My webpage (inc. awards, upcoming events, etc.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

An Outing (Finally)

It's been quite I while since I've been able to get out of the house & not having the use of my "primary" arm has been contributing to some recent stir-craziness. To break up the monotony, Charles & I went to the Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve the other day.

Outside of our house, there were all kinds of funky cloud formations throughout the sky.

I don't know what kind of plants these are, but they grow fairly prolifically at the Flatwoods & all of them were ablaze with surreal colors.

Considering all of our recent rains (this month's been the wettest in history here,) much of the ground was still too sloppy for hiking, so we stuck to the boardwalk.

Charles enjoying the sunset.

I'm pleased to report that all of these shots were taken with my replacement Canon PowerShot A570IS (albeit one-handedly.) It's nice to have my baby back (even though the flash doesn't seem to work.)

In other news, I'm sorry to report that the comment spammers have finally gotten to me, too. As a result I'm activating word verification (at least for a while.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Healing...Slowly but Surely

My shoulder surgery went well. The bone spurs were removed & my rotator cuff wasn't as bad as expected. Unfortunately my labrum was worse--it had to be reattached to the bone with 2 bolts. Instead of the original one week recovery the doctor hoped for, I'm in the middle of three. Although my use is still severely limited & my pain's not completely gone, I feel I've turned a corner recently. I can finally type with 2 hands again. I'm also happy to report that my original shoulder pain is totally gone. That's a wonderful feeling.

A million thanks to Charles for all of his tender loving care. Thanks also to friends who have called &/or e-mailed to see how I'm doing &/or to wish me well, as well as to those who were kind enough to bring me a couple of plates from our recent Abita Artists holiday potluck (which I couldn't attend.)

Happy holidays (where applicable.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shoulder Surgery...Finally

Tomorrow morning I'm going in for shoulder surgery. For those unfamiliar with the story, I've been in pain & have lost much use of my left arm for 3 years now due to bone spurs that have damaged both the muscles of my rotator cuff and the cartilage of my labrum. My "primary care physician" fluffed me off about it (going so far as to actually laugh,) when I first brought it up with him. It's been a long road since then, but now I have a new doctor and look forward to being a lefty again.
Be back soon!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lies DirecTV Told Me (Updated)

From their website; "At DIRECTV, we're committed to bringing you the...best customer service."

Last month I called DirecTV (our satellite provider,) in response to daily, pre-recorded messages on my machine to call them. I asked the friendly guy who answered the phone what they wanted. After looking at my account, he said they just wanted to let me know that I was getting a free month's service! He alluded vaguely to the economic recession & the upcoming holiday season as the reason for DirecTV's sudden & completely uncharacteristic generosity.
Considering that I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, I requested proof in writing. He assured me that he have something sent out & that my next bill would show a $0 balance.
Of course, my next bill was for the usual $60ish. I called back to report the CSR's blatant fraud. My account showed that, on the date in question, a "duplicate bill" had been requested (probably in response to my request for proof "in writing.") This CSR was very understanding & apologetic & I maintained a calm & professional demeanor. I requested that the issue be forwarded to their superiors & I've never heard about it again.

If you're considering DirecTV, consider how they treat long-term customers who always pay on time. If you get satellite TV from Dish Network or any other providers, please let me know what you think of them. On the other hand, I lived (very happily) without TV for 9 years in the past...

Feel free to share your stories of "customer service," good OR bad.

(Update, 12/28/09; After further contact with DirecTV about the issue--ME contacting THEM & not allowing them to just fluff me off--I was given 3 free months of Showtime, a $15 "value." Considering there's very little on Showtime worth watching, I'm not very pleased & I continue researching other TV providers.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Astronomically Speaking

The Geminid meteor shower is coming. The Geminids have been getting stronger for years now (the website linked above explains why & gives all of this year's details.) With the New Moon coming up Dec. 16th, this year's shower will be free of invasive moonlight. The peak will be around midnight (as opposed to the usual predawn/4-6am of most showers,) but Geminids tend to last a while, so off-peak viewing should be satisfying as well. With all of the positive aspects of this shower (one of my Winter favorites,) hopefully the weather cooperates!

In other news, I completed a new painting, "Supernova" (it is not the image featured in this post, which was an airbrush work I did long ago.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy American Thanksgiving & Such

I completed another painting out in our backyard the other day. It's one of my largest works, involving the hose & 3 jars of severely watered-down paint. It was purely experimental, a lot of fun & a great stress reliever.
Yesterday I rec'd some lovely art cards I'd won from my Canadian blog-friend, Michelle. A truly uber-talented artist, I strongly recommend a visit to her site. Make sure to bookmark it so you can go back for more!
Today I swapped out some of my paintings for photos at Phil's Grill. Perhaps Black Friday will help get me out of the red (& garner some extra funds for art programs at local schools, which is what PHILanthropy is all about.)
A few hours ago I put Charles on a plane to go see his family. Not a big holiday person, I'm looking forward to some quiet days off filled with no shopping, major cooking or piles of dishes, but I already miss Charles.

Happy American Thanksgiving to everyone, wherever you are in the world. Take a few moments to set aside the stresses and frustrations of modern life and consider your blessings. Make sure that your loved ones know how you feel about them. Love is good for everyone.

(Full credit to the South Park people for
today's image of Gobbles, the turkey.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lake Ramsay & New Painting

We hadn't been there in a long, long time, so Charles & I went for a hike at Lake Ramsay the other day. Due to the denseness of the woods & the time of day, there wasn't much I could shoot without my flash, but we had a great time, anyway. I always love coming out in the restored pine savanna, which is the farthest point from the parking lot (if one can call it that.) We made it just in time for sunset, which meant a mad dash back to the car in rapidly fading light.




In other news, I completed another painting; "Morning on the Bayou." I've put many of my available paintings on sale & am now accepting orders for the holidays.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Birds, Art, Space & My Blogaversary

The chipping sparrows that Winter around our place started returning on Halloween, a bit earlier than normal. Soon dozens of them will take over the yard, forcing the "regulars" to share...grudgingly, at best. We've also had an Eastern bluebird or two plucking insects from the front yard. Yesterday & today an Eastern phoebe alit on our porch railing--a first here at the Hermitage. For a few days we had a couple of indigo buntings around. Like the blue grosbeaks I spotted in late August, they're normally seen here only in April, when migrating north. It seems like now they're starting to hit our yard going both ways.

In art news, I sold 3 paintings last night at Arts Evening (hooray!) and I'm now onto preparing for a solo photo show in Hammond, LA (details TBA.)

Astronomically speaking, tomorrow Mars is in conjunction with the last quarter moon. We're also in the middle of the Taurid meteor shower, which makes up for low quantity with high quality; long, slow-moving, potentially colorful meteors and sometimes even bolides (aka; fireballs.) Nov. 12th the moon will be in conjunction with Saturn. Get out there & have a look.

In blogging news, my 2nd blogaversary was Nov. 5th.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Arts Evening

Sat., Nov. 7th, 4-8:30pm, I'll be displaying/selling my art and photography at Arts Evening in Slidell, LA. Download the brochure here. I'll be at "Postal Plus," 155 Robert St.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Other Birds from Fontainebleau

More birds from Fontainebleau State Park the other morning...

Brown pelicans (our state bird,) at sunrise.

Grebes (probably pied-billed, which I've seen here before.)

One of many red-bellied woodpeckers. These birds are prolific throughout our area.

Juvenile red-headed woodpecker. We're always glad to see juveniles, as these birds are threatened.

Adult red-headed woodpecker with acorn.

Northern mockingbird. This one has been hanging around the same area for at least a year now.

My first sighting of a loggerhead shrike.

Great egret in the distance.

One of 2 or 3 northern flickers, the first I've seen in many years.

Great blue herons.

Some of many dozens of red-winged blackbirds.

One of a couple of Caspian terns.

Probably an Eastern phoebe.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Heron Fight

This morning Charles & I went for a sunrise hike at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, LA. Although the sunrise was lovely & we saw all kinds of birds, a fight between 2 tricolored (aka; "Louisiana") herons stole the show.





The chase is on!

And the winner is...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blog Changes (Updated)

For those who hadn't noticed, I changed how I blog a while back. To make things easier on those looking for my paintings &/or photos (including me,) I've started blogs featuring just those subjects. This will continue to be my "personal" blog (& will include photography, art news, etc.,) but the other blogs feature my visual arts as a primary focus.

(Update, Spring 2010; The visual arts blogs proved inefficient, so I opted for a website instead.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Baton Rouge & the LBF

Today was Charles' presentation and signing at the Louisiana Book Festival, which is held on the grounds of the state capitol building in Baton Rouge. This was my first real visit to the area and the weather was perfect. Regardless, like a dolt, I got sunburned again.

Charles' presentation was located in one of the meeting rooms in the capitol building (tallest in the U.S.,) and scheduled for the first slots of the day.

The presentation went well. I admire Charles' ability to talk in front of a crowd (something I'm typically unable to do.)

Outside of the book signing tent; Mardi Gras beads in a magnolia tree. Does it get more Louisianan than that?

The reflections in this hallway (in the capitol,) were lovely. Still, I was surprised at how dimly lit the interior of the capitol building was--as though everything that transpires there is done in the comfort of the shadows.

The lobby of the capitol building.

Our state seal.

The state library, where the Author's party was held the previous evening. I have 2 words to say about that party; chocolate fountain.

I didn't expect to run into Dorothy and Toto from the Wizard of Oz.

I'm not a "churchy" person, but this shot of the spire of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in the sun had to be taken.

Reflections in a building on our way back to the car.

Next time out, I swear I'm bringing my sun hat!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Charles' Birthday & News

Today is Charles' birthday (yesterday was mine.) He likes to act like he's turning 90, but I know better. I do appreciate the signs of aging a lot more (neither of us are Spring chickens anymore,) but despite our increasing gray hair, I'm sure we have quite a few good years still ahead. Please feel free to pop over to his blog & wish him a happy birthday.
This weekend we're going to Baton Rouge, where Charles is scheduled as a featured author at this year's Louisiana Book Festival. I'm very excited for him & look forward to it. Next weekend he has a book signing at the Tale of Two Sisters Bookstore.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2nd Anniversary & Other Stuff

Today's Charles' & my 2nd wedding anniversary. As I write this he's up on the roof, cleaning off debris & looking for a possible leak (I noticed stains on the ceiling in the den today, unfortunately.) Despite the perils of homeownership, I'm still very happy. Charles has been a blessing in my life & I wouldn't trade him for the world.
Today's also Abita Artists' "Meet the Artists" reception at the Trailhead Museum, so I'll have to leave my honeydumplins for a few hours to go shmooze. I'm no good at shmoozing. Fortunately wine will be available. In other, good, art news, one of my pieces has already sold at Phil's Grill (a restaurant in Hammond, LA.) I only brought my stuff out there a week ago.
I wandered around our yard again yesterday, around sunset, & found many bumblebees sleeping among our copious amounts of goldenrod (click on photo to enlarge.) I'd heard of this, but never saw it myself. Often they're mistaken for being dead, but come the warmth of tomorrow's sun & a morning nip of nectar (akin to bee coffee, I suppose,) they'll be up & buzzing around anew. Have you ever seen a sleeping bumblebee?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ARTober Fest


Abita Artists is holding it's first show, "ARTober Fest" Oct. 9-11 at the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum. Members will be onsite throughout the duration of the show, but we're having a "meet the artists" reception/party on Oct. 11th, from 3-5pm (refreshments & music will be provided.) We're all greatly looking forward to it & appreciate the support of the Trailhead Museum. 30% of all sales go to their benefit.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fontainebleau...Finally

We didn't end up camping at Fontainebleau State Park (the skies clouded over heavily in the late afternoon,) but we did go for a hike, at least. I've been looking forward to getting back here, as I love the proliferation of flora and fauna, but it was still pretty hot. Foolishly, I ended up getting a pretty good sunburn.

Some kind of skipper on some kind of flower.

Deceased monarch butterfly.

Gulf fritillary butterfly.

Buckeye butterfly.

Hawaiian beet webworm moth. Thanks to Ron M. at bugguide.net for the ID!

Chrysallises. There were dozens of them on one tree.

Spanish moss draped live oak tree.

Paper wasps' nest.

One of 3 or 4 tricolored (aka "Louisiana") herons at the marsh.

This was the first time I'd seen a tricolored heron (for certain.)

There were also mockingbirds, killdeer and dragonflies, but the tricolored herons & the plethora of various butterflies really stole today's show.
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