Sunday, September 27, 2009

He's Coming!

THE grandson is coming for a visit with his mom (Mr. Dragon's daughter), and dad. We are excited. It is always a delight to see and visit with all of them. We usually travel to Seattle, but this year they are coming here. His mom has had some medical problems and she's seeing a few doctors here. We get to visit, entertain, run, play, laugh and enjoy. I bet we sleep well every night, too!

I wanted to let you know as it will probably be a little quiet around Twisty Lane while HIMSELF is here. I'm also doing what Mr. Dragon calls my *visiting lecturer* gig on Tuesday (the same day HIMSELF arrives). I'll be talking with docents at the museum about the new Arts of India Gallery ... for two hours or until my voice gives out ... whichever comes first!


In other big news, Mr. Dragon broke 100 for the first time since returning to golf. This important event took place on Saturday. He's been smiling a lot, but I still have asked that all golfing equipment be removed from the dining room table.

It has been sad around here since Rocky's passing, but a special aromatherapy has helped. Perhaps it is one of Snap's Rules: When you are sad, make soup! First I made my favorite (it's so quick and easy) , then the chowder again and lastly a split pea soup that was just too close to perfect for words. I promise to share the recipe when I have a moment or two. (Shame on me for teasing.)


Lastly, we picked up Rocky's ashes from our veterinarian. He assured us, once again, that there was nothing we could have done. For some reason, it was more important for Rocky to be on the other side than with us, but, oh, how it still hurts and how we miss the little guy ... all of us ... Mr. Dragon, Moi, Riley and Teddy.


So, until next week ... JOY!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Joy Diet: Nothing

Last week, the Next Chapter group, under the leadership of the wonderful Jamie Ridler, began reading The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices For a Happier Life by Martha Beck. Jamie suggested we make vision cards for each practice in the book. The first practice is Nothing and here is my vision card.

"To begin the Joy Diet, you must do nothing for at least fifteen minutes a day."

I was excited. This was something I could do! Something I used to do and for some reason (something I'll have to look into further) stopped doing. It was time to return to the "center of my being" and listen. Slow down. Tell my monkey mind TIME OUT!

I returned to one of my favorite authors and teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh and the book A Lifetime of Peace: Essential Writings by and About Thich Nhat Hanh. After greeting the morning and a new day, I began to count my breath. Breathe in and count one, breathe out and count one. Breathe in, two. Breathe out, two. Breathe and count to ten. If a thought comes along .. recognize it, send it away and start with one again. Each time count to ten. Counting attaches mindfulness to the breath. Soon I was reaching ten time and time again, without really realizing it. It was so nice to return to this form of meditation and nothingness.

This, however, is not enough for Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes you can "practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, drinking tea, talking to friends or whatever you are doing". Whatever you are doing - it must be the most important thing. Be mindful.

I often find this "nothingness" while I am doing handwork ... knit, crochet, cross stitch. I zone out, get into a flow, tune everything out. Even what I'm doing just flows. And after, I am refreshed, whole, calm.

It's so nice to return to nothing. To put the do not disturb sign out.

So, this is my Nothing.

I hope you find yours.

Camera Critters

It's Saturday so it must be Camera Critters time.
Be sure to visit to see other critters from around the world.

We are going back to the Houston Zoo
for more of Photography Day
and cats.

This beautiful little cat is the Margay.

The Margay is about two feet tall from feet to shoulders, three feet long and weighs about five to twelve pounds. It has gray to golden-brown fur with black and brown spots. The spots on its sides are often different shapes and are often black with a brown center. Its undersides are white. The Margay has a small head, large ears and eyes and a long tail.

The Margay can be found from Mexico to Argentina. It was once found in the United States in Texas. The last Margay seen in the United States was spotted in Texas in the 1850s.

(Please excuse the blur ... between the rain and this little guy being in constant motion it made getting a really good shot a little beyond my capabilities.)

The Margay makes its home in tropical and subtropical forests.

The Margay eats a wide-variety of food including birds, bird eggs, small mammals, reptiles and fruit. It hunts primarily in trees.

Margays mate year-round. Females give birth to one or two young three to four months after mating. The kittens begin to eat meat when they are about eight weeks old.

The Margay is nocturnal. It is a very good climber and jumper. It has joints in its ankles that rotate 180 degrees. This helps it climb down vertical trees headfirst. It is the only cat in North America that can do that! It can also hang from tree limbs by one hind foot. It spends most of its time in the tree canopy hunting for birds, small mammals, reptiles and eggs.

The Margay is near threatened because of loss of habitat.

We spent a lot of time just watching this little guy. He was in constant motion -- up, down, around and do it all again and again.

Here's a video from the zoo on You Tube. The keeper will talk about enrichment for the cats and this little guy is in the video -- constant motion! You'll also see the Fossa, Leopards, Tigers.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

A big thank you to our postmistress, Marie for putting Postcard Friendship Friday together.

One of my sisters-by-choice, is a Jamestown, New York girl. She spent several weeks there recently and sent me these postcards. We lovingly call ourselves Lucy and Ethel (she's Lucy and I'm Ethel). Not only do I enjoy Lucy and the gang from the television show (always good for a laugh), but I Love *MY* Lucy.

This post card is called The Nursery School.
The back of the card reads
Nursery School (aired December 5, 1955).

On the front, this card reads "The story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz all began here in Jamestown, New York, where Lucy was born on August 6, 1911. When Lucille Ball was very young, this is where she lived, saw her first vaudeville, dreamed of an acting career and stared in her first high school play. Later, when she had met and married Desi Arnaz and I Love Lucy was a remarkable success, Lucille Ball never forgot Jamestown. She came back often and remained close to her family and friends. We welcome them back now to relive their true story."

The back of the card reads: "The Lucy-Desi Museum, Jamestown, New York whose mission is to preserve and celebrate the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and enrich the world through the healing powers of love and laughter."

More information about the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center can be found by clicking here.

We could all use more of the healing powers of love and laughter.

Have a wonderful Friday and be sure to check here for more
Postcard Friendship Friday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I thought I'd share some Works In Progress with you.

Most of my journal time the last few weeks have been spent
writing about Rocky.

Before Rocky's passing,
I had started this lady.
I was quite excited about her.
I wanted to work on a few techniques before I put her on canvas.
This is from my journal.

I'm not sure now where I'm going with her,
but I'll start again -- one day.

You can tell by the wrinkles that this is definitely a WIP!
What a lot of fun!
Reading glasses are a must!

My book making supplies have all arrived.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mail Call!!

This is a different kind of Mail Call today.

This is an “I went shopping Mail Call”.

I love Carla Sonheim.
I love her animals, her drawings, her sketches, her little girls.
She makes me smile.

When she posted that she had just listed three new journals in her Etsy store, I made a dash over there. I knew immediately what I wanted. I just had to have the journal with the little red headed girl (me) with the kitty on her head.

Look what arrived and it is wonderful!
There is even a pocket in the back of the journal to keep a pen.

I like it so much, I signed up to take Carla’s Joggles class!

Things have been a little sad around here since Rocky’s passing.
Thank you so much, Carla, for helping to brighten up Twisty Lane!

My World

Visit My World to see more of our world or to participate yourself!

I'm taking us back to Williams Tower and the grounds around the building to the Water Wall.

A three acre setting

Dedicated in 1985
Built and designed by John Burgee architects with
Philip Johnson Network

The gabled archway fronting the fountain, the scaenae frons
is reminiscent of an ancient Roman theatre stage.

11,000 gallons of water
per minute
spill over the walls of the 64 foot high fountain.

front and back

We had seen the Water Wall many times on the local television stations.
We had never visited the Wall before until the day we visited
the Williams Tower for the art exhibition for Mr. Turner.

I can't begin to tell you how overwhelming it is.
And, the sound of all that water!

Click here to view all participants of My World Tuesday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

International Peace Day

Today is the day.
It is International Peace Day.
It is the day when people from all over the world pray for peace.

Rhonda Roo is having a Peace Party.
Please join us on the peace train!

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.
~John Lennon

We shall find peace. We shall hear angels. We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.
~ Anton Chekov

Either war is obsolete or men are.
~R. Buckminster Fuller

I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.
~H.H. the Dalai Lama

Peace To You!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Todays Flowers

Visiting Today's Flowers will take you to a virtual flower garden from around the world.

Last weekend, the zoo had a photography day. They opened the gates early for around 150 of us with our cameras and umbrellas. We had the zoo to ourselves until the regular admission time.

You can see the first animal photos we took in the Camera Critters post below. But it wasn't only animals we were looking at. This shrub stopped us dead in our tracks. It was quite impressive. In other words, the WOW factor was off the scale!

The shrub with its stunning blooms was over five feet in height. I just had to know what kind of plant it is and the zoo folks were happy to find out for me.

Megaskepasma erythrochlamys ‘Brazilian Red Cloak’, ‘Brazilian Plume’, ‘Red Justicia’
‘Brazilian Cloak’ is a herbaceous shrub that is very showy and fast growing.

A blazing mixture of flaming red and vivid pink flowers, is what Brazilian Red Cloak in full bloom looks like. In spite of its name, this splendid plant comes from Venezuela where it is found naturally in tropical woodland. An evergreen shrub with boldly veined, shiny green leaves, it bears from early autumn into winter spikes of very showy, 12 inch, crimson flower spikes. (Actually white or pink flowers in the cloak of the very conspicuous crimson bracts.) The showy ‘flower’ consists of red bracts surrounding the white true flower. The growth habit of the Brazilian red cloak is considered by horticulturalists to be a shrub. It does not grow compactly as many shrub's do but instead is tall and lanky (an average of approximately 10 feet) while yet full. Under ideal growing conditions the plant can hit fifteen feet (4.5 meters) in height.

Where flowers bloom, so does hope - Lady Bird Johnson

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Camera Critters

It's Saturday and that means Critters Day!
Be sure to visit Camera Critters to see the other participants.

Last weekend there was a special photo day at the zoo.
The zoo opened early for about 150 folks with their cameras and
umbrellas in hand. It rained (lightly, thankfully) most of the morning.

Under the umbrella, the first animals we came across
were the cheetahs.
They seemed to love the light rain.

They have become real favorites at the zoo.

Just look at that face!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Peace Party

Did you know International Peace Day is September 21?

I was visiting Vanessa over at A Fanciful Twist this morning. She mentioned that her friend Rhonda Roo was having a Peace Party on September 21. I don't know about you, but a Peace Party seems like a very good thing to me! Why don't you join us?!

Here's a quote from Rhonda Roo's lovely blog:

"So let's do it! Won't you join me? On September 21st, let's post our little doves, and whatever else means peace to us-a peace symbol out of rose petals or the rose itself, a poem, a song, a person, a quote, a story, or a word, a picture, a moment in time, whatever it is that you see in your mind's eye when you think of peace! It doesn't have to be lavish--or, you can go extravaganza style! Whatever you can spare, so that, for just one day, there are so many people thinking peaceful thoughts a cloud bursts and starts showering us with shimmery love drops!"

Partying for Peace!


(I'm editing this post to include the information that a new book is starting at The Next Chapter (an online book club). The book is The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. It just seems to me that JOY and PEACE go together! )

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

I'd like to thank our lovely postmistress Marie for putting Postcard Friendship Friday together.
Be sure to visit her to see the other participants.

Does this look familiar to you?
Can you hear the theme song playing in your mind?

We visited Lake Tahoe several years ago.
Near where we were staying was the amusement park
The Ponderosa Ranch.
On the North Shore of Beautiful Lake Tahoe

Who was your favorite Cartwright?
I liked big brother Adam, then there's Little Joe,
Dad Ben and of course, Hoss.
Here they are in front of the Ranch House.

The Ranch House of the Cartwrights
showing the exterior, living room,
and Ben's Office.
"This legendiary home has authentic antiques
and furnishings gathered from around the world."
(From the back of the postcard.)

This may be my favorite postcard of the Ponderosa Village
at Incline Village, Nevada.
I love the view of Lake Tahoe in the background.

Every time we go someplace new, I buy postcards. I even send a few out to friends and occasionally send one to myself. Memories!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mail Call!

I was one of the winners of a give-a-way at Olde Thyme Prims and my gift arrived in the mail yesterday. I just love Mail Call!

I was so excited when I saw this was one of the give-a-ways.
First, it is by my buddy Sarah at Cottage Garden Studio
and, second, it is from a series of hers of different shops
and places to visit in a little magical town filled with witches,
unicorns, dragons, owls ... you get the idea.
Anyway, The Zoo is perfect for me!
It combines one of my loves (THE ZOO)
and fantasy!
Thank you Sarah and Olde Thyme Prims!

But that wasn't all.
I guess Sarah was feeling sorry for me after Rocky's death.
She included this wonderful little ATC.
Isn't this little lady with her magic wand fun?!!!
She looks dressed up for a special occasion.
Halloween isn't very far away!


Monday, September 14, 2009

My World

Visit My World to see more of our world or to participate yourself!

Mr. Dragon and I took a jaunt (love that word)
to Williams Tower to see
Celebration: The Legacy of Arthur Turner.

Mr. Dragon is taking color theory from Mr. Turner who is a well known
water colorist. He has been at the Glassell School for 40 years.
This exhibition featured some of his students.

The Williams Tower is located in the Galleria area of Houston - a multi-use area, shopping, restaurants, hotels, condo et al. We parked in the Galleria parking garage and walked over to Williams Tower. I had to take a photo of the sign marking the Helistop!

This dramatic 64-story, 1.4 million-square-foot office tower is a product of the award-winning architectural team of Philip Johnson and John Burgee.

At 64 stories and 901 feet (275 m), the Williams Tower is the tallest building in Houston outside of the Downtown area. When it was constructed in 1983, it was also the world's tallest skyscraper outside of a city's central business district. Williams Tower was named "Skyscraper of the Century" in the December 1999 issue of Texas Monthly magazine.

The building is unique in that it was built to function as two separate towers stacked directly on top of one another, one comprising the first forty floors and the other the forty-first to sixty-fourth. The building has separate banks of elevators and lobbies for each of the two building sections. A majority of the bottom 40 floors are occupied by Williams. The remainder of the building is occupied by a variety of tenants. The building's stepback design suggests one of Johnson's earlier (and smaller) works, the IDS Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Committed to being an environmentally responsible building, Williams Tower was designed to be energy efficient and has earned the EPA’s Energy Star label for each year since 2000 that it was eligible and is now actively seeking LEED Existing Building certification from the United States Green Building Council.

Here are a few of the paintings in the exhibition on the ground floor of the building. Remember, these are all watercolors!

Onaxis and Eggplants by Anstis Lundy

Urn and Blossoms by
Keiko Yasuoka

Beautiful Morning by
Keiko Yasuoka

Map Poem, gouache on Strathmore paper by
Dee Wolff

A very successful jaunt.
We walked back to the Galleria and had lunch at the cafe
in Nordstroms.

Click here to view all the participants of My World Tuesday.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Did You Know ...

Did you know that September is National Honey Month? Just a thought!


(Image from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project Annual Report)

What do you know about gorillas? Mr. Dragon and I learned about Mountain Gorillas at a recent wildlife lecture at the zoo. I’d like to share this from the yearly report from the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. “The story of the mountain gorillas begins like many other conservation stories: only 700 left in the wild, threatened by poachers, habitat destruction, and disease transmission from domestic animals and human. But unlike so many other stories of threatened species, this one has taken an optimistic turn: the numbers of Mountain Gorillas are increasing. In fact, mountain gorillas are the only great ape population that is growing, despite the challenges. What explains this success? A focused effort by governments and conservationists working together to overcome the odds. Key to this effort is the work of Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, which not only provides veterinary care to the mountain gorillas in their wild habitat, but also champions the “One Health” approach to conservation. The One Health approach recognizes that to sustain the wild Mountain Gorillas, the health of their environment, including their habitat and the human and domestic animals with which they interact, must be maintained. This approach is the key to the hopeful future for this species, and may provide the most promising prototype for conservation projects elsewhere.”

We spent an evening listening to Dr. Mike Cranfield the Project Director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project talk about the Mountain Gorillas. It was amazing the work these volunteers are doing, not only for the health of these wonderful animals, but also the health of the people living near them -- vital to the well being of the gorilla. More information can be found at their public web site: Gorilla Docs. It is an amazing story.

It is very apparent, from this lecture and the others we have attended on wildlife that the greatest ape of all -- man -- has not been a very good steward of the earth and its inhabitants. Have you noticed the number of stories in the press lately about tainted water and that its getting worse, right here, now? Will man ever learn? Is it already too late? Mr. Dragon often looks at me and says “What makes you think this is the first time man has been on this earth? He’s probably been here before, destroyed it, returned and didn’t learn again. Perhaps this cycle has been repeated many times.” Our own science fiction story?


I thought I’d share with you what our veterinarian believes happened to our little Rocky. There is a syndrome in male cats that causes cardiomyopathy. It is completely without symptoms. No murmurs. No nothing until there is a catastrophic incident. Just like what happened to our little dumpling boy.

I suppose we are getting better. The house is still too quiet. I cry everyday, but can now look at his pictures or remember little things without completely breaking down. Ms. Riley, his litter mate, misses him the most -- her brother, her playmate. Looking at Riley will always remind us of Rocky.

We normally write a check to our local SPCA and Humane Society when one of our companions passes from this life and we will do the same for Rocky. But, Rocky was too special. There was something about him --- perhaps a look on his face that said "I know everything that is of importance in this world"! We decided we need to do a little more in his memory. So, we have arranged for Rocky to have a brick at the entrance to the zoo. It will be at the zoo long after we are gone and will be engraved with the following:


Little Dumpling Boy

We Miss You


I will leave you with this thought sent to us by our wonderful veternarian and friend.

We were indeed blessed.


I am thankful for another day on beautiful Mother Earth.

Joy to You!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Camera Critters

Visit Camera Critters to enjoy more critters this weekend!

Mr. Dragon and I are at a special camera day at the zoo.
I prepared today's Camera Critters from some old photos (film not digital)
I came across recently. I knew I wouldn't have time for a *new* critter post.

I took these pictures about 10 years ago when we went to Florida to see a shuttle launch.
I love the turtle with the *plant* growing on his back and the green stuff he was living in.
I didn't see him until he moved. Really blended in the algae.

A white Egret.

My favorite shots were of the Night Heron.

I made 8x10's of both shots intending to frame them and never did.
I have the frames.
Maybe it's possible they'll hang around to be enjoyed!

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

When we go to Texas Art Supply, I always stop and check out the books on sale in the cart at the front of the store. I found this copy of Dulac's Illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales by Dover Publications during our last visit. The same visit when I took the photos of the murals on the building.

"One of the greatest book illustrators of his time, Edmund Dulac (1882-1953) was also one of the most prolific and impressive artists of the early twentieth century. Covering a wide range of themes and styles, his work is characterized by the strong personalities of his figures and the elaborate backgrounds and shading of his scenes. He remains, today, among the most popular of recent illustrators." (Taken from the back of the book.) This collection of 24 lovely cards features reproductions of Dulac's fine artwork for tales by Hans Christian Andersen. Reproduced from a rare 1911 edition, they include images from: The Snow Queen, The Real Princess, The Garden of Paradise, The Nightingale, The Mermaid, The Wind's Tale and The Emperor's New Clothes.

Here are two of the cards from the book:

The back of the card reads: "Edmund Dulac (1182-1953). "I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!" Illustration for "The Real Princess." Stories from Hans Andersen, 1911. From Dulac's Illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, c. 2004 by Dover Publications, Inc.

On the back of the card, this one reads: "Edmund Dulac (1882-1911). "Many a winter's night she flies through the streets and peeps in at the windows, and then the ice freezes on the panes into wonderful patterns like flowers." Illustration for "The Snow Queen", Stories from Hans Andersen, 1911. From Dulac's Illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, c 2004 by Dover Publications, Inc.

The other 22 cards are just as wonderful as these. They make me want to pick up my copy of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales and revisit some of these wonderful places. I hope none of you gets excited about receiving one of these lovely cards. I think they'll stay in the book for quite awhile! Have to say though, that you'd be lucky if one arrived in your post!

Please visit our Postmistress Marie to see other participants of Postcard Friendship Friday.