Saturday, January 28, 2006

Well ...

   If you were thinking it might actually be Rocket Science, it's not. It's not Brain Surgery either ... but it might as well be.

     While searching through the Community Educator a few weeks ago for a new class to take that was not on a Tuesday or Thursday night, I ran across a 4 part course in song writing. Hmmm ... story telling through a whole new medium might be really cool, right?

     I may not have even given it a second thought, had the first 8 weeks of the course not been titled "Beginner Guitar." It was the word beginner that caught my attention, suggesting the possibility that I might be able to actually keep up with the rest of the class.

     After all ... even though I am not a guitar player, I do own a guitar. (Ummm as of Wednesday night when I attended my first class, I was not even a beginner guitar player)so ... there is no doubt that this is going to be quite a challenge.


     The chart above is a diagram of the notes found on the lower part of the guitar neck. Our assignment for the week is to play the notes of every string within the first 4 frets over, and over, and over again ... in smooth succession. Eeek ...

     I don't know how everyone else is doing but my pinkie finger is not cooperating very well and is not sure that it wants to play along with this new game.

     I'm sure the exercises are important, even though they're not a whole lot of fun. I'm going to do my best to resist the temptation to move forward to something a little more exciting in this book that my instructor Robert Blake (AKA Dr. Bob, the Music Doctor) wrote. If I intend to try to keep up at all, I best get the basics down, right?

     BTW ...if any of you happen to have an old guitar hanging around the house and want to play along ... I challenge you to pick up the instrument, practice this exercise every day this week and let me know how it goes.

     This is going to be fun.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Flowers for a friend ...

that woke up on the wrong side of the bed more than once today. I'm sure this will brighten up your day. Muahahahahah


     Last night in my Photoshop class, we learned how to make circle art the old fashioned way (using Polar coordinates in the distort filter with a 1 inch image).

       At one time if you could create circular images you were way cool and your skills were in demand, especially in the music industry for creating artwork for CD's. 

      I'm sure there's plenty of software out there these days that will create art much more impressive than this at the touch of a button so I won't go into detail on how to do this the hard way. 

     The flowers in the image on the left were taken from the photo on the right. Yes even the weeds look beautiful here this time of year ;)

     BTW ... tried this with photos of faces, that's pretty cool as well. Thanks Bob , for the lessons in doing things the hard way.

       Happy weekend all.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Outside my comfort zone ...

      I've been taking classes at night for about a year now. When Mandy moved out, the nest was empty and it became oh so quiet around here. I thought that keeping busy would be the key to surviving the first year.


     Being the Mother of three, parenting is something I did full time for over 21 years. I didn't receive a manual when I got my kids that explained all the requirements involved nor did I receive one that explained what you were supposed to do when you wake up one morning and they are all gone.

      So ... I decided busy had to be good, real busy. I work 6 days a week, take tons of photographs, write my journal, hang out with my friends and my sister and take classes at night.


     Most of the classes I've taken so far are art related. Digital photography, Photoshop, Dream Weaver, painting ... mostly because this is naturally where my interests are and I wanted to catch up a bit where I left off with things before I met Brad and I became a Mom.

     So far so good ... you may have noticed that there have been no rocket science or brain surgery classes as of yet.  Maybe because I have no interest there or maybe because I've been playing it safe and choosing things that I knew I would do well in.

    I admit that I am somewhat accustomed to being near the top of my class at most anything I do. (Or at least being able to keep up with everyone else in a respectable manner), and yes ... I sometimes consider this a character flaw but, It's always been part of who I am. No doubt there is plenty of room for change and I am pretty open to change right about now... 

   I 've decided to move a little bit outside my comfort zone this go around. I have added a class that while equally as artsy as the rest, there is no real guarantee of success. So ... I'm actually feeling a bit nervous about starting tonight, and I don't know nervous.

     Anyway ... wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes. 

BTW ... the sunflower in the two photos above is a volunteer in my back yard compliments of the birds. They stop by for a free meal and they spread the seeds around and every now and again the mess that they make will produce a magnificent surprise like the one above.

     When I took the photo yesterday, the sky was sort of overcast so ... with the magic of photo shop I turned the gray sky blue in the second image.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

About Last Night ...


     The most note worthy art from last night's art night with Karen was this Corona drinking Smack My Ass And Call Me Sally Boy and other wall art that we found  at the Tijuana Flats Burrito Company. We stopped there for Mexican food after a quick visit to Jerry's Artarama for a few supplies, and then settled in for several hours of painting at Karen's house,

     Next week I'll show you some of the things we've been working on.

    Happy Tuesday all!


Sunday, January 22, 2006

You Are What You Read ...

or is it, you are what you eat? 


     I stopped by Barnes and Noble tonight after work to pick up a copy of American Vertigo, a new book written by Bernard Levy. They said the book is not in yet but they are expecting their first shipment of 13 books on Tuesday, so I reserved a copy and I'll pick it up after work.

     Early ... me ... imagine that, (I'm never early.)

     Monsieur Levy is a French Philosopher who hates the war in Iraq but loves America. Hmmm ... a French Man that admits to loving America?

     I read an article about the book in the Wall Street Journal today at work. For what ever reason, our daily copy of the New York Times has been replaced by the Journal and an occasional copy of the Barone Report.

      If in fact you are what you read, then there's no telling what this year has in store with this stuff gracing the lunch room table every day. (I miss the NY Times though) maybe I should order my own subscription and have it delivered to the office, that's the only place I ever read the paper.

     I would have scanned the cover of the book to use for the graphic in this entry but since I don't pick it up until Tuesday, I decided to use the illustration found in The WSJ instead, It's really cute anyway. 

     I think the illustrations in this paper rival those in the NY Times. This particular graphic is probably what drew me to the article, but it was the not so left, not so right content of the whole thing that made me want to go out and buy the book. 

      I'll let you know if it's any good. Have a great week everyone.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Art Night Now On Monday ...


      For about a year now, my friend Karen and I have been taking art classes together on Wednesday nights. When structured classes are not in session, we meet at her house after work to paint, chat and laugh, sometimes until midnight.

     This week we officially moved to Monday nights, her husband is home at night now (truck driver) so he plays his guitar while we paint. Quite artsy, right?


      Sometimes things can get down right silly around there. This week we were joined by Racine ... the Karaoke Queen. God love her, she is about the homeliest looking thing you would want to meet but ... is she ever a hoot. The camera loves her, well sort of. 



     With art night now on Monday, dinner and Commander in Chief with my sister and brother in law on Tuesday nights, guitar class and Adobe layout and design classes on Wednesday nights, continued Photo Shop Classes on Thursday nights, on top of a 6 day work week ... I'm wondering when I'm going to find time to write and post photos or blog jog here in J-Land. 


     The two photos above are from last night at my sister's house. OMG do we love artichokes. The photo on the right is of a few of her many African Cichlids in her huge 250 gallon tank we put up on Thanksgiving. After the initial cycle process and some of the problems that can bring, everything seems to be balancing well and she's got a tank full of happy fish.

     Next week I'll take photos of the nursery. She has an entire room in her house reserved for housing and tending the babies that these prolific little beauties produce. There are fish everywhere, African Cichlids anyone?


     Let me get myself into the shower now, before I make myself late for work. I may have to start using a timer when I sit down at the computer, we all know how easy it is to loose track of time when we start playing around here in J-Land.                                       


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A New Year WIld Flower ...

     A New Year Wild Flower that I found on a walk before work on January 2nd. Anyone know what it's called? I have no clue but it is sort of pretty and very delicate. BTW ... the bloom is much smaller than it looks here, it's maybe the size of a quarter. 

     2006 has not gotten off to a very productive start for me. I've had a few set backs including being sick for about 10 days, which really slowed me down. (Why does it always seem to take 10 days?)

     We are only 17 days into the year though, so there is still plenty of time to turn things around. After work today I'll be making my final decisions on which winter classes I'll be taking this year. And ... I'm sure if I pack my bag tonight, I should have no problem getting to the gym tomorrow morning, even if I have to go by myself.

     Hope your New Year is off to a better start than mine, if not ... it's not to late to get on track, right?



Sunday, January 15, 2006

You may see ...

     The face of a couple of angels, but they look like a pair of little devils to me. Yeah, they are a little bit larger and yes they have been here just a little bit longer, but does that give them the right to terrorize their tank mates?


   See the two adorable faces cowering in the back ground? From the moment I added them to the tank my sweet angels became vicious battering bullies that shred the tales of those smaller and more defenseless : (


     Good news is, 2 weeks later things are settling down a bit and the tails are beginning to grow back. It was quite stressful watching the senseless battering and not being able to do anything to help. I did give fleeting thought to flushing the offenders, so glad that I didn't have to resort to such measures.


     I don't usually like to play favorites but this beauty was added at the same time as the two white ones and is about the same size. He was way to wise to hang around long enough to take a beating. When he saw the bullies coming you could almost hear him thinking, "ewww ... don't touch me" as he would dart off to safer waters. 

     My old camera never took very good fish tank photos, having a little better luck with the new one, still could use some practice though. I guess if I were going to post photos, I could have at least cleaned the algae off the back glass of the aquarium.

     BTW ... algae is a sign of a healthy tank and normally does not bother me unless it is on the front glass or on the sides. But then again, I've never taken many photos of the fish before. Guess I should clean it, right?

      My work week started all over again today, have I ever mentioned that I hate one day weekends : (


Thursday, January 12, 2006

I've been busy spending ...

     Mandy has been home from Georgia for a few days. Above are tiny glimpses of some of the sight, smell, taste, sound and color of her visit. 

     All of this and more while sniffling, sneezing, having a stuffy head ... no fever but I could sure use some rest.   

   Be back soon.


Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Doodle bug, doodle bug your house is on fire?

     No Nancy ... this is not  A snake hole and a dead butterfly w/ a rose above it. Or A weird face ...sort of ET-ish! but thanks for giving it a guess.

     This is a photo of doodle bug holes. Anyone remember doodle bugs from when you were a kid?

      They look a little like this -->

     When I was a kid, (7 or 8) my friend Bobby Heinz and I were lizard hunters and master doodle bug catchers. Anyone can catch a lizard but, it takes a certain kind of skill to be good at doodling for doodle bugs.

      I've heard others say that they used a piece of straw to fish for doodle bugs, I have a hard time imagining one crawling right out of that hole onto a bristle pulled from a broom.

     The real secret to mastering the art of doodling is to use live bait. Yep ... you would catch some ants and place one in the doodle bug hole.

     We didn't use any of those silly chants about tobacco or houses on fire. We would just offer the bait and as the ant tried to escape, the unsuspecting doodle bug would come close to the surface of the hole to collect his free meal.

     That's where we would be waiting to scoop him up with a can and add him to a container of sand where he would then bury himself and create another cone shaped hole to collect the ants he was sure to be fed in capitivity.

     There you have it ... the secrets to doodling for doodle bugs, written by a one time master.

     I think these days, kids that age just play video games, to bad.


Dancing in the Rain 2005

    This is one of my favorite images from Rain in 2005, the guy with a window in his throat.


     The following are my favorite Rain entries from each month in 2005. I've spent some time today looking through some of my older entries and feel deeply saddened by the changes that have taken place here at AOL-J's this year.

     I still hate those banner ads as much as I did the first time I saw one on my journal but have had a difficult time getting settled in at blogspot.

     I'm grateful for those of you that still stop by and leave a comment here from time to time. But ... today I'm missing so many of my old friends and the sense of community we knew here, not so long ago.

     Happy New Year, it will be interesting to find out what 2006 will bring.


January 2005   New Years Day  

February 2005   Fins to the left, Fins to the right.  

March 2005    Dancing in the Rain, First Anniversary.  

April 2005    Amaryllis Revisited  

May 2005    Is it Just me?  

June 2005    OK, best part first (My visit with Michael)  

 July 2005    What do you suggest?  

August 2005     I drove to the beach in the rain today.  

September 2005    Outside of the flood zone.  

October 2005    By far, the greatest work of art I've ever created.  

November 2005   Black Tuesday  

December 2005   Mortimer was here, the whole story.


Other stuff on Sanibel ...

     Ok, this is the last of the six Sanibel entries, I just had such trouble picking a few favorites out of the hundreds of shots that I took.  


     The light house is near a great fishing pier ... anyone that loves to fish with or without a boat would love visiting Sanibel.


     These are two of my favorite photos from the beach near the lighthouse. Guess one of the hurricanes must have taken that tree down, It will probably look a lot like the other tree given enough years in the salt water and sun.


     These are Horseshoe Crabs, I thought I would mention that since a dozen of people must have asked me what they are while I was there. I guess not everyone is familiar with them.


      Ahhhh ... one of my most memorable images from my visit is of this big girl happily sunning herself near the waters edge.  You can tell by the smile that she's a crocodile and a big one (12 or 13 ft). Was hoping to see a manatee but had to settle for her.

     Several years ago she found her way to this island, I guess it was a little alarming because of her size so she was captured, tagged and taken several hundred miles away to a less populated area. Within a year she had returned and this time they let her stay.

     Luckily the water was cold the day I saw her and she was extremely sluggish because I was standing just a few feet from her. BTW ... alligators have a more rounded snout and all of their teeth fit inside their mouth. So ... if you can see the teeth you know this is not your common everyday alligator.


     We don't get a lot of color change in the foliage here in South Florida so it was kind of nice to see the red leaves on the seagrapes in the middle of December. Oh ... anyone know what the second photo is? 


     The very last photo was taken on my way to Sanibel the day I took the scenic route, (Ft. Myers Beach) I'm posting it because I like it.