She's very large at 30"X40" and by far, my personal favorite since I've begun The Blue Woman series. I love the color choices and the strange and interesting things that emerged in the background. I merely painted what I saw. She is for sale, although I will miss her, I need to make some money this year. If you are going to pick her up, the price is $500.00. USD If I need to ship her the price is $750.00 USD. Please contact me if you would like to purchase her and you are going to pick her up.

Recently, a little brown and gray squirrel has taken up residence on my windowsill. Apparently, he has found the big flower pot, a perfect abode. Along with fresh water, seed everyday and sometimes fruit, pasta and peanut butter crackers, I can't say that he's made a bad choice for a home at all. 

The only thing that worries me is he is on the third floor of a very tall 100 year old building. The drop to the ground would probably kill a person, not sure about a squirrel though. I just hope he's flexible. When my grandson comes over to visit, he likes to bang on the window and this frightens the poor little thing and it looks to me as if he runs right over the ledge. Well my grandson is not yet two years old and I actually think he's trying to tell the squirrel that the seed is for the birds, because that is what I told him. Early in the morning, we had been sitting silently, watching the birds eat the seed and later in the day I turned and looked just as he had grabbed a handful of seed from the bag and stuffed it into his mouth. I said, "Oh no! that seed is for the birds Charlie!" So, I guess this is what he is telling the squirrel.

I thought he had been burying his nuts and things for the winter in a big flower pot that sits on my window sill. Then I noticed the pot's appearance to be changing. He was adding more and more things to it such as, branches, leaves and even a dryer sheet. It seems he is a classy squirrel. Yesterday, I thought maybe he wasn't just hiding his nuts and berries, maybe he "lived" in the pot. So this morning I decided to find out. I got video footage of him, in the pot before he before he awoke. See the video below and I will keep you posted on further development of this story.

I have recently resurrected the Blue Woman series, having done the first painting way back in March of 2007. Blue Woman #1 "Unsung" now has four sisters, but not any one that quite looks like Blue Woman #5. I like the direction in which Blue Woman is evolving, although not all of you will. I understand that perfectly, as art is very subjective. I have promised the buyers of the first four, if they would like to add to their collection, one of the "old style" blue women, I will accommodate. However, for my soul and my own growth as an artist, I must continue exploring the evolution of The Blue Woman and see where it takes me. I have a feeling it's going to be a fun and wild ride, so I'm just gonna relax, have fun and hold on. 

Blue Woman #5 "A Weed is Just a Flower Out of Place" is now for sale in my shop under Available Art.

My daughter Nova, took me for an eye exam in December. We decided not to buy frivolous gifts for each other this year and decided to concentrate only on getting Sweet-T and C-Love's Christmas presents. For some strange reason, she wanted to get an eye exam for me. Turns out, it was the best gift anyone could have gotten for me, ever. The gift of sight.

Anyway, I hadn't had an eye exam for probably 40-some years. I began using those "cheaters" that can be purchased in drug stores. They worked just fine for me and I couldn't understand why anyone would pay more than $10 for a pair of eye glasses. I just thought the whole eye exam/eye doctor thing was unnecessary and expensive. Having an eye exam may be somewhat expensive, but it is very necessary! Your eyes are a very important part of your life, so please don't ever take them for granted.

As it turned out, on this initial eye exam, I was diagnosed with "Narrow Angles".  He advised me to see a glaucoma specialist immediately.  He said I had the type of glaucoma that could cause sudden blindness. I was scared to death. I was referred to an eye doctor by my 100 year old most favorite doctor in the world, Dr. Goldman, and I went to see him right away. He diagnosed me with "Severe Closed-Angle Glaucoma" in both eyes and said that I needed laser surgery asap, within the next six weeks. 

With closed angle Glaucoma, the channels which the Aqueous Humor (fluid made in the front part of the eye) flows in and out from behind the iris, are closing and the fluid cannot circulate properly. This in turn, causes pressure on the optic nerve and can damage the nerve suddenly and without warning, blindness occurs. There is no choice. If one has this problem, one must have the surgery or go blind. Because, as with any surgery, there are some risks involved, so the surgery is performed only on one eye at a time.

"You will go blind without this surgery." Those are terrifying words to hear for anyone, especially an artist. My whole life, most of my entertainment has something to do with art. I am a videographer, a visual artist, a painter, I work in mixed media. I have never taken my sight for granted. My friends have always told me that I am capable of "seeing" many things that most do not. I notice everything around me. The birds in flight, the sunrises and sunsets, little bitty snails, and lizards and praying mantis's and snails. I see it all, I appreciate it all, I love it all. I cherish my sight each and everyday. I could not believe that I might go blind. It was a hard reality to swallow.

I have no medical insurance and the surgery is not cheap and I should say right now, I had help to pay for it through my angels of the internet. A good friend of mine, Lisa Patencio, spread the word on the internet and donations came in from all around the world. I cried tears of happiness and I will be eternally grateful to my Angels of the Internet. Bless you all.

I tried my best not to think or speak of the surgery until the day of. I was afraid I would put some sort of bad vibes out into the universe. Let me just say, it is virtually impossible NOT to think about a red hot laser coming toward your eye, while you are awake and fully aware of what's happening. Oh, the scary, evil stories I told myself. LOL. Well, as it turns out, the laser, although red, is not hot. No, it's not hot at all. It's just a light. No Star Wars slashing cuts going on in the eye or anything close to that. Here, I tell the story of my surgery so in case anyone should ever come face-to-face with this same problem, they will know what to expect. 

First of all, it is important to have a good relationship/feeling about the doctor who is going to perform the surgery. Although I had insomnia for three days prior to my surgery, I felt totally confident in the doctor who performed mine. He and his staff made me feel comfortable and safe. This is very important, especially if you are a worry-wart like myself. 

On January 24th, the day of my surgery, my daughter drove me to the hospital and she is staying with me for a few days to help with my after care. Once we arrived at the hospital, I was taken into a room with two nurses. They asked me a bunch of overall health and medication related questions. Then they proceeded to put different types of drops into my left eye. (The doctor performs the surgery on the eye that has the most damage first, which in my case happens to be my left eye.) The drops were to numb and contract the pupil. In layman's terms, they want the iris to be as big as possible so they can see to drill holes into it easier. Ugh. Just thinking about that makes me sick to my stomach. Wait! It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Once the doctor arrived, I was then taken into another room where there were all sorts of strange looking machines. I could tell by looking at them that they all had something to do with eyes. They all have a place for your chin to rest and your forehead to push against a bar near the top. (Kind of like the machine they use at the DMV to test your eyesight for your license renewal.) So, once all the adjustments were made for my particular height/body type, the doctor sat down in a chair next to me, looked me in my eyes and reiterated what he was going to do, how he was going to do it and the risks involved. The risks are this. For some reason, for one in 100 people, the pressure in the eye does not go down but raises to a higher level and does not ever go down. Also, and less common, some people who have the surgery, see an arch of light in their line of vision at different times and when the light hits at a certain specific pot in the eye. (I had originally thought this arch was present at all times) So, I took a deep breath and said, "Let's get started." So, we did. The doctor put more eye drops in both my eyes. I can't recall what the purpose these drops was, but they actually made my vision so blurry I could only see a shadow of the doctor and the machine. It was sort of like rubbing vaseline petroleum jelly onto a window and then looking through that. 

Once I was loaded into the first machine, chin on the lower resting bar, forehead pressed against the top bar, the nurse placed her hand on the back of my head, to make sure I didn't try to jump back once the laser was started. I was scared but I took some deep breaths before the doctor started the laser. Then I tried to be perfectly still and not move or blink or breath too deep. (I thought of the 1970's "Love Is" Characters from the newspaper comics. I had chosen them to be my tiny doctor's little helpers and envisioned them microscopic, inside of my body running around helping the doctor do whatever he needed. A little exercise my oldest daughter, Echo, told me always works for her. Your helpers can be whomever you choose. Hers happen to be the little creatures from the old t.v. show Fraggle Rock. Yours can be whomever you choose.) The first laser machine make little clicking noises and right after each click, my eyeball felt as if it was being tugged on. (I imagined the little characters inside my eye, pulling on the eye, trying to show the doctor where to point the laser beam.)  After a few minutes on this machine, the doctor said we were all finished. I started to get up and he said, "No, stay seated, we will move you across the room to another machine and this one is going to feel a little bit different, okay?" So I sat back down but I was a bit worried again, because I didn't recall him telling me he would use both machines, although I'm sure he must have. He then wheeled me over as the chair I was in, was on wheels. 

The second machine made more and different noises, I think they were louder. The thing about the second machine was, I realized that I was totally enjoying the laser process. It was a bit of a sensory overload, the noises, clicks, the shots of light, then the light turned red and looked like the tunnel of light they say you travel down once you have died. Only difference was, my tunnel of light was red with black streaks scattered, spinning, moving and very bright. Along with the sounds of the laser, right after each noise came a consecutive pinging sensation. I felt as if the laser were shooting teensy, tiny little metal pin balls through my eye which then bounced around inside of my brain a few times before it hit the back of my skull. I felt this sensation over and over again with each click of the laser. I was watching the red tunnel swirl and move and feeling the tiny pin balls pinging around inside my head, I felt like a was a human pin ball machine. All in all, it was a very cool process and I actually quite liked the procedure. If the treatment on my right eye feels the same way, I am going to actually be looking forward to my next surgery! Is this weird or what? I am a bit odd, or so I've heard. I am so grateful that it turned out like this, because what if it was so terrible that I didn't want to have the right eye done? I am telling you this so you won't be scared if this should ever happen to you. Have the surgery. Save your eyesight. The worst part about the surgery, and I am not kidding here, is the way the eye feels after the numbing drops wear off. I will relate it to sitting on the beach and the person next to you gets up and shakes the sand from their towel and the wind blows it into your eyes. It's like that, only persistent. You can't get the sand out. Another tiny bothersome fact is, that the eye drops taste terribly bitter. Yes, you can actually taste them, especially after you have so many. But overall, in my opinion, it's well worth the chance that the surgery may keep you from going blind. If you haven't seen an eye doctor lately, please go. The thing about this type of glaucoma, even though it's severe and sudden, there is a good chance the surgery can save your eyesight, if it's caught early enough. Special thanks again to my daughter who made me go have an eye examination, well she dragged me, but whatever. I'm glad she did.

After the surgery, more drops are placed into my eyes by one of the nurses. This is done, periodically and systematically at timed-intervals. When she is finished, she writes a list of times and hands the list and an after-care paper to me. I can't read anything yet because my vision is still blurred. I give the list to my daughter in the waiting room and we begin the journey to the doctor's office, stopping every 15 minutes so she can insert the medicine drops into my eyes. I cannot do this myself because I cannot feel my eye yet. It is still numb and my vision is still blurred, so she must do it for me.

We've arrived at the doctor's office and I am feeling much more relaxed and more like myself. My daughter and I are sitting in his examination room and I take out my camera to get footage for the YouTube video I know I'm going to create about this journey. Then, the doctor comes in and puts even more eye drops of another type into my eye and moves his his fancy "eye-microscope" machine up to my eyeball and takes a look. He is writing down notes, looking into my eye, writing down notes. I ask him if the pressure has gone down in my eye. He says, "No, it will never go down, hopefully, it will just not ever get any higher." My daughter asked him if the operation worked. He said we won't know until after next week's examination. 

So, I have to go now, back to the doctor again today, the day after my surgery and I suppose again next week then sometime. I guess it all depends on what the doctor sees in my eye today. My appointment is in an hour, so I will update this blog when I return. What a strange journey this has been!


UPDATE January 26, 2012

I tried to re-create the fascinating visual effects that I experienced during the laser surgery through drawing. This is a poor account as it is not near in color intensity as the real deal was. It is also not swirling quickly or sparkling as intense as it was in real life. I don't think I can come any closer to portraying what I saw than this, through a drawing. 

The follow-up visit with my eye doctor yesterday went well. He said that my eye pressure was good and he wants to see me again in a week. I am to continue putting two types of drops into my eye until then. One type is a sort of antibiotic I must use three times a day. The other is a soothing gel to help deal with the uncomfortableness of the "sand in the eye" effect ones feels from this surgery. I can use the gel as often as needed. The fact that I don't need to come back for a week is a very good sign! If the doctor had seen any problems, I would have had to keep returning to his office on a daily basis, until he felt the problem was solved. YAY. YIPPEE. All the prayers that were said for me around the world, the positive thoughts that were put into the universe, the virtual hugs and love that was sent over the internet, well, they've all worked! Thank you dearly my friends all over the world. I am blessed and lucky to have you all in my life. XXXOOO 

The doctor should know next week if the surgery did what it was supposed to do. It's just a wait and see kind of thing now. Of course, as always, I will keep you updated. Oh and in case I didn't mention this before, this type of surgery has no effects on my vision (other than it will hopefully keep me from going blind). I will still wear my prescription glasses as usual. It was not a surgery to correct my lenses and make me see better. The surgery was to keep pressure from building up behind my iris and destroying my optic nerve, thus causing sudden blindness.

I have decided to try my hand at drawing with charcoal on newsprint. I really like the way it looks and I think it's also a bit forgiving. This is a guy I know on YouTube. He is called "HelloRodney". He is just an ordinary guy living in the desert of New Mexico, making art and videos. He talks about everything from eating too much ice cream (a man after my own heart) to politics and sports. Right now Tim Tebow is one of his favorite players. I found this newspaper article about the football player and decided to do a portrait of HelloRodney using it as a background. Apropos.  He shows us the beautiful landscape surrounding his house with the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and at this moment, the big snow they have out west. Then  back inside his humble abode to warm up by his fire. If you feel like listening to a normal person tell about his daily life with no bells and whistles, watch this guy. He is definitely entertaining and humorous to boot. Wait...did I say no bells and whistles?  Sometimes there are bells and sometimes there are whistles. Occasionally drums and some singing. Mostly, just a regular old guy who isn't afraid to talk about the things that most people just think about. If you happen to be a troll or a hater, don't bother stopping on Rodney's channel, keep surfing because, like me, he doesn't  play that game. We delete and block and move on.

Before the time of Internet Dating Sites, I worked for a company called MatchMaker International. I was the public relations director and "THE" matchmaker. I really enjoyed working for this company and I made many good matches and had several marriages and a few engagements before I resigned.

I have tons of funny and happy stories from that chapter in my life but the one I want to talk to you about today is about the height of men. Yes, you read that correctly. The height of men. Before I worked at MatchMaker Internatonal, I was unaware that all men were at least six foot tall. Some 6'1", some 6'2" or 6'3". It's true. Whenever a man would fill out his membership card which of course, asked all these personal questions so that the matchmaker could match people appropiately, he was always six foot tall or over. Not one single man was anything below six foot, even though I am 5' 7", and some of those men were shorter than me when they came into my office for their initial interview. 

I was reminded of this innate feature of the male personality when my 20 month old grandson was visiting me this weekend. I noticed that he was much heavier than he was at his last visit. I decided to mark his height against the last time I measured him when he was just 14 months old. I stood him up straight against the wall near the first pencil mark. When I tipped his chin up to make sure his head was straight and put my pencil on his head, he raised up a few inches. I was trying to figure out what was happening, when I stopped and stood him back against the wall again. Same thing. He got taller when he felt the pencil on his head. When I looked down at his feet, the little bugger was on his tippy toes! YES he was! I started to laugh so hard, I almost fell over.

How do they know to do this at such a young age? I don't know for certain but, I suppose it's just in the genes, the same type of genes that caused all the women who signed up for Matchmaker Interntional to weigh a mere 110 lbs.

This morning, on my walk, I got lucky and found some wonderful old wooden wine crates. I carried one home, because I had the Baxter Malone with me and I needed at least one hand for the leash. I was so afraid someone would take my treasure before I got back to get the other two! LOL! Well, for me, they ARE treasure. I suppose no one else had the same thing on their mind at 8 am this morning. I am in need of some kind of storage for my art supplies and these boxes will be just perfect, once they are cleaned up and a few nails are added. Nothing a little sand paper and elbow grease can't cure.  I also found some broken pieces of mirror lying on the side walk. Well, at first I picked them up because I didn't want the dog to cut his feet. I put them in a poop bag and just then my muse whispered in my ear, "Incorporate the mirror pieces into a painting." So okay, that's exactly what I'm going to do!  I love walking more and more every day and I love these little mini-journeys. Everyday is a new adventure! Life is extremely wonderful!

So, I now have some cool storage boxes for my art supplies and inspiration for a new painting! The day can't get much better than this. I'm off to create art and get started re-vamping my boxes. Oh, and did I mention that the weather is PERFECT? Sunny and 75℉. I guess the day CAN get better! ツ 

I am working hard to lose the weight I've gained over the winter and since I quit smoking on March 10, 2011. I started out slow, just walking to the end of my street and back. Then I challenged myself to walk up THE HILL. THE HILL is very, very steep and took my breath away. It was a struggle and I thought I was going to have a heart attack the first few times I did it. It took 15 minutes to get 3/4 of the way to the top. I turned around and came back down and that gave me 1/2 hour walk per day. Now I have graduated to walking all the way to the top of the hill and going window shopping once I get to the top. There are lot of little shops and different sites to see. Usually a lot of people walking to and fro and I love people watching! Next, I began walking four miles every other day, which takes me exactly to my grocery, so I pick up my dinner while I'm there. Carrying the extra weight on the way back is a great way to tone upper arms and back muscles. I should tell you that I don't get very much stuff at once from the grocer. I learned my lesson the hard way. One day I had over shopped. I had my over the shoulder satchel full plus two plastic grocery bags.  Let me just tell you, the bags get heavier with each and every step. By the time I was ¾ of the way home, my fingertips had turned purple from the plastic bags digging into them, I thought I was going to bust a disc in my lower lumbar region and I was ready to ask a total stranger for a ride home. LOL!  So now I buy very little, but that's okay because then I eat very little as well. 

My very latest escapades include walking four miles every day and walking at the zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo is a wonderful place to walk for exercise with the added pleasure of getting to see the animals, I am in heaven. A great place to walk for weight loss because the Zoo has lots of ups and downs, little and larger hills and valleys. As long as I can stay away from the junk food venders and the ice cream man, I'm in business!




I had a thought,
which I began to doubt.
I began to doubt the doubt.
So I went back to the thought
and re-thunk it.
Which brought me back to the doubt,
That I doubted in the first place.
Deciding it all was just too much to think about,
I placed it on a shelf labeled:
Now I think,
in doubt,
that the shelf is not the right place to keep it.

~Kim Poole

I have never claimed to have a "green thumb", unless of course, you count when I've made a mess while painting. Mostly everything I have ever tried to grow dies before it bears fruit. I think I know what the problem is. I just forget to water and care for the plants most of the time. (Yep, that'll do it) Most of my time is spent making art and I haven't yet found just the right balance for both gardening and art
Last year I had very good luck with a cherry tomato plant. I had tomatoes almost every night with my salad. They were so good, sweet and juicy, that I decided to save some of the seeds from the plant and try my luck with them again this year. So, I got an early start and planted my seeds in February. I planted some apple seeds I saved from the good and juicy HoneyCrisp that I bought at the grocery. I never thought they would grow at all and they were the last to pop up, out of the tomato, lettuce and pepper seeds I planted. Of course I don't know the first thing about growing apple trees, it was an experiment. I just wanted to see if I could get them to grow. And they did! YAY!

I joined a seed club on YouTube, started by a friendly fellow and avid gardener, Ray, aka Praxxus55712. You should visit him on YouTube if you're into gardening. He has a lot of wonderful tips and great How-To videos. I think you will enjoy his channel.  http://www.youtube.com/user/Praxxus55712
So, today I am going to transplant the strong seedlings to larger pots and start some new seeds in their place. My plan is to have a rotating crop of fresh veggies all summer and on into the fall. (Wish me luck) I feel more attached to these small and dainty plants this year, quite possibly because I started them from seed. I feel like I am their "God" and I can't let them die. Weird, eh? Well, it's funny because I do talk to the little green things every day when I water them and turn them with the sun. Ha! Insane in the membrane. 

I've even begun a small compost factory in my kitchen. I have two coffee cans which I rotate from the stove to the shelf over the dryer. The can on the stove gets filled with used coffee and tea grounds each day. When it is about 1/2 full, I toss in a cup or two of soil along with a handful of dried crushed leaves and stir occasionally, every few days. I keep the can covered with a wash cloth so the mixture can breathe.  In a few weeks, the mixture becomes a rich, dark compost to add to the potting soil. Because I am an apartment dweller, I don't put anything else in this compost as I don't want to attract insects, flies or a raunchy stench. (However, adding some earthworms might be a great idea and if I ever get to a bait shop, I just might try that in the future.) A few years ago, I left a container outside my apartment building because flies got into it. I had filled the container with kitchen compost of all sorts of things, so when the egg shells and other food materials began to rot, I couldn't stand the disgusting stench and placed the container outside. There was a hole in the bottom of the bucket and unbeknownst to me, while the container was sitting on top of the dirt in the yard, earthworms had crawled inside. When I went to toss the bucket in the trash a few weeks later, a pile of rich, dark soil-like material fell out of the bottom of the bucket when I lifted it off the ground. That was the best homemade compost I'd ever seen.  I called it "Black Gold"! I was in the process of moving, so I gave it to my neighbor who promised to use it in his garden that spring. I wish I had taken it with me to my new apartment because I began to grow strawberries on the window sill of my new place that year. The strawberries came back last year, I hope they will this year too.

I have also planted some Marigolds from the seeds my friend Patti gave to me from her garden. I've heard these flowers help to keep the insects away, and believe me, I need all the help I can get to make my garden grow. Ha! The only plant I have been extremely lucky with growing has been the philodendron. I think it is because the plant can actually communicate with me. It gets visibly droopy when it's thirsty so I know when to water it. Many other plants don't show any signs of being thirsty until it is too late and then they just drop dead. So, like I said, I am these little seedlings God in a way, since they really are at my mercy, at least until it is warm enough to put them outside and then they can pray for rain from the real God, in case their pseudo-God, (me) doesn't remember to give them a drink.