It’s been quite a year…

…and I, for one, am glad to see it go!

The bedbug invasion in July–UGH!

The apartment painting, which took four and five coats, including a coat of stain blocker–due to the cheap paint provided by the (cheap!) building manager–UGH!

The severe leg cramps which occurred mostly at night, causing me to have to ‘sleep in split shifts’UGH!

The Lumbar MRI I had eleven days ago (no results yet)–a total of 30 minutes of really bad ‘garage band drumming’UGH!

And now, the weakness in my legs, seemingly due to some form of sciatica, which happens even when I walk around my small apartment–UGH!

Oh, yes–so very glad 2013 is on its way out!

It’s already 2014 in Sydney, Australia, where the fireworks began around two hours ago:

Sydney 2014 (Courtesy AFP/Saeed Khan)

I won’t get out to see any fireworks here in Chicago…it’s about 15 F. (-9 C.), and we’re supposed to be inundated with at least a half-foot of snow by evening.

All I can do is wish you all the happiest and most prosperous 2014!!!

Happy New Year 2014

Though it’s been difficult resting so much while I’m beleaguered by pain, I will make the effort to post more often this year, as I am able to click off new shots!

Thanks for your patience.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

More FREE E-cards!

After working on these for several hours, I figured it would be a good thing to post the entire batch!

Just click on any image, save it to your Pictures folder, then e-mail it …and (hopefully?) it will brighten someone’s Christmas season!

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If you so desire, you can also use these to print your own cards–and the copyright is suspended, temporarily, so no worries there!

My gift to you and yours!

When sorting out some old paperwork…

…I ran across this quote I had written down some thirty-odd years ago.

Epictetus Quote

This blog, lately, has become more like a fig which has yet to ripen, hasn’t it?

Each day, I make an effort to post…and at the end of the day, my energy level is nil, because the day has been spent sorting, straightening, hanging artwork, shopping, baking, cooking…doing everything that must come first before I can sit and gather thoughts and images to put up a decent post.

Getting older “ain’t what it’s cracked up to be!”, and I’ll admit I’ve been pushing myself the last several months to that terrible point of exhaustion.

Yet, I look around my apartment and revel in what I’ve achieved–a great change, a comforting ‘togetherness’, a fresh look!

Though I still must deal with the studio (washing walls, then painting), I’ve had to let that go for a bit–perhaps even until Spring!–as tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day (and Hannukah has already begun this evening for my Jewish friends!).

This is a particularly poignant Thanksgiving Day for me, as it is the 17th anniversary of my younger son’s passing…and I have spent the previous holidays in thoughts and memories of that horrific time, which still seems like it was just yesterday.

Enough of that for now, as I hope all of you, old and new followers, are in good health and somewhat happy to be alive!

Even if you do not live in the United States, please take a moment to look around you and be very thankful for all you have!

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Happy Thanksgiving Day

and Happy Hannukah

to all!

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P. S.:  I’m almost finished hanging artwork, and have one more large wreath to decorate and hang, which means I’ll be able to spend more time posting…as soon as I get that Pumpkin Pie baked tomorrow–probably the only ‘traditional’ part of the meal!

I’m NOT having a ‘Turkey Dinner’ though, just steamed salmon, fresh green beans, some sweet potato (no butter or marshmallows!)…and a bit of Brie on water crackers…it’s far more healthy, though I sure do want to gorge myself on stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberries–but I’d gain ten pounds overnight!

Early Autumn Color

These over six feet high Canna plants reside in two huge pots along an entry walk to an apartment building on Eastlake Terrace here in Rogers Park.

Unlike many Cannas, these produce no evidence of flowers, but each mature leaf is approximately two and a half feet in length, and very impressive.

I found that utilizing the Canvas Texture filter in Photoshop (TM) also enhanced the sumptuous colors–see for yourselves!

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It’s been a week of storms…

…and hot weather here, with some beautiful images taken from my windows.

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There have been some wondrous sunsets…

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…and I managed to capture a beauty of a beginning twilight.

26JUN2013 Twilight 832 PM

I’ve been extremely busy trying to get mundane things done during this steamy weather…it tires me so that I must lay down for a short nap in the afternoons, then awake groggily only to try and sleep again a few hours later.

Sleeping in ‘shifts’ is not my forte!

In addition, we had a power outage late Wednesday afternoon for about an hour and a half, which gave me the opportunity to walk over to the next street and see how the apricot-colored Lilies were coming along.

Here are a few…you be the judge!

Of course, I had to apply some of Photoshop's filters...this is Watercolor.

Of course, I had to apply some of Photoshop’s filters…this is Watercolor.

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Poster Edges

Poster Edges

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Fresco

Fresco

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Vertical Grain

Vertical Grain

Sumi-e

Sumi-e

Shooting these helped bring me out of my ‘funk’, and after working it, the last image will become a 24″ x 30″ painting!

‘Playing’ with ‘Baby Grapes’

It’s nice to know the grapes are coming along beautifully this season, possi-/probably due to the rainy Spring!

After a lot of distorting and cropping, I finally got the images sorted out quite well, and wanted to show a different filter on each.

Baby Grapes, the first...

Baby Grapes, the first…

 

...and with the Ocean Ripple filter

…and with the Ocean Ripple filter

 

Baby Grapes, the second...

Baby Grapes, the second…

 

...and with the Poster Edges filter

…and with the Poster Edges filter

 

Baby Grapes, the third...

Baby Grapes, the third…

 

...and with Vertical and Horizontal Grain filters plus the Crosshatch filter

…and with Vertical and Horizontal Grain filters plus the Crosshatch filter

 

Baby Grapes, the fourth...

Baby Grapes, the fourth…

 

...and with the Accented Edges filter

…and with the Accented Edges filter

 

Baby Grapes, the fifth...

Baby Grapes, the fifth…

 

...and with the Angled Strokes filter and a .25 pixel Gaussian Blur

…and with the Angled Strokes filter and a .25 pixel Gaussian Blur

The filters in Photoshop (TM) can be overused very easily…I prefer lower, more subtle settings to add just that little touch for a more dramatic effect.

(Also, I get bored rather quickly with ‘run of the mill’ images!)