fings super blog

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The kinfolks

I am sorry that I missed writing to you for a couple of hectic weeks. I went to Florida to our Fleming Family Reunion. You see, I was born Nannie Faye Fleming. Both my father and my mother had Scotch-Irish ancesters. And actually one of my ancesters did bury a treasure of gold here in America according to stories still being told.
It was sad that so few young people showed up; but that could be changed if someone would do a bit of planning. Perhaps a couple of young adults could plan activities for the teens and young-adults. Maybe, too, we should plan some games or activities for children. Though there is swimming available; there is no organization. Most of us older persons just sit around and talk; but, I can see how that would be boring to some folkes.
This is something to think about for our future reuions.
Aunt Helen, my father's sister was at the reunion. She seemed to still recognize me even though she is ninety-three years old. She is the only paternal aunt left and my Aunt Lorene is our only maternal aunt left alive. She did not come to the reunion; but she is living at home and is ninety-four. Jenny, our youngest daughter went with us to the celebration.
Robert and I flew into Dallas from Burbank, California. There we rented a car and drove to Jennifer and Randy's home in Shreveport, Louisiana. we arrived about one o'clock in the morning central standard time. The next afternoon, we left there and didn't get to Florida until the next day since we stopped at a motel for the first night. We had some nasty weather Along the way. When Jenny saw my aunt Jessie at the reunion she thought she really favored my mom. But Jessie was my father's sister-in-law; so she is no blood kin. She is one of those sweet country women who has her hair pinned in a ball on the back of her neck and has sunken cheeks and blue blue eyes peering out brightly from behind dark frames with thick lenses. She was so perky, I think her youngest son seemed older than she did. My Aunt Barbara was there, too, with my brother Brenton.
So, you see that my aunt is just my sister-in-law. I always thought my Aunt Barbara was so pretty and sweet that I wanted to be just like her. I've seen her turn red in her face a few times; but I've nver seen her truly mad. Brenton and she are a bit more frail these days; but, I think he is doing fairly well considering that he will be seventy-five his next birthday.
Lots of cousins were present at the gathering and some of them I had not seen for years. I don't have time to mention them all here and it is getting late.
However, I have to mention the food! It was fantastic! There was fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, chicken and dressing, venison, pork chops, ham, baked beans, chilli, spaghetti, roast beef and pork, butterbeans, peas, fruit cobbler, bananna pudding, red velvet cake, pecan pie, green beans and more and more:and plenty of sweet tea, unsweetened tea, cokes, diet cokes and much much more. My four sisters were there. Yet, two of my female siblings couldn't come; and my brother Wilb, didn't show-up.
We met old friends for supper that night and had a fine time. We all talked about buying land in East Texas for our retirement. Prices there are still reasonable and the land is beautiful with plenty of lakes and rivers.
We had a great time with Jenny on our trip and Jenny had a fine time in the motel spa an pools. On our way back over to her place in Louisiana, we stopped and visited an old plantation in St. Francisville. We didn't get to take a tour because they were closed on Monday. She told us the place was thought to be haunted and dated back to the seventeen hundreds. One of the guides there told us that indigo (the plant that produces dye for blue jeans) and cotton were the original cash crops. Since its' beginning the plantation had changed hands seven times. The place was dripping with gorgeous french ironwork.
I bought an acrylic painting in the open gift shop and we piled into the car for the last leg of our trip back to Jen's place.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Control with balance.

I hardly think that I accomplished much today; but I did get some odds and ends done. How much control do we need over the accomplishments of our day? Should we have a balance of goals and adjustments to circumstances that might arise unbidden?
I was able to get my hair washed and styled today and enjoyed my first-ever pedicure. I went to one of my old haunts and picked-up one of my business card holders that I had left there. My friend, Rebecca, who used to work with me in Mary Kay,
now works at a beauty salon and has offered to keep some of my business cards and offer them to her customers. I'm hoping that I can get some new customers this way. Robert and I rode out to Sand Canyon this afternoon late to locate a certain address. I have a facial scheduled there on Friday.
The weather was warm here about 2;00pm; but there was a cool breeze. By late this afternoon, it was downright cold again. This has been what I would term a cold Spring. The days of warmth and sunshine have been few. The tulips seem to be in their last stages of bloom . Some of the plants that I bought a few weeks ago to plant in my garden remain in their temporary pots. The amyrillis finished blooming on the windowsill in the living room and now a white and very fragrant Freesia perfumes the air there. Last night, I finally got a chance to put together a bouquet that I had planned earlier. It contains white and wine colored orchids, green foliage and some brushy backdrop in a square bronze planter on feet. I covered my green foam with green moss to enhance its' looks. Yes, these are artificial flowers I am describing; The cost for a half-dozen live ones would be steep. Now, alas, I can't find a great place to put the thing. I'm considering giving it to a friend. I was also able to paint a watercolor picture last night. It is strictly patchwork colors; and I like it. Robert said that he liked it, too. If you were looking for my blog yesterday, I am sorry you missed it. So did I.
One of the problems that I am having is staying awake in the mornings after I get up. Sometimes I fall asleep doing my Bible study and might sleep 'til noon. Please remember me in your prayers. I would like to be able to accomplish more each day than I do now.
I have done a series of house paintings. None of them looks real and that is as they should be; since I think of them as magical. I have thought about writing a children's story about each house and the family that lives there. I have yet to begin that writing process.
You might note that my blog title might have little to do with the actual contents of the blog. This came about as I realized how often I had seen pictures with titles that bore little resemblance to the contents of the picture. For example: a picture entitled The Red Hat might have a whole crowd of peple with hundreds of hats in it. One small hat might happen to be red. The title makes you inspect the picture more carefully just to find the red hat. So, I might give the blog a certain name to make you look at the whole blog to find the title reference. It is a little game I play.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Painting

I began painting about twenty years ago. I took three oil painting lessons and, then My teacher moved away. For I a short time I practiced what I had learned. Then, I began to ask the Lord to teach me how to paint. The answer to that came in a strange way.
For the first few years after we moved to California our graphic arts business was moving along well. As more and more people began to get their own computers and printers, they began to produce their own work and our work volume began to fall. About that time, after a bout of severe bleeding and bruising, I was diagnosed with a dangerous blood condition. In the middle of it all, our insurance company refused to renew their contract with us. Beginning then and continuing on for seven years or so, we fought to get out of debt.
We only owed a few thousand dollars when this situation began. But the bills continued steadily to mount. The illness was not prolonged simply because God was Good. I kept in constant contact with Him, living each day as the doctors directed, as long as their opinion and God's directions were the same. I was having to have my blood checked---my platelets, several times a week. The medicines weren't working and the Prednisone was killing me. I had developed severe fibroid tumors, and was now on medication for my rapid heartbeat. But in the midst of it all I had begun to paint. I took my paints everywhere with me and took every opportunity to pray for others and witness about the Lord.
Now I was painting in water colors and acrilyc. But my health continued to deteriorate. I had some sort of siezure. The doctors talked about increasing the Prednisone: but I thought 80 or 100mg a day was already too much. No one knew exactly what was causing the blood disorder; but I thought it might be my spleen. It had been injured when I had been in an auto vs. motorbike accident when I was 19 years old. My current doctors said that might be the cause;but at this time the hospitals did not have MRI machines and they had no way of knowing for sure. My heart doctor was monitoring my heart at home at this time. I spent a day seeking God and asking for his directions. His message kept coming to me clearly, Have your doctors remove you spleen. Knowing what to do and getting it done were two different things.
I called the doctor's office and asked him to contact a sergeon and set it up, I told him that God had given me these directions. Of course, he thought that the steroids were affecting my mind. We had quite an argument and I threatened to sue him and get another doctor who would listen to my ideas. Oh, he put me in the hospital, but demanded I take more steroids. Then, he said he would set up the surgery when I was stronger. The hospital failed to correctly do a type and crossmatch for some blood products I took and i went into anaphilactic shock. In fifteen minutes my fever went from fairly negliable to 106degrees. I was freezing to death, itching all over and was red with splotches. I don't remember if I seized or not. But the room was full of nuses and they were giving me new medicine to stop the reaction. Did I ever get to the surgery. Yes, I did. The surgeon slit me from the sternum to the pubis. He wanted to check the fibroids. i took eight bags of blood products in 45 minutes and had my spleen removed. Less than two weeks later I was up and feeling better. My blood still has a protein marker on the clotting cells, so, I can't give it to others. And if I must have surgery, I try to save my own blood beforehand. I was so blessed that I never had to have a bone marrow transplant. And I never had a relapse. I guess God knows best.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Garden

Believe it or not, I spent some time writing last night. Then, when I attempted to publish, I was so tired I lost my text in the process. Though I spent over a half hour trying to recover my newly written blog, about 1;00 am I gave up and headed to bed. I thought that I would just write yesterday's news again; but, I remember that Melinda hates left-overs!
It was bright and sunny most of the day today: but the wind was icy again as it has often been this spring. The weather seems to have been great for my tulips, though; because my neighbors were over here telling me how beautiful they are just yesterday. My old favorites, those bright red ones with the black centers have bloomed again this year. In addition, I have some soft pink tulips and cheerful yellows scatterred in drifts. The calendulas, those flowers that remind you of zinnias or yellow and orange daises were the first to show color, way back in Febuary. I was able to get them started about eight years ago; and since that time, they have kept reseeding themselves. Then, the daffodils and narcissi began opening buds. Afew narcissus contiues to open. Nothing else much is blooming, other than those I've mentioned, A couple of blue Iris have opened and one purple one. I can see buds on the lilacs, too.
I brought in a bouqet of apple blossoms today and another of tulips. They make the house smell like a garden,
Most of our early mornings are still at temperatures in the low thirties or less. But, the air is clean and clear and breathing is like gulping in fresh water. We also have had a lot of fog in these mountains this year.
We went to Christian Life Assembly last weekend. Chris did not get to go to childrens' church this time. They had a special singing group visiting and that were a lot like the quartets we used to hear at Southside Baptist when we would have
"dinner on the ground'' which was really served on long tables pushed together. The group was good; but the music was way too loud. Chris seems to have the Dallons' excellent hearing. But Willis has lost some of his hearing as he has gotten older.
Do you think a flower garden is worth the trouble? Don't you think working in any garden makes you healthier? Is it worth the extra effort to go organic, as we have done? Do you think food grown in you own garden is healthier for you?
How about some feedback, guys?
By the way, we plan to be at my family reunion in Florida in May. I wish you all could join us. Thanks for you previos comments. I have read them.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

What to write?

This is a question I asks myself each time I sit down to the keyboard. I must form a habit of writing if I am to ever be successful at it. I have begun to fix myself in a routine of working on my watercolor several times a week. I am painting more often than I have ever painted . No, I haven't created the perfect picture; but I am forming a routine. I do have ideas about what I would like to do with some of my artwork.
This process of change has not been easy for me. I have not been as successful in some of the things I want to do because I have not instituted the habits that I need to fulfill my potential in those areas of my life. I often wondered what I needed to cause my business to be a really great business. I certainly prayed hard and tried again and again. But when it came to forming new habits, I wouldn't implement the changes because I was too independent to take some one elses advice or just too stubborn. I was older than most of my friends who had their own business and I had other issues that might make it difficult for me. Most of all, I was afraid of failure.
Writing and painting are some of my favorite things to do. But, my business is not always what I would like to be doing. Perhaps that may be part of the whole thing. Maybe I should focus on doing those things I truly love to do. Life is short and we often have to do things we need to do, regardless of whether we wish to do them or not.
Success is defined by some as a matter of how much money one makes. For others, it may be how popular they are. Some may focus on awards.
For others it may be simply how many ways they can do good to others. It might be that knowing God could be the only success that you can take into the next world with you. If you know God your focus will be on others and the chances are that you will do your best at your job. If you are blessed to love what you do; then, you are indeed fortunate.
I don't think that VanGogh ever knew how successful he was nor how great the work he loved actually was, do you?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Weather

It has been stormy again today and I am beginning to wonder when the cold and rain will stop. My aged neighbor back East used to say that she reckoned the Lord knew what was best. Here it is almost April in the Sierra Nevada, and the peaks still have a good snow pack. The whomp, whomp, whomp of hail on my car's hood got my attention earlier and the wind streaked straight out of the North driving me back inside. I never got to see my pink tulips which have all come into bloom.
The news is that this is California's second wettest year in the last one hundred years.
One thing is terrific when it rains; and that is my sleep. I hear my husband sawing away now. Though several of the walls are leaking around the windows, I try to pretend this is a warm cave and we are safe and secure. My Border Collie wants to run in and out vacillating between fear and wonder. After all, I think these dogs were originally bred for work in the cold and windy Scottish hills. To this day he loves to walk in the cold wet current of a winter run-off.
My husband loves a good lightning storm. He listens for every boom and watches every flash, counting aloud the number of "Mississippi's" that indicate how many miles away the strike is. Jennifer, our daughter used to love to "swim" in the puddles after a big gully washer--the less clothes, the better. My older daughter, Melinda and I went on walks to check how deep the creek was after a downpour or see or how long the icicles were that hung from the eves following an ice storm.
Like most boys, I don't think Andrew even regarded the weather. He had too many interesting things to do like play in the wet dirt or march in the high school band--weather or no weather. I expect it bored him somewhat that the weather sometimes hindered his plans.
These days, I regard it as a chance to paint watercolors, read books, do some dusting or catch a few zzzs on the couch. And I've just about decided that Alice was right. I reckon God knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Who created you?

I am interested in knowing how many of you were created by doctors, judges,or someone else. I've always felt the creator of the story had rights over that story unless he signed them over to some one else. Though your parents might have some rights as they surely had a part in your invention, sadly for the man or woman who marries you, they surely had no part in helping you enter life.
When I was a young nurse, about the beginning of the seventies, I'd heard of babies being so badly handicapped at birth that they were being "Left on the windowsill." This meant that they were never fed and left to die. We never had a case like this in the small hospital where I worked (at least as far as I know). In fact, the thought of something like this was so horrible, that we only talked about it in whispers.
One of my patients died several times, but we were able to bring her back, until that last time. But, at least we could say we did our best and gave her every chance. You see, back in the age before we were enlightened we all were taught that life was precious, a gift from God, And since He was the author of the story, He was the only one who got the right to write, The End.
True, it is much more expensive to keep a person alive now than it used to be and it can rob a family of all their energy and resources. But isn't life, even lived in poverty, better than death? We would have never thought of pulling the plug on a patient. It was understood then, that it would have been, and still is MURDER.
Why would our Christian religion and many others warn us about taking our own life? When we take our own lives, we have taken God's responsibility into our own hands.
It is not only babies who have a right to live, it is all of us. There is no right given to man to murder; in fact that is exactly what the ten commandments says. Doctors are murdering every day to procure organs. Families are murdering because they no longer want to take care of that impaired loved one. And, others are murdering themselves and sometimes others because they lose hope or can't forgive. Life has become cheap; and we have let it happen. Our judges no longer have to see The Ten Commandments on their walls and we have let this happen. If we want righteousness and justice in our court rooms, it starts with us. The only time destroying life can be justified is in war, self defense, or when that person who has murdered others is deemed unredeemable. When we insists on the deaths of repeat murderers and rapist, we must remember that that these people deserve their punishment. We would not have to have all this plea bargaining. And we would have plenty of room in our prisons. How has it happened that we now murder the innocent and let the guilty walk free?