Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lovely surprise

Was received in the mail yesterday from a dear friend, Beth. It was so sweet of her to take the time to make and send this beautiful card! I love the artwork and then the sentiment is so appropriate: "Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars"-Henry Van Dyke. Thanks so much, Beth. I needed that reminder. The colors are so pretty and of course I love birds and flowers. It is now on my bulletin board by my computer to brighten my days.

I did get some grapes picked yesterday afternoon, late, after spending the day with Mom. Before I could finish, a storm blew in. It had been cloudy but not raining so I was going to work until I was done picking the ripe grapes or it started raining, whichever came first. Well, all of a sudden the wind started blowing so hard and in such a fashion that the trees were just whipping around, so I high-tailed it into the house. Not a minute later, a fairly large limb broke off one of the black walnut trees in the back yard and landed about where I had been. It stayed stormy like that for about 30 minutes or so.

Still need to get those grapes processed and finish picking the other ripe ones if I get time or the rain allows when I do. Will be going down this evening to help Emily with some things and coming back tomorrow morning. I've been on the phone or the computer taking care of business and talking to some friends and family on and off this morning, so I've not gotten anything done(except sleeping late, which was on my list of things to do).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July is flying by

I'm cheating by using a photo I took last year of the butterfly bushes because I've not taken any good pics lately or completed anything artsy. When I'm working these 12 hour night shifts, it just seems to kill the creativity. I did work some more today on the pictures for Thomas' nursery. Not sure I'll get them done before he gets here, but I'm trying. I'm doing a set of 3 collage paintings, very simple ones of animals, that frankly I'm "being inspired", shall we say, by someone's work I saw on Etsy. I would have loved to purchase her art, but the budget just isn't there, so I'm making my own. There will be a turtle(the one almost done), an elephant, and an alligator.

Time just seems to fly by. I need to get so much done this week while I'm off. The grapes are ripening and I really want to put up some preserves this year. Last year we gave the grapes to a neighbor to make wine, as I was helping take care of Mom a lot more. I do need to take Mom to take care of some business tomorrow and go down to help Emily with last minute preparations since Craig is now working. May do that Friday evening and Saturday morning. The former Woodland laboratory employees are getting together Saturday evening at our most recent supervisor's home for a party. Sunday will be church. So, not sure when those preserves are going to get done. The grapes may not wait until next week, so I may try to get them picked, cut up, seeded, perhaps Friday, and then freeze them for making the preserves later on. I've read online that you can do that. Basically, none of this is really interesting, is it? I think I'm trying to plan my week as I'm typing, so please just bear with me. We'll call that a "time out", lol.

Good bit of news to share since I've not been posting that often. Emily is about to "pop", very miserable, and ready for that baby to be out of there! So she says! The due date is August 9th, but little "Thomas" is turning out to be not so little, weighing already an estimated 9 lb, 6 oz. by today's sonogram. There have been no changes yet so if no baby by her appointment on Monday they may then schedule a C-section. I was selfishly hoping he would be born this week while I am off so I would have more time to spend with them. If it is next week after I start back to work, then it will be hard to ask off at a new job, working a solo shift, for more than a couple of days. But, of course, whatever is best for the baby and Emily is what I want most of all. You will notice that all of the "stuff" I mentioned above would be no longer so important to get done if the grandson decides to make an appearance, lol!

The new job is going fairly well. The second week was better than the first, somewhat from me being more familiar and getting a routine, but mainly because it was not as terribly busy as it was at first. My first nights alone there were pretty awful, almost more than I could do. I was very worn out at the end of that week.

Seems like there was more than I was going to report on, but I can't remember it now. If it comes back to me, I'll edit the post and add it on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nursery pics for Holly

This post is especially for Holly as she is not getting to attend the baby showers or see any of the preparations for little Thomas firsthand. Snapped a few shots in the nursery on Saturday while visiting Emily and Craig. They still have a few more things to hang on the wall and are refinishing a shelf/cabinet for future toys and books, so some items are in there awaiting a home.

Above, of course, the crib and the changing table. The crib was given to them by my former SIL and the bedding they chose is from Target. Em found the changing table at a yard sale and she and Craig painted the letters hanging above it.

The chest of drawers was Craig's growing up as was the toy chest you can see in the center of the room. We moved it to the corner after I took the shot. They repainted both pieces and are having to strip the shelf cabinet I mentioned earlier. Well, Craig is since Emily can't use the stripper. They have done a great job, I think, picking the colors. I'm working on some animal collage pictures this week to hang over the crib.

This little Rock-a-Bye lamb was a thrift store find early on in the pregnancy. I found it at a Salvation Army store very near Emily's house. It was $10, I think, which is pushing my limit on a thrift store purchase, but since it was like new I went ahead. Felt better when we looked them up online and found out they sell for about $125 when new.

The last picture is the Pack-n-Play. That is something new to me since mine were babies. Very nice! There have been a lot of changes since mine were little!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some fairly recent art experiments

I did these on our last camping trip at the end of May which I am so glad we got to take. Unknowingly my friends at work were already hearing rumors about the hospital being sold while we were away. They thought about calling me, but decided not to and I'm really glad they didn't. I blindly enjoyed several days of relaxation, resting, reading, and some art. Haven't done anything artistic since then. Just not had the time mainly, but also not really the inclination.

These are an experiment I wanted to do in using a photograph and incororating into a painted background. The inspiration for doing this was Angela Cartwright's technique as published in a recent Somerset publication. If you click on her name that will take you to her blog and here is a link to a piece of her lovely work she has on sale at Etsy, at really reasonable prices I might add. I'm too lazy to go hunt the magazine to scan those, but this one is done similarly. As you can see, her pieces have a simple color-washed background with designs done in the gesso. I started out trying to do this, but couldn't get it to look right. I ended up just working with the colors and backgrounds of the photographs to blend them. These were shots that you might remember me showing before from a trip last fall. The colors are prettier in person than they scanned,not as muddy-looking as they appear above, but still not any that I have in the house anywhere. Since they are lightweight I'm thinking on a way to make wall hangings out of them for the RV which does have this color scheme. As a matter of fact, the upholstery in the camper has a leaf pattern.

The canvases were thrift store purchases and were a pair of farm landscape prints on canvas minus their original frame, but only 50 cents each. Less than the cost of new canvas boards and I like the shape in relation to the photographs once turned up and down instead of sideways. I gessoed over the printed background with white and while it was still wet stamped into it and added texture with my brush. As it started to dry, I added gesso to the back of the photo and squished it into it deliberately so that the gesso covered the edges of the photo some. The color washes followed, but in trying to match to the colors in the photos, somehow I ended up with blah, pukey tones so I kept on working with it until they evolved as shown.

My thinking is maybe to add some wording and make a hanger of twigs to go with the woodsy look embellished with beads, fibers, or whatever strikes my fancy. May even have something hanging off the bottom.

I also did another larger canvas that I had to photograph since it won't fit on my scanner. This was another rescued thrift store canvas but it had an original painting of a really scary-looking face. I gessoed over that with black and then added an acrylic sand texture medium. The picture I chose to use on this one is the closeup I did of a leaf on a rock wall on the same fall trip. The photo is not glued on there crookedly. The photographer is just lousy in cropping her shots! Not finished with this experiment either. I was going to color wash this one, too, to bring the color of the rocks out into the background, but I like the look of the black with the gritty texture medium, so I can't decide. I am going to at least on all three unify the finish overall. On the bottom 2, think I will apply a layer of matte gel medium so the the shiny surface of the photos will be gone. For the top piece, I will most likely go with gloss gel medium.

BTW, do you need any confetti for any upcoming party or event? I have a confetti-maker I will hire out to you cheap! As an added bonus, she is really cute. Heck, some days I might even let you have her for free! Just kidding, we love her, but this is a picture of what the little stinker can do with plastic and paper.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Goodbye to Woodland!

Went by this evening for one last visit to my old place of employment. It was sad to see it almost empty and boxes being packed up everywhere. Made me think of my friends and coworkers and how much I will miss them and this place. Above is a shot of the people I work with or have worked with in the lab in recent past. We got together a week ago to get a group picture since some of us have already left for our next job.

My years at Woodland began in 1981 when I was a lab student doing my 6 month internship. There were no openings at the time I finished so I looked elsewhere and was hired at Huntsville Hospital. After only a couple of weeks, the lab supervisor at Woodland, Suzanne Porter, called me to say that one of techs had decided to leave and to ask if I was interested in a position. Of course I said, yes, as it meant not having to move to Huntsville or keep on with a longer commute. So as the story goes, I've been there since January of 1982 as an employee. The company I worked for has changed several times over the years. At first I worked for what is now Labcorp, but was then called Medlab. The hospital subcontracted the lab services at that time. Medlab was bought by Roche and that is who I was working for when the hospital decided they would make more money by running the lab themselves. I had to either transfer to Birmingham to stay with Roche or begin working for Woodland. Since my girls were small, I opted to remain at the hospital. Woodland has been under the ownership of several corporations. Not sure I could remember the names of all of them.

Emily was born in 1983 and then Holly in 1985. While they were young it was great to have a job this close to home. I worked for 7 years on 3rds while they were growing up to allow me flexibility in my day schedule so I could do what I needed to as far as attending school functions, ballgames, etc. I could stay up and sleep later in the day or get up earlier in the afternoon depending on what was going on. After a while I got physically tired and switched back to day shift for several more years. That was until the layoffs last year and then I went back to 3rds again.

I've put in a lot of years at this hospital. Perhaps one reason I've been here so long has been because I don't like change. My friends and family will verify that statement! But it seemed like about the time I felt like I needed to move on, I would be able to change to a different shift or negative job situations would change for the better. I also saw over time that people would leave Woodland and then come back because they missed it so much. It really was like a family. We may have fought and bickered among ourselves some(but not too much) but if someone else messed with one of our coworkers we would stand behind them like you would a sister or brother. As a matter of fact, if I find out anyone is not treating one of friends right now at their new jobs, all they have to do is call and I'll be there to take up for them!

This camraderie we enjoyed enabled us to work together to do the best job we could in performing our work and taking care of our patients, and we did see them that way, OUR patients. Some of our anguish in the hospital closing has been about who is going to take care of these patients now. There were many who came in as outpatients for labwork that we became close to over time. It was not just a job where these patients were a test or a number or a dollar sign. They were real people with needs and worries who we really cared about. This leads me to my other pictures.

Right before Woodland was sold a little over a year ago, while it was still CHS, there was a lot of money wasted initiating a program to inspire us as workers to provide better service. I mean there was a LOT of money spent on training executives and supervisors, books, CD's, computer programs, etc, etc. by a company that was about to sell us to another company? Go figure!?! It was a waste of time and money also because the employees of Woodland were already providing an excellent level of care. We didn't need pillars erected in the front entrance area to tell us what to do. My apologies if any of you read this that had do some of this stuff. I know a lot of you were just doing your job and had to do what those higher up the corporate ladder told you to do. But if any of you read this that made these decisions, I would like to let you know how it made me feel as an employee. I felt insulted, not inspired, and angry that so much money was spent by a company that would turn around and ask me to take time off without pay to save money near the end of the year so that budgets could be met and bonuses be paid. Then in turn you sell us to a company that then turns around and sells us again to another hospital who closes us down. All this was supposed to be done for the better of the community, the people. Below are some closeups of a couple of the "Pillars of Excellence" that were installed at the entrance to the soon-to-be-closed Woodland Community Hospital. In the end, you have to ask yourself, what was most important, the people or the finance?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sorry to be away so long without a word

Life has been pretty hectic while I've been trying to finish out at one job and start at another. Worked extra days to get some training at the new position. Will be going in next Wednesday evening there to start my night shift work week. The first few nights I'll be working with someone, then I'll be on my own. I expected to be working my last week at Woodland right now but they decided to cut staff back and let the workers go on that already had other jobs lined up. I didn't find this out until the this past Tuesday, the day before I thought would be going in to start my final week at Woodland. I still had people I hadn't said goodbye to and thought I still had time to do that, take a few more photos, etc. I had to go on up and clean out my locker that evening since I was going to be working at Hartselle for the remainder of the week. It was hard when I loaded up my car and pulled out of the parking lot to realize that I would never be going back there again as an employee and that 28 years at this work place was over. Will really miss the place and the people I've worked with. Lots of memories!

The reason I'm showing the picture of Bama is that we have had another loss in the midst of all this. Bama started getting sick and was just not eating much any more. At first I thought it was because she was upset about Maggie being here, then realized that she was sick. Well, she started wanting to stay outside and one day last week, she disappeared and we've not seen her since. Bama was another of Emily's Tuscaloosa rescues that ended up at Mom and Dad's. We were of course not sure how old she was since we don't know how old she was when Emily took her in. So my computer buddy is gone. I miss her sitting by my hand while I tried to blog or surf the web. Also at night, she would come into the bedroom and lay on my side while we slept. If she needed water or food, she would sit by my face and stare at me, resorting to gently slapping my face if I didn't wake up and do what she wanted. So rest in peace wherever you are sweet Bammy! We miss you!

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