Sunday, September 28, 2014

Creative Expression: Transformation Artwork

While in the hospital, I was given more medications that I care to admit. And when I returned home, the same. Part of my home med regime was magnesium infusions that I called mag bags, magnesium in a saline solution in plastic balls administered through the tri-lumen catheter in my chest. After weeks of throwing away the mag bag refuse, I thought all of this is going into a land fill somewhere; there must be something I can do with it. I began to line the syringes, caps, and lines and such up on my kitchen table. I'm sure my son thought I was crazy, but I hoped the creative muse would help me come up with an alternative!

Weeks went by. Then in July I was asked by the Healing Arts Director, Cynthia Lockhart, at Presbyterian St. Luke's if I'd like to post some of my other artwork on a bulletin board at the BMT/STC unit (bone marrow transplant/stem cell transplant). I was thrilled! As we worked on the bulletin board we discovered there was space available for something else. I had the perfect idea--use the mag bag parts to make a new piece of art. The muse came through and syringe art was born.

Below is the complete board displayed at the hospital where I got my stem cell transplant. It represents a new program in the Healing Arts Department, Unfolding the Mind: Using Words and Images. Therefore, this bulletin board will be posted for quite some time. I've gotten lots of high praise. It feels so good to have my artwork posted publicly.

click image to see larger view;

Soon patients will get to meet me as I volunteer in the Healing Arts Program. I'll be helping them use journaling, images, and drumming for healing.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going

I know I dropped off the blogosphere without any explanation, only my last post about floods in Colorado on 9/12/13. Some of you know what happened, but for those who don't, here it is.

On September 24, 2013, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) with a high risk gene (FLT3) that indicated the danger of early relapse. I was admitted to the hospital immediately upon diagnosis for a month of induction chemotherapy, then three weeks home, then a week of consolidation chemo. I was then home until January 21, 2014 when I was admitted for a Stem Cell Transplant (SCT). Five weeks later I returned home. Now 7.5 months post-transplant, I am doing well. I've walked 113 miles since May 19th, 2014 and continue adding to that number. Improvement comes every day with increased mental focus, physical stamina, and joy in living.

Portrait: Lissa post-SCT 2 months (March)
I now have some barely-there-hair :-)

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who stood by me during this journey. You helped me keep my spirits up, have something to look forward to, and take care of important matters that I couldn't take care of myself. You all know who you are, lest I will not name you individually here.

Finally, I feel up to sharing again. Yesterday I went on a neat adventure with my SCT buddy, Susan. We have walked the SCT journey together, originally meeting in the hospital. We went to the Denver Botanic Garden to see Dale Chihuly's glass art display. We wandered the gardens and took photos of the glass art (lighted at night, they must be magnificent) and the blossoms that will disappear soon with fall coming. With 19 photos to follow, this is truly a photofest. Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of all the displays I depict here.

Blue Icicle Towers and me ... I lost 58 lbs on the Leukemia Diet!
Picture by Susan Howard

Blue Icicle Towers and Susan

Summer Sun

Blue Marlins

Water Lilies

Float Boat

Left: Saffron Tower; Right: White Tower

Thanks to all for visiting.
I hope to be more active here now.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's an event: Another series of flood pics

Went out again this afternoon to see if I could get close enough to the three cars in the ditch, probably Rock Creek, West of Hwy 287 on Dillon Road, but the roads were all blocked off.

On  the way back home, I did discover this farmhouse at the Public Rd. roundabout looking dangerously near flooding.

And here a span of more comprehensive flooding.

Just around the corner is the entrance to the parking lot for the Public Rd. Trailhead. No cars allowed. Crime scene tape spanning the entrance.

This is where the picnic area is and where the trailhead was.

The breach has spanned three times the original width of the creek. This is where Kobi and I often met other dogs and owners. A nice place to escape. I wonder how long it will get back to normal ... or even recognizable. The white arrow is the original width of the creek. The red arrows are where the path used to go.

And this is where the path was on the other side of the bridge where cars stop and tourist and locals alike get out to take pictures and get shooed off by the cops. My house is up the way about a quarter mile and to the left another quarter mile ... or something like that. Just a note, the creek is actually on the RIGHT side of that red arrowed walking path line.

It's an event: Flooding in Boulder County

I was certain the ground could not hold much more moisture even though we always want for it here to waylay for the forest fires. The down side though is having had forest fires, this much water just causes a bigger mess in the burn scar areas.

Now down here in the city/town, we are just getting creeks that are swelling past their capacity. I went out briefly this morning since our company called a "flood day" and I didn't have to go in. Nice reprieve!

This is Coal Creek where it goes under 119th St. in Lafayette, CO North of South Boulder Rd. and South of Dillon Rd where three cars were "eaten" when the road collapsed. I couldn't get close the that to get pictures.

Here, our walking path (for Kobi and me) has been flooded such that we can't get to our normal resting bench.

And this is the cow pasture that is usually green and lush with cows munching their feed.
Notice the arrow that shows where the creek normally flows.

I didn't let Kobi in the really deep water, but he does love to explore.

Along the path I met a few other adventuresome folks. I asked these folks names, but think I only remember Mike correctly--maybe it's Katie and Mike. They were enjoying exploring the changing landscape also.

And up the road a bit, there is another foot bridge that crosses Rock Creek--now impassable. This was one of the starting points when I did my mini-camino in the fall of 2011. So dry then ... almost too dry.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Creative Expression: I'm Moving ... to Ipernity

I thought I posted this here already, but obviously not. I've had a headache all week ... complications form a poorly adjusted new occlusal guard. Maybe that's the reason I didn't get this posted here. I am feeling human again!

I've decided to move from Flickr to Ipernity. No that's not a physical location, but a new (new to me) photosharing interface. I can't say I'm total frustrated with Flickr as some others, but I do find the new interface more challenging than the old one and I like Ipernity's simplicity. I plan to leave my photos on Flickr for now and start Ipernity forward from this point.

I keep finding myself pulled back, so may post the occasional image on Flickr, but I want see how Ipernity pans out.

You can find me at www.ipernity.com/home/lafcustomdesigns … yes, you can even customize your URL.

Thanks to Sebastian Michaels' Photoshop Grunge Artistry for lots of brushes and textures
in his Photoshop Grunge Artistry course.

Some of the benefits of Ipernity:

* Has the old Flickr "look"
* Customize your homepage
* Create albums
* Includes a Guestbook roll where people can leave a note unrelated to a specific image
* Log in with Facebook (I'd rather not, but some may like this feature)
* Move your Flickr photos to Ipernity; see script www.ipernity.com/blog/team/485851

The down side:

* As with all technology, there is a learning curve, but it's really pretty easy
* You will likely have to convince your friends to follow you to the new interface
* You might have to keep both Flickr and Ipernity going in parallel, at least for a bit
* You may feel like you're starting all over

Best to all. Thanks for connecting with me here at Flickr. I've made lots of great friends here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Creative Expression: Moonrise Over Cloud Mountain

How is it this represents half a day's work! Well, there are a lot of elements--a custom-made brush from an image of clouds, layers of textures, and several images, and lots and lots of clipping masks!

Click image to see larger and in better detail 

Thanks to Sebastian Michaels' Photoshop Grunge Artistry
for lots of textures and vector masks.

One step just leads to another and before you know it the day's almost over. But at least I got some Photoshop play in this weekend.

Creative Expression: Taking a bad blurry photo to painterly art

This was a really bad picture ... blurry because Kobi was moving and I was taking the picture with one hand. I love it though because Kobi is enjoying the remnants of raspberry sorbet in the carton. Oh, and that moth on the edge of the cup ... didn't bother Kobi a bit ... it was Photoshopped in. ;->

I learned how to make a brush from my own photographs of clouds and marble, and using some warm colors enhanced the image creating a painterly effect.

I love learning and am so inspired by Sebastian Michaels even though I go off on strange tangents after watching his videos.