My Picture from Megan

Megan, my daughter, painted an absolutely stunning watercolor and gave it to me.  I finally had time to go get it framed and matted and here is the final product.  The mat is not quite as red as it appears here, bad lighting.  It is a coral color and really makes the painting stand out!  I think she did an awesome job!  What say you?

Took the Kids to the Lake...

...this evening and took some pictures. It was a nice after supper activity.  I got some decent pics of Jessa and of Jessa and Charles.  The one of Jessa has some camera shake.  Unfortunately, I forgot my tripod like a dummy.  Will have to go back and do a retake with close to the same light.  I hope I can recreate it.

Honey Creek Road Looking West
Charles and Jessa at the Scenic Overlook

This is the one of Jessa that shows the camera shake, but I still love it.

Looking West from the Big Rock House

Another one of Jessa and Charles

Another one looking West from the Rock House but taken at an angle
I love this one taken at the entrance to Dripping Springs

Nice, Quiet Day...

...on the home front.  I have read a small amount of a book by Djuna Barnes entitled Nightwood and I can already tell it will be another book I hate.  It is so far, a very difficult read and I hate that.  I do not understand half of what it is saying.  I have to have the first four chapters read by Monday, so I will doing that as well as writing my paper that is due Tuesday.  I really do not think I will have problems with the paper as I already have my topic and a good idea of what I want to write, so that should be a big help.

I went to Worship Practice this am, and then came home and did laundry and relaxed.  Trixie and Buddy have been fighting horribly when Jessa and Charles are here.  No clue why, but it is non-stop and getting old.  Anyway, not much else to say as it has been a relatively quiet day and I am going to go shower and hit the bed. 

Have blessed and restful night!

New Incarnation of My Tree

Well, I have added a little and I have added the back ground.  Here it is.  I am too tired to type much lol.

I have been working more on... PS Assignment, I think I am pleased with the result.  What say you?  Does it look better?

Jessa and Charles

Here are some really quick photos of Jessa and Charles.  She is awfully pale tonight, not sure why but probably just still tired from the trip.

News from the Homefront!

My eldest daughter, Jessica, made it safely from New York.  She has moved here to get a new start with her fiance.  She will be living a block from me in Michael's rent house and working for Michael to pay her rent.  With a lot of prayer and help, we will get them going.  God is so good and I know this will be a turning point for her.  She has made a lot of bad decisions, and been hurt a lot as well.  Now is her time to shine.  I am saying a lot of prayers and hope you will, as well!  Thank you!

 I am nervous, excited and anxious about Jessa being here, but my hope is she will thrive with lots of love and a small community of people that are willing to help.

In other news, we made a realistic looking tree in Photo Shop today.  The first one is my base tree, it was really not terribly hard to do.  I am really loving my PS Class a LOT.  My instructor is a great, he is amusing, intelligent and an older gentleman with a keen eye for graphics. 
My second tree is me expanding as instructed with the smaller branches.  Obviously, I am still working on it.  I also still have to add the shadows, etc.  Thanks for looking!

Well, I have been sitting here working on my background...

...for my Photoshop project.  Here is the newest version.  What do you think?  I am thinking I need to add some shadows to the background.  To make it more realistic, but I don't know.  There would not be shadows on the sky, only on the "ground."

Anyway, there ya go.  I may play more tonight.  I am really enjoying photoshop and my instructor is awesome!  THis afternoon I have to work on developing photo's.  Should be a blast.  LOL

Have a blessed day!

Photo Shop Today...

...or rather, what I would have learned last Wednesday had I not had to go to the VA.  *sigh*  It never fails.

Anyway, here is what *I* did today instead of last Wednesday.  He showed me and two others what he had done last week so I didn't feel quite so bad.  The object is to make a "Tree from Venus."  LOL  How did I do?  This uses the "Liquefy" command after making a cylinder and scaling it.

Today's actual lesson was to make the background which I did a lousy job of so I will work on that some tomorrow evening.

In other news, Dad went to the Ortho today and he needs total knee replacement on his right knee.  :-(  He and I both more or less thought that would be the outcome, because the knee is bone on bone but one can always hope.

Anyway, the Dr. said, "You have two can get a cortisone shot in the knee and have knee replacement surgery, or you can NOT get a shot and get knee replacement surgery."  ROFLMAO.  Gotta love a man with a sense of humor!  Anyway, Dad has to be medically cleared to be put on the schedule, so I will start that process tomorrow.  Please keep him in prayer as he is really in a lot of pain.  I am thinking November or December will be the time they do it.  Most likely December since I will be out of school for several weeks.  Merry Christmas, huh?  The good news is that EVERYONE, and I do mean, EVERYONE to whom I have spoken about this, that has had the surgery says the only regret they have is not having done so sooner!

God bless, more tomorrow!

I did it...

...I finally finished the last 2:43 minutes of Sanctuary.  All I have to say is WTH???  This is the most bizarre book I have ever had the misfortune to "read."  If you have not read it, don't.  It is horrifying and depressing and I am certain it must have literary merit but I certainly cannot see it on my own and will have to be told what that merit is by my instructor.

I am waiting for class to start and just have so many questions.  Ugh.  What a waste.  Can't wait to start Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl parts of which I have already read.

Have a great, blessed day!

At Last!!!

Here is my starburst and truth be known, I caught TWO in one picture! If you look closely, there is one on the truck below the tree. I am so excited! This will not be the final print, when my instructor okay's it, I will post my final print. I have to bring the sky tones up and the tree tones down but I was too excited to not post it now!
Yay, me! Hopefully I will be able to replicate this often!

So yesterday...

...sucked rocks and I did not even feel like blogging because of it. It started out with me having to take off to take the dogs to the vet because no one could help out. No big deal. I actually barely made it for my class. Then I was fighting with the VA all day.

That in itself was bad enough, but I had to sit for two hours waiting to get blood drawn and STILL had to skip class and drive to Muskogee because the computer systems were down all across the nation yesterday. It really sucked but thankfully my instructor was understanding.

I am currently listening to Frederic Douglass' Slave Narrative. It is so heart-breaking to listen to what he went through. He is very matter-of-fact, but it is still heart breaking.

I much prefer it to William Faulkner's Sanctuary which is a dark, horrible story. I do not think I will ever again read Faulkner for any reason other than class. And hopefully that is not necessary again.

I just found out that my Photography Instructor is leaving after the Spring semester. How disappointing. He is a great instructor and you have quite a bit of freedom in his class to select your photos. He will be missed.

Honestly, I probably will not be able to take anymore photo classes as I think Photo II is as far as it goes. :-( I really enjoy the photography class, and will miss taking it. I think Glenn Godsey, my PhotoShop I Instructor will hopefully teach a PS II class in Spring and if so, I will take it as my Art Class. I think I only need one more for my minor and that should do nicely.

Well, I guess I should go for now, I need to listen to this before class and it is hard to do while reading or typing. Have a blessed day!

I Got a Starburst!!!!

I am in a Photography II class and it is traditional, which means film. LOL My color pics came out Ok, not great, some really bad, some good or just ok, but I *just* developed my first two rolls of black and white and am super pumped because even though I have not printed yet, except a very bad proof sheet, I caught a starburst that I was trying to get!!!

If you don't know what a starburst is, it is when you take a pic of a light or the sun and get the "twinkle" around it. It is VERY clear on the negative and I cannot wait to get my proofing finished and start playing with that photo to print it.

Euvah gets them so well, and I have always wanted to get one but never could. Now I have and I can tell you it is addicting! I want to get MORE! LOL I cannot wait till I can post the picture here.

In other news, I never did finish The Pioneers, but I have moved onto Frederick Douglass' Slave Narrative and The Sanctuary by William Faulkner. I hate to say, but Faulkner is such a dark writer. His books are filled with incest, rape and murder and I am not at all impressed. But, I *am* listening to it!

Ok, I am off to finish some more listening, actually. Y'all have a great night and a blessed day tomorrow!

Today's Phot Shop Lesson

...was more on cylinders. This time, we learned how to use patterns or textures and make them into cylinders. The thing is, you cannot use either the airbrush or the gradient tool for shading on texture or patterns as the "paint" will cover the texture or pattern. use the "burn" or "dodge" tool for these things.

Burn makes things darker as I am sure you would imagine and the dodge tool lightens. Anyway, without further ado, here are my assignments. Do you see a difference in them? Aside from their stature, I mean?
This first one I used the gradient tool to fill the "hole" as instructed by the Professor. In the following ones, I played with using a pattern and burning and dodging so that the hole looked like it was in the "marble" as opposed to what I believe looks like a metal cylinder with a faux marble finish. So, did I succeed?

Do you ever...

...feel like you have something profound to say and you can't spit it out? Or maybe it is that you feel you SHOULD say something profound, and it simply isn't there? That is how I have felt all day.

I have felt oppressed, burdened and like I should say something profound but it simply is not there. I do not know if this is because of the anniversary of September 11 and the pain Danny is in, or something else entirely, but still it is there.

Eight years ago, our brother was stationed at the Pentagon as the NCOIC (Non-Commisioned Officer In Charge) of the DiLorenzo TriCare Health Clinic. A seasoned combat medic, he was a Corporal in charge of ALL of the medical for the Pentagon. He was about to leave to take his daughter to a medical appointment at Walter Reed when the plane hit.

As soon as he knew that something, though not what, had happened, he and his team raced into certain death to do whatever they could to save whomever they could. The first person he saved was Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell* and they went on to save seventeen more people before they started gathering the rest...the ones that did not survive. Some bodies, more often not. My sister had to listen to him each night when he got home from the carnage. And she will never be the same either.

I could go into how his team and he crawled over and under and around smoking debris cover in jet fuel. And I could even tell you some of the horror he faced that day. But what I cannot tell you is what he lives through even now. I cannot explain to you the pain it causes him when people try to expound on conspiracy theories or tell stories that are no where close to the truth of that day. I cannot tell you what his night terrors are like, or were, as God has healed him for the most part of those.

But that is not what really gets me, though it hurts. What really gets me is that after all they did, after all *he* did and saw and went through...Arlington got the accolades. Not my brothers team. In fact, as far as the world is concerned, Arlington was the first response team. NOT my brothers team. Arlington gets the "attaboys." No one knows what Danny's team did except a very select few. Danny says, "I was just doing my job. It is no big deal." But it *is* a big deal to those who love him. It is a huge deal that he was not awarded the Soldier's Medal, which he should have received. It is a huge deal that no one knows.

Today I am saying, "My brother is a hero." And you know what? He will probably get mad at me. He will probably wish I had said nothing. He does not now, nor has he ever, seen himself as a hero. He is not the most humble guy you would ever meet, but in this one regard, he is far too humble in my opinion.

I do not know what I am supposed to say today. If I mention it to him, I risk bringing back the terrors. And if I don't, I feel that I am not honoring him. I know this is not profound. And I know that it may even seem self-serving or boring. But I had to say what I feel so there it is.

My brother may not be a hero. But just for one day, for one moment in time, he was *someone's* hero.

eta-I feel like I should be able to make him better and I can't. No one can. But I can and will say he deserves to be recognized.

*Brian Birdwell wrote a book entitled "Refined By Fire" in which he discusses his experience. I highly recommend it.

New PhotoShop learning....

...Well, we learned something new this Wednesday in PhotoShop. It was how to make cylinders both the "hard" way, and the "easy" way.

The "hard" way is not really hard, it just takes more time than the "easy" way. In the "hard" way, you use the air brush, with a flow of approximately 12 and a 'brush' width of about 230. You make a rectangle with the marquee tool and add in an oval, and then brush the shadow on it. I will not go into major detail, but sis, if you want to do this, let me know and I will send YOU the details. LOL

So the following three were finished using the "hard" way.The "easy" way is to use the gradient tool with the reflective light one and then add low lights and highlights. It was still fun to learn. This one is finshed using the "easy" way. I prefer the "hard" way I think.

Gifts from the heart...

...Yvonne called me a while back and said she wanted to buy me something, but wanted to make certain I liked it. Turns out she wanted to buy me a turkey platter. I picked a couple out, of course the one I REALLY liked BEFORE I saw the price, was $339.00!!! I told her I would NEVER use that one and she was in no way to even consider it!

I guess I should say that this came about because every time we have a family dinner, I never have a large platter to serve the food on. LOL So she decided to buy me the platter so I would have one!

Anyway, today she came over and brought me a box that had my turkey platter in it. It is in the original box and cost $10.99 when first purchased who knows how long ago. It is beautiful and NOT the exorbitant one...LOL. I love it and will use it a lot I am sure! It also came with a crystal Cranberry sauce dish and server. Thank you, Yvonne!

Ok, Photo's are scanned and... is a big long picture post! I took these with a Pentax K-1000 and most of these were taken at F22.
I am very frustrated that the beautiful pinkish orange did not come out in this pic. I have no idea WHY it did not show up, because it was there. But there you have it. It is obviously something I am doing wrong and I will find out what when I talk to my professor. Still a fairly nice pic though.

Another one in which the pink did not show up!
This is a picture of a wagon in the yard of the house next to a church where we have Toastmasters out on the highway. I believe they also have an antique shop. I love this old wagon! Obviously, this was taken in excellent light, therefore I did not do too bad. I am slowly learning to remember to take notes and know what settings I used on my camera. Unfortunately, that was not the case in this instance. I believe that this was taken on F22 with a very fast shutter speed. Probably 125 or something.
Creek Nation Council House. You would think they would know when it was built. ROFLMAO They have a sign in front that says it was erected in 1878 and a marble monument that says it was erected in 1876, so who knows?? I just noticed the difference in them today! LOL

This is the Depot. They have announced that they want to demolish it and there is a huge public outcry. I really hope it gets historical status.
This little car is in the diner we eat in all the time. I just love it. It is a pedal car and is pretty neat!
Ok, this is Dad in our newly painted Dining Room. I wish I could say the colors are correct, but on MY monitor they do not look to be. *sigh* It really is very pretty. Everyone seems to like it when they come in.
These two are of main street in Okmulgee looking East from the corner of 6th and Okmulgee. The top one was taken on bulb at 5 seconds and the second on bulb at 10 seconds.
I like this picture of Dad. I had him pose, but this reminds me of when I catch him gazing off into the distance thinking. Those are some of his rare quiet moments. He gets so lonely that when I am home, he talks. He is talking now, actually.
Just a peaceful picture taken at the lake. I like this one, but it also had more color in it than is showing.Dad looks really stiff in this one and I do not like that. Otherwise, I think it is a decent photo.The hint of pink in this one was actually a lot of pink. I do not know what I did wrong, but I will find out because I love sunset photos.This one is my favorite of the bunch. I was driving past the first scenic outlook at the lake and looked up and saw this. I love this pic. I have one right after that did not turn out so I am glad this one did! I will scan and post more tomorrow after school. have a peaceful, blessed night.


...I must admit I have not finished The Pioneers and I just do not see it happening any time in the near future. I now know how it ends, and that is really all that matters, right?

In other news, I am now the proud owner of Adobe Web Premium CS4 which includes PhotoShop CS4 and Bridge among other cool things. I only have ONE minor problem. It is the student edition which is all well and great, but I had to send in my TU Photo ID with current date. Guess what? TU ID does not have an issue date on it so now they say I have to send in a current copy of my transcript. :-( This is taking forever. I just want to use it NOW! I can sort of use it but it has warnings pop up that it only has this many days left to use. Oh well. It will happen.

I think I am going to hook up my scanner and scan some of my pics. Have a blessed night!

As I Sit Here...

...waiting for class to start, it occurs to me that I should be listening to The Pioneers. Instead, I am talking on the phone with a friend and writing my blog. I really am trying with this stupid book and I did listen to it on the way up when I wasn't on the phone with my sister, but it really is very difficult. I cannot wait until we move past this book. I hope that Dr. Taylor can make this seemingly trite book open up for me. I do not hold a lot of hope though.

I am on chapter 9 and it has thus far been a very difficult listen and I can honestly say, Thank you, Jesus, that I am listening instead of reading or I would certainly have had several very long naps during the reading process. Someone in my class actually told me that if I should be taken out in a wreck by falling asleep at the wheel, they would know that Jame Fenimore Cooper was the culprit! LOL

I got a lot accomplished this weekend, including cleaning the living room, dining room, scrap room and kitchen. I still have a lot of work to do in the scrap room, but at least most of the stuff BELONGS in there now and it is just a case of putting it all away where it belongs. And it all has places to go thanks to my sister!

I got a screaming deal on a wide format printer this weekend. A brand new printer with all the bells and whistles for $150. I was blown away. It has been used a dozen times and I may have to replace the ink as it has been sitting awhile but I cannot wait to use it! Now I have three printers, what on earth was I thinking? Still, I could not pass it up. Well, I could have, but I didn't. It should be here the end of the week and I cannot wait. I have been wanting one for a looong time.

Randell and Trish came to bbq with us yesterday. Well, I am sure they came to eat, but I put Randell to work, (Thank you, Randell!!!) and had him BBQ and I just finished up inside and set the table and visited with Trish for a bit. I took a few pics with my film camera, hope they turn out nicely. I am slowly getting used to using the film camera and remembering to set the aperture and etc. But it is slow going. I am taking so many pics that it is unreal. I have to take up 30 rolls of film minimum and ideally more than that. Yikes. If it ain't moving, it gets its picture taken!

Well, I guess I will go take a nap, errr, Ummmm, I mean listen to The Pioneers some more. Have a great, blessed day!

Wow! What a day!

I did not get to sleep last night until 1:30 in the morning and was up and at 'em and 7:30. Have I mentioned I am NOT a morning person??? I really could do without the morning fog, but it seems as though the older I get, and the more I school, the earlier I get up! (don't say it, Sis!!! ROFLMAO)

Anyway, I hit the ground running and got ready for church and on my way so I could be there for Worship practice for 9. I made it to the church at 8:50 and there were already people there waiting to get in! Craziness. Annnnyway...After church, we went and ate and came home to clean. Well, *I* came home to clean and do laundry.

I did take a nap first, damn Fibromyalgia and Polymyalgia Rheumatica make that a necessity for me anymore. But I did get a LOT accomplished today. I got the dining room, living room and most of my scrap room cleaned, 2 loads of laundry done including folding, hanging and putting away, supper cooked and cleaned up from and a ton of filing done.

It seems like since I started school all I have time to do is to run in and dump everything and run back out. So I am trying to find the bottom of the hell hole again. Add to the run and dump the paint and move stuff and I had one helluva mess! But all is looking up now.

Tomorrow, Trish and Randell are coming for bbq and I need to run into work and pay some bills. I still have a busload of The Pioneers to get through but I can do that while busy with everything else so that should not be a problem. I should have been doing it while I was cleaning today. I think we will do ribs and burgers and call it good.

I have to go into work for a couple of hours to pay the bills and do the taxes, but that shouldn't be too terribly bad.

Oh! And we had 5, yep *5*, baptism;s at church tonight! It was so awesome! Isn't God so good?

Night y'all! Have a blessed night and day tomorrow!

The Weekend is Here!

...and all is well. I spent most of the day in Tulsa. The first half for school, and the second half taking Dad to the eye doctor and the mall. Yuck. I hate the mall. A lumbering mass of humanity hell-bent on getting what they want and be damned with the rest of the world.

On the up side, there was a new store there that had just what Dad wanted. The half height, zipper dress boots. They are pretty and they fit and feel good on his feet so all is well that ends well, right?
They are really nice. Soft, supple leather and well-constructed. I think he will get to wear these for a long time. And they fit him well. A bit snug to get on at first, but a good fit.

I also stopped by Bath and Body Works since I was already at the mall and had been avoiding it for ages. I needed to pick up several bottles of the hand wash. Unfortunately, they no longer have the amber scent which is what I really wanted but I picked up their fall scents and they will do fine. I hope they bring back the Amber though! It was wonderful! Thank you, Sis, for turning me on to their soaps! I love them and so does Dad!

Well, I guess that is it for now. I have worship practice in the am and then not much else planned except laundry and cleaning. Have a great, blessed night!


...So today's project was about the same, but using the addition to selection and subtraction from selection options. So here is what I can up with!
The first one is just the two layers which are actually 5 layers: Top object, Shadow, Next object, Shadow and background. Ok, so there are six layers because I always do a new layer and don't use the actual background. LOL
This one was accomplished simply adding another object layer and shadow layer.

To do this:

Open a New Document and make it 12 inches by 12 inches at 72 pixels per inch and with RGB color. Select your colors in the lower left corner,Using the layers tab on the right of your workspace, select "New Layer." "Edit>Fill" this layer with the pattern/colors of your choice. If you choose pattern, you can use "Filter>Render>Difference Clouds" as many times as you like to get the color mixture you like. Now that you have your back ground, you want to create a new layer from your layer palette. While on this layer, make a selection using either the polygonal, square/rectangular, or ellipse tool or a combination of them all by holding down the "Shift" or "Alt" key.

In order to put holes in your selection, hold down the "Alt" key while using one of the marquee tools previously mentioned and draw holes in the project. You can and should change your selction shape during this time. Also, you can add to your selection by holding down the "Shift" key and using the selection tools specified.

Once you have your selection, choose "Select>Save Selection." You may either name your selction or the program will auto default to Alpha followed by a number where your first saved selection is "alpha 1", second is "alpha 2" and so on.

Once you have saved your selection (and you should always do this FIRST!), Choose "Edit>Fill" and use color or pattern. I generally use color by choosing a new foreground color and then filling with "Foreground" color. You may then use the "fx" key (Below the layer palette on the right side of your workspace) to "Bevel and Emboss." Once the "Bevel and Emboss" window opens, Choose your bevel type (You should generally choose "Inner Bevel"), size, and depth and then adjust the BOTTOM slider that is the shadow on the bottom edge of the object to lighten it. Select "Ok" and the window will close.

Choose "Select>Deselect," (Are you absolutely certain you saved your selection???). Now, Choose "New Layer," and do it all over again. Do it as many times you want layers. THEN...

Drop to the lowest layer which should be your background, add a "New Layer." (Make sure nothing is selected first). Hold down your "Shift" key and go "Select>Load Selection>Alpha 1." Still holding down your shift key, go back to "Select>Load Selection>Alpha 2" and so on all while holding down your shift key until you have selected all of your shapes.

Once you have the final selection area, go to "Edit>Fill>Black." "Select>All" and then choose "Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur" and set your number to something like 8.5. Using the "Opacity" slider on the TOP of the layer palette, slide it down to like 40-48%. "Select>Deselect." Using the "Move tool" Pull this shadow layer down and to the right a good way.

Click on "Layer 2" or the layer the next object is on and add a new layer. On this layer, you want to add all selections BESIDES "Alpha 1." Do NOT add "Alpha one." Go ahead and use the steps above to select all other objects. Once you have the final selection area, follow the instructions above to get the appropriate shadow. This one should be blurred to about 8. And the opacity should be marginally darker than the first one. So if you went to 48% on the first one, go about 50-52% on this one. Once you have this shadow complete, pull it down and to the right but not as far as the first one!

NOW, "Select>Deselect" and then "Select?Load Selection>Alpha 1." Then choose "Select>Inverse." Tap the "Delete" key. This deletes extraneous shadow from the layer. "Select>Deselct."

Move on to the next object layer and follow the above instructions except this time you will leave off the bottom TWO object selections, i.e. "Alpha 1" and "alpha 2."

This time when you "Select>Load selection in order to use the inverse and delete extraneous shadow, you will hold down the shift key and select both "Alpha 1" and "Alpha 2." Then do the "Select>Inverse" and tap the delete key. Follow these instructions till you have down the last objects shadow on the second layer to the top and Voila! there you have it!

If you have any questions feel free to comment me! Have a blessed day!

My Photoshop Skills

Well, so far I have learned how to make a "Planar Surface floating against a wall" and a "Cylinder floating in front of a planar surface floating against a wall." It may not seem like much, but since I have always used the "Drop Shadow" box, this has been fascinating since we have not yet used the drop shadow box. All of these are created by using different layers and different techniques.
This was my first attempt. He asked that we not be creative and simply do the assignment as requested. Hence the first file. He then asked that we be creative so I created the following three files.

The following files are our second assignment. Again, one strictly interpreted and one creative.

I need to play some more with the second file and use textures and etc. So I will take the time to do that before class this afternoon. So what do you think? Have a blessed day!