Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Will Not Go Off Alone

Photo Credit -
Today I spoke with a friend whose Grandma had passed away last week. He’s heading out of state tomorrow to the funeral with his wife and children. Grandma had lived with them for the past 7 years. She was a young grandma, only 76 years old, so they weren’t expecting her death.

Grandma had started passing hints to them that her time was coming. They didn’t really notice until she actually died and they compared notes. Grandma had a premonition that her time was close. I find that amazing…but wait…there’s more.

The evening of her passing Grandma asked her granddaughter to fry her some eggs, she was too weak to stand at the stove and fry them herself. Grandma was very self-reliant and never asked for help (she reminds me so much of my mom). The granddaughter thought it was odd and called the grandson to remark to him that Grandma had asked for help and she NEVER does that, but she made her the eggs and didn’t think about it again.

The grandson called Grandma’s son and asked him to just stop by and check on his mother as she wasn’t feeling well. The grandson finished up some work at the office and when he got home Grandma’s son was there so the grandson went to go lay down for a bit as he had a headache.

He got up a bit later and went down to grab a bite to eat and came back to lay down and as he was laying there the dogs started making a racket and barking like crazy. He shot up and ran out of the room and saw his niece and asked her what was going on? Was someone at the door? And the niece said no, it was just the dogs barking at Grandma who had gotten up to go to the bathroom. 

He thought that was weird as they had never barked at Grandma before but he went back to go lay down. Not much time had gone by and the dogs went crazy barking again and again he got up to see what was happening and ran into his son who remarked that the dogs were barking at Grandma who was heading back to her room. They both said that was weird, but things settled down and they both went back to what they were doing.

The niece happened to walk by the bathroom a bit later and saw that Grandma had left the light on and that there was a light under Grandma’s bedroom door so she peeked in thinking Grandma probably fell asleep with the light on as she often did.

Grandma was sitting in her chair, with her eyes open and was unresponsive. The niece screamed that something was wrong with Grandma and they all ran upstairs. The grandson and his son picked Grandma up out of the chair and laid her on the floor so that the granddaughter could begin CPR. They called 911.

Police arrived first, and then the EMT’s and they also began life saving measures on Grandma. Eventually they EMT’s told the family that they were sorry, but there was nothing else they could do. Grandma was gone.

The grandson remarked that it was weird that they had not noticed how much weight Grandma had lost. When he and his son picked her up to lay her on the floor they almost dropped her as they expected so much more weight than what she really was. How did they not notice? That troubled him.

He remarked that he was also troubled about her dying in the house, in that room. I told him, “You know what I think? I am comforted by two things, one that she died at home and not in a hospital or on her way in an ambulance. She had a delicious meal cooked by her precious granddaughter, she saw her son and she knew all the people she loved best were at home and safe. 

Secondly, the fact that the dogs were barking leads me to believe that they weren’t barking at Grandma, they knew her, they never barked at her; they were barking at someone that came to take Grandma and show her the way.”
He was quiet for a moment and then he said “That kind of bothers me to know there was an entity in the house.” I told him that to me it was a comfort, because it means someone gets sent to show us the way. The dogs saw this person and that’s why they were barking because they didn’t know the person, but animals see things sometimes that we don’t. Grandma was not scared, she may or may not have known this person was there, but she wasn’t scared. 

He again sat there quietly and said, “It was her momma, her momma came to get her, and you know what Alicia? I didn’t tell you this but last night Grandma’s brother died. Grandma and her momma went to go get him.”

Before he left he told me that he found great comfort in knowing that Grandma didn’t go off alone to some new place, someone that loved her was sent to guide her to the right place and when it’s our time, someone will come to guide us…maybe Grandma will come for him. He left comforted and I feel comforted too because I know that when it was my dad’s time someone, probably his beloved sister Olivia came for him and someday someone will come for me as well. We will not go off alone.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas Made Easy with my New Hobby - Painting!

I've been getting so many great comments on my blog and on Facebook about the artwork we displayed at the Art Reception in December. In case you missed it you can read about it HERE. Thank you all so much!

One of the best things about my new hobby is that I can share it on my blog and it also made Christmas gift giving a bit easier. 

If you're a regular reader you know that my sister and I have a good friend named Lupe. The three of us get together at Christmas time and we go out to a nice dinner and we exchange gifts. Lupe gave me a beautiful set of Wine Glasses which I desperately needed and Lisa gave me a beautiful Scarf, which I desperately wanted! 

To Lupe I gifted this Christmas decoration/wall hanging that I painted. 

I tried to make it in colors that if she wanted to she could leave it up all year and not have it look like a left-over Christmas decoration but yet if she only hung it at Christmas it fit in. I was very happy with the way it turned out!

I also wanted to do something special for my co-worker Angelica as she and I always make it a point to have a nice lunch somewhere special and exchange gifts as well. She gifted me something spectacular that I had been wanting forever! 

Not the Calendar, although I really needed a new one for 2017 an who doesn't want a whole year of Las Vegas???

No, I mean the Wax Warmer with the Butterfly on it. You plug this baby in and add a little block of scented wax and all day long you have a delightful scent wafting through the air. I thought it would be perfect to put in my bedroom but so far I've been enjoying it so much at the office that I've decided to leave it there. Thank you Angelica!

I wanted to do something special for her and she knew that I was going to paint something for her. She had actually hinted that she would like something Parisienne but it was too late because I had already painted this for her.

The photo doesn't really do it justice since the background was a much more vibrant yellow. Here's a photo she posted on Facebook that's much better than the one I took. 

Since it was so much fun to do that one for her I decided I would do a family Christmas painting for each of my brothers and my sister Lisa.

Here's the one I did for my brother Fred and his family. I loved painting the white dots around the picture and doing those ribbons on each ornament and using glitter! 

This is the one I did for my brother Jaime and his family. I loved this one because Jaime's wife Connie was the one that came up with the color theme for my mom's surprise 80th birthday party of black, red and gold, so I painted this one in those colors just for her!

The one for my sister of course was my favorite one to do because I wanted to do a camping theme for her and her husband since they love to go camping and have really nice trailer that we get to use when she and Lupe and I go camping for our girls weekend. 

So I found a sort of retro camper and came up with this design which is done in a photo program called PicMonkey.

This was the end result. I ended up not adding as much Christmas decor in case they wanted to hang it up in their trailer they could leave it up all year.

I wish that I had thought to take pictures of them when they were all framed nice and pretty. Lisa's looked especially nice because I was able to find a white frame for hers. These are all painted on 11 x 14 picture boards which makes them easier to frame. I meant to take pictures of them as they opened them but you know the chaos that is Christmas and the whole family was there so these will have to do.

I'm still painting and practicing and thinking I am getting better with each new piece. If nothing else I am enjoying myself and de-stressing. I hope to be sharing new stuff in the near future. I know that I have promised Baby Jae that I would paint an Elsa for her so I need to find a simple yet pretty one for her. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Acrylic Art Class - Art Reception

Back in September I posted that I was beginning a Monday night Art Class for Acrylic Painting. December 12, 2016 was our Art Reception and the last night. It was bittersweet and we hated to see this class come to an end. But never fear, during the reception the head of the program came to attend the reception and to tell us that the Art Class has been funded again! Yay! We still don't know what kind of class but I don't care if it's painting with our feet using mud and glitter cause I am so there!!! I love ART! 

I want to share some of the artwork we completed and displayed but first I want to show you the piano that we painted for this class. I'm hoping this becomes a regular thing and that we get to paint and donate a piano each time. 

When I took my Beginning Drawing and Sketching class we painted this one. The theme for this one was Almond Blossoms and Bees.

For the most recent Beginning Acrylic Painting Class we painted this one and the theme was a Hispanic Culture theme. Our Art Instructor Alex, chose a popular game called Loteria. I would say this game is a Mexican Bingo and I remember playing it often as a child.

Here I am with some of my fellow classmates. From the left is Samantha, then me and then my sister Lisa and our friend Lupe. You can see some of our artwork that was displayed in the background.

The front has the obligatory roses. The City of Wasco, where the classes are held is the Rose Capital of the World! Our instructor Alex painted the amazing American Flag.

Here's a side view showing the Loteria portion of the piano. It was so much fun to do this and I hope in the next class someone donates another piano to us!

If I were to share all the artwork we displayed you would be here forever, so let me just share some of the artwork that I think was the favorite of each artist.

First, this was my favorite that I painted. It's a fireplace that I learned to paint by using an online tutorial from the most amazing teacher and Artist, Cinnamon Cooney aka The Art Sherpa!

Here's how I displayed it at Christmas for the Holiday. Isn't it lovely?

I think this was probably the favorite one that my sister Lisa did. She did such an excellent job and I love the eyes, they are just mesmerizing. Lisa has a natural gift and talent for art. It seems effortless when she paints!

I think this one would probably be the favorite one that Lupe did, at least I know it's my favorite that she did! So cheerful and love the big yellow umbrella!

This is my favorite of the ones that Samantha did. Samantha is a college student and the youngest of us all and she had a real "outside the box" way of doing her art which was refreshing and I was always amazed to see the way her mind worked!

We also had to each do a social experiment piece. Something socially relevant to us. Our instructor came up with the idea of doing this because of a this painting that he did.

Here is my social statement. Can you see my concept that we now see the world through the "eyes" of social media?

I loved Lisa's, seeing the world through rose colored glasses!

Lupe choose a statement as old as time, the Madonna and Child, it was just beautiful!

Here's our instructor Alex with a painting he brought to display. Thank you Alex for being such a great teacher, for your patience and guidance and for always being there on time with a smile and a word of encouragement for us each! You have an amazing gift as an artist and as a teacher!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books Read in 2016

It's that time of the year annual "Books I Read This Year" wrap up. I've been keeping track using the Goodreads website since 2009, you can click each year to see the complete list.

2009 - 24 books
2010 - 24 books
2011 - 29 books
2012 - 26 books - Goal set was 30
2013 - 18 books - Goal set was 30
2014 - 33 books - Goal set was 20
2015 - 19 books - Goal set was 35

In 2016 I once again set a grand goal for myself, one that I again didn't reach! My goal was 35 books and I only read 19. 

I'm not even going to make excuses because considering what a busy year this was and my new hobby of painting I'm happy I read that many! But I am make a resolution to turn the TV off more often and just read for an hour or so before I go to bed each night. Let's hope that in the new year I do better. 

So here's the cute little set-up that Goodreads does each year to keep track of statistics and the actual books themselves.

They keep track of the longest and shortest books I read and the average length. 

The most popular book and the least and also the average rating out of 5 stars that I gave to each book. And also the book that I read that had the highest rating on Goodreads. It was once again a Jodi Picoult book. I think she's always my favorite, love her books!

And here's the complete list of my books. The Hummingbirds Daughter was pretty good.

So here's my pledge for 2017, I'm going to try to read one more book than I did this year. That shouldn't be too difficult right?
 2017 Book Challenge

How about you? Happy reading in 2017!