Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Happy New Year



Made from a photo of my daughter's Christmas tree taken on Christmas Day, 2008.

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posted by Marsha at 23 Comments

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

So much going on with all the busyness of the holiday season. While I have a couple of free moments, I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. May you have a safe, happy and peaceful time with those who are most dear to you.

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

Agnes M. Pharo


This sticky post will be up from Tuesday until the day after Christmas! New posts may be available below this one.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jacob's Stocking

If you're looking for a good cause to help out with this season, please check out Jacob's Stocking. You will be gifted yourself by visiting this site.

This sticky post will stay on top until Christmas Eve.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time Marches On

This has been a difficult week for me. It started with my coming down with either a cold or possibly the flu. I had the typical head congestion, scratchy sore throat, ears itching, hacking cough, lots of yucky drainage, headache, achy body and slight fever off and on. It goes without saying that this is the worse possible time to get sick as you can imagine.

One thing that I did get to do was to spend time to really look over and read the Christmas cards I had received and continue to bring in daily. Some contained pictures, some had notes and all contained warm wishes for the Christmas season and for the coming year. Three of them were particularly touching in some way.

One of those three was from my oldest daughter, who recently remarried. The card was made from a photograph taken by a friend right after the ceremony. The picture is not all that great but greatly appreciated since I was not there for the wedding. After I scanned the photo portion of the card, I did my best to enhance it as much as possible.

Shawn and Jamie with Anna and Kayla

click to enlarge

I have met Shawn and will see him, Jamie and the girls in a few days. I'm headed down after Christmas for a couple of weeks. Shawn will get his fill of his new mother-in-law. Kayla, I get to celebrate your birthday with you again!

The other two cards that affected me came from family members of my friend Margaret, who passed away in June 2007. Margaret's husband remarried several months ago to a woman from the Philippines. He is currently there with her but they plan to come back to the states in a few months. According to the letter he enclosed with the card, their plan is to return here, sell the house he and Margaret lived in and move to the Dallas area where both of his children are currently living. He and his new wife Eloisa will also return to the Philippines from time to time where her family remains. She appears to be a lovely lady and I will most likely meet her in April next year when they get back.

I also got a card from Margaret's daughter Tracy that included a picture of her three year old son. Gage was Margaret's pride and joy. She had about a year with him before her health began to fail and the results of cancer, if not cancer itself, ravaged her body for months before giving out completely. It meant a lot to me to receive that picture along with the card.

I still miss Margaret tremendously. You don't lose your best friend, your touchstone and not feel it on some level the rest of your life. It is also good to be reminded that life goes on and that is the way it is supposed to be.

I am happy for my daughter and her new husband. I am also happy for Glynn and Eloisa. I wish both couples all the happiness in the world. As for Gage, I hope to get pictures of him for many years to come. It does me good to see that crooked little smile. I know exactly where it came from.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It Finally Happened To Me!

I have just deleted two comments from the same poster, profile unavailable of course that is simply pure spam. The comments were made in two separate posts, not even current ones, one post was made last April. Both comments contained the exact same message about Cialis and both have been removed. I sure hope there won't be anymore.

I just don't understand why anyone would do something as stupid as this. I mean, what's the point? I've been mildly inconvenienced -- big deal.

I saw this quote in the Old Farmer's Almanac newsletter this morning. It's much nicer than comments about erectile dysfunction problems.

Life is mostly froth and bubble;
Two things stand like stone:
KINDNESS in another’s trouble,
COURAGE in your own.

–Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833–70)

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My Pets Are Worse Than Children

I started coming down with some kind of bug during the day yesterday. Could be a cold, could be a flu or just my allergies / sinuses acting up. The weather has been so crazy here the past week it's a small wonder that everyone here isn't in the hospital.

I assume that was the reason I fell asleep on the couch much earlier in the evening and woke up about an hour ago with a scratchy itchy throat and itchy ears, probably caused by the massive amount of drainage in the back of my throat. When I woke up, the cat and dog were on the sofa with me. The cat was curled up next to me, like he does whenever he decides he wants attention and Ginger was at my feet, where she often sleeps or will lay while I am watching television. Unless there's a thunderstorm, then she's up in my face and won't get but a few inches away from me.

Right now our weather is on the wintry side... after a week of yo-yo-ing temperatures with one day in the 70s the next in the 40s... one day rain, the next sunny, with strong gusty winds during most of that time. Right now it's in the low 30's (feels like temps are listed as low 20s) with a good possibility of freezing precipitation. As a matter of fact, I thought I heard sleet or freezing rain when Mr. Woody K. Nibs, the cat, decided he just had to go outside to investigate and check out potential prey... as if anything would be out in this weather but a stupid cat!

Of course Ginger decided she wanted to go out as well once she saw Woody head that way. At least the cat will stay on the porch when the weather is bad so maybe he's not so dumb after all. Ginger, who hates wet grass and often refuses to go outside when it's raining, took off as soon as the door opened and ran straight into some icy cold water that's standing in the low spots of my yard because our ground is totally saturated from the big rainfall we got last week. Normally, if it's misty or a light rainfall, and I can get her to go out, she will do her business and come right back in but not tonight. She splashed in every bit of standing water she could find. I had to make her come in this time and she was soaked. All that wet fur will not be smelling too good as it starts to dry. She was so energized (I assume by the cold air) that when she finally responded to me and decided to come in, she flew by me before I could get the towel around her to dry her off. My carpet looked better when all three of my children were still at home!

All I had to do was call Woody and he came right back in behind Ginger... only to start whining meowing at the other set of doors five minutes later. I swear my kids weren't as bad as these two. At least by the time they were the age of these animals I could go to the bathroom by myself. The one good thing is that I don't have to worry about boots... and mittens... and coats... and hats!

All I am dealing with now is smelly wet fur!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Ginger's Misery

This was not a good week for Ginger. She cowered most of the day on Tuesday when we had thunderstorms, a tornado watch and mid-seventy degree weather. Rain poured down on us all day long with strong gusts of wind whipping the still falling leaves from one neighbor's yard to another. She didn't get less than inches away from me all day.

The next day brought continuing rainfall and much cooler temperatures, plummeting to near freezing levels during the night with a winter storm advisory. The ground was saturated and we had water standing everywhere. I was certainly ready for the rain to end. I knew however, that even if it did snow or sleet that the likelihood of it sticking was slim. As it turned out, there was no need for us to be concerned as the winter precipitation never materialized in our area.

The soggy ground stuck with us through yesterday as the sun finally began to peek out and the temperatures rose little by little which made three days in a row that Ginger was miserable about going outside.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of her as she tried to find ways to entertain herself inside.



Poor Ginger was so bored during our inclement weather this week as she was forced to stay inside most of the day. She doesn't go out much unless someone goes with her on the best days but she still misses her outside time when its rainy. She really hates wet grass.



She played with one of her favorite toys most of the day yesterday and of course that meant that I played with it too! I hate slobbery dog toys as much as she hates wet grass!

Wishing Ginger and all of you all perfect weather.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Count That Day Lost

Count That Day Lost
by George Elliot, (Mary Ann Evans)
If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done, and counting, find

One self-denying deed, one word

That eased the heart of him who heard,

One glance most kind

That fell like sunshine where it went - -

Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,

You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay - -

If through it all

You’ve nothing done that you can trace

That brought the sunshine to one face - -

No act most small

That helped some soul and nothing cost - -

Then count that day as worse than lost.


A short note in email cheered me the other day. It was from someone that I am not particularly close to but correspond with through email on a regular basis. Mostly, I send email that might be considered encouraging or inspirational to a group of people that she is part of and apparently the things that I sent helped her through a difficult time.

She indicated to me that she felt that someone cared, that someone was thinking of her, was perhaps praying for her and walking with her, gently pulling her back to the path she needed to be on. She had drifted away and my emails were a reminder of a shared experience several years ago where we both, along with many others, experienced the incomparable, unmerited, unconditional love of Christ in our lives. Unknown to her, I too have found myself drifting and feeling apart. Her brief note lifted me on that day and made me feel that I need not count that day as lost... that perhaps no day is truly lost unless we give up on it.

Thank you Mary C.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Listening

I wish I were a better listener. I often pray that God will help me be a better listener.

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
--Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on? As with migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.
--Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When a group of professional people asked a group of 4-to-8-year olds, 'What does love mean?' one replied, 'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen.'
--Warren McLaren

The purpose of life is to listen - to yourself, to your neighbor, to your world and to God and, when the time comes, to respond in as helpful a way as you can find... from within and without.
--Fred Rogers

Listen to the Mustn'ts,child,
Listen to the Don'ts
Listen to the Shouldn'ts
The Impossibles, the Won'ts
Listen to the Never Haves,
Then listen close to me --
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.
--Shel Silverstein

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
--Leo Buscaglia
posted by Marsha at 2 Comments

Do It - Done It

Do it, done it.

Put the items you've done in bold. I've italicized things I want to do.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (Disney World)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (once in high school when we saw friends driving down the road)
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (not in a foreign country though)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (does Pig Latin count... okay never mind)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (thought so, looking back I realize we actually had very little but I was very happy at the time so I guess it seemed like enough)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (just a home movie so I won't count it)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (prepared one someone else killed)
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

***forgot to add that anyone who wishes to complete this meme is welcome to copy it and replace my answers with your own... just let me know so I can come read your list!

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posted by Marsha at 1 Comments

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

About Me and Getting Back to Graphics

I've been in a low place for some time and unable to make myself do many of the things that I enjoy, which only serves to contribute to the problem. It is a diagnosed condition and has a name. It's called dysthymia, which is simply a mild, long lasting form of depression. Sometimes I can get the best of it, but often as not, it gets the best of me. Most of this past year has been a win for dysthymia. I hate it. I seldom use medication, but have seriously considered it this time around. I think I may be on the verge of overcoming it so I am going to hold off for a while to see what happens. I wish I had not let it get this far along and have made a promise to myself that I won't let it go this long again without getting a script for a mild anti-depressant.

My point here is that when I start getting more active with the things I enjoy, I know that I am on the mend. I've done a few things in my favorite graphics program recently and thought I would post one of my little projects here. Since I've also let my interest in photography drift, I went back to my interview with Sarah stash of photos to do a little project that I came up with from viewing the works of others.

Here is the SOOC photo that I started with. It is okay, but nothing earth shattering beyond the fact that any picture of Sarah is terrific in her Mimi's opinion.



I cropped out the portion of the photo that I wanted to display and used Paint Shop's internal one step photo fix on the new image. Instant improvement without having to go through a lot of individual steps to get pretty much the same results. After that, I added a contrast adjustment layer to boost the contrast and merged down. I then used the dodge tool to brighten the whites of her eyes (on a duplicate layer) then flattened the image and burned the outside edges with the burn tool to add interest to the photo. The last step, before saving the cropped image, was to sharpen the image with the unsharp mask. I did resize both versions before uploading to keep the size and load time down. Here's the finished product.



I think this version really pops and lets others see the bright and beautiful Sarah that I see in person. My camera and my photo skills just can't seem to do that without help. The adjustments were minor with dramatic results in my opinion. I hope you like it!

My granddaughter's birth has made me want to create things she will love. ~Billy Crystal

The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy. ~Sam Levenson

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posted by Marsha at 3 Comments

Crazy Weather

Would you believe that we are under a tornado watch. Here it is, almost mid-December, with high temps expected to be in the mid 70s and we are supposed to be on the lookout for funnel clouds. Poor Ginger went running under the computer desk when we heard thunder earlier this morning. The cat goes out one set of french doors and comes right back in the other. They don't know what to do today!

Tomorrow it will not make it out of the 40s. No wonder people are sick all of the time.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

One

You
Can
Only
Type
One
Word
Answers
For
Each
Question

Not as easy as you might think. Copy this questionnaire and paste as a new post. Then change the answers to suit you and tag others or encourage others to try this One Word Answer meme themselves.

Remember: one word answers only!

1. Where is your mobile phone? table

2.Your significant other? none

3. Your hair? ashy

4. Your mother? Juanita

5. Your father? David

6. Your favorite thing? family

7. Your dream last night? none

8. Your favorite drink? water

9. Your dream goal? contentment

10. The room you’re in? office

11. Your ex? lost

12. Your fear? dependency

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happy

14. Where were you last night? home

15. What you’re not? perfect

16. Muffins? yummy

17. One of your wish list items? remodel

18. Where you grew up? Indiana

19. The last thing you did? lunch

20. What are you wearing? clothes

21. Your favorite TV Show? dancing

22. Your pets? two

23. Your computer? contrary

24. Your life? quiet

25. Your mood? down

26. Missing someone? always

27. Your car? garage

28. Something you’re not wearing? shoes

29. Favorite store? expensive

30. Your summer? hot

31. Like someone? yes

32. Your favorite color? blue

33. When is the last time you laughed? today

34. Last time you cried? yesterday

35. Who will post this? some

36. Were you able to answer ALL of the questions with ONE word answers? yes

I am not tagging anyone to do this meme as I am usually among the last to get around to doing these things and most people I know probably have done this one already. If you choose to copy it and post it to your blog, please let me know in the comments section of this post. I would love to see your answers.

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O Come, O Come Emmanuel

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Tale of Two Brains

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

HP Magic Giveaway at Gear Live

**Edit to add a note about commenting at the Gear Live site to enter this contest. I had to break my entry into three separate comments to get the site to accept them. I was not able to include all three (Blog, Twitter and Facebook links) on one entry as the site gives error messages if you do that. I found the solution the hard way and thought I would share here before sending people to the site.

An unbelievable giveaway: HP Magic Giveaway at Gear Live

Seriously, they are giving away over $6,000 worth of computers and electronics at their site. Be sure to check it out!

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