Friday, May 31, 2013

Three Years Ago (Part Two)

My time in Florida is one of my most treasured memories.
In spite of chronic pain and declining health, I was at peace there.
Even though I was, more than tired...I was exhausted,
and every day was a constant unpredictable roller coaster,
my heart aches to return to these the way things used to be.
What I would give for another chance at living.

Monday, May 27, 2013

End of the Month Randomness

May has been a long month. I guess it only feels that way due to all of the tragedy that has occurred. It seems to set life in slow motion for a while, doesn't it? I'm going to attempt to catch up here now...thanks for bearing with me.

Ben's last surgery didn't go as well as hoped, and he's currently in a great deal of pain and needs our prayers and support. He is such a sweet, strong little boy.

I am devastated to see Moore, Oklahoma destroyed again. My heart aches for those who are seriously injured and those who lost loved ones. God bless the children, especially, who experienced this horror. I have family and friends volunteering in Oklahoma. I wish so much that I could be there with them. If you plan to donate or volunteer, I hope you'll consider Operation BBQ Relief or Martie Knows Parties who both have food crews in action at ground zero. Contact them for more info. Of course Red Cross and Salvation Army are there also, as well as several other organizations.

I took a short road trip to Georgia to visit a friend a couple weeks ago. I was so darn lucky that I was able to do this on the day that Brian Boitano was in Atlanta signing books. I have greatly admired him for 25 years, and he is such a friendly, lovely man.

Crossing one off the bucket list! Can't believe it!

I was swollen and weak (Indy the rolling walker is cropped out of the photo), but I handled it pretty well I think. What I didn't handle well was the rest of my visit. I spent a couple nights with friends, but wasn't in good shape and had to cut it short. The drive home was a major struggle and a little bit risky, quite frankly. I'm not sure if I could, or should, try to do that again. It was worth it, but it was hard.

On my drive home, I stopped at my favorite little place in Marietta...a French bakery called Douceur de France. I tweeted Alton Brown and asked him what I should order. He doesn't usually reply (he gets so many tweets) but he did this time.

He said he was shooting a show only a mile away....aww! Wish I could have said hello, and I invited him to take a coffee break (ha) but I knew he wouldn't have done that. Can't blame a girl for trying, though. :) He did suggest the almond croissant, and it was great choice. Loved it! And I love him. I appreciate that he took the time to respond.

Speaking of AB, it's time again for Food Network Star! My blog will be an occasional roller coaster of silly Food Network antics for the next two months. Just thought I'd give y'all the heads up on that. Last year's Food Network Star/Team Alton archive can be found here, if you care.

I've been doing poorly since returning home from Georgia. I haven't recovered much at all, to be honest. I'm back to having very short windows of time each day that I'm upright and functional. Otherwise, I'm flat on my back, and occasionally in paralysis. Doing my best to bounce back from it. Life is very challenging when basic necessities (food, sleep, cold, heat, muscle activity) are the enemy.

For those who have asked, my niece Zoey is doing very well. She was treated for Periodic Breathing and slept with a monitor for several weeks. I'm not sure she's still on it, but I know my brother bought an apnea monitor for long term use. This has happened before in the family, but being their first child, it was still quite scary and stressful. But she's okay, and a perfect little princess!

Last but certainly not least, my thoughts are with those who are remembering someone who fought and died for our country on this Memorial Day. God bless our troops and their families always.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Today was a different day.

So, there are half a dozen cats living on the property, right? I've talked about them before. A few of them have been here longer than I have. Some of them (the males) are mean punks, some of them (the females) are divas...old and pretty and fluffy. I like the girls, but sadly, they don't do human interaction and prefer not to be touched by anything or anybody. This is how it usually goes:

I walk outside. Cats look up at me. Yawn. Blink. I walk across the porch into the driveway, and suddenly they're all like "Oh DRAT, there is that DREADFUL human again, and she's within 10 feet of our presence. The nerve! Let's get outta here." They jump up and scatter. It is like clockwork...daily routine.

Today was a different day.


Needless to say, the felines are thrilled. HA, HA, and HA!

The end.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Praying For Ben

In this recent post, I mentioned that a Facebook friend's son was in a horrible accident. He is still in the hospital undergoing surgery after surgery in an attempt to save his left hand. Ben is such a brave little boy, and I wanted to share some videos with you.

Part One

Part Two

Third Interview

Please keep this sweet boy and his family in your prayers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Three Years Ago (Part 1)

Three years ago today, I was training at the Bob Ross Art Workshop in beautiful New Smyrna Beach, Florida. How quickly things change.

I wasn't well...not by any means. I was on a walking cane, in horrible pain, and sick a lot, but fairly functional and not taking a minute for granted. I made every effort to work part time even though I was on a downhill spiral with permanent weakness due to Periodic Paralysis. At that time, I had no medical help...I appeared somewhat healthy with the exception of the cane, and I couldn't get anyone to listen to me or take my history with the condition seriously even though I had a documented diagnosis.

So, I carried on with life as best as I could. I returned to Florida for training so I could improve my craft and increase business. My students were wonderful, and I desperately didn't want to let them down. I was so happy to be doing what I loved, as seen by the cheesy grin on my face there.

I look at these photos now and wonder how on Earth I did it. It seems so long ago, it's hard to believe that I'm the same person and that is me standing there only 36 months ago. It almost doesn't seem real.

But it was real, and I miss it all so very much.

Friday, May 10, 2013

No Fri Funnies Today. Here's Why...

It has been a sad week, with lots of thoughts and prayers and sleepless nights.

Two high-schoolers in my hometown, Brandon and Caleb, died in a skiing accident. This has crushed the community. Pascagoula is known as one of the 100 best cities to raise a child as it is a very youth-oriented, and when something terrible happens to one of them, everyone is affected. These kids planned to play football for the local community college. Instead, the college has set up a memorial scholarship in their names. Such a terrible loss.

Shortly after this occurred, I got word that a friend's five year old son was in a horrendous accident at an airport hangar. His arms were crushed and his left hand severed. He was rushed via jet to Duke hospital in North Carolina, where he underwent 15+ hours of surgery under a microscope. He has been put back together by an incredible team of surgeons, but there is no blood flow to his left hand and he needs a miracle. Please pray for Ben, and feel free to check his church's website for updates.

It has been a sad week, but let's all count our blessings and look forward to a better one next week.

I'm working on several blog posts and articles. Talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Tangle Project: Baby Elephant

"Baby Elephant"

Acrylic on 9 x 12 Canson Paper
(Matted to 11 x 14)

Tangles are fascinating. I never know what they're going to turn out to be. In fact, I had named this piece something completely different until I uploaded it to my computer. Then I realized I saw a baby elephant. Hope you like. :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Principal Fires Security and Hires Teachers, Transforms School

Via Good News Network

"A school constructed in 2003 for children in Roxbury, Mass., was already mired in violence and failure when principal Andrew Bott showed up in 2010.

He shocked a lot of people when he got rid of the security guards and reinvested that money into the arts.

Soon everything at the K-8 school started to change.

Now, three years later, the school is almost unrecognizable; essays of achievement grace the walls and students from kindergarten to eighth grade fill the revamped studios with dance, music and art.

Besides the colorful posters decorating the hallways, student achievement is rising, test scores are up, and discipline rates are back down."

Read More About This At The Daily Nightly.

I thought this was a beautiful success story. I have seen first hand how the arts can make a difference in a community. I have been both the recipient and the assistant in the genre of therapeutic art, and believe wholeheartedly in its validity and importance. It can truly change a person's life. Its value is priceless.

(Countless Stories and Statistics Here)