Friday, May 30, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week:

1. Got to visit the studio of the Art of Science Learning Artist in Residence, Carrie Crane. Carrie will be using statistical date from the Worcester Incubator to create art. Always interesting to see someone's creative process.

2.  Himself made Sunday Brunch of French Toast on my home-made bread.

3. Found a new television program called Turn. Supposedly based on a true story, it's about the first spy circle during the Revolutionary War. We marathoned watched all the episodes on demand to catch up.

4. After an important errand, Himself and I went to lunch at The Post Office Pub. Good food, good company.

5. Prepared the exemplar and working on lesson plans for Summer classes.

How was your week?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday

When I was 5 years old, I had been very ill. My dad brought home a talking Casper doll for me. I'm sure Ma would have preferred he had bought a Madame Alexander doll, but Casper became my favorite. Lugged Casper around so much his white terry cloth body became a dingy grey. He fell out of bed so often that some of his phrases ran together. Casper would make a ghostie sound. "Oooooo", and also said "I'll play with you." My Casper said, "Ooooo, play with youoooo".

What was your favorite toy when you were little?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Early Morning Bird Song

At first light, usually when farmers and Himself get up to milk the chickens, the birds begin to chirp, and sing. It's a soft, gentle music, a lullaby to slowly drift back to sleep. Until this morning. The quiet dawn was broken by the raucous call of crows. They were cawing and yelling. I wonder what got their feathers in a bunch?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

My Dad is a World War II veteran. He served with his hero, General Douglas MacArthur. Dad (age 25 or 26) is pictured in front of his hero's staff car, 1944 or 1945, Manilla, The Phillipines. Occasionally, Dad would pull duty as the General's driver.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Prize

There seems to be some confusion when I announced in The Friday Five Good Things, I had won a major award. I didn't mean I won a major award like a Nobel Prize or was appointed Poet Laureate. What I referenced was a line from A Christmas Story where Ralphie's father receives a notice in the mail that he won a contest. He dances around the kitchen shouting, "A major award. Hot damn, I won a major award." (Or words to that effect.) (-:

I won a Mother's Day blog contest sponsored by author, Sandra Cox. Sandra writes young adult fantasy, crossover young adult, historic and paranormal romance, and metaphysical nonfiction.

It was a pleasure to look forward to receiving mail that wasn't a bill, and Friday the package arrived. Sandra included her book, Akasha, about a mother's sacrifice to save her child, and a cute, multi-colored, ceramic, pawprint bracelet from The Animal Rescue Site.

Thank you, Sandra, for the goodies. Ink and I are enjoying the book. He likes to wedge himself between me and a book when I read. I wore the bracelet to a meeting and received lots of compliments.

You can visit Sandra at her blog or her website.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Himself had a birthday. For the next two and half months, we are the same age.

2. I won a blog contest. Hot damn, a major award!

3. I indulged in some online, retail therapy.

4. Red came over to help me with some yard work, and to cart stuff to her recycle station.

5. Spent the day with my friend, Teague. We were ladies who lunch and visit art museums.

How was your week?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday

6 in. x 6 in., gouache and Pigma pen. The piece is an
illuminated "A" and was used for an online Christmas
card exchange. The card for 1994 was "Angels We Have
Heard Online."
For Throwback Thursday, the very first piece I submitted to a Worcester Art Museum student art show when I was a student.

Today, the Worcester Art Museum will be celebrating Art Museum Day. Museum admission is free. While you're there, hone your drawing skills by going to the Nude Drawing in The Galleries from 2pm - 5 pm. Drawing materials will be provided.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Robert Redford and the Winter Soldier

A little late to the party, we finally got a chance to see  Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The storyline took a long time to develop. A little less time could have been spent on things blowing up.  The story was entertaining and predictable. No surprises, except legendary actor, Robert Redford, in a small, but crucial role. As usual, he was brilliant, and still has it as an old dude, though I wish he would stop dying his hair for a more natural look.

If you are planning to see the movie at theater, be sure to stay through the entire movie. The end credits are clever and reveal a surprise.

Have you seen the movie?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Predicted downpours during the Commencement exercise, cleared to brilliant sunshine. I was happy for the glorious day, but not prepared for sitting in the sunshine for a couple of hours. No sunblock so face, hands, neck turned to a rosy red.

At home, there was no aloe or after sun on hand to relieve the burn. I turned to the pantry for a jar of coconut oil. I had read an article that besides being a healthy fat to reduce cholesterol, coconut oil was also good as a moisturizer for skin and could take the sting out of sunburn and insect bites.

It worked. A little seems to go along way. The solid fat instantly melts when it comes in contact with warm skin, so it was very easy to apply. The feel was slightly greasy, but the sting was relieved.

The only downside was the coconut oil made me irresistible to Ink. I got lots of kitty kisses or maybe a taste test. I think I heard him making yummy sounds.

The best measure to prevent sunburn is to stay out of the sun or slather your skin with sunblock. Coconut oil seems to be effective for a minor burn or sting where the skin is pink or red. If the burn is more severe and the skin is blistered or broken, you would not want to rub coconut oil into the skin. Seek immediate medical attention for a more severe burn.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Art Museum Day

"Night" outside Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Today is Art Museum Day. Many museums will be offering free admission today. Some museums will be celebrating Art Museum Day on a day close to this date. Check the list to see if a museum is participating in your area.

The Worcester Art Museum will be celebrating Art Museum Day this coming Thursday, 22. May 2014. Museum admission is free. While you're there, hone your drawing skills by going to the Nude Drawing in The Galleries from 2pm - 5 pm. Drawing materials will be provided.

Wake up. Get out of the snow or rain and get yourself some culcha.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

It's Official

The Young One WPI Class of 2014
The Young One is edumacated. Seen here in the recessional armed with her degree, Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media and Game Development. She is wearing a mortarboard with propeller, Steampunk  goggles, and her graduated with distinction cord.

As Freshman, the students were given a beanie, part of the tradition of the school. The Young One loved the beanie and wore it everyday during Freshman year.

Sadly, could not find a suitable hat to wear during Sophomore year.

In her Junior year, I found a rainbow beanie with a red propeller and at an anime convention she found a pair of Steampunk goggles. These became her uniform for the last two years. So, the mortarboard had to have a propeller, and she wore the goggles. Otherwise, the faculty might not have recognized her. (-;

She is passing by the bronze statue of Gompei the Goat, the school mascot.

Well done, Young One. Well done.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Trying to find my way home from the Ecotarium, GPS wanted to send me through Kelley Square, a happy suicide circle (aka rotary or roundabout). I try to avoid Kelley Square and all rotaries at all costs. And by making the GPS yell route recalculation 106 times, I was able to avoid Kelley Square. Whew!

2. The Young One had to bring a transcript of a class she took at another college to the Registrar's office on Monday so it would be recorded, and she could graduate. Afterwards, she took me to lunch at the Campus Center.

3. While eating lunch, she casually mentioned her team had received the Provost Award for Best IMGD MQP. This was the game they developed while they interned at Disney Interactive during the Winter quarter.

4.  She double checked her account to make sure the grade had been recorded and found out she was not only graduating, but graduating with distinction.

5. After lunch,she gave me a new tee shirt, a belated Mother's Day gift.

How was your week?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday

First Communion Day was on 31. March 1963. I was 7 years old. It was cold and rainy. Not the best day for pictures.

Ma wasn't going to let a photo op go by. So here I am all dressed up in my First Communion dress. Date on the photo is May so I suspect this was around Mother's Day before heading to East Boston to visit Grandma and some other relatives. There's another picture of me in the same outfit in my Auntie Emma's (Dad's sister) parlor.

The dress was a hand-me-down from my Cousin D. Because I wore D's hand-me-downs, my Auntie Doti (Ma's sister) called me The Rag Picker.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I'm So Excited

A copy of the Magna Carta will be exhibited at the MFA from 2. July 2014 - 1. September 2014.

The Magna Carta (Great Charter) was signed by King John of England on 15. June 1215. It was the first document to limit the powers of a king and became the inspiration for the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Now to plan an artist date. Who wants to go with me?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

World's Toughest Job

Thank your mother, today, and for good measure, thank your dad, too.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Covering Your Work Surface

What do you use to cover your work surface? I use old MRI or CAT scan film. Himself thinks I'm ghoulish. I think I'm brilliant. (No ego problem here).

 I like to re-purpose things when I can. What else would the films be good for? If you have to go to another doctor for a second opinion, that doctor is going to order his own set of films. Both sets after the diagnosis is reached are useless. Seems a shame to waste the film. It's sturdy, can be washed, and is re-usable. Ghoulish? Perhaps, but thrifty.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. As part of The Art of Science Learning workshop, I rode a bus through the city of Worcester for the first time. The bus was a new hybrid bus. Very clean and no smelly bus fumes.

2. The sun room is now open. The Young One's outgrown desk doubles as table for TV monitor, tuner, DVD player and storage for my art toys.

3. The Young One finished classes on Tuesday. Countdown to graduation.

4. I took a day off to enjoy playing the sun room. Watched Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Law and Order. Worked on graduation card for a young friend and took a nap.

5. Used my grandma's dishes and had tea with Red. Last week, Red was told she may have breast cancer. More tests and a week of worry. The really good news just a false positive test result.

How was your week?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Lion Dance

After a long journey, friend, Master Deb Leong was finally able to realize her dream and open her own karate studio. On Sunday, she had an Open House and what a grand celebration it was. Allan Fung, Mayor of Cranston, RI cut the ribbon opening the new business. The party was done up royally with great food and fabulous cakes, but the high point of the festivities was the Lion Dance performed by the talented Rhode Island Kung Fu Club. The dance is thought to bring good fortune.

I tried to get a video of the dance, but it didn't turn out. This is what it looked like though the lion was purple.

If you're in the Cranston area and are interested in karate classes, you can visit Master Deb's web page: Villari's Martial Arts Center for more information.T'ai Chi and QiGong classes are also offered.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


At the end of 2013, the Higgins Armory Museum closed its doors, and in January 2014, the Worcester Art Museum acquired the entire collection of weapons, suits of armor, helmets, etc. In March, the art museum opened a new exhibit called Knights.

I'm hoping to teach an Introduction to Heraldry class at the museum, this Summer. Illness and time prevented me from seeing the exhibit when it first opened. I had a little bit of time on Thursday, so I thought I'd run in and do some quick note taking for my heraldry class. Part of taking classes at the museum now involves a "field trip(s)" into the collection. The purpose is to relate the art to the class and to get more people to visit the collection more frequently. I wanted to make note of helmet styles, crests and motifs that would appear on a coat of arms.

I had seen the collection many times at the Higgins Armory and was expecting a similar show. Suits of armor, swords, weapons, helmets showing their use in war. The first display in the art museum is a knight astride his horse. Typical. Except the horse is pink. Well, I thought, it must be the museum's interpretation of a strawberry roan horse. Except what I saw when I entered the gallery was very unexpected. Blown away unexpected.

Instead of just the armor, paintings from the time period are displayed on the walls. The Art of War is visually brought to life. As you enter the gallery, you are in the middle of suits of armor and portraits of woman in their Elizabethan style dresses, a courtly romance. Dashing knights in their parade armor (fancy, damascened metal) and women elegantly dressed and bejeweled in their "armor" (jewelry, gowns made from yards of heavy material and (whale)bone stays). Each side ready to engage in the art of courtly love. Breath-taking!

The exhibit is divided into other themes. Helmets from various time periods and cultures are displayed in a round grouping which brings to mind King Arthur and his Round Table. Opposite the helmets is the painting Venus at the Forge of Vulcan. In the painting one can see the elements that are needed to make armor and weapons. (Mining the ore from the earth, smelting, working the metal at a forge and turning the metal into helmets, shields, swords). On another wall, a portrait of a woman  at her vanity carefully picking out the pieces of "armor", the jewelry she will wear. She wears a pearl choker like a knight would wear a gorget (armor to protect the neck and throat).

And from here, you run smack into Batman. No, I'm not kidding. There on display is the molded rubber and black leather costume that Michael Keaton wore in Batman (1989, directed by Tim Burton).  As you look at the armor, you think the knights are dead and long gone.  No longer part of the culture. But there's the Dark Knight in his modern armor and part of pop culture.

There's an arched wall, an Arche du Triomphe, if you will. Leaning against the wall are tall (very tall), pikes, swords, lances, a reminder that these deadly weapons ended lives. A battle may have been won, but the cost was very high.

One of the highlights of visiting the Higgins Museum was the second floor, an area for children where they could try on costumes. I loved trying on the green bean can shaped knights helmet and doing the crayon rubbing of a knight in effigy.Happily, the art museum didn't forget that aspect of the armor collection. There's a kid's corner in the back with big, comfy pillows to rest upon. (I was tempted). Toy chests and I assume they have costumes to try on and pretend) Higgins had a mascot, a dog, called Helmutt, in hunting armor. Veronica Fish illustrated a new Helmutt, Helmutt shows the way to interactive exhibits and his pawprints with Keep Your Paws Off, is a friendly reminder to everyone not to touch the exhibits.  My favorite Helmutt was of him below the portraits of the Renaissance. Helmutt also wore an Elizabethan gown complete with stiff ruffled collar, an imagine yourself dressed like this.

The visitor then wends his way through a passage of swords and daggers from all over the world. Beautifully wrought. Etched and inlaid. Beautiful. And deadly. We can romanticize the era by seeing these pieces out of context, but we shouldn't forget their real function was not beautiful.

On another wall, three early firearms. Carved wooden stocks. Game changers that could stop a knight dead in his tracks.

Entering a small room, like a coffin, haunting and shocking images, from Guns Without Borders in Mexico and Central America featuring twelve images from photographers, Louie Palu and Carlos Javier Ortiz. (On display until 9. November 2014) The images are a reminder that wars are not glorious and not all combatants are soldiers. Lives of children and other innocents are lost in the cross hairs of war.

As I said, the entire exhibit is mind blowing and thought provoking.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Walking in the Rain

The art portion of the workshop was to write a poem about transportation. The inspiration for my poem was our walk across the city, and the pictures I took.

Walking in the rain,
Colorful mushroom umbrellas bloom on the sidewalk.
We pass concrete tubs with bright, green shoots.
Parents wrangle small children,
Like herding cats across busy streets.
I move about easily.
A man in a wheelchair rolls by,
He gifts me with a bright smile,
A treasured blossom on the grey, wet sidewalk.
I try to dodge the puddles so my new, blue shoes won't get soaked.
A row of tulips, red and yellow, are a colorful respite,
From the cold, dreary, busy street.
My hands are red,
Like numb tulips as I try to take pictures and hold maps and papers
I wish I had brought gloves.
Traffic roars by.
We wait for the little man to light up,
And we wait, and wait,
In the rain.
A car stops on the crosswalk,
Oblivious to us.
Pansies nod their faces as we pass by,
Their welcome reminds me of the man in the wheelchair.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Been spending the week cleaning out the sun room. Washed the floor and the walls. Tossed junk.

2. The weather was nice on Sunday so I worked on my journal in the sun room.

3. The weather turned raw and rainy during the week. I'm grateful for the little heater while I work. Still too chilly to spend evenings out there. Even with the heater.

4. I've been moving the furniture around. Want to re-purpose a desk the Young One out grew. The television monitor, cable box, and DVD player will fit on top. I'll be able to put my art things in the drawers. And the room will stay tidy. I hope.

5. Saw a colorful, beach ball on the side of the road. I hope this is a sign the warm weather is just around the corner and not kiss the warm weather good-bye.

How was your week?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Confirmation Day - 1. May 1968
We had 50 catechism questions we had to memorize. As parochial school students we were supposed to know the answers before the question was asked. One of the questions had a very long involved answer and during the preparation classes, we always failed to get the answer correct. Not one of the 48 in my class could get through the entire answer verbatim. As punishment, the day before the ceremony, we had to write out the question and answer 50 times. The assignment was to be delivered to the Monseigneur before the ceremony the following day.

On the morning of the ceremony, my parents took me to Boston to Filene's Department Store to have a formal portrait of the event immortalized. I had only managed to write out the question 47 times and had not finished the assignment. I was very worried I wouldn't be confirmed.

When we got back to the church for the ceremony, I begged my father to deliver my incomplete assignment to the Monseigneur. Dad did.

While robing and lining up for the ceremony, my friend told us she had hand-delivered the assignment to the Monseigneur. Monseigneur didn't even look at the assignment or question my friend. He just took her papers, tore them up, and tossed them in the trash in front of her. I was glad I didn't finish the assignment.