Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sheila's Art Therapy

It is my turn. Unlike Walt, who creates original art, I make crafts (meaning, I copy what other people do but don't have any original creative ideas on my own). I make cards for therapy, to forget how hard the workday was and to do something besides falling asleep in front of the TV. Besides, card making is not a precise art form...the layers and occasional crooked stamps lend themselves to a quaintness that is acceptable (I hope!). And, while I'm on the subject, I enjoy sending things the old-fashioned way - through the post office. There is something cool about getting mail in the mailbox, and something sad about losing the art of personalized, handwritten notes in the age of quick email and text messages. So, I will take a moment to engage in a shameless promotion: you, too, can make cards...feel free to contact me for a Stampin' Up! catalog and get started on your own crafting journey (money is tight right now, but you can make great cards for a small investment in deserve to treat yourself to some inexpensive fun). Here are some of the latest cards I've made (I mean, copied from others):

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

April Fool's Day

Did you know...? Pranks on April Fool's Day are only suppose to last until noon. In fact, most holidays that originated in Western Europe are meant to be celebrated from sundown the day before until noon of the actual day. For example, Christmas Eve was traditionally the most important and most sacred time of the Christmas celebration, carrying over into the morning hours, but ending by noon.

So, on April 1st, get all your jokes and gags finished before noon, or you will be the April Fool!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Walt's Drawings, Part 2

Here are a few more of Walt's drawings. By now, he has over a hundred really cool pieces, including zombies, robots, portraits, and many other subject. Walt has taught himself over the last two years. Interestingly, when Walt was in elementary school, he favored his left hand. At that time left-handedness was discouraged, so he was forced to write with his right hand. Walt grew up with terrible handwriting! He had a hard time forming letters and a harder time with 2D art. So, he simply started practicing (I shouldn't say "simply" because he worked at it and persevered and studied a lot of artwork). Now, he is showing real talent, if you ask me! Enjoy these drawings:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Walt's Drawings

Walt is working on lots of drawings, mailing postcards around the world to "goons", and trying ATCs. Here are some examples:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Top Five Destinations

Just in case you visit this blog more than once, I am going to follow in David Letterman's footsteps and create my own lists, only his are TOP TENS and mine will be TOP FIVES. Here is the first, but watch for plenty more!

While Walt and I have visited 17 countries in the last 10 years (and just had to get our passports renewed), there are so many places we want to go. If only we could stop heading back to London, our favorite place, and try new destinations. Here are the top five places I would like to visit right now, and the reasons why:

1. Argentina - because my friend Ingrid says the cream is fresh and the eggs have brighter yolks.
2. The Big Island of Hawaii - because I was there for the summer of '85, but Walt has never been.
3. Prince Edward Island in Canada - because my friend Jennifer has the most amazing pictures of her trip there.
4. Japan - because I want to see the memorials to the victims of the two bombs dropped in the 1940s.
5. Kenya - because I believe that I will find a tour group who houses us in tents, so I can wake up in the morning and see exotic, wild animals right outside my door.

Meet The Family

Here are our children:

1. Kurgan is the tubby one. She is so sweet and so tormented by the other cats. In the daytime, she barely fits in a basket that we got for Xmas, which she now owns and we can't put away. At night, she sleeps between our pillows and we keep her safe from the other cats. She is 14 years old.

2. Jameson is the smart one. I swear she was a human in a past life. She only wants to eat whatever we are eating, only wants fresh water from the tap, and has an amazing vocabulary. She was born in July 2000.

3. Hugh (real name is "Third of Five" from a Star Trek episode) is the old lady. We found her in a tree three days after we kept hearing meows. Poor baby. She acts like an old person and gets really mad if we don't leave the heating pad on low for her to sleep on all day. She is 13....going on 20.

4. Renfield is also 14 and is Kirgan's sister, but she is super skinny. She always has been. She is literally dumb as a post. Lately she has been throwing up a lot and we are worried about her. Ren can spot a fresh glass of ice water a mile away, and will be drinking it before you even sit down to drink it yourself.
(Picture of Renfield will be uploaded soon - when we get a good one (she is not that photogenic).

5. Nelson is about 4 years old. She was forced upon us (thanks a lot, Angela). She is mean as hell. We have come to realize that she has all of the symptoms of Asberger's Syndrome. Now that we know that, we get along a lot better with her...we know when she is receptive and when she is ready to kill us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Life Is A Terminal Condition

I'm going to have a little talk with myself...and you are welcome to listen in. It seems that I get up every morning and one of the first thoughts in my head is "why?". Why do I have to get up? Why do I have to go to work? Why do I have to clean the house? And, it is not "why" in a good, challenging way, but in a very negative way. Like everything that I'm facing is a bummer. Those negative pathways seem burned into my brain and are hard to overcome. But deep down inside there is a small, positive voice that is trying to be heard, and is whispering "get over it and be grateful". Why don't I get up each day and think how glad I am to be alive, to have a job, to have a house, to have friends and hobbies?

Yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking of the people who are important to me who have died. Those people, especially my dad, would trade me in a minute for another chance to see a sunrise, eat something yummy, call a relative, sit in a comfy chair, just watch TV. He would appreciate another opportunity for why do I so frequently take a negative point of view?

Meet Tom Smith. When my dad died I formed a relationship with Tom that made him feel like my second father. He was a janitor at my school, but, really, was a wiseman in disguise. Every day, he laughed, talked, and taught me about the world. He helped me get my first passport and opened up the entire world to me by encouraging me to travel. He would frequently go to foreign countries and talk to cab drivers and store clerks and get to know real people. He visited homes of strangers in South America and schools in China because he was willing to talk to them and get to know them and they sensed he was interested in them. He LOVED life and loved people and always enjoyed each day. When he came across a hardship at work, he would take it in stride and never utter a bad word. He died 30 months ago and left a void in my heart that might never be filled. However, he taught me that the world is mine and that travel will expand my mind and my perspectives like no other experience. Thanks to Tom, Walt and I have traveled to Europe 12 times. Thanks to Tom, my mom went to Europe several times and to China. He was brave, and true, and honest, and positive...qualities I often lack.

If I could just wake up each day and view life and people like Tom did, I would be happier and so would the people around me. I would be proactive instead of reactive. I would feel a connection to people instead of a fear of them. I would view the beauty of the world instead of focusing on the drudgery. This is a message I heard from my father and from Tom, and this is my ongoing goal, my desire for personal reform.
You would have liked both men...and I miss them both terribly. Maybe I can get up tomorrow and try to be more like them. Whatever happens, life is, indeed, at terminal condition.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Colin Powell says Pull Up Your Pants and Go To School!

Colin Powell was recently featured on CNN talking directly to kids. Watch this...every word he says is golden.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apology Given, Forgiveness Requested

Since we are new to this whole blogging thing, it seems logical to start with an apology. We apologize for making a bunch of mistakes as we try to figure out how to do this (yes, we are reading Blogging For Dummies). We apologize for not knowing how to make the correct links so you can view our recipes, art, and photos (we will learn how, soon, I hope). We apologize for not blogging daily like we should - our blogging schedule totally depends on how much school work we bring home each night. Finally, we apologize if we bore or offend you in any way...and we probably will. Stick with us and we promise this blog will grow and get better each day...until then, we ask your forgiveness for the many bumps along the way.

In the meantime, you will LOVE this recipe for Lemon Posset - it is a strange Italian pudding that is very, very bad for you. Take 600 ml of heavy cream (get the white bottle from Trader Joes and use the whole thing) and mix it in a saucepan with 2/3 cup sugar. Turn the fire on medium and bring to a boil. The minute it starts boiling, set your timer for 3 minutes exactly - no more, no less. After 3 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the juice from 2-3 fresh lemons (if they are small, use 3). Pour into bowls and refrigerate for a few hours. This is weird, I'm warning you, but delicious as well. It has a thick layer on top and a thinner, runny layer on the bottom, and, yes, it is supposed to be that way. We first ate this at our favorite restaurant in London - Pret A Manger. I never thought I'd be able to reproduce it at home, but this recipe is exactly right. A little goes a long way, but I swear I could eat the whole thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Getting Started

Getting older, getting tired each day at work...I started getting home each day and sitting in front of the TV. By bedtime, I would lament that nothing important had been accomplished during the evening, and feeling a bit like a failure. Stephen DeStaebler said, "Artists don't get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the pain of not working." Needless to say, the pain of being worthless motivated me to get started. Walt even drew this picture one evening to serve as my "intervention" and remind me of my artistic goals.