
Entires for the Brazos Valley Art League Judged Show will be taken in at the Art Center March 5.
That is also the date for the big First Friday in Downtown Bryan. Look for the links in my sidebar.
Just listened to Mitt and Ann Romney on Fox, talking about healthcare, among other things. Yes, it's great that many people can get wonderful health care here, and because they are Americans. But that doesn't happen for everyone. They are lucky to be who they are and wealthy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Texas Independence Day!

Happy Texas Independence Day!
Be sure to VOTE!
I took this photo Saturday, during the 26th World Wide Sketch Crawl, at the Clara Mounce Library in downtown Bryan. The skies were blue, the sun was bright, and the flags were flapping in a brisk north wind.
Too cold and windy to sit outside and sketch. I took some photos of what I would draw outside, then I went inside and spent the day in the warm, comfortable library, drawing. It turned out to be a nice place to work. Warm, safe, comfortable, with tables and chairs, water, restrooms, and a lot of material to draw.
I planned to draw more, but they closed earlier than I thought, so I ended up with just a few sketches. There was a lady working at my table and she thought they closed at 9. She wasn't ready to leave at 5! I had planned to go upstairs and sketch the dollhouse, and the grandfather clocks, but I just quit when they announced that the library would be closing.
I did this Sketch Crawl by myself, but I hope that, one of these days, we will have a nice group!
I have posted some of my pictures on the Face Book group, Brazos Valley Sketchers. They are also on Flickr. I haven't figured out how to get them from Flickr onto the Sketch Crawl site, yet. I'm even having trouble getting the post, with pictures, to add on the e-mail that I send out. So, if you get a plain e-mail, without a picture or bold text, some of it in color, just click on the link to see the actual post.
Go out and vote, if this is the day, where you are.
I may not go. I think I have sinus trouble, and an eye infection, but I don't want to risk passing germs around, in case I have anything more. Lots of sick folks these days. I've been spraying Lysol around, taking vitamins, etc. and doing all I can to avoid catching anything. But, it looks like the germs are winning!
Maybe they should let folks vote online to avoid passing around the flu and such. I can't get over going into doctors' offices and hospitals and they have hand sanitizer and masks for people to use. I just use soap and water to wash my hands frequently. Maybe I should try some of that hand sanitizer stuff!
27th World Wide Sketch Crawl is Saturday May 15, 2010
First Friday in Downtown Bryan should be fun. Always lots going on. See their website or the Frame Gallery website for more information.