Saturday, May 02, 2015

Kaye Franklin Workshop

Yesterday's art workshop with Kaye Franklin went well and was lots of fun. My friend Glenna went with me. She normally does watercolor and is great at zentangle, but now and then she dabbles in oil. There were only six of us in the class - most of the ladies were regular students of Kaye's.  The lesson was done in oils, and all the other students were doing oil. Since Kaye often does pastels and that is what I like, I did pastels. Here is Kaye's demo painting, which she did in the morning.  Then we all spent the afternoon trying and learning to do the same painting.  Here is my attempt.
Because I was using pastels and I am the Fastest Painter in the West, I did a second painting. This was done from a photo of redbud trees near my house.  Toby did not like my pine trees - said the painting "did not look like me."  He liked my Okie painting better. Both could use a bit more work. Jo, any comments would be appreciated.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Coming and Going

For the past week, we have been coming and going and meeting in the middle. It was a week ago on Wed. that Toby's mom fell and broke the top two vertebrae in her neck. On Monday they moved her to a physical therapy hospital.  She will be there for a couple of weeks gaining strength and learning to take better care of herself. Here is a photo of her taken a few weeks ago on her 85th birthday.  She is not looking quite as spry today, but she is working to recover.

My mom, who is physically doing great, got herself in trouble again with sweepstake scams.  It's not the first time she has been scammed. She seems to be greatly susceptible to scat scams.  Several times she has fallen for phone scams, until we canceled her land-line. Although we had warned her and warned her about the sweepstake scams, she refused to listen. She continued to send small amounts of money to these sweepstakes that promised her winnings. Earlier this week, she deposited a large check from a sweepstakes scam. Of course it was a fraud. You can read on the link above how that scam works. The good news is that she never lost a large amount of money - we were always able to stop her. But who knows how much she has given out to these sweepstakes over the years, not to mention giving away personal information.

So last week was spent running back and forth to WF to check on Toby's mom in the hospital. This week has been spent running back and forth dealing with Mom and her scam. I am hoping this time, my mom has realized that these sweepstakes are bad news. And hopefully we have her set up where it will not be a problem any longer. Like I told my mom, these scam artists are good - really good. They seem so legit. The really sad thing is that they prey on older people, many of whom cannot afford to lose or give away their money.

Speaking of artists, not scam artists, but real artists, I am taking an art workshop with Kay Franklin.  She did a demo at an art guild meeting several years ago and was very impressive. I have wanted to take a class with her for a while now. So I signed up about a month ago. It does mean another trip to WF, but my car knows the way now. I can put it on auto pilot and get there easily, and then run some errands and check on moms.

Speaking of pilots (don't you love my transitional words?) yesterday a small plane kept buzzing my house. At first I thought it was the usual small plane checking the oil/gas pipelines that crisscross the countryside.  But it continued to fly/roar overhead making me wonder what was going on. When I stepped outside, I saw this crop duster. He was spraying acreage nearby, circling over my house, coming in low...I mean really low. I stood out in the yard and took a few pics of him. My pics do not do justice to how close he really was.  Those guys are amazing to watch.

I should mention that we did take a break last Saturday. Toby and his coworker, Brian, had signed up for a bike ride at the German Fest in Muenster.  Here they are waiting to start. It was a beautiful day, but I was not impressed with the actual festival. It was mostly the usual carnival crap. The beer and brauts were good, but certainly not worth the price. If you are ever in Muenster, stop by Fischer's Market and buy yourself some sausage, cheese, beer, etc. They have all sorts of wonderful German foods and beers.  Fischer's Market is worth the price and trip to Muenster.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tough Day

It was a tough day yesterday. We got a text from Toby's sisters at 5:30 AM saying that their mom had fallen and had been taken to the emergency room. She had a broken nose and said her neck hurt. The next text came a few hours later saying that her neck was broken in two places. With her age and osteoporosis, chances were that it would not heal on its own. The doctor decided to do surgery on her and fuse (screw together) vertebrae ASAP. We scurried over to WF arriving about 12:30. We were able to go into the pre-op area and visit with her.  She looked pretty bad with a neck brace on, her face was swollen - black and blue. Both eyes were blackened. Her nose was off to one side, and she had a couple of cuts on her forehead with a huge knot and bruising. She was in a lot of pain, but she was able to smile and talk to us and answer the ten jillion questions that each nurse asked her. At 3:00 she was taken into surgery. It was close to 7:00 when they came to say she was in recovery. The doc said she had done well. That it was a very tricky operation with the nerves and artery that go through those vertebrae and trying to put screws into her osteoporosis bones. He had managed, and she had done well. We had to wait another hour or so for her to come out of recovery and be moved to ICU. About 8 PM we were able to see her again. She looked much better. The neck brace was off  (for now). Her nose seemed better. We teased her that she looked very punk-ish with her purple eyes and orange (iodine) hair.  She laughed and chatted with us.  What a trooper!

We left the hospital around 9 PM and headed home. I don't know what the next days will hold for her. I don't know how the neck fusion will be on her mobility. Today I may head back to WF to do hospital duty and sit with her.  Hopefully we will find out what comes next.

In the middle of all the worry about Toby's mom, my mom called me. Although I told her about my MIL's fall, Mom does not have the mental ability to think rationally. In the ten minutes we were on the phone, she forgot about the fall and surgery and instead got angry with me over some crazy issue. It was so not-my-mom. And the worry over her and my MIL made it especially difficult. Maybe I can deal with her today. Maybe not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ITBS

Last week I put my teacher cap back on to give the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) to several homeschoolers. For those of you who don't know, you can order ITBS tests from Bob Jones University Curriculum. A person has to be approved to give the test, and as a certified teacher, I'm approved. The ITBS is a standardized test given in school districts all over the country to students - it is an achievement test.  Some states require all students (home, private, and public schools) to take standardized tests - usually 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. High schools usually have some sort of basic skills test that 9th graders take to assess the students also. Then they take the test again in the 11th grade and 12th grade as a exit test. That's a lot of testing.  I don't know what OK requires of public schools, but the state does not require home or private schools to take standardized test. It's a choice.

So why take it? Home schooled kids do not have the competition that public school kids have. Parents and kids do not know how well they are doing comparatively, and that worries some parents and kids. A parent may know they are finishing their curriculum and that their kids are competent in the subjects taught in whatever grade they are in, but sometimes they need to know more - reassurance. So they use the ITBS test to check themselves - find out their weaknesses and strong areas.  Also, taking the ITBS is a lesson in taking standardized tests. If students go on to college, they will take the ACT or SAT. Some homeschoolers take the GED just to have some proof that they did what they were supposed to do. Taking the ITBS gives them experience in test taking skills.

I gave the test to six kids from 4th grade to 8th grade. They were serious and did great. Then I gave the test separately to GB2 who is a second grader. I know she did great on the test. She is as smart as a whip. But boy can that girl talk. Several times I had to stop her from jabbering on and on about the questions. Since it was just me and her, it was not a real problem. But I kept telling her she was not allowed to talk or comment or eat or wiggle. It was hard on a 2nd grader. Later after finishing the whole test, my DIL texted a photo of GBN2 asleep on the couch. The test wore her out. I texted back that it wore me out too. Then I took a nap in the recliner.

On Friday night, we let the GGs spend the night. Saturday morning we picked up Mr T, and we all went to buy baby chicks to replenish our laying hen supply. We ended up keeping the GBs all day. By Saturday night, I was worn out again.

CetTexTim mentioned on his blog comments that I should get the GGs a puppy. So, I just wanted to show the GGs' puppy. Max LOVES the GGs.
 And of course we did a bit of painting.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

OKC Bombing Survivor

Twenty years ago on April 19th, I stood in my living room in NM watching the news of the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. I was horrified - maybe because it was close to home. Later I would find out that a friend of mine's grand-babies had died in the bombing. They buried the boys in the same coffin, and it broke my heart. Today I watched this video about a survivor of the OKC bombing.   Sometimes, over time, we forget that there are people out there who suffer the rest of their lives over atrocities like the OKC bombing. Never forget.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Legends Will Live in Our Hearts

It came to my attention today that both Hank and Johnnie Mutz have passed away. They were legends in Red River and will be missed. Hank (Henrietta) passed on January of this year. Please follow that link and read about her life - she was a pioneer lady deluxe.  Hank had a way of saying exactly what she thought and did not hold back. My mom, the hairdresser, did Hank's hair at the beauty shop in RR for years. When Jesse was about four years old, she liked to hang out at the beauty shop with my mom. Jesse was also know for saying what she thought. One day at the beauty shop, Hank was talking in her usual loud, gruff voice and speaking her mind. Jesse listened to her for a while and then looked up at her and said, "Do you eat little kids for breakfast?" Hank threw back her head and laughed loudly. She said that she didn't usually like little kids, but she liked Jesse.

On Tuesday of this week Johnnie, Hank's husband of 70 years, passed away. I told a story on him several years ago. I posted this picture of Hank and Johnnie and two of their daughters.
Johnnie was an icon in NM ranching. Hank and Johnnie were a love story, legends, and great people.