Friday, July 30, 2010

Mitzvah Friday

Yesterday (Thursday) I drove from LA to San Diego, worked there for the day, then flew to San Francisco and then to San Luis Obispo. A long, long 14 hour day - hot sweaty and yucky.

So what was my good deed?

There was a lovely lady in front of me in the security line with an adorable 18 month old girl and another expected in about 10 minutes from what I could see. She had about 10 things to carry and her little girl really wanted to play with everything that she was putting onto the security line.

So my good deed was to distract that little adorable girl while her mom struggled with all her stuff and going thru the line and X ray and everything. I got the kid smiling and happy and distracted her a bit. They all got thru the line and we went our separate ways.

Little things eh?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Animal Wednesday - kittens

I am away for the week on business and visiting family but am posting this funny video in advance - TOO cute

Kittens and boxing


My favorite part of superbowl season is the funny "Puppy bowl" that Animal Planet puts on at the same time. Have you ever seen it? Cracks me up every year!!!

Puppies and Kittens - wonderful!!


Monday, July 26, 2010

video

We went bike riding yesterday to one of my favorite rides in a state forest. My all time favorite part of this favorite ride is at the end, there is a long stretch of road that I can go fast on, and it's downhill and just plain fun.

So I dug out the little camera, turned it on and got this video which I hope you can see.

A few other photos from the day - a wild Sweet pea - there were millions of these all over the fields.


Bikes on the ground - this was after a long uphill ride - we laid out on the turf and recovered.


The following two photos are from Saturday when we went for a drive to the Blackstone Valley - which is on the MA/RI border. We went into Woonsocket and saw two signs that I couldn't resist.

The first one is so funny - African Dry Goods? Note on the side that there is a list of bill paying and money items...and then Incense. Odd mix of items


This one has to be one of my favorite signs of all times. Seen on the side of a bar/restaurant. This one goes into the "Strange sign Hall of Fame" as far as I'm concerned. Look at the tongues!!! Everyone knows that the moon and stars don't have tongues!!!

Have a lovely week, I am off on a business trip for the week.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not so many Mitzvahs this week.

Altho' I did give to the homeless animals who's families can't keep them because of the damn BP oil spill; and I did a pledge to Bernie's Place to help her out.

On the other hand, I - along with many others in my group - were gleefully giggling at the end of the day Friday because of others discomfiture. Here's the story. I have mentioned that my division is getting sold off from my big corporation. The corporate people haven't been real pleasant to deal with - somewhat " we're still in paradise" attitude, and really pretty snarky towards us poor losers who are getting sold off.

Today we found out that the WHOLE COMPANY might be sold off!! It actually would probably be great for us, as the stock price will rise and who's going to argue with more money in one's pocket. But there were also a few quiet grins and snickers at the expense of the people who ahve been snobbishly avoiding us and are who are now trying to be pathetically friendly. I did actually feel a bit guilty at feeling smug on a Mitzvah Friday - but I got over it.

So here I am, a mean girl, feeling a bit happy that someone else might be suffering too. The best deed that I can claim is that I didn't say anything to anyone who was feeling down - I did not gloat, I didn't snicker.

I owe two for next week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Animal Wednesday - a bunch of unconnected stories and one drawing

Not much for me today with animals! No new pictures, no new drawings - bad blogger mim.

But, I do think that everyone should check out Bernie's place and how to help her help animals. She's continually challenged with taking more and more animals in and she does it on such a shoestring.

I also heard that so many animals are being turned into shelters because of the oil spill. People who have lost their lively-hood can't afford to keep their pets - so it's all double heartbreaking. You can be sure where my weekly good deed is going to go.

On another note, my mom told me yesterday that she went to see some Labradoodle puppies, and luckily did not come home with one. She has on and off again wanted a pet and we are encouraging her to look for a smallish dog or an older rescue dog - but she hasn't seen one who's face she likes (I actually can understand that sentiment- we like particular dog faces in our family). My biggest concern is that she will get a pup that she can't handle and then try to get me to take it. Or a big dog that will pull her down. I've had to point out to her that she is 87 years old, and dogs live about 15 years or more and she is 87...so 87+15 means that I will end up with her dog, poorly trained probably and spoiled - which my hubby would probably NOT like, and she needs to be sensible....but she isn't. Which, in all honesty, I understand. The problem is that she wants a dog with a good face, who isn't small, and who doesn't shed. That's not easy to find at a shelter - we have checked out poodle rescue but she doesn't like their faces. She likes Lab faces. ARGHHHH.

I also have another animal story. When Roy was here this weekend, he and DH went kayaking for the day on Monday. Roy came home a bit wet - which I can completely relate to as I ALWAYS fall in the water when kayaking. I sympathetically asked him if he fell in - and I got a long story in response about how NO...he didn't fall in...he WENT in to protect his friend against a flotilla of marauding beavers who were charging them with intent to harm. He wasn't clumsy or uncoordinated - he was BRAVE!!! I asked for pictures and got none. I'm a bit suspicious of this evil beaver story - whadda ya think??

I showed him this picture of little girly water lily girls feeding a beaver - and if they can be brave, so can he I said.

He said that Monday's beavers were wearing war helmets, and carrying spears.

So, what started out as an apology post for not having anything animal has turned into a long convoluted post about animals. Guess that's OK.

So anyway...happy Animal Wednesday to you all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

not much

This was supposed to be a video of the bike trail. I turned on the video thing on my camera and let it record while I rode along the trail. It was a pretty boring video but silly enough to post. But blogger won't let me - I've tried three time and keep getting an error message. I think blogger is protesting my lack of sophistication in blog design - do you agree?

This was from Saturday - it was about 900 degrees out but the bike trail felt good cause we got a breeze.

We've had a friend up from North Carolina and I picked him up on Sunday afternoon in the city, in the little car which has a stick shift. I look great in that car, top down, hair flying in the breeze until I try to make it go.

Shift into first - hold my breath - start to go - shift into second - jerk, jerk, squeal, stop. Ooops, sorry - start the car again and try all over again. Roy was laughing so hard he was NO help at all. I got him home tho and we had a lovely visit.

We drove him to the city last night where he is staying for a business meeting - left the house at around 9:30. JUST when the big storm was hitting us. Before we got on the highway, he realized that he had left something at the house, so we had to turn back. Coming down our street we nearly ran into a big tree that was down across the whole road. Thank goodness for new tires and good brakes.
Of course he found his wallet in the car, under the seat.

Darn Blogger - still won't let me upload that creative video. Maybe another day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mitzvah Friday

One good deed that I am going to do for myself is not to obsess about posting on Fridays. If a good deed is done that one wants to share - so be it. If not...it's all OK.

In addition to quite a huge haul to Goodwill of clothes and shoes, all of which are in great condition, I painted a postcard for my brother of the house we stayed at in Lucca, Italy. It's a quick watercolor - and I hope he likes it. Tiny reminder of a fun week.

(yes, this is the same postcard that I posted earlier in the week - I got excited and confused about posting dates...)

I heard about this group and am looking into how to help. I like helping with something that gives directly to people, or directly helping animals or people without going thru a huge organization. I donated to help with a package being sent, but am investigating other ways to support them.

Have a lovely weekend

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Buried Treasure

I'm participating in Seth's Buried Treasure blog post and am reposting my own buried treasure post - from..... January 16th, 2010

I don't know exactly why this is my favorite post - I thought I'd do one with artwork; Miss Em or some fish - but this one was about adventure, which must be my favorite of all.

Thanks Seth for the opportunity to go treasure hunting!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Animal Wednesday - a new type of camera



I got this funny camera as a sort of a gag. It's binoculars with a camera built in. It comes with a photo management system that is just awful - won't let me do anything with the pictures but email them to myself...from my own computer!! We took it on a bike trail this weekend and I tried to get some good pictures of an Osprey that is nesting off one of the trails.

The first picture is with my regular little point and shoot camera - zoomed out to it's closest. The second one is with the binocular camera. Fuzzy and not great but I can get in closer with that camera. The third one is a cropped blown up version of the first one.

No doubt about it = I need a better camera with a good zoom lens.

We also got this egret - he was kind of far off and didn't come out too bad right?

Happy Animal Wednesday everyone!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Grid

I came home from Italy with a gorgeous photos and I wanted to try my hand at painting the Lucca house - it had such a gorgeous color which changed thruout the day.

So I started trying to draw from this picture.




I drew...and erased...and drew again, and mumbled and sniffed back tears. I just couldn't get it right.

Then DH came downstairs at JUST THE RIGHT TIME and when he saw the trouble I was having said..."why don't you try a grid?"

"What's a grid" I asked.

So he showed me and it was like a new tool was put into my hands. I drew and redrew this house three times, and here are the results.

Number 1 6 x 20 inch watercolor paper. I had no idea how to do misty mountains and went onto Youtube after this attempt and got some instructions. But who cares!!! with the grid I can do it all again if I want to!!! (lousy photo, flash isn't working on my camera anymore)


Then I did a 7 x 10 hot pressed watercolor paper one.


And a little cold pressed watercolor postcard to send to the family.

I might even try acrylics next....

Have you tried the GRID???? Try it, it's fun.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mitzvah Friday

I'm not an observant Jew really, I don't belong to a temple, and don't follow all the rules and regulations - never was good at that. But there are certain items that have stayed with me from my early teachings - things that I believe in and think about often. One of those is the commandment to perform Mitzvahs - there are 613 (or 620 depending on your reference) mitzvahs that should be performed. I'm really not sure if you are supposed to perform them yearly, or in your life...or what. I'll do more research on that later.

The term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness.

Michele has an idea to do good deeds on Friday - at least to account for the ones that you have done during the week. Sometimes it's not easy and the good deed (mitzvah) turns out to be NOT yelling at the idiot who cut you off in the grocery line - or other very human stuff.

I haven't been very good at thinking about doing good deeds for others - somewhat self involved I am. But then I think of people like Tessa - who does SO many good deeds and reminds us all - gently - to think of others, to give, to be grateful for what we have, to welcome being human but to keep trying - keep trying to be a better person. Tessa has turned me onto supporting Dr. Maithri Goonetilleke - a doctor who works in Africa helping families devastated by AIDS and poverty. I have purchased a few items from Tessa to support this cause - beautiful artwork for pennies - to help a good man and his cause.

I am going to continue to support this good cause - and others. Sometimes it will be with straight cash donations. Sometimes with sales of items and donated profits. Maybe someday it will be with personal help - I just don't know. I am going to find my own way to help with causes that are near to my heart.

Today's good deed was donating to the International Bird Rescue Research Center thru Ripple - to help with the horrible effects of the oil spill. I get two lovely little pieces of art for this donation - so it's still a bit selfish to call this an actual good deed don't you think? But I'm going to because I need to start somewhere.....

I'd like to spend a few minutes on Friday thinking of good deeds that I have done during the week - be they minor, or major. I believe that if I think about accounting for good deeds, that will make me think about it more, and think about how to bring performing mitzvahs into my life on a regular basis.

Michele had a good idea to think of this on fridays - don't you think???

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Italian Animal Wednesday

This guy hung around with us most evenings while we were in Lucca. Friendly kitty, not adverse to a bowl of milk or a piece of fish. We didn't know where he went during the day, but was there to great us in the morning and again at night. Nice to have a pet around.
I have over 400 pictures from this trip and my brother must have over 500. I'm waiting to get his, and will then post on Flickr or similar for overall viewing.

We stayed in a villa in Lucca which was at the top of a large high almost mountain - so it was cool at night. This is the view from the outdoor eating/pool/hanging out area. Can you believe this view??? I must have taken 20 pictures of this - in the morning, at dusk etc. We're talking grape vines and olive trees, surrounded by lavender and sage and rosemary plants.



This was the awesome pool - which we spend quite a bit of time in and around. It had underwater viewing windows and I got great shots of my brother and nephew swimming around. They tried to moon me thru the window but I didn't see it (darn).


The house itself had been an abandoned house/barn - which was in such a state of disrepair that I couldn't believe the pictures. It took them 8 years to restore it, with tons of red tape from local bureaucrats - but that's Italy....right?

Again, I took tons of pictures of the house, because it kept changing colors in the different lights. It glowed in the morning light and was cool and calm in the evening. It was wonderful at all times of the day. We slept in the houses but hung out by the pool which had a huge common room with full kitchen and pool table.


This outdoor shower was surrounded by rosemary bushes. You know where I took a shower everyday and maybe more than once a day. I loved this shower.

A row of buildings in Lucca - love the colors.


My sister walking up a street in the city - no cars allowed in this city so we walked or rented bikes to get around or to sight see. The city is surrounded by huge walls, and you can ride on top of them and go all around the city.

Random window seen on our last day in the city - Friday. And when packing up that night to leave early the next day...we found out that my computer had been stolen. Yes sirreee - stolen right from the villa. I had to go to the local Carbinieri office and put in a stolen computer report. Have you ever been in an Italian Police office? It looks just like you'd think - all painted sickly green, with a Cross on the wall, and articles stating what a good police office this is. The officer had more little metals on his chest than a 5 star general. It was just classic. Of course I'll never get it back, and spent the night changing credit card log on numbers - just in case I had them listed on my computer somewhere.

It's always something...but it was just a darn old computer. Hopefully pretty well backed up but we'll also see about that when I get my new one at work.

We left on Saturday morning and drove to Rome but stopped in Siena for a quick visit. The famous horse race, the Palio, had been held the previous day - so the crowds had thinned out and we had a chance to see some of the city with minimal crowds. The flags are flying on this street because this is the section that had won the Palio the previous day. At least I think so, even tho Wikipedia says different...

ALL the streets in this city go up and down, great for the legs but hard in the 90+ degree heat. We stayed in the shade as much as possible....

A view of the roofs as we were leaving - I want to spend more time in this city, it's so beautiful.

We got to Rome that evening, here is a picture of the famous Bernini Trevi Fountain - the "three coins in a fountain" one. I love it, it's a great place to sit and watch Rome go by....


And we stayed in a gorgeous villa on the outer limits of Rome - an amazing place with a Romanian couple who house kept the place. I wanted to move right in - it was that luxurious.


The living room - all marble floors and high ceilings.


Everyone watching the World cup that night



My brother-in-law Abdul came over that night with a home made Afghan feast - which we all love (and love him) He is truly one of the kindest, most honest people I have met in my life. My sister is 14 years older than me, and Abdul is about 12 years older than her...so he's not of my generation but more of an uncle to me in a way. He and Stef got married in 1969 - so it's been a while. (note: my folks got married in 1949, Stef in '69, me in '79 and my brother in '89 - and we didn't plan it that way!)

Here are mom and Jody looking at one of those living statues that are on the street - looking for a bit of a handout. We saw a live statue of liberty, and a sphinx and a few others. I was planning on showing you the statues, as well as some additional famous fountains but blogger has decided that I am at my photo limit for this post - so no go!!

We made sure to hold hands with mom on all the streets - hoping to stave off a face plant. It worked...one of us held onto her at all times as she stumbled her way on the cobblestones. She was a good sport, but the heat got to her as it did to us all.

So...here I am home, jetlagged, but happy to be home.

Maybe more pictures when I get them from my brother.....

Happy Animal Wednesday!!!







PS: as for KJ's questions...

Did eat non stop? - I tried not to...but it was hard
Did you like Italian men? ah yup...didn't see one that was hard on the eyes.
Did you sketch? - Nope...well maybe once but nope....
Relax? yup - lots
Drink red wine? - mostly white and very little, I'm a lightweight when it comes to wine
What did ms em do - she frolicked in the garden, sniffing the lavender, she tried to look italian, she ate pasta, she slept in, she flirted with cute guys, she bought a gorgeous leather purse.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A quick Hello

Got back from Italy last night and am in the process of unpacking, downloading photo's, laundry, organizing prosents etc, etc......

Photo show coming soon....

Good to be home....