Sunday, August 19, 2012

Glorious Gotham

I just returned from a short trip to New York City where I spent a couple of days with my friend Phoebe and also a couple of days with my lovely "niece" Leanne. Phoebe and I roamed around the city with our iPhone shooting the city with the Hipstamatic, which lends itself well to street photography. I did shoot with the 50mm as well, just not as much. Mainly because it was just too damn hot to have my heavy Nikon hanging around my neck. So, without further ado, a few of my favorites of Glorious Gotham taken with the iPhone:
 24 Fifth Avenue
Park Benches

 The Chelsea Inn


No Parking Anytime

 The Electra
The Golden Ratio (also known as Leanne & Etai)

While hanging with Leanne I got to meet her roommate Meera who is an incredibly talented filmmaker. I also finally got to meet Etai, her boyfriend who is currently finishing up three years of playing Boq in Wicked on Broadway. While I was with both of them, Leanne got a call and was offered two roles including a dream lead in an upcoming Off Broadway play. It was an amazing moment watching her get the news and the tears welling up in her eyes, knowing that all her hard work was paying off and that she was getting to make a living at doing something she loves. I'm already planning a trip to go see her perform! And stay tuned for more Glorious Gotham pics as I still have a lot to process including those I took with the 50mm!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Friends, Flamingos, a Faerie and a Farm

It seems that yesterday's Creative Saturday with Lita was sponsored by the letter F. We decided on a digital art day because we both miss working on that medium so much. With my tendinitis and her wrist pain, it's hard for both of us to work on our Wacom tablets. But, we bound our tendons with braces (hers made with a sea-sickness band...hey, whatever works!) and got down to business. Two friends working on different images side-by-side, a second eye to check for composition and color, to encourage the path and to laugh off the pain. Lita worked on a faerie and I worked on (and finished!!) two images. One was a textural work of an old, run down farm (Nichole, that one is for you!) and the other was born from a dream...a flock of flamingos in the misty morning swamp.

Flamingo Dream
Mixed Media on Watercolor Paper

The flamingos started out as an image in a dream I had which I then started as a watercolor. I scanned the watercolor into Photoshop and painted more flamingos and used brushes and textures to make the dream into reality. This is pretty much what it looked like in my dream, although it was more faded and distant. This is the second piece I've created from a dream I had. The first was this piece:

Patches & Crow
Mixed Media on Canvas

Dreams are a great source of inspiration! Now, If I could only remember more of them!

For my second image, I wanted to create a take on Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World but when I started working on it, I didn't want to add any figures to it. I like the scene just as a landscape. So with textures and brushes by Distressed Textures, I went to work creating a painting-like image. I was quite happy with the result and it didn't even take me that long!

Lost Summers of My Youth

Of course we couldn't have a Creative Saturday without stopping by Barnes & Noble for a little inspiration. I picked up this great watercolor book called Watercolor Secrets 200 tips and techniques for painting the easy way by Robin Berry. Her work is amazing. If you like watercolor you won't be disappointed with this book.

Have an awesome weekend everyone and remember to take some time to be creative!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Adventures in Appendicitis

Looking pretty happy for a guy in a backless dress! (thanks Gina for the title,lol)

The last four days was spent learning a lot about the mindset of the medical establishment. That mindset for the most part is very closed. After having a crazy big meal on Friday night that included Sushi, alcohol and the biggest bowl of ice cream ever, my hubby developed appendicitis. On Saturday, he felt like throwing up but forced himself not to. Perhaps if he did, whatever toxin was coursing through is body would have been expelled. By Sunday, he was running a bit of a fever and complaining of pain in the lower right area of his stomach. I've dealt with gastro issues my whole life and I knew how to deal with inflammation so I got him started on certain teas and citrus to basically help clean out whatever toxin was attacking his appendix. However, we felt he should probably go have a cat scan to make sure it wasn't burst so we went to the emergency room at the local hospital where he had bloodwork done and the cat scan. He had already begun to feel better by this time, his pain having lessened quite a bit over night. My hubby is involved in the health care industry and as someone who is vice-president of a company that creates software for home-health care and nursing homes, he has a bit of insight to new research and findings. He had spent the whole weekend researching appendicitis and discovered a recent study in the Harvard Medical Journal as well as a few other studies that showed two-thirds of appendectomies were unnecessary and that an antibiotic therapy was more effective. Recent studies also show that the appendix is not a useless organ but that it helps to produce good gut bacteria.
Here is a recent blog article about the research.

So, what did all this mean? It meant that we were going to be met with skepticism, condescension and rudeness that really shocked me. They immediately checked my hubby into the hospital and began prepping him for surgery. We protested. The cat scan showed only a thickening of the wall area around the appendicitis. There was no perforation, no tear, no abscesses, no blockages. We opted for antibiotic therapy but no one would even consider that. They sent surgeon after surgeon down to scare the crap out of him. One surgeon even said in a condescending manner "I don't care what your little computer says there but I have 30 years experience". Not one of them would even look at the research. They refused to give him food or water. During this time, he began to feel better and better, the pain lessening even more. Even after signing the form to refuse the surgery, they refused to check him out or give him anything to eat or drink. And they still sent surgeons down to tell him how stupid he was. Finally, he checked himself out and we decided the next day to go to our regular doctors office and see if he would get him on the antibiotics.

The next morning, when we showed up at our primary care doctors office, they refused to even talk to us saying that neither of us had been there in three years (I'm sorry! Punish us for being healthy why don't you!!) and that he should just go to the hospital. When I saw my doctor through the window I tried to say something but the receptionist closed the window in my face. We stood there in the waiting room for a few minutes trying to decide what our next plan was when suddenly the window opened and the receptionist said "Why are you still standing in our office? You need to leave." Well, I was forced to call her a bitch, which I did quite loudly. This is my husband and I'm a she-tiger when it comes to him...don't mess with me when it comes to the love of my life! Needless to say, we'll need to find a new primary care physician and I probably won't be getting my medical records anytime soon. :-)

Finally, we ended up at The Cleveland Clinic, a top-rated clinic that is also a research hospital. We hoped they would be open-minded. And they were. Our surgeon was from China and he was aware of the research. The USA healthcare system is very behind compared to other countries. At Cleveland Clinic, we were treated with respect, they looked over the research and after a blood work-up that showed everything functioning normal, they hooked him up to IV's and began the antibiotic treatment which they agreed was the best course of action in his case. He is now home and we can look back and laugh about our adventure to take on the medical establishment. Still, it's not over. We have to make sure he introduces food back in slowly and he finishes his oral antibiotics. The only way we will have truly beaten the establishment is if we are successful in NOT having to go back. But we learned that you really have to stick to your guns. YOU are responsible for your health care and YOU have a right to have all options available to you before you make a decision.

Finally at the Cleveland Clinic! Another bonus of this locale? All the doctors were McDreamies!

The main thing you do in hospitals is wait, so of course I had to snap a few pics with the Hipsta:



 Yay! Intravenous antibiotics and perfect blood work!

 Going Down

Hospitals are creepy.

Homeward Bound!

A celebratory selfie of a good team!

 Cloud Reflections

Someone is very happy to be home!