Sunday, August 28, 2011

Collage Obsession Colour Theory Challenge

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Patience...I have none.

Why me Lord?
I haven’t been feeling at all well-battling some nasty cold/flu virus for over a week.

Today was the first day I can actually breathe AND talk almost normally.

How did I spend my day?

Trying desperately not to be a jerk to some poor person who just couldn’t seem to understand that I had emailed their digi stamps as attachments last week and they were lurking somewhere on their computer.

Probably in the spam file.

So many of my peers have gone to the download code-not for me-just too impersonal and high tech.

I like sending a note along with the goods and thanking the person and if the email doesn’t bounce I am at least somewhat assured that it arrived---I do this all the time to many countries without a hitch.

I guess the question I am blogging is how long can I be expected to be JOB the patient and serene before I go ballistic and get sarcastic and mean?

I understand there are all sorts of people on the internet and many of them are not highly conversant with computers and complicated things like “attaching a photo or image”.

Now I can make Photoshop do just about anything, I can use a word processing program with some degree of skill, I am considered the “GO TO GUY” for patient explanations of how to do things on your computer that you don’t understand how to do.

Hand me a pair of scissors, draw a line on a piece of paper and ask me to cut out a square and you will get a mess-that is not my forte’…I draw, I paint, I compute but I have my design team ladies to make pretty samples because I am only mediocre at that sort of thing and stand in awe of those (like my friend Dee) who can turn out neatly done, exact, machine like precision in crafting…I am , after all, male.

Testosterone, as any competatnt doctor will tell you, compromises the motor skills and renders most men incapable of doing much in the neat, tidy and intricate with their paws.

Before you start telling me stories of fishing flies, carving and other such mostly male pursuits that are recognized as art-I agree-get the same guy to tat you up a lovely antimacassar and I will be impressed.

I actually had a dentist who was not only straight AND a nice guy but he went with his wife to tole painting classes and other crafty things and he was GOOOOOD at it…I actually was more impressed with his tole painting skills than the fact he could drill a good filling.

But this is obviously some bizarre aberrant thing having to do with genetics and special reasoning-string theory.

But having taken the Burma Road to get to my point-I detest being a jerk to anyone-that said I am now past 60-barely…well 2 years past, and my fuse (nothing dirty implied here) has shortened.

God Bless me I am an equal opportunity jerk and when irritable I am nasty to anyone who wonders into my path.

Understand that “nasty” for me is very relative---anything less that my Disneyland Magic Cast member persona is unacceptable to me.

Growling, however softly, at another person isn’t my thing and makes me feel like a shmuck.

Ah well, that’s why we have blogs so we can VENT.

One of these days I am just going to have a vesuvian pyroclastic blast and completely lose it-that will be an exciting event.

Back to the missing digis….sigh….why is it they don’t have problems with this method in Norway and the Ukraine but right here near home? Hopeless…

Oh I am very good at decorating cakes...I do killer's little rewards you know?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Eila in her challenge this week asks for something about roots:
I immediatly thought of GAIA the primordeal earth goddess-the root of all things and many think the earth today is a living entity and we are just cogs in the wheel.
With symbols of earth, air, fire and water and most importantly DNA woven into her adornments GAIA is my ultimate representation of ROOTS.

Thanks EILA for an interesting challenge!!!

Roots - Collage Obsession - RSD 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Elite Design Team has been busy!!

I wanted to share some projects from my wonderful design team ladies-specifically using HEDWIG HALLOWEEN the newest member of the fashion ladies series-as I mentioned there will be a new Holiday lady since Kandy Kane has been retired.

Many thanks to Elaine, Tine, Carina, Hazel and Helene for their fabulous projects!!!
Be sure and visit their blogs which are listed at the top of the column to the left.


I love the wine sack and how cute is the gift box with the candles inside?

It amazes me that each of them takes off with their own palette of colours and they all manage to make my artwork look better.

Halloween and the Winter Holidays are my favorites so this is just a preview of what you will find thsi year on my ETSY shoppe site.

I hope you've noticed that by popular demand I am doing many more single images as opposed to digi sheets---we'll see how it goes but so far response is encouraging.

Enjoy all this fabulous work and thanks again to my EDT Ladies!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finding My Family-PART TWO

Many of you have let me know how much you enjoyed the first installment of the story about how I found my missing family after over 50 years.

It took a bit of time to move on to part two but here goes:

I had talked to my cousin and my Aunt a number of times between the initial contact back in May and August of 2011 via phone.

During that time there was medical issues, my gall bladder surgery, my cousins back problems, just lots of things that made our getting together problematic.

I settled into a pattern of calling my Aunt on the weekends.

We would easily chat for an hour or more about this and that trying to piece together the puzzle crafted by the motivations of my Mother---an unknown country that will remain unknown barring the discovery of an in depth diary of her life that I am unaware of.

Why she did what she did, changed the truth, made finding these people so hard and equally hard on their side remains a mystery.

Sadly, even when she had the chance at the end of her life, she chose to keep her secrets and maintain the half-truths and outright lies she had wrought to keep me from contacting my missing family.

Finally I put the ball in the other court and just said “pick a date”.

To me it wasn’t important to have any great fuss nor every party in attendance-I really wanted to meet and talk to my aunt who is 89.

My cousin is only a couple of years older than I am however in this precarious world there are no guarantees and anything can happen.

After searching for all those years I wanted to put faces with the voices and some sense of reality on a very surreal situation.

We finally agreed to meet in Carlsbad on Friday, August 12, 2011.

My cousin Bill would meet me at a designated spot and then we would drive together to my Aunt’s home not too far away.

As I drove southward across the toll road toward San Juan Capistrano and south on the 405 I was surprisingly calm.

I enjoyed the scenery and the cool, grey misty weather unseasonably cool for August in Southern California.

At some point I realized I might be arriving quite early as I hadn’t been focused on what time we were meeting in Carlsbad.

When I arrived at the meeting spot I chose a place to park under a large pine tree where the car would be somewhat shaded all day and called my cousin on my cel.
He was only minutes away and I knew he had a Lincoln Town Car.

In my mind Lincolns only come in black so I was surprised when a well maintained classic slid in beside me in WHITE.

I am a little vague on the next few minutes-I know there was a hug and I made some feeble off handed remark about his looking “BEACHY”.

It is especially strange to meet someone who is to YOU a total stranger but who (on their side) have some dim memories of you.

Most of my emotions surrounding the discovery of living relatives after the years of searching have ranged from elation to frustration especially as I find out more and more how much I was lied to and thwarted (by deign) in my search.

I don’t particularly remember what we chatted about as we drove to my Aunts home but I did become somewhat apprehensive about meeting her.

I was distressed about my choice of shirt, my hair had become lank in the humidity and I just felt a bit unkempt and messy.

First impressions can be so important and I also didn’t want to come off any way other than natural and true to the person I am.

I reminded myself that these people remembered basically an infant-at 6 foot 2 and with a hefty build, going grey there is probably little trace of the child they had last seen.

My cousin reminded me that there had been occasional pictures provided by a friend of the family that spanned the period until I was maybe 116 or so (this person passed away while I was in high school effectively cutting off any contact with my biological father’s side of the family).

He said he could see the resemblance from those pictures to the person I am now.
I don’t think my Aunt cared much how I looked, for her she was reconnecting with a missing direct link to her beloved brother and she welcomed me warmly.

We went off to lunch, I got to look at a few pictures, we toured the city and saw the home my Grandfather had built in which they had grown up as a family.

I will leave our conversations during the day as private between the three of us, much of it would be uninteresting to an outsider and much of it also was conjecture about motivations and little bits of history on both sides of my family.

There was sadness when our time together came to an end…not that we won’t see each other again
soon and certainly more frequently than we have in the past 60 years…more a frustration that everything that wanted saying didn’t get said and everything that needed doing didn’t get done.

There is a special aura that surrounds first times…first meetings…they come once and it would be hard if not impossible to fulfill everyone’s expectations surrounding that meeting.

What we will do now is start to build the relationship that will maintain us through the rest of our lives.

My cousin loaned me his copy of a book which my Aunt had written about her life, growing up and living through the last century.

I spent the evening after I returned home reading the book and I will reread it at least once as it contains detailed information about my family several generations back.

Driving home over the rolling hills between Laguna and the Orange County Basin the day had changed to that late afternoon sun through fog that makes you squint and go headachy.

I realized that I was tired, emotionally more than physically, but in many ways content and in some way connected.

I have felt a bit outside of and adjunct to my remaining family since my Mother’s death.

We live some distance apart and their life has evolved without my presence for many years.

In many ways I was a Christmas and Easter Brother and Uncle not available for the little day to day things that bind a family.

Over the last few years I have made a new relationship with my Niece and repaired in many ways the relationship with my Sister but honestly without me their lives will go on, the world will turn and only in the odd moment would my absence be noticed.

There is a difference with my family lost and now found.

It’s a special feeling to be treasured for who I am and what I represent.

There haven’t been years of little resentments which piled up into dysfunctional behaviors.

All this aside we meet as peers of age and experience and there is a joy in sharing missing moments with someone who deserved to be a part of them but was deprived.

My Aunt and I agree about many things but spotlighted amongst those things is a quirk we share-neither of us like to think of ourselves as LUCKY we like to use the word blessed.

I certainly was blessed to find the connections to my missing past after all those years of searching and I will be further blessed (I hope) by what is yet to come.


Dian asked us "What's in the glass?" and provided the glass so I am aware that it is not the correct service for a pink lady cocktail...

My Mother always drank a pink lady (or twelve) back in the party days of the 50's-in the 70's she switched to PINK SQUIRRELS...

I actually heard someone order a squeeling PINK virgin naked on the beach---I was tempted to ask....but didn't

So mes amies...My glass is full of Pink Lady, creamy, smooth, fragrent and lethal.

Dian HATES Pink BTW :-)

Bon Nuit!!!

PINK LADY with recipe, Collage Obsession 2011-Dian's Challenge

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Needle Phobia-and how to get over it...maybe

I have been meaning (truly) to write this blog post for some time-it seemed that other things got in the way.

At one point I actually was going to sell the information under the somewhat misguided notion that people ONLY appreciate and value information that they pay for.

MANY people, and interestingly MEN are in the majority; suffer from needle phobia or one of the related phobic behaviors.

According to recent statistics from the NIH as many as 10 %( or more) of the population has some degree off fear of needles or injections to the point that they can be considered “PHOBIC”.

There are three specific phobias where needles are concerned:
Belonephobia: fear of needles
Aichmophobia: fear of pointed objects
Trypanophobia: fear of injections

Most phobic personalities are either afraid of injections or the actual hypodermic or in some cases a combination of both to varying degrees.

In polling an unscientific group of friends and acquaintances I found that almost 100% of the 20 odd people I spoke too expressed some discomfort when facing the idea of a shot or blood test.

More than half of my test group said they would “rather take a pill” that get an injection in the case of illness (regardless of the fact that the injection might speed up healing).

Finally about 30% expressed serious anxiety and phobic feelings about blood tests, hospitals and fear of the unknown when it came to injections, hypodermic syringes and other topics concerning possible situations involving the POSSIBILITY of a procedure involving a needle.

Only about 10% expressed that they actually felt high levels of apprehension or fear when they saw a hypodermic or the doctor told them they would need an injection or a needle stick of some sort.

While by no means do I present my results as scientific fact for the population as a whole, the results are close enough to actual clinical studies to say that needle phobia is a large enough issue to address and treat with one’s family or primary care physician.

Personally I am distressed at how many physicians continue to have a halcyon attitude (it’s only a little stick)when it comes to an issue which I believe from personal experience cause people to avoid testing for such things as HIV and other serious medical issues because there might be a needle involved.

Luckily I have a compassionate and understanding doctor who feels that when adults are genuinely phobic of needle sticks to the detriment of their medical health and wellbeing the subject needs to be addressed and if possible overcome.

A slightly controversial solution is EMLA cream-a topical anesthetic which is offered now in a couple of generic versions (and formulas).

EMLA as we will be discussing it is a white crème which comes in a tube and is 2.5% Lidocaine and 2.5% Prilocaine.

You put an ample amount on the area to be stuck (such as the inside of your arm at the elbow for a blood test or the back of your hand for an IV treatment, cover it with a large “occlusive” dressing (read BIG BANDAID) wait two hours and you have a numb area.

Earlier I used the work controversial in relation to EMLA.

The controversy comes from a) whether or not it actually works to the point that it is beneficial for treating phobic patients and b) the abuses that it is put to by people who employ the cream for such purposes as tattoos and piercings away from medically controlled settings.

EMLA is strictly by prescription and should be used under the guidance of a licensed medical professional.

It is not for any purpose other than those outlined in the information that accompanies the cream and should never be used in the course of recreational activities with needles such as “play piercing” or other sexual adventures nor for tattooing, scarification or other body modifications unless a medical professional is in attendance.

EMLA was almost removed from the market due to abuse of the product by those who found it a more comfortable way to attain the various body modifications they were seeking and literally became a black market controlled substance like many other prescription analgesics.

Insurance companies began to stop covering its use and in some cases required not only a medical prescription but a psychological evaluation as well.

In Great Britain this double proof was required for diabetics who were insulin dependent and needle phobic.

EMLA can be a huge part of overcoming a genuine phobia of needles and needle sticks.
Routine blood work becomes a much more comfortable procedure.

Those who must have infusions of medicines for Rheumatoid disease, Chemotherapy and other frequent needle sticks and hospital stays will be more comfortable and less apprehensive when it comes to procedures involving needles.

More comfortable patients make for less stress on medical staff.

The question that I found difficult if not impossible to get a definitive answer on is this:” If children are provided with EMLA at an early age would the association of “painless” needle sticks reduce the amount of needle phobias overall?”

Again I was met with the “It’s just a little stick.” or “You need anesthetic for a quick pinch?” mentality for many of the doctors, nurses and phlebotomists I talked to.

Pediatricians and Oncologists were both more likely to endorse the use of topical anesthetics for routine procedures.

One Gerontologist said that he uses EMLA in chronically hospitalized elderly patients strictly for their comfort and the added ease to hospital staff who sometimes have to search for useable veins after lengthy hospitalization.

None of those to whom I spoke were willing to go on record as endorsing even a 2 part Lidocaine, Prilocaine cream (much less a name brand) when dealing with phobic patients.

Numerous references under an “Online” search returned endorsements for such uses as numbing to prepare for laser hair removal, a new spray for premature ejaculation and passing references to numbing for blood draws etc.

NOT ONE addressed needle phobia or any related topic.

Phobic behaviors, especially in the United States, are still looked upon as a general annoyance in all but the most extreme cases.

Hospital staffs often have never heard of EMLA or find the use of a topical anesthetic for a simple needle stick “Ridiculous”.

Off the record many who are responsible for those “simple needle sticks“ have opinions about how much such a simple tool would help not only their patients experiencing a more comfortable medical procedure but easing the personal tensions of medical professionals who are responsible for the discomfort (however much needed).

If you are a person who has serious fears surrounding injections or blood draws or who is facing the need for frequent sticks due to disease or chemotherapy, insist on discussing the matter with your doctor or Physician’s assistant and try EMLA or a similar topical anesthetic.

Be sure you get advice on how and where to apply the product and allow a full two hours under an occlusive dressing for full effectiveness.

A Neurologist shared an interesting piece of information about his male patients who spend a great deal of time in the gym.

It seems that while building healthy strong bodies they are also pushing nerves up over those muscles which can make injections more uncomfortable.

EMLA can be the answer and prevent the light headedness and fainting that embarrasses many of the “Macho Guys” and prevents them from returning for future treatment.

The trade name EMLA (an abbreviation for Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetics) refers to the two part Lidocaine/Prilocaine mixture.

Single part Lidocaine creams and other topical anesthetics are available however the concensus among medical professionals ( interviewed for this report) is that they do NOT work as well as the 2 part products.

While some pain may be experienced even with the use of EMLA during some procedures it is significantly reduced and more easily tolerated.

Repeated and regular use of a topical anesthetic may help alleviate phobic reactions to needle sticks however the product may need to be combined with professional counseling with a mental health professional for maximum benefit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My 150th Post

I am continuing mt series on the 7 deadly sins on Collage Obsession this week with GREED...I don't know why this crazy man buried in Toys was what I saw in my minds eye but thats how the subject translated to me.

Its always interesting to see what the other participants do and how diverse the entries are.

If you'd like to blog hop and see the other artists entries just go to collage obsession-theres a link over on the left on my blog and then look at the comments under each post which usually contain links to the various contributors sites.

I will be having a large post later in the week with new design ideas from my Elite Design Team and Hedwig Halloween will be features-I can almost feel Autumn in the air and Halloween is my favorite holiday (other than Christmas of course).